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Johnny Lattner
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'It Was The Greatest Time Of My Life'

1953 Heisman winner John Lattner

When John Lattner won the 1953 Heisman Trophy, there was no made-for-TV suspense. The Downtown Athletic Club simply called Notre Dame athletic director Edward "Moose" Krause, who in turn called Lattner and told him he won. At that point, the thrill of victory was just beginning. Krause told the Fighting Irish running back that he could have someone accompany him to New York for four days. The Chicagoan chose his mother, Mae, who took the city by storm. They went to the harbor and saw the big ships, the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. They toured Manhattan. They were wined and dined at all of the famous New York restaurants and clubs. "It was the greatest time of my life," said Lattner, now 77. Finally, on the third night of painting the town, the Lattner party wound up at the Copacabana at 3 a.m. The Lattners' Heisman hosts warned that the ceremony the next day, with all the media interviews, could be rough if they stayed out much longer. "OK," Mae Lattner said. "Instead of a martini, give me a Miller High Life." And so the Lattners chastely finished their evening and turned in at 3:30 a.m. The next day, the Four Horsemen of Grantland Rice fame reunited to present John Lattner with the Heisman in the Downtown Athletic Center gym. Wasn't so rough after all.
-- Pat Forde



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