Mellencamp presents bowl game ball

Jan. 02, 2014 @ 01:49 PM

The only Duke football parent enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame played a major role in the pageantry of the Blue Devils’ appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Tuesday night.

Rock star John Mellencamp, famous for such hits as “Small Town” and “Hurts So Good,” presented Duke’s ceremonial game ball shortly before kickoff.

Texas A&M’s honorary captain, former Aggies coach R.C. Slocum, did the same for the Aggies.

Mellencamp’s son, Hud, is a sophomore walk-on safety for the Blue Devils.

“It’s great, a very nice invitation,” John Mellencamp said of being included in the ceremony.

John Mellencamp stayed on the field for the pre-game coin toss, which was won by Texas A&M. He walked off the field to the Duke sideline, where he shook hands with Duke head coach David Cutcliffe and hugged his son, Hud.

“Cutcliffe and I get along very well,” John Mellencamp said. “He’s a good guy. The Blue Devils are lucky to have him.”

Hud Mellencamp, who was home-schooled in Bloomington, Ind., never played organized football before enrolling at Duke in 2012.

Cutcliffe allowed Hud Mellencamp, an Indiana state champion Golden Gloves boxer, to join the team last season. Mellencamp has yet to appear in a game.

“It’s great for him,” John Mellencamp said. “He needs to keep busy. He’s an athletic kid, so it’s great.”

While Hud Mellencamp has yet to play for Duke, his presence on the team has a chance to lead to something big for the Durham community this summer.

John Mellencamp said he intends to bring the annual Farm Aid concert to Durham in 2014.

“The good news is we’re bringing Farm Aid to Durham,” the 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said.

John Mellencamp said details have yet to be worked out. A venue on Duke’s campus, perhaps Wallace Wade Stadium, is a possible site. Farm Aid, starring Willie Nelson, Neil Young and Dave Matthews, was held in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., last summer.

The Farm Aid organization works to increase awareness of the importance of family farms. The first Farm Aid concert was held in Champaign, Ill., in 1985 and raised $9 million to support American family farmers.