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BU’s boys return for home applause

By Chuck Scott

The red carpet was rolled out — again — last night for four of the nation’s newest heroes, but this time it was in front of 1800 Boston University hockey fans who got the opportunity to see and applaud the four BU alumni between periods of the BU-RPI hockey game at Walter Brown Arena.

The crowd had risen to its feet and the chant of “U-S-A” had started even before Mike Eruzione, Jim Craig, Jack O’Callahan and Dave Silk appeared in the runway outside the locker rooms to take center stage at center ice.

Following almost two minutes of applause, the ceremony started, emcee by Bud Daniels, chairman of the BU Athletic Council. Watches were presented to each of the players by BU president John Silber.

Silber said the players’ accomplishment “means a lot to Boston University, but means even more to the United States of America.” He also offered congratulations to Terrier coach Jack Parker, who coached all four Olympians during their BU careers.

The stop was just one in a long list for each of BU’s gold medalists, and former Terrier coach Bob Murrary has his hands full as an agent for the four (though Craig received a telegram from famous sports attorney Bob Woolf, who represents Larry Bird, among others. Craig: “I haven’t opened it.”)

Murray said both Craig and Silk expect to sign with their respective National Hockey League clubs soon.

“We’ve been negotiating with Atlanta for Jim and with the New York Rangers for Dave,” he said. “We’re close to reaching an agreement with Jim,” he added. “Hopefully, both will be signed by this weekend.”

Murray quickly dismissed reports that Craig would be in goal for the Flames Saturday night against Colorado.

“I don’t think that’s a very realistic possibility,” he said. “I’d like him to practice with the team for a couple of days, maybe sit on the bench for a game. It’s better to wait until he gets his mind back on hockey it’s on just about everything else but that right now.”

And understandably so. The offers for endorsements, television commercials, et al, have poured in for all four, including a message from Paramount Pictures.

“They’re flying in from Los Angeles to talk about doing a movie on Jim,” he said. “We’ve had some offers for all four of them, as far as endorsements and TV shows,” Murray added. “We’re just sorting those out now.”

And for the players themselves, life has become a merry-go-round that they may never want to stop.

Craig said the accomplishment sunk in when the team went to Washington Monday. “Just the people everywhere…” he said. “We would just walk on an airplane and get a standing ovation.”

“I thought we would end up with a medal,” said Olympic captain Eruzione. “But I never expected the gold medal, or the people behind us like that. The whole country’s gone ape over it, and I think it’s something the country needed. They saw 20 guys who wanted to work to achieve something.”

Even Jack O’Callahan, whose knee will be examined by the Chicago Black Hawks tomorrow, can appreciate his notoriety. “I was in the reception line at the White House,” he said, “and I shook hands with President and Mrs. Carter. Mrs. Mondale was next in line, and she put her hand on my shoulder and said, ‘I know you — you’re the one with no teeth.'”

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