Update: After receiving tips from a couple of reader who are clearly older than I am (see comments), I now know that the “lonesome end” was one Fred Carpenter. Carpenter was also an outstanding individual. Here is a link to an excellent 1993 Sports Illustrated article about him.
Last week I got an email from my friend Nancy Burch, who sent along a fabulous picture she had recently found of preparations for the 1958 Homecoming.
Here’s what she had to say: “This was taken in the driveway of my parent’s home on Dryden, where we built the homecoming ‘floats’ for my class all four years. This one, when completed, won first prize in 1958. The theme was ‘Hanging Out the Old Gray Line,” as we played Army that year. We had a clothes line strung between goal posts with the jerseys of Pete Dawkins and other Army star players.”
Naturally, the first thing I wondered was whether we won the game and the second thing I wondered was who Pete Dawkins was. As soon as I got back to the Woodson this morning I looked it up in the Thresher. Rice had a pretty good team in 1958. (You can get a bit of a snapshot of the situation in the Southwest Conference the day before the game by clicking on the Thresher article to the right.) The Owls gave Army, which was ranked third in the nation, a run for their money, losing a tight contest when Army halfback Pete Dawkins scored with under a minute left to play. Army finished the season undefeated. Rice ended up having a mediocre season, losing two of their remaining three SWC games and ending the year at 5-5.
As for Pete Dawkins, he won the Heisman trophy that year. He was also president of his class and first captain of cadets at West Point. Then he spent three years at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and served 24 years in the Army, becoming the then-youngest brigadier general at age 43 in 1981. Somewhere along the way he earned a Ph.D. in public policy from Princeton. After retiring from the military, he had a successful career on Wall Street. There’s a great story about him, written on the occasion of the retiring of his jersey, here at the Army athletics website. You should read it–he’s really an amazing fellow.
So now there’s only one little thing niggling at me, but I have too much to do to look it up right now. In that Thresher piece, they talk about Army’s “lonesome end.” Sounds like some kind of spread offense, maybe. I’ll check it out later, unless someone can tell me what that’s all about.