'It all came together': 30 years later, BYU players reflect on winning the 1984 national championship
Morrell has described the 1984 team like this: "We didn't have any egos on our team. We didn't have any superstars. We were a bunch of hard-working guys, and we were always happy for each other when one was getting the limelight. There was no jealousy. We were all best friends, though we came from a lot of different backgrounds. Some were LDS; some were Catholic. Some grew up without religion. For some reason, we meshed really well together. We were best of friends. That's a big part of it. Everybody knew their spot on the team and they lived with it. I think we all played above and beyond our talents."
While the school plans to honor the ’84 team in September, several players won’t be able to attend because they are coaching their respective high school or college teams. Sikahema is among the former Cougars who plans to attend the festivities, but other team celebrations could occur later.
“Technically, we weren’t crowned national champions until January,” Sikahema said. “We can go into January, and still celebrate our 30th anniversary. We can celebrate it in the fall, but it would be somewhat hollow if we showed up and Kurt Gouveia, and others, are not there. At this point, I don’t think guys care about being honored at halftime at LaVell Edwards Stadium. You know what we care about? Getting together and telling war stories and laughing and seeing each other. I don’t know frankly if our wives and children particularly care about coming and sitting around with a bunch of old guys with bowed backs and crippled knees. For us, that’s the fun of it — getting together and having Kozlowski regale us with stories of his greatness, and the rest of the nonsense that happens when a bunch of old guys get together and talk about their days as young men. But that’s the fun of it. I told the ('84 reunion) committee that no matter when you have it, I’m coming out for it. But I hope I can come out when the majority of guys can be there.”
Members of the 1984 team are also hoping that coach LaVell Edwards and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who is currently serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was BYU's president in 1984, can attend as well.
For Sikahema, the real legacy of the 1984 Cougars isn’t what they accomplished on the field.
“I don’t think any of us sit around and think about it that much. But what we do think about is the fact that we are husbands, fathers, and about what we’ve done in our professions. Leaders of our church often say to mission presidents when they train them that you won’t really know, or appreciate, the success of your mission until 20 or 30 years later with the lives your young missionaries lead, the young men and young women they’ll become, as fathers, mothers and leaders. We feel the exact same with what LaVell has done.
"In the 30 years that have lapsed, the most gratifying thing about that year, frankly, was not winning the national championship. It’s not. That put a capstone on that season and it was certainly memorable for all time," Sikahema continued. "However, I think to a man, every one of us who played on that team, what we’re proudest of is the kind of husbands and fathers and leaders that we have become, how successful we’ve become in our chosen fields. We have doctors, lawyers, coaches and broadcasters The most gratifying thing of being a part of that team, was how that team turned out.
"You know, obviously, we’ve had some tragedies and guys that have passed, like Mark Allen and Craig Garrick. We mourn those guys and we miss them. But in the grand scheme of things, so many guys on that team have done remarkably well and done amazing things. I’m proud of them, every one of them and the people they’ve become. It’s made our reunions that much more fun because we have reveled in each other’s successes. Best of all, we see the pride in faces of LaVell and (Edwards’ wife) Patti when they see us. We’re their kids. We’re their boys. It’s a great feeling to be a great son when you’re around your parents. They laugh with us and revel in our success and meet our children.”
When members of the ’84 team get together these days, it’s 1984 all over again.
“I saw Leon White for the first time in decades and it’s like we’ve never been apart,” Matich said. “It’s that way with everybody because of the bond that you form. That’s something we knew right off the bat, right away. One of the good things from winning that national championship was knowing that we would be that team. We would be that band of brothers.”
BYU 20, Pittsburgh 14
BYU 47, Baylor 13
BYU 38, Tulsa 15
BYU 18, Hawaii 13
BYU 52, Colorado State 9
BYU 41, Wyoming 38
BYU 30, Air Force 25
BYU 48, New Mexico 0
BYU 42, UTEP 9
BYU 34, San Diego State 3
BYU 24, Utah 14
BYU 38, Utah State 13
BYU 24, Michigan 17
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