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Original Issue


In the fall of 1959 Bill Carpenter, West Point's Lonesome End,
was named captain of the Army football team. As the story goes,
Carpenter, upon hearing the news, climbed to the top of Lusk
Reservoir on the West Point campus and began removing his shoes.
When asked what he was doing, Carpenter said, "They want me to
follow in Pete Dawkins's footsteps. I have to learn how to walk
on water."

Technically speaking, Dawkins never walked on water, but he did
everything else as a senior at West Point. Not only was he a
Heisman Trophy-winning halfback for Army's undefeated team of
1958 who landed on our cover (above, far left), but he was also
class president, first captain of cadets and graduated in the
top 5% of his class. After three years at Oxford on a Rhodes
Scholarship, Dawkins spent 24 years in the Army, serving in
Korea and Vietnam. In 1981, at 43, he became the Army's then
youngest brigadier general. Along the way he earned a Ph.D. in
public policy from Princeton and became a White House fellow
while playing a mean jazz trumpet, piano, guitar, clarinet,
trombone and French horn. Walk on water? Who has time? "I was,
uh, sort of intense," the 59-year-old Dawkins says sheepishly.
Indeed, when Dawkins arrived at West Point in 1955, football
players were told not to train with weights because the extra
muscle was thought to be too cumbersome. So he hid barbells
under his mattress and a bar under his bunk and lifted in the
dark following taps.

After retiring from the Army in '83, he worked as an investment
banker on Wall Street and was soon a millionaire. In 1988 he was
handpicked by New Jersey governor Tom Kean to run as the state's
Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate. Though he lost to
incumbent Frank Lautenberg in a bitterly contested race, Dawkins
treasured his time on the campaign trail. "I would have hated to
have gone to my grave without having taken a shot at it," he
says, "but it's a full-contact sport. My daughter [Noel] said,
'You did great, Dad. You got the silver medal.'"

Today Dawkins lives in Rumson, N.J., with Judi, his wife of 36
years, and is the chairman and CEO of the direct-marketing
subsidiary of the Travelers Group, a financial services
conglomerate. He doesn't plan to run again for public office,
but he still seems, uh, sort of intense. "You're a fool if you
don't realize there comes a time when you slow down, but I
haven't seen that coming yet," he says. "I still get up every
morning at 4:50, lace up my shoes and feel like there's
important work to be done."


COLOR PHOTO: HY PESKIN [Pete Dawkins featured on SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cover November 24, 1958]