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JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

For the record, there were four standing ovations over nearly 65 minutes of tributes and speeches to Hugh Campbell on his retirement evening.

But the highlight for the majority of the crowd of 900 people at the Shaw Conference Centre last night came from the distinguished panel.

In a stunning surprise to Campbell, the Eskimos organized for Warren Moon, Ron Lancaster, Tom Wilkinson and longtime equipment manager Dwayne Mandrusiak to sit on stage and recall unknown history.

Side-splitting jokes mixed with touching moments that undoubtedly will leave a lasting memory.

A sample of the must-see viewing:

REALLY HAILING

Wilkinson on Campbell's first ever pre-season game as head coach: "It was really hailing and he was walking up and down the sidelines and said:

'You know, if somebody really wanted to make this team, they would give me their helmet.'"

Mandrusiak on Campbell's stunning coaching move in 1977: "We're third and two and he comes up to me on the sidelines and says: 'What would you do here?'

"I said: 'I would go for it.' And he says: 'Alright, we're going for it.'

"We get the first down and he comes over to me and says: 'It's a good thing we got that because I would have had to fire you (if we didn't).'"

Lancaster on first impression of Campbell as a receiver in Regina: "Until your arm falls off, he is going to stay out there and run pass patterns (in practice).

"We were once asked why Hugh and I had success and Hugh had the best line. He said that as soon as he figured out that if he went down the field and disguised himself as a defensive back he would get a lot of passes thrown to him."

Mandrusiak on Campbell never raising his voice: "We used to joke in the back (of the locker room) that he would be the ultimate killer. You would never suspect him in his corduroys and plaid shirt ... and you have just been killed by Elmer Fud."

Moon on his first impressions of Edmonton: "The experience couldn't have been a better one for me with this great group of guys and (Campbell) being my coach. He believed in me as a quarterback when a lot of other people didn't."

COACH'S WIFE

Lancaster on the great support provided by Campbell's wife Louise: "A coach's wife better be tough because you have to put up with jerk's in the media.

"She has to read stuff about you and all this other junk. Yet, she has to take care of you when you get home and Louise has done a great job for him."

The tributes almost left Campbell at a loss for words.

"This is the best surprise in the world," he remarked.

"I said to Louise (before I got to the dinner) that I hope they don't give me some phony gift. There is nothing in this world that you could have done that could have been more fun than what you did tonight."


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