MIKE REDDING caps four years as one of HC's all-time receivers

by Gregg Burke
Sports Information Director
Program cover photo by Dave Redding
Mike Redding catch vs Army

Dependability, efficiency, durability and consistency. Pick anyone of those for senior Mike Redding's middle name. They all fit and each describes his career on the field for Holy Cross football

But that's on-the-field nomenclature. For off-field descriptors you have a choice of dependable, efficient, consistent and shy. Not the 'I'm afraid to come out of my shell' shy but the modest, albeit humble, 'let me do my job and don't make a fuss over it' shy. And it's not that Redding isn't friendly because he is one of the most popular members of the squad. It's more that he ponders his answers and only speaks when he thinks he has something important to contribute. An idle chatter he is not.

The modesty seems borne of a strong family background that deems one's own standards as a yardstick and not self praise as the measure. In Redding you have a man who has accumulated more playing time and been in on more downs than virtually any other member of the squad and still he doesn't like to talk about his accomplishments. In addition, he's chasing Dave Quehl's record as the man who has caught more passes than any other Crusader and in his words, "I didn't even realize that until I read the press guide this year. Besides, it doesn't matter anyway and I doubt I'll think about it again until the seasons over.

The other thing Redding doesn't like besides talking about himself is having his picture taken. A case in point: on picture day in August the photographer snapped five squad pictures and Mike was looking up at the camera in a total of none of them. Five-for-five. . . but that's typical. One would be hard-pressed to find an athlete so talented and similarly modest.

After a truly stand-out high school career Redding made visits to Dartmouth, Maryland and Michigan. Yes, the Bo Schembechler-Anthony Carter-106,000 per game University of Michigan where football Saturday's and Christmas are state holidays. And in case you haven't guessed already Redding decided on HC over Michigan, "Because Michigan was so big and Holy Cross was warm and like a family. It was a place I knew would help me balance football and school. Bo took me to the fifty yard line and we talked and I was in awe. If he had the papers I would have signed immediately. It was a very impressionable experience."

But the chance to wear Maize and Blue was traded for Purple and White and four years of rewarding field and classroom experiences. He said, "Coming to Holy Cross was everything I thought it would be after my visit. I stayed with John Ahern '81 who was a great help. He was just like all the players I've met here, very friendly, very sincere and completely happy with his life at Holy Cross."

And from the beginning the unassuming young man from North Attleboro, MA was thrown into the thick of the battle. "1 was immediately placed on the two-deep and played in every game as a freshman. At first I was scared and confused on the field but after my first few catches' settled down and have been playing ever since."

That is not to say that things have been easy. "The year I was recruited the team finished 7-4 and I thought the program had undergone the turnaround everyone predicted. My first year we were 5-6 and I was very disappointed. There was something missing in the fourth quarter that made all the close games losses. The next season was pretty bad at times. I can honestly say I didn't enjoy playing football that year. I guess I always thought things would go well ... for us and when they didn't I got pretty low." But as has been reported so many times Rick Carter came to Holy Cross and things changed immediately. "With Coach Carter here there was a new enthusiasm which I really liked. Still, we were afraid that he would stick to the Ohio-type offense where running the ball and possession is more important. I was a veteran and thought I might not be seeing the ball as much which scared me yet made me work all the harder." His team leading 31 receptions will attest to his worries being stilled.

An interesting footnote to his pass catching chase (he is 50 receptions shy of the all-time record) is that Brian Kelley, one of his best friends, is right on his heels. "We kid about that a lot. We always tally after each game who had more receptions for the day and the winner gets to rib the other guy for a few days. I don't even think of it as any kind of rivalry. We were both freshmen receivers and both pretty worried about doing well so we got to know each other very quickly that year and have been very close ever since. He always comes to my house for Thanksgiving."

And one day soon Redding will have to hang up his pads for the last time and two things will happen. First he will have only memories and lessons of playing football for the past 14 years and secondly his dad won't be able to watch his son play for HC anymore. His dad, Dave, has been the team photographer for the past four years and has been a friend and observer of the team all that time. "He knows all the players as well as anybody and it has been a lot of fun for him to get close to the team. I was always proud to have my family at the games and it meant a lot to me to have my dad take such a strong interest in my football playing. I just don't know what he'll do on Saturdays now," he said with a laugh.
(27 years later(2010), he is still on the side-lines)

Mike vs. Harvard during a national televised game with
Curt Gowdy doing the play by play.
Photo by Dave Redding.

But as strange as it might be for Redding Sr. not to watch his son, it will be even stranger for Mike not to play. "I guess it is a good time for me to go out on because this is the best offense we've had in four years. We haven't had a great season since I've been here and none of us will be satisfied with 6-5 again though to achieve that last year was a great accomplishment. We can look towards the playoffs which is a great goal. Personally, I will not miss pre-season camp (said with a chuckle and a look towards the door in fear of Coach Carter overhearing). Not going out there on Saturdays and playing football will be very very strange, " he said as the pondering and hush tones began again.

Next year he hopes a chance at a Rhodes scholarship will come through. He'll go to business school if he can and looks forward to the day he can run a business of his own. And when the day comes when Redding and Redding can play and watch football no more Holy Cross will have two loyal fans and supporters. And maybe as time goes by whether he wins school records or not Mike Redding will develop the ability to talk about his accomplishments because they are many and important. He's had a tremendous career here and the school will talk about him proudly for years to come.

From the 1984 Holy Cross media guide

Mike Redding

Holy Cross '83
Receivers coach

One of the very best receivers to ever play for Holy Cross, Mike Redding joins the staff as assistant coach in charge of the Crusader receivers after a year as a part-time assistant overseeing the receiving corps. Redding, a 1983 graduate of the College finished second on the all-time Crusader receptions list with 113 catches. His 1429 career receiving yards ranks him third on the career list in that category. His 113 career catches earned him ranking as the sixth all-time receiver in New England football history.

An Honorable Mention All-New England choice as a senior, Redding had 33 catches for 442 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Redding was a hero in a senior-year contest against Connecticut when he caught the game-winning pass with less than a minute left in the game. His 31 grabs for 363 yards as a junior earned New England kudos as well. He had his busiest year as a sophomore when he pulled down 40 aerials for 500 yards.

Reddinq's dedication and achievement carried into the classroom as well. He was Holy Cross' only National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar, an honor accorded to just 10 football players nationally each year. Further, he was a Second Team College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America as a senior. Upon completion of his senior year studies he earned a prestigious NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship. His teammates voted him the winner of the George S.L. Conner Award as the player with whom they were most proud to play.

Upon graduation, he became a part-time assistant with the Crusader effort helping Frank Novak with the receivers. He replaces Pete Corrao who left HC for a similar position at Eastern Kentucky. Redding is single and will live in Worcester.

A footnote:
Highlights of his high school years.
A 1979 graduate of North Attleboro High School , where he was a National Honor Society student . He lettered in four sports , football (4 years) , basketball (4 years ) , baseball ( 3 years ) , track (1 year ) . In football , he finished his high school career with 132 receptions for 2,346 yards and 22 touchdowns . He was all-state three years, and was chosen to the National Football Foundation as one of 10 student-athletes in Massachusetts . In track he was the leading point scorer his senior year .
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