| RETURNED |
To a football field for the first time since he was paralyzed while making a tackle against Army on Oct. 16, 2010, former Rutgers defensive lineman Eric LeGrand (above), who led the Scarlet Knights out of the tunnel—on a scooter and with an ax in his lap to symbolize coach Greg Schiano's motto, KEEP CHOPPING—last Saturday in Piscataway, N.J. Following the accident, doctors had predicted that the then 20-year-old would never again be able to breathe without a ventilator. But with rigorous rehab LeGrand can now stand for up to 40 minutes at a time, and he has served as a radio analyst for Rutgers games this fall. On Saturday, after his entrance, LeGrand struggled to put words to the comeback. "I can't even explain it," he said. "It was a very emotional moment."
| DIED |
At age 72 of heart failure following surgery for esophageal cancer, Gene Murphy, who coached football at Cal State--Fullerton from 1980 until '92, when the school dropped the sport. Despite a shoestring budget that at one point had him helping to build bleachers, Murphy (right) turned the Titans, who had never enjoyed a winning D-I season, into a top 20 team in his fifth campaign. Over 13 years Murphy molded such future pros as Damon Allen (the CFL quarterback who ranks second all time in North American passing yards) and Mike Pringle (the CFL's alltime leading rusher) as well as 19 NFL players. Later the coach at nearby Fullerton College from 1993 to 2007, Murphy also helped launch the careers of NFL coaches Steve Mariucci, Tom Cable and Hue Jackson, along with Army's Rich Ellerson.
| DIED |
At age 77 of complications from a stroke, NASCAR patriarch Russ Wallace, father of Rusty, Mike and Kenny Wallace, who have combined for more than 700 top 10 finishes in the sport. An accomplished dirt-track driver himself, Russ worked as a mechanic, newspaper carrier and co-owner of a vacuum and janitorial-supply business in order to support his racing obsession, winning 200 races from 1974 to '78 in machines that his sons helped build and repair. Today that tradition is carried on: Kenny, the youngest of the brothers, will become the alltime leader in Nationwide Series starts with his next race; Mike recently won the Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega and has been a fixture across all three of NASCAR's national tours; and Rusty, the eldest, is an ESPN race analyst after retiring in 2005 with 55 Cup wins and the 1989 championship to his name.
| SOLD |
At an undisclosed price, the Dubuque (Iowa) County baseball diamond and surrounding cornfields made famous by the 1989 movie Field of Dreams. Don and Becky Lansing, whose family has owned the property since 1906, listed the 193-acre plot—including the field built by Universal Studios and the two-bedroom house featured in the film—for $5.4 million in May 2010. Last week the property was purchased by Mike and Denise Stillman, a Chicago couple who plan to preserve the site's legacy by building a complex called All-Star Ballpark Heaven that will feature an indoor training facility and a dozen more fields, several of which will mirror major league ballparks.
| BROKEN |
By Penn State's Joe Paterno (right), the alltime NCAA D-I wins record, as the 84-year-old collected career victory number 409 last Saturday with a 10--7 win over Illinois. Still suffering from a sore right leg, shoulder and pelvis following an accident at a practice in August, Paterno coached from the press box while 62,000 Beaver Stadium fans endured a snowstorm to see Illinois miss a potential game-tying 42-yard field goal as time expired. With the win (which put PSU alone atop the Big Ten), Paterno passed Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson in the FBS record book. Across all divisions he now trails only 84-year-old John Gagliardi, still active at D-III St. John's in Minnesota, who has 481 victories.