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Home / Sports / Rose Bowl honors UCLA’s Cade McNown with tunnel naming ceremony

Rose Bowl honors UCLA’s Cade McNown with tunnel naming ceremony

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8 for 8 or 8 for 18, depending on who you ask.

The Rose Bowl held a ceremony for former UCLA Bruins quarterback, Cade McNown, Friday evening, dedicating the field’s 8th tunnel in his name.

McNown is the 15th person to be honored with a tunnel dedication in the illustrious stadium’s history.

Along with the Tunnel 8 ceremony, McNown will also be celebrated with a National Football Foundation Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute after being announced as an inductee to the College Football Hall of Fame in March 2020. The salute will take place during Saturday’s UCLA Bruins football game against the Oregon Ducks.

“Just the opportunity to be forever remembered in a small way with this national landmark is an incredible honor, and it’s very exciting for me,” McNown said. “I’m honored to have my name on this tunnel, and I’m very thankful for everyone who made it happen.”

A photo of the entrance sign to Tunnel 8, named after former UCLA Bruins quarterback Cade McNown.

A Rose Bowl and UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame member, McNown was one of the most successful Bruins’ quarterbacks in program history. Leading UCLA to two Pac-10 Championships as an upperclassman in 1997 and ’98, McNown finished his career as the conference’s leader in total offense with 11,285 yards.

Yet the 214-pound left-hander will always be remembered for his ability to win, finishing his career with a 30-14 record — including a program-record 20 consecutive wins. McNown also accumulated a perfect 4-0 record against the program’s rival, the USC Trojans.

“My husband came home and just raved about this freshman named Cade,” said Andrea Donahue, the wife of UCLA’s winningest head coach Terry Donahue who passed away in May. “He described him as ‘Mike Tyson with a helmet on’ because he was such a tough kid.”

McNown speaking at Friday’s ceremony before the ribbon cutting.

The naming of tunnels has become an important effort for the Rose Bowl in recent years to help fans at America’s Stadium reflect on the talent and most important performances to have occurred in the venue.

Harvey Hyde, longtime Pasadena City College football assistant and former head coach at the University of Las Vegas, hosted the event. Now closely associated with the Rose Bowl and Pac-12 football, Hyde spoke in-depth on how special the recognition was.

“In the future, when Cade’s kids come to watch a Bruins game, they’ll be able to take their friends to this exact tunnel and remind young fans of the legacy that their father has on this space and for the team that represents this great stadium,” he said.

McNown’s most memorable moment as a college player came when he led the Bruins to a victory in the Cotton Bowl Classic over Texas A&M. Despite being in a 16-0 hole in the second quarter, McNown’s 239 passing yards allowed UCLA to fight back to a 29-23 victory. As a result, the Bruins quarterback was awarded the game’s most outstanding offensive player.

(Photo courtesy: Rose Bowl Stadium)

“He’s got a commitment to his team and a commitment to winning that is pretty rare,” former Bruins quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Troy Aikman stated after the contest, who treated McNown to dinner the week of the Bowl game. “I’m real proud of Cade, the way he handles himself and what he stands for.”

That season McNown finished third in the Heisman Trophy vote behind winner Ricky Williams and first runner-up Michael Bishop. Just months later he would go on to be drafted 12th overall by the Chicago Bears in the 1999 NFL Draft.

He went on to play four seasons in the NFL with the Bears, Miami Dolphins and San Fransisco 49ers.

During his time at UCLA, he was #18. In the pros, he was #8. For those trekking from the depths of Pasadena’s famed stadium, he will always remain the latter, enshrined in that eight causeway from here on out.

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