Day 53: Mark Milam
Milam made history at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium
Mark Milam '86 came to Columbia in 1982 from what was then a high school powerhouse program, Point Loma High School in San Diego.
Milam had football in his blood, as his dad was a tailback for Cal-Berkeley in the late 1930's to early 1940's.
At 6-foot-3 and a little over 200 pounds, Milam did well as a blocking tight end, but only caught 7 passes for 58 yards. Then Head Coach Bob Naso put him into the varsity lineup early in the '83 season with the hope that he would improve his receiving abilities.
For the next three seasons, Milam would do just that. His one year with John Witkowski '84 at the helm was quite productive, even though he had to play back-up to Dan Upperco '85 much of that year.
In a classic 31-31 tie against Bucknell at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium, Milam made Columbia history with a 93-yard TD reception from Witkowski that still is the longest reception in Lion history and tied for 6th all time in the Ivy League. The was especially amazing because it was tipped twice before it landed in Milam's hands.
Upperco and Milam remained a handful for opposing defenders in the '84 season, as Milam had 26 catches for 230 yards as a junior, (Upperco had 38 for 489, giving Columbia 64 catches and more than 700 yards from the TE position).
When Milam got the tight end spot for himself in 1985, his weight was up to 235 pounds and he made the most of it. He finished with 35 catches for 323 yards to lead the team. Milam also grabbed 2nd Team All Ivy honors despite playing for an 0-10 that was probably the weakest Columbia squad during the losing streak years.
1982-85 may have been especially lean years for Columbia football, but thanks to Upperco and Milam, they were years of plenty at tight end.