WESTMINSTER — John Ralston, a former head football coach for Stanford University and the NFL's Denver Broncos, will coach a team of Russian players against Western Maryland College when the Green Terrors visit Moscow this week.
Ralston will be the head coach of the Euro-Asian League All-Stars when they face Western Maryland in an exhibition contest Tuesday at Moscow's Olympic Arena.
The Green Terrors, who will also have three joint practice sessions with the Russians, will be the first American collegiate team to play in Russia.
The WMC travel party includes 47 players, three coaches, 15 parents and other supporters.
In preparation of the historic event, the Green Terrors were granted special permission from theNCAA to conduct spring practices, which are usually not allowed at Division III (non-scholarship) schools.
They had five practices at Western Maryland before heading to Moscow. One practice last week wascanceled because several players were ill.
The team left Friday for Russia and plans to have a joint practice with the Russian team today.
The Green Terrors know very little of their Russian counterparts under Ralston -- just that they are big and unpolished in football.
As head coach at Stanford from 1963 to 1971, Ralston compiled a55-36-3 record and led the Cardinal in his final two seasons to back-to-back Rose Bowl victories, something no other Stanford coach has accomplished.
He also was selected in 1991 as the coach of Stanford's "All-Century Football Team," commemorating 100 years of Stanford football and the University's Centennial.
Ralston was hired as headcoach and general manager by the Broncos of the National Football League for the 1972 season.
His five-year record with the Broncos was 34-33-3.
The native of Norway, Mich., earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
He played linebacker in college and played in two Rose Bowl games for the Bears.
After graduation, Ralston was a high school coach in California for five years before returning to his alma mater as an assistant for three years.
He then took his first collegiate head coaching position, leading Utah State to a 31-11-1 mark and two bowl appearances in four seasons.
Ralston's participation in the Moscow trip is being made possible by Alsport Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., and International Sports Connection Inc., of Gadsden, Ala.