Publish date:

They met the challenges of a changing era

Twenty-five college football players from the class of 1939 receive the annual Sports Illustrated Silver Anniversary Award for distinguished activities and mature citizenship in the years since they graduated

Men who wereplaying college football in the fall of 1938 faced a singular experience: a newperiod of history took shape more visibly for them than for any previouscollege generation. In their case, the dividing line was obvious. The Munichcrisis reached its climax at one o'clock on Saturday morning, October 1, 1938,when 600 gray-clad German soldiers crossed the border to begin the occupationof Czechoslovakia. In a few stunned hours the world came to the realizationthat war was not only threatening but imminent. In the U.S. the knowledge wasforcibly borne home that the nation's detachment from world affairs had ended.But for the men who were college seniors—including the 25 winners of the SilverAnniversary Awards named on the following pages—the drama came down to a finerpoint of tension. They were on the playing fields the day the crisis unfolded,and for many of them the world passed from one period to another almost betweenthe opening kickoff and the final whistle of their football games.

Otherwise,October 1, 1938 was not unusual. A trace of rain fell in Richmond, Va., and afew drops in Salt Lake City, but elsewhere it was a day of unbroken sunshinethat greeted the opening of the college football season. Columbia was playingYale, Notre Dame met Kansas, Texas Christian faced Arkansas, Southern Cal wasat Oregon State. Most of the 1,350,000 U.S. college students were followingsuch games. "We weren't indifferent to the world situation," said FredHeitmann, one of this year's Silver Award winners. "But Great Britain,Germany and Poland seemed a long way off.... We were concerned with winningfootball games, getting good grades, trying to keep alive financially."

Raymond Frey,another award winner, remembers standing that morning on a downtown corner inAnnville, Pa. and watching some girls who were also waiting for a ride toLebanon Valley College five miles away. The girls were picked up first, butFrey reached school in time for his four-hour botany lab. The reason heremembers is that he played for Lebanon Valley that afternoon, "and we gotcreamed by Franklin and Marshall, 27-12." Award winner John Hlavacekrecalls being so busy with science labs and sports at Carleton College thatEurope was infinitely remote. As for the game that day—"All I know is thatwe lost," he says. "I'm sure of that, because we won only one game allseason, the last one."

There were 41,728spectators at the Pittsburgh-Temple game that Saturday in Philadelphia, a largecrowd by Depression era standards, and 50,000 appeared for the Rose Festival inTyler, Texas, an extravaganza highlighted by a football game between TexasA&M and Tulsa. More than flawless weather attracted the crowds. They weredrawn by performers like Marshall Goldberg of Pitt, or Davey O'Brien of TexasChristian, or Vic Bottari of California, All-Americas then and award winnersnow; and they were drawn, too, by a new mood of optimism that was manifestingitself around the country. The movies were crowded: the Marx Brothers in RoomService, and the first full-length cartoon, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.Two new Broadway shows had just opened, both hits: Olsen and Johnson'sHellzapoppin and Clare Boothe Luce's Kiss the Boys Goodbye. The sports newseven offered a laugh in keeping with the times: the misadventures of JackDoyle, the Irish heavyweight. In a fight with Billy Phillips that week hemissed with a terrific right, spun clear around, lost his footing, fell throughthe ropes, landed on his head and knocked himself out. Seen againstpreoccupations like these, the occupation of Czechoslovakia was indeedremote.

Whatever part theU.S. plays in world affairs in the future, there is not likely ever again to bethe same sense of unreality about the international scene that existed 25 yearsago. During World War II and in the postwar decades American ideals andcharacter were tested, as they are still being tested today. Foreign news isnow an eminent concern. Every part of American life, including sport, haschanged as a result of the national experience in reaching beyond the nationalboundaries. The men of the generation that played football in 1938 moved,virtually overnight, from college into the demands of war and internationalresponsibility. Because they were the last to play football in a time ofrelative innocence and can recall their sport as it was then, and because theyhave watched sporting attitudes change just as other attitudes have changed,SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has asked this year's Silver Anniversary Award winners for aspecial report—a commentary on the increasingly difficult ethical problems ofcollege sport, and especially college football. Their views will be presentedin a forthcoming issue.

A 210-pound All-America guard, he made immediate use of his engineeringeducation, beginning his career with the Monsanto Chemical Co., where he is nowvice-president and general manager of the inorganic chemicals division.

