With the hype of the balloting safely behind him, Ty Detmer is getting down to the business of being a Heisman Trophy winner.
The BYU quarterback - who was named winner of the 1990 Heisman award last Saturday after leading the voting in all six regions of the country - is on a two-day whirlwind trip in New York City as the guest of the Downtown Athletic Club, creator and curator of the Heisman Trophy since its beginning in 1935.It is the custom of the DAC to invite the winner each year to come to New York and stay at its headquarters in downtown Manhattan. In conjunction with the visit, a number of festivities are annually planned, including a reunion of past Heisman winners and several dinners and receptions, where the newest recipient is the traditional guest of honor.
Detmer and his family arrived in New York late Tuesday night and were shown to a suite of rooms near the top of the 38-floor Downtown Athletic Club building on 19 West Street in the heart of Manhattan's financial district.
The DAC building, located not far from Wall Street, was constructed in 1929 (ironically, just after The Crash) and, from the upper floors especially, affords an unobstructed view of the Statue of Liberty in the nearby harbor. On display in the building's lobby is the Heisman Tophy itself, 14 inches long, 6 and a half inches wide, and 13 and a half inches high.
The trophy's weight is a mere 25 pounds. Its sphere of influence is much weightier, however, as the names engraved on the brass nameplate testify. From Chicago's Jay Berwanger, who won the first Heisman in 1935, to Yale's Larry Kelley, who won the second, to Army's Doc Blanchard, who won the 11th, to Houston's Andre Ware, who won the 55th a year ago, the names reflect a yearly Who's Who of college football in the nation.
Not only is Detmer getting a good look this week at the trophy that will soon also include the engraving of his name, he's also getting a good look at many of those whose names preceded his.
Eighteen former Heisman winners, including the inaugural winner, Berwanger, joined Detmer Wednesday night at a Pre-Heisman cocktail reception and dinner at the DAC; and even more Heisman winners are expected at Thursday night's annual Heisman Award Dinner and Ceremonies at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.
Among those former winners in attendance at Wednesday's dinner were Steve Spurrier, Jim Plunkett, Alan Ameche, Pat Sullivan, Howard Cassady, Doak Walker, John Cappelletti, Charles White and Earl Campbell, who gave the keynote address.
Joining Detmer were members of his family, including his mother, Betty, his sisters, Lori and Dee, and Kim Herbert, a girl friend from BYU. Norm Chow represented the Cougar coaching staff, while athletic director Glen Tuckett, assistant athletic director Val Hale and sports information director Ralph Zobell represented the university.
BYU head coach LaVell Edwards will be in attendance at Thursday's formal awards dinner, as will Detmer's father, Sonny.
A black-tie crowd of around 3,000 is expected for the Thursday banquet, where Detmer will be officially presented his award. Former Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler will be the guest speaker.
As Detmer is quickly discovering on his visit here, the Heisman is fraught with tradition, a tradition perpetuated because of these yearly gatherings of winner's past and present.
Winning the Heisman Trophy carries with it membership into an elite fraternity of college football players. And membership has its privileges. Detmer will now be invited back to New York every second week of December to stay at the DAC and participate in the events that not only welcome new winners into the club, but make the proper introductions as well.