Rose Bowl Memories

Over the last 90 plus years, millions of people have come to the Rose Bowl and left with indelible memories of the experience. We'd like to share a few with you and ask that you send us your memories to share with others. If you'd like to share your memories of the Rose Bowl with us send an email to memories@rosebowlstadium.com, feel free to attach a photo from your visit.

One of my best Rose Bowl game memories is the 1982 game - UCLA versus USC. The Bruins had just moved to their new home at the Rose Bowl and had to win this game against USC to make it to the Rose Bowl Game. There was a huge crowd at that game and UCLA quarterback Tom Ramsey was playing great. The Bruins had a 20-10 lead going into the fourth quarter. But the Trojans had two long drives in the last minutes of the game. They got a field goal and then a touchdown and went for a two point conversion. That is when UCLA's Karl Morgan broke through the line and sacked USC's Scott Tinsley before he could even get that pass off. We won 20-19 and we went on to beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl. It was great.

- Chris Rising, Board Member
Rose Bowl Legacy Campaign

Not just a memory but great memories. I played so many fantastic games in the Rose Bowl, UCLA's home turf. In my senior year we clinched the Pac 10 championship a week before beating USC. UCLA only passed the ball two times. We just ran right over them! I think only nine teams have accomplished going undefeated in Pac 10 play and to clinch it in our home stadium… with our twenty game winning streak! No wonder by my senior year we sold out every game! Twenty games in a row, two Top 10 Teams and no losses to USC.

- Andy Meyers, Board Member
Rose Bowl Legacy Campaign

It was the 2004 and John Williams was the grand marshal of the Rose Parade and we thought it would be a great idea for him to conduct the two bands of the two opposing teams playing the star spangled banner on the Rose Bowl field. This was a first because usually only one of the team's bands would play at the opening of the Rose Bowl Game. So this year the two bands were combined and John Williams then created a special arrangement of it which premiered at that Rose Bowl Game. It was stirring. While Williams directed the bands as they played the Star Spangled Banner every fan in the stadium held up a colored card and lo and behold the American flag was created and waved from one end of the stadium to the other. (The Tournament's Ed Corey “orchestrated” this.) And if that wasn't enough to stir the patriotism, the military fly over roared overhead at the end. It was a stunning and special moment. In fact, it is in the Guinness Book of World Records. And, of my many, many memories, I can say it is the most unique.

- William B. “Bill” Flinn
Executive Director
The Pasadena Tournament of Roses®

I have so many memories of the Rose Bowl, starting with the games I saw with my Dad as a little girl. But I'll never forget sitting in the bowl in 1999 for the Women's World Cup. It was the most-attended women's sports event in history. And, it was a great game and it wasn't about women or men playing, it was just a great athletic event. The US was playing China and we won in extra time by a penalty shootout. Everyone remembers Brandy Chastain*, that iconic shot of her at the end of the game and the roar of the crowd. Truly the Rose Bowl is more than a structure; it is a place where memories are made.

- Carolyn Miller
Rose Bowl Legacy Campaign Board Member

ESPN soccer analyst Brandi Chastain recalls her historic goal in the 1999 Women's World Cup here.

Here's a story... I was 22 years old and Pacific College was playing Marine Corp from El Toro in the Rose Bowl and I was officiating at that game. It was amazing to be on that field. But when I looked up to the stands, instead of the 100 thousand you would see at the Rose Bowl Game, there were a hundred! Thirty nine years later, I'm President of the Tournament of Roses and Nebraska is playing Miami in the Rose Bowl Game and there are about 95 thousand people in the stands. I walk onto that beautiful field with my grandson at my side, with the Parade Grand Marshal, Regis Philbin, for the coin toss. I'll never forget that!

- Ron Okum
Rose Bowl Legacy Campaign Board Member,
President, Tournament of Roses 2002

I love football and one of the best places to see great football is the Rose Bowl. I've been lucky to have been there through the decades for some great games. One of my best Rose Bowl memories was the outstanding 1989 game when my alma mater, Michigan, beat UCLA with an amazing come from behind win, 24-23. And I saw the great shootout between USC's Rodney Peete and UCLA's Troy Aikman. I saw Michigan play in several Rose Bowl Games in the '90's. In '92 they played Washington and lost 14 to 34. Ouch. But we came back in '93 and beat them 38 to 31. But the best was in '98, Michigan dominated beating Washington State 21 - 16 to win the National Championship. I love the Rose Bowl... great memories there!

- Cory Shakarian
Vice President of Sales, Rose Bowl Premium Seating

It was a perfect Southern California day that Saturday in September, 2000 when the UCLA Bruins would square off against the nationally ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.

Early that morning, we awaited the arrival of the team bus to take us to the Rose Bowl. The veteran players and coaches meticulously followed pre-contest rituals, the kind that are spawned from years of repetition: that special tape job, the lucky sock folded over in a calculated roll, the traditional green packaged chewing gum for the coaches. For the rookies, it was the usual confusion and apprehension that precedes a big game, for coaches, making alterations to a well-refined game plan.

The first glimpse of the venerable old lady called the Rose Bowl misted the eyes of even the most stoic of the staff.

