MU alumni say memories make Homecoming special

Brad Bishop, left, and Jim Boecker, both 1991 MU graduates, reminisce Saturday about the university's basketball team during their time as students. Saturday was Boecker's first homecoming since he graduated.

Brad Bishop and Jim Boecker remember the 1990 â??Fifth Down Gameâ?? like it was yesterday.

The two 1991 graduates said they had seats 10 rows up from the goal line when a judgment error allowed the Colorado Buffaloes to score a game-winning touchdown on an extra down as the clock ran out.

â??I think we went out on the field after that,â?? Boecker recalled Saturday afternoon.

Far sweeter is Boeckerâ??s memory of the Mizzou menâ??s basketball team defeating KU in Lawrence on his 21st birthday. He said he, Bishop and their friends went to every game at the height of the Norm Stewart era. They painted their faces for some of the games and were once shown on ESPN during a gamecast.

Alumni frequently listed athletic events among their favorite memories from their time as students. John Altermatt, a 1987 graduate, said he went to as many football games as he could.

â??We didnâ??t have a winning season, I donâ??t think, when I was here,â?? he said.

Some alumni said they try to go to Homecoming as often as they can. Altermatt and his wife Dana, a 1988 graduate, said they return frequently, especially now that their daughter is also attending the university. Dana said she likes how the campus has evolved over the years.

â??Mizzou looks so awesome. Itâ??s grown so much academically. The campus, it still has that old feel but it has lots of great new things,â?? she said.

Bishop said he tries to attend Homecoming every other year if he can. When he does, he shows his children the places he lived and had classes and tells them what itâ??s like to be a college student.

Other alumni tailgating ahead of Saturdayâ??s game had not been back for Homecoming since they graduated. Boecker said the campus was growing during his time as a student.

Itâ??s beautiful. I mean, theyâ??ve done so much expansion,â?? he said.

Sandy Husmann said she did not think much had changed since she had left in the mid-1980s.

â??The schoolâ??s the same, the kids are really the same, itâ??s just an exciting time for Mizzou with the football team doing as well as they are,â?? she said.

For Kelsey Ollis, who graduated in 2011, the biggest difference between being a student and being an alum at Homecoming is not having to put together decorations ahead of time.

â??I was Greek, so it was a really stressful time,â?? Ollis said. â??Now I can just come back, look at all the house decs, and itâ??s really nice.â??

Boecker said for him, the memories and the friendships are what made this yearâ??s homecoming special.

â??Iâ??ve been gone a long time, so coming back, itâ??s just memories, you know. Coming back, seeing the campus, catching up with some friends, and just remembering back how it was.â??