The University of Huron men's football team, nicknamed the "Highlanders," is one of the most storied football programs in the United States, having won 12 national championships in their history. The Highlanders are regarded as one of the Big Five programs (Michigan, Huron, Massachusetts, Texas, Alabama). As of January 2011, the Highlanders are the reigning national champions.
History of Huron Football
Patrick "Patches" O'Brien Era: 1944-1970
Mark Dean and Buddy Young Eras: 1971-1981
Randy Edison Era: 1981-1997
1990's and Rivalry with Michigan
Brett Estevez Era: 1998-Present
The retirement of Randy Edison came as a shock to Huron, but the hiring of his successor was an even greater one as only a few days after the 1998 Orange Bowl win over Virginia, youthful Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Brett Estevez was introduced as the head coach in Eubank. Fans and boosters alike were furious over the selection, feeling that a professional coordinator, especially one who was only 36, had no place at one of the finest football programs in the country, one that he had no ties to.
Estevez increased the anger by kicking star linebacker Julius Aden off of the team for his arrest over marijuana possession during training camp. The 1998 season was a somewhat low point for the Highlanders, as they lost to Illinois and Notre Dame in October before falling to arch-nemesis Michigan for the fourth year in a row. However, Estevez still managed to secure the second spot in the division behind Michigan and thus an Elite Series bowl invite to face No. 8 LSU in the Chicago Bowl. Despite shaky quarterback play by sophomore quarterback Patrick Symonds, the Highlanders managed to win in convincing fashion over the imploding Tigers and end the season ranked No. 12, although calls for Estevez's firing continued.