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Gov. declares 'Mike Ditka Day,' honors 'Da Coach'

Published December 9, 2013 9:23 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Springfield, Ill. • It's Ditka Day in Illinois.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office says Monday that he's declared it "Mike Ditka Day" in honor of the former Chicago Bears player and football coach whose jersey is being retired.

The Hall of Famer's No. 89 is being retired during a halftime ceremony Monday night when the Bears host the Dallas Cowboys.

Dikta is the 14th Bear to have his number retired by the team.

In a statement, Quinn calls Ditka "the best tight end of all time." And he says "Da Coach" "molded and guided arguably the best football team," referring to the 1985 Super Bowl champs.

Ditka was drafted by the Bears in 1961 and played for the team through 1966. He returned to coach from 1982 until 1992.