We burst through the tunnel into daylight in front of 100,000 cheering fans. Twenty-five years of coaching in no way prepares you for the first glimpse of that beautiful turf. How many football legends and Hall of Famers went before us? The jog across the field to the sideline was surreal. I wondered: in 1925, when the Four Horseman and Knute Rockne's Irish squared off against Stanford's Ernie Nevers and Pop Warner, could Pop have imagined this sight? You see our team was not Pac 12 or Big 10 but a Junior All American Youth Football team from Montebello, California.

We were and still are the Montebello Indians. We came that day to do battle and to make our families and fans proud. We would not be denied.

Our group of 8, 9, and 10 year old players, volunteer coaches and parents were family living the dream of dreams for a football family - we had made it to the Rose Bowl.

As time passes and vivid memories grow dim, when the players are grown and can comprehend the significance of this day, we, as adults, must endeavor to document, temper, and share this event with them, because back then...

...it was just another game to them.

- George 'Skip' Karbowski
San Gabriel Valley Junior All-America Football Coach
1977 to 2001

That was something else. That day, that game. You know, playing in the regular season against UCLA in the Rose Bowl is completely different than playing in the Rose Bowl in the Rose Bowl Game. The stadium is a packed stadium on that day, and the emotions are high; it is extra special. When you play there, in that game, you become a part of history.

I'd been injured in practice the week before and it had been an emotional roller coaster that week. I was a bit numbed up, but I knew I had to play; my injury was manageable and I was determined. How could I not take advantage of such a great opportunity?

For me, as a senior, it was a one shot deal. That was my role on the team then, to play through my injury, and play to win. You know, at the end of season, your fans and family and your under classmates, goin' out on a high note like that, so much emotion. There's nothing like it.

It is great to know that the Rose Bowl is being renovated; stadiums these days, there's lots of money spent to build new ones and renovate old ones. But for the Rose Bowl you gotta' be careful, you don't want to lose the character of the place. It has a certain luster to it.

- Todd Elstrom
WR, Washington Huskies, 2001 Rose Bowl Game

My fondest Rose Bowl memory is shared with over 400 Bernard's employees and their families. This was in 2007 after we completed the construction of the Rose Bowl Locker Room and Media Room project. We were so proud that we held our annual appreciation dinner that year inside the Rose Bowl. What a dinner it was, right on the 50 yard line.

Upon arriving everyone passed through the tunnel. As we stepped onto that famous field, we walked through an arch of blue and white balloons; that arch symbolized excellence and achievement. Just as others who had achieved excellence to play on that field, we all proudly passed through the arch to spend an evening on that field. Because I like to think we all had done something of excellence as well, for the Rose Bowl.

We had casino night, and there was a dance floor. Everyone's picture was taken and put up on the video board. At one point in the evening, I walked up the rows and stood underneath the Press Box and looked down onto that beautiful field. I felt proud of my city and of the beautiful landmark we share and of the work we had done there. Wow. I've attended U2 and BCS games but nothing compared to that evening, it's my fondest memory, being there with family, friends and associates.

- Michael Cawlina
Bernards

I think my favorite Rose Bowl memory is the very first time I stepped onto that green carpet of a field 20 years ago. It still feels like yesterday. The turf was perfect; I had to take my shoes off. I was walking on hallowed ground... it was the Rose Bowl. As soon as I got home that evening I had to call my father in Montana and share the thrill.

- Margo M. Mavridis
Rose Bowl Operating Company Project Director

I grew up in Pasadena with the Rose Bowl. And, in my 93 years I've enjoyed many Rose Bowl Game. But the 1939 Rose Bowl Game has to be one of the most exciting. USC was playing the Duke Blue Devils whose defense had not been scored on all season. USC was down 3 - 0 and there was two minutes left to play when Coach Howard Jones put in third string quarter back Doyle Nave. And, believe it or not, he threw four passes to Antelope Al Krueger who scored on the final one, winning the game for USC 7 - 3. As a USC grad, I couldn't have been happier!

- Bob Hemmings

My most memorable moment at the Rose Bowl happened on January 1, 1998. Washington State was down by 5 with 29 seconds left in the game and 93 yards for the win. Ryan Leaf drove down to Michigan's 16-yard line and was unable to stop the clock as the game ended. I will never forget watching the Michigan football team rushing the field after defeating Washington State culminating in an undefeated season and becoming the National Champions.

- Julie B.
U of M 1998

My entire life there has always been something special and unique about The Rose Bowl...And now after covering the last 14 Rose Bowls with College Gameday and calling the action live for the last 4 years on ABC I am further convinced that the "grandaddy of em all" is at a level all by itself...From the history and pageantry of the game to the unparalleled beauty of its surroundings--The Rose Bowl is the most magnificent setting in ALL of the sports

- Kirk Herbstreit
ESPN College GameDay Analyst

My memory of the Rose Bowl involves the 2010 game, my first trip to the fabled stadium. I had always watched the Rose Bowl on TV every January 1st from my home in Ohio. The parade, the stadium, the game, and the atmosphere seemed more like Disney land then the college football I knew, so when I got the chance to go see the game for myself, I couldn't pass it up. Near the end of this contest, as the Buckeye victory was almost in hand, the sun began to set which turned the San Gabriel mountains a breathtaking pink and purple color, which seemed appropriate. For the fans back in snowy Ohio, watching on TV, the view must have seemed another world away, but for us lucky 50,000 or so Buckeye fans, the game, the stadium, the atmosphere, and the victory will be something we will never forget!

-Brad Swank
OSU Class 2004

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