Central Michigan honors Don Chiodo following his death
With decals, clips and moments of silence, Central Michigan and the Mid-American Conference honored the memory of Don Chiodo.
Chiodo, a longtime broadcaster for Chippewa football and men's basketball, died Wednesday in an automobile accident in Alma. He was 54 years old.
Following Chiodo's death, CMU had three games in three days including the MAC championship football game at Ford Field.
Central Michigan football coach Jim McElwain said Chiodo's death meant losing someone in the family. He made it a point for his team to play Saturday's game for the broadcaster.
"A guy that has meant so much to so many," McElwain said. "Our thoughts, prayers, everything goes out from us to his family and loved ones. He's one guy here a year ago or whenever those media days were this summer that we found out actually was the one vote that had us first. It's something that means so much."
At Thursday's women's basketball game against Iona in McGuirk Arena, a banner was hung in front of press row and featured Chiodo's name with the first initial in his last name represented by the Flying C logo.
CMU also had a moment of silence before the game and coach Heather Oesterle took to the microphone to address the McGuirk Arena crowd following the 70-50 win.
"We lost a great friend in Don," Oesterle said. "Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight."
On the next night, Friday, the men's basketball team squared off against Tennessee-Martin again in McGuirk Arena.
At the game, a framed photo of Chiodo was placed in his spot on press row at McGuirk Arena, where he called each men's basketball game and Chiodo's headset was placed on the frame.
A memorial featured Chiodo's favorite snacks, a Hostess Danish, White Castle slider burgers and a bottle of Diet Mountain Dew.
Players on the Chippewas had "DON" on their warmup shirts and again honored Chiodo with a moment of silence before the 84-75 win.
“I think it’s important for the self-healing of everyone to have a way of paying tribute to Don,” said men's basketball coach Keno Davis. “He’s going to continue to be a part of our season."
Finally, on Saturday, the Chippewas played in the MAC championship and had a decal that read "DC" on the back of their helmets.
Chiodo was usually one of the only members of the media to give his first-place vote to the Chippewas in the MAC preseason poll.
He did it for last year's 1-11 season and again this year. He was the only one.
At the start of the broadcast on the Chippewa Sports Network, Adam Jaksa and analyst Brock Gutierrez, both broadcast partners and close friends of Chiodo, shared memories of him.
As they went into the first break, some of Chiodo's best calls played which included the 2016 upset of Oklahoma State in the famous untimed Hail Mary, the 2017 triple-overtime victory the football team had over Rhode Island, and his final call as CMU defeated Toledo, 49-7, on Nov. 29 in Kelly/Shorts Stadium to clinch the MAC West Division.
Following the Chippewas' 26-21 loss to Miami (Ohio) in the MAC title game, sophomore wide receiver Kalil Pimpleton said he could feel the team was playing for Chiodo.
"I know Don had a huge impact on not just the football team, but all of Central Michigan," Pimpleton said. "To go out there, not necessarily – although we didn't get the dub, we were out there playing for him. Regardless of the win or the loss, I know he was proud of us."