The Golden Bears upset mighty Alabama 13-0 in the 1938 Rose Bowl, and the manmost responsible was All-America Halfback Bottari. He went on to train Navypilots and served aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise before starting his presentinsurance business in the San Francisco area. He has twice been executive headof the board of education in Berkeley.

Quarterback and team captain in his senior year, he was a pro back for theProvidence Steam Rollers after graduation (using the proceeds of his weekendgames to put himself through law school), a second lieutenant with the OSS inthe Mediterranean theater and also served in the Korean war. He is now in histhird term as a U.S. Congressman from Connecticut.

A left end for the Cadets, he recalls best the pass he dropped on the Navyfive-yard line in his final game, but teammates remember him for his savagetackles all season long. He commanded the First Ranger Battalion in Italy.Wounded and captured, he later escaped. He is now a brigadier general, headingthe Antilles Command in Puerto Rico.

RAYMOND T. FREY,Lebanon Valley
A dedicated student who often hitchhiked the five miles to college, he workedhard for grades good enough to justify his four-year football scholarship.Blinded in a 1943 wartime training accident (a dynamite explosion) at CampCarson, Colo., he turned to rehabilitation work with maimed war veterans. He isnow a therapist at the Lebanon Veterans Administration Hospital.

The center on a team that won seven of nine games in 1938, he became a navalaviator and saw extensive duty in the Pacific. After the war he and twoclassmates secured control of the Toro Manufacturing Corp., a Minneapolislawn-mower concern that grew even faster than suburban grass. He becamevice-president in charge of marketing.

One of football's great ballcarriers, he was twice an All-America for thePanthers. His 10-year career with the Chicago Cardinals was interrupted byservice as an LST gunnery officer in the Pacific. He is now a vice-president ofthe Emerman Machinery Corp. in Chicago.

Captain of the Crimson in 1938, he served with the Navy and returned toCambridge, where he earned his doctorate at the Episcopal Theological School.Active in civic projects, he is now the rector of St. Matthew's Parish inWilton, Conn.

One of the stubborn contenders who held the teams together in the oh-so-awfulfinal seasons of Big Ten football at Chicago, he served four years in navalaviation in the Pacific and returned to become president of Inland SteelProducts Co. He has continued his University of Chicago ties by serving as amember of the executive committee of the Graduate School of Business.

Left end on one of his school's best teams—it lost only one game—he went on toColumbia, where he received his M.D. He was a medical officer in theChina-Burma-India area. Now Bowdoin's college physician, he is noted for hisresearch into the treatment and prevention of athletic injuries.

FRED W. HEITMANNJR., Northwestern
He was a first-string guard on the team that held powerful Michigan and OhioState to scoreless ties. A teller, he returned to banking after three years inthe Army, has since become president of Chicago's Northwest National Bank.

His 1938 team did not win a game, but Co-Captain Hilfinger made up for anyathletic disappointments with his scholastic record. A Phi Beta Kappa, he wenton to receive his M.D. summa cum laude at the Syracuse University College ofMedicine. Following three years as a captain in the Army Medical Corps, hereturned to Syracuse, where he now is on the staff of several hospitals,teaches and is involved in numerous cancer-research projects.

A tackle on the field and a mathematician off, he went to north China in 1939to teach English at the Fen-chow Mission School. In 1944 he found himselfinvolved in a desperate effort to help Chinese refugees fleeing from theinvading Japanese army. Trapped almost by accident in the swirl of worldevents, he decided to make them his business. A foreign correspondent, he nowrepresents the National Broadcasting Company in the Caribbean.

An All-America end on a successful Cornell team, he became a yard director ofpersonnel at the Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company in Chester, Pa. duringthe war. Getting a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, he began adistinguished career in education. He is president of Hampton Institute inHampton, Va.

Navy men saw plenty of him in 1938, when he threw a touchdown pass againstthem, then beat them with a field goal. The Navy then got him as commandingofficer of the U.S.S. Hyman, a destroyer stationed in the Pacific. He joinedthe M. A. Hanna Company, is now its chairman.

A fullback and All-America goalie on Colgate's hockey team, he spent threeyears as a pilot in the European Air Transport Command before returning toColgate as a faculty member in the education department. His interest ineducation never diminished. He is now president of Northfield and Mt. Hermonpreparatory schools in Northfield, Mass., and for the past two years has beenworking to help establish the first college in the Virgin Islands.

