It was almost too good to be true.
University of Miami football player Dennis Kelleher wins the national championship, at the Orange Bowl, in the city he grew up in – and gets rewarded with a kiss from his girlfriend, a ’Canes cheerleader.
Little did they know, that kiss would be seen all over the world — thanks to the cover of Sports Illustrated.
“Dennis and I were just so excited to celebrate the win that we found each other and then shortly after we found each other we were surrounded by photographers!” Tammy McPhee Davila said 25 years later.
She is a mother of four in San Diego. And no, she and Kelleher didn’t end up together.
He has his own big family, in Charlotte – but the two do stay in touch through Facebook and have great memories of their infamous photo.
“It’s been a long time,” Kelleher said. “I had a beautiful, long hair mullet going on back then, whatever.”
Kelleher was a sophomore tight end at UM. He didn’t have a single reception in that game against Oklahoma, but his biggest catch came after.
“Still to this day I’m probably the least most famous person on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but if you say what I was doing on the cover, then people remember it,” he said.
McPhee Davila said her husband tells everyone in San Diego that she was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, making this one of the rare times when a husband likes to brag about his wife kissing another man.
Kelleher confirmed that the photo you see on Sports Illustrated isn't their initial postgame kiss. Sources at UM said the photographer saw it happen, but missed it, so he asked them to recreate the moment.