This fan never misses Tommie-Johnnie football game

| September 24, 2015 | 1 Comment
Deacon Jerry Devine can't remember the last time he missed a football game between the University of St. Thomas and St. John's University. He went to his first one in 1965. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Deacon Jerry Devine can’t remember the last time he missed a football game between the University of St. Thomas and St. John’s University. He went to his first one in 1965. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

When the University of St. Thomas and St. John’s University football teams take the field Sept. 26 for the annual Tommie-Johnnie game, Deacon Jerry Devine of Nativity of Our Lord in St. Paul plans to be in the stands at Clemens Stadium at St. John’s along with his wife Mary Kay.

Attending the game is a tradition that goes back 50 years, with Deacon Devine going to his first one in 1965. He can’t remember the last time he missed one.

“I have never witnessed more enthusiasm at an athletic contest than at a Johnnie-Tommie game,” said Deacon Devine, 80, who attends lots of other local sporting events, including University of Minnesota games and high school football and basketball games. “I have a great deal of respect for both schools.”

One of his two children, Shawn, attended both universities, starting at St. John’s and graduating from St. Thomas in 1994. His other son, David, graduated from St. Thomas in 2000 and played basketball for the Tommies.

Deacon Devine’s brother, Father Patrick Devine, graduated from St. John’s, which is one reason Deacon Devine thinks highly of the school. He wanted to go there himself, but there were financial obstacles he couldn’t overcome. He has friends at Nativity, Rick and Lynn White, who are Johnnie fans and extend an invitation to Mary Kay and Deacon Devine when the game is at St. John’s.

Although the Johnnies have the edge in the all-time series, 51-31-1, Deacon Devine gets pumped up for the game every year and enjoys it no matter the outcome, especially when the games go down to the wire. This year, both teams are undefeated heading into Saturday’s game.

ESPN will air a segment the morning of the game, from 6-8 a.m. WCCO Radio 830 will broadcast the game live.

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Category: Local News

  • Chris Staples

    Great article about a wonderful man! Deacon Devine and his family have touched so many lives, and it’s great to see him getting the opportunity to experience something he enjoys so much! Go Tommies!