V. EARL McCALEB,Abilene Christian
Co-captain of his team in college, he became a radioman on planes carryingtroops over The Hump, where he won the Air Medal and Distinguished FlyingCross. Now an insurance agent in his home town of Anson, Texas, he is mayor,hospital director, school-board member and chairman of the library committee.He has helped bring the town numerous civic improvements, including a newhospital and a new water supply system.

DONALD McNEIL,Southern California
He was the Trojan center and captain, and Duke found him a hard man to budge inthe 1939 Rose Bowl, where he led his team to a 7-3 upset win. After three yearsin the Marine Corps, he began a remarkable career in construction. He now headsthe J. A. McNeil Company, which has built such structures as atomic centers,Air Force computer facilities and a rocket sled track.

A left guard on the DePauw team, he moved on to Yale, where he received hisbachelor of divinity degree. Since 1957 he has been pastor of the ChristianChurch in Speedway, Ind., where he has built the congregation into the 18thlargest of the 8,000 Disciples of Christ Churches.

ROBERT D.O'BRIEN, Texas Christian
His passing made the Horned Frogs the country's best team in 1938. He took histalent into the pros, where, as a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, hewas one of the first to make that game a wide-open aerial circus. In 1940 hejoined the FBI, working as an agent and an instructor in the FBI academy. Henow owns his own oil company in Fort Worth.

Nobody has worn No. 25 for the Crusaders since this famous fullback. He workedhis way through Northwest-ern's dental school by playing brilliant ball for theChicago Bears. A marine for three years, he served at an evacuation hospital inOkinawa. He now lectures at Northwestern, practices dentistry and serves on twohospital staffs.

A tough right tackle, he worked during the summers for Bethlehem Steel, anassociation that still continues. He is now assistant to Bethlehem's presidentand is active in supporting local Boy Scout camps and in alumni work onLehigh's $22 million expansion plans.

ALLIE P.REYNOLDS, Oklahoma State
Better known as a baseball player in college, he pitched a no-hitter in hisfinal game. On the football field he was noted for his punting. Part Indian,"The Chief" won 51 games in four years as a pitcher with Cleveland, andthen rose to his greatest heights as he helped the Yankees take six pennants.Since retiring in 1954, he has established his own oil-equipment supplycompany, the Atlas Mud Company, in Oklahoma City.

CHARLES SPRAGUE,Southern Methodist
A track star and captain of the Mustangs, he went on to the University of Texasschool of medicine, then served in the Navy with the amphibious forces and atthe naval hospital in Corona, Calif. Long recognized as an authority in thefield of hematology, he is now dean of Tulane University's School ofMedicine.

HERMAN L. WEISS,Case Institute
A scholarship winner for four years and a student assistant in civilengineering, he played both football and baseball. He joined General Electricsoon after leaving school and served as G.E.'s war production board adviser. Heis now a vice-president in charge of G.E.'s consumer products division.


Earl H. Blaik, former Dartmouth and Army footballcoach; chairman, executive committee, Avco Corp., New York City.

W. L. Lyons Brown, breeder of shorthorn cattle;chairman, Brown-Forman Distillers Corp., Louisville.

Austin T. Cushman, once a 40¢-an-hour salesman withSears; now chairman, Sears, Roebuck, and Co., Chicago.

E. Roland Harriman, chairman, American Red Cross;partner, Brown Brothers Harriman& Co., New York City.

Dr. Leland J. Haworth, physicist; member of AEC anddirector, National Science Foundation, Washington.

Lee A. Iacocca, vice-president of Ford Motor Co. andgeneral manager of its Ford Division in Dearborn, Mich.

Mills B. Lane Jr., member, Young Presidents'Organization; president, Citizens and Southern National Bank, Atlanta.

David Packerd, former head trustee at Stanford;president, Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif.

William W. Scranton, former USAAF captain andRepublican Congressman; governor of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Pa.

H. Gardiner Symonds, vice-chairman, IndustrialConference Board; chairman, Tennessee Gas Transmission Co., Houston.

Dr. Henry Pitney Van Dusen, author-theologian;president emeritus, Union Theological Seminary, New York City.

Leslie B. Worthington, trustee of Illinois andPittsburgh universities; president, U.S. Steel Corp., Pittsburgh.