The moment they left the tunnel, it happened.
"When I ran out on to the field behind Ralphie it hit me hard," said Mike MacIntyre.
Harder than any collision you'll see in a game. The realization that for the first time ever, the Buffs head football coach was entering a college football season with without his coaching mentor, without ahis dad.
"There's a lot of times I think and remember the things he said and did that still inspire me everyday," said MacIntyre.
George MacIntyre, a former college football coach himself, passed away this January after a lengthy battle with Multipe Sclerosis.
"The thing he relayed to me the most was just how to live your life," MacIntyre told 9NEWS. "He laid in that bed for 7 years basically and couldn't really get out. You'd go visit him, and everybody that told me they'd go visit him, they'd walk in and say 'Hey coach how you doing? Fantastic!'".
Game number one. September 2nd against Colorado State, the first without his father. The emotions did hit Mike hard as he addressed his team before kick off. He held back tears as he told his players not to just talk about their dreams, but to show people their dreams.
"When I said that I was definitely thinking about my dad," said MacIntyre.
Roles are now reversed.
Young Mike grew up with football because dad brought him along.
"My father, George MacIntyre, he is, he was, a phenomenal man and he lives in my heart everyday," said Mike.
Now the junior Coach Mac carries dad with him out on the field.
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