Army’s Lonely End
Bill Carpenter’s Nomination for West Point’s Sports Hall of Fame is at the bottom of this page.
4 Receptions, 93 yards, 1 Touchdown
Combining leadership, athletic ability, and charisma perhaps better than any Army player before or since, Bill Carpenter could easily be the poster boy for Army football. To be sure, I was not present at the creation, so I never witnessed in person the feats of other Army Greats of Carpenter’s stature (except the All Americans Pete Dawkins, Bob Anderson and Bob Novogratz) but I have seen much more than my share of Army games over the years, beginning in 1948, and have followed the careers of many of our greatest athletes. I am firm in my opinion of The Lonely End.
Why not start at the Army football record book where Bill’s name appears frequently?
First, the Teams he played on: 1958 and 1959. They went 12-4-2 against the likes of Boston College, Illinois, Penn State, Duke, Colorado State, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia, Pitt, Rice, Nebraska, and, of course, Air Force and Navy. Look elsewhere on this website for an explanation of Coach Blaik’s Lonely End offense but the record speaks for itself: two-season (18 games) total yards passing of over 3,000. This mark stood for 17 seasons. Number three nationally and Lambert Trophy winners in 1958.
Then his individual record. First Team Football All-American in 1959 and as a Lacrosse All American in 1960, he earned the Schmeissor Trophy as the outstanding defensive player of the year. It should be noted that he never played lacrosse prior to 1959. He played in North-South Shrine Football Game. Bill led Army in points scored, receptions, and kickoff return yards in 1959. Upon graduation, he held or was tied for the all-time Army records for most 100-yard receiving games, career yards receiving, and single season catches and yards receiving. I may have overlooked other records.
He was a Cadet Battalion Commander.
Naturally, he played both ways.
Bill Carpenter was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982.
His military career surprised nobody in its success. It can be summarized easily — A Great Commander.
But the forgoing does not begin to explain what he meant to Army Football and the Corps of Cadets. I don’t think today’s Cadets are cognizant of dusty record books and ancient accomplishments even as they watch new records being set in front of their eyes. I know I wasn’t. Only later could what I saw be put in an historical context.
If the tipping point for me to apply to USMA was seeing the Cadet Glee Club on the Ed Sullivan Show, I can only imagine how many athletes considering the Academy were inspired by the sight of this handsome, well-spoken, humble, physically intimidating receiver standing casually 20 yards from the offensive huddle, hands on hips, exuding confidence, getting the play from the quarterback in some mystical manner, catching balls thrown to him, applying crushing downfield blocks; in short, leading his team.
It was thrilling and each of us always felt we would win when the Lonely End Offense was set in motion. He was someone who could rally us.
Did he catch passes against Navy with a separated shoulder? I don’t know. Legend says yes. Did Bud Wilkinson say that Bill Carpenter was the greatest player he ever saw? I don’t know. Did he toss a baked potato from one end of the Corps Squad Section of the Cadet Mess to the Poop Deck? Don’t know. Doesn’t matter.
(editor’s note – 1. It was against Oklahoma, that Bill had his upper arm taped against his side locking it in place, 2. Bill indicated he did not toss a Bake Potato — Greatness just promotes legend.)
His place as an all-time Army Great is secure as his accomplishments become even more impressive with the passage of the seasons.
by Dave Phillips – 62 Scribe & Class Sports Historian
And another Catch
Army Team Captain – Number 87 and members of the 1959 Team from Pennsylvania
William Stanley Carpenter, Jr
Home Town – Springfield, Pa.
Springfield High School
Date of Entry to Academy
3 July 1956
Date of Graduation
8 June 1960
Age at Graduation – 22
– Corporal Cow Year
– Captain Firstie Year
Cadet Military Position
– Cadet Battalion Commander
Height – 6’2″
Weight – 210
– Football 4,3,2,1
– Track 4, 3
– Lacrosse 2,1
Coaches / Assistant Coaches
– Football Earl Blaik, Dale Hall
– Lacrosse Ace Adams
Football Team Captain
– Cow Year Pete Dawkins
– Firstie Year Bill Carpenter
– Football End
– Lacrosse Defense
– Plebe Numerials Football & Track
– Yearling Monogram Football & Track
– Cow Army A Football & Monogram Lacrosse
– Firstie Army A Football & Lacrosse
– 1958 Football Lambert Trophy Ranked 3d in the Nation
– 1960 Lacrosse 3 way tie for 1st in the Nation
– Football All American 1959
– Lacrosse All American 1960
– 1960 Schmeisser Trophy as Outstanding Lacrosse Defense Player (editors note Bill never played Lacrosse till Spring of 1959)
– NCAA Football Hall of Fame
– At Graduation
Held or was tied for the all-time Army records for most 100-yard receiving games, career yards receiving, and single season catches and yards receiving
Post Season Play
– North-South Shrine Game
Injuries — Jeep accident, missed 1/2 of Yearling Football Season
– Pistol 4,3,2; Skeet; Ski; Handball; Sunday School Teacher 4,3;
Class Standing 195 + or minis 4
Officer Assignment to the Academy
1970 -73 Senior Infantry Instructor Office Military Instruction
– Receiver Coach under Tom Cahill
Bill coached “Joe Albano” Class of 1971 who ended up broking most of Bill’s receiving records
His last 13 years of service included 33 months as a Brigade Commander, 2 Years as an Assistant Division Commander, 3 years as a Division Commander, 3 years as a Field Army Commander, and 15 months as a Theater J-3. Bill Carpenter never took the time to earn an advanced degree —
“His Boots Were Always Muddy”
Bill Carpenter’s actions in Vietnam earned him a recommendation for the Medal of Honor; he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Bill Carpenter was an Army All American in Football and Lacrosse — He Gave as a Cadet and as a Soldier.
The ties that bind Army Athletes
In 1952, Cadet Joe Austin of the U.S. Military Academy Lacrosse Team used a six foot stick while playing crease attack. Joe made an all-time West Point record of ten goals in one game and had a career total of eighty goals for three years of play which (when the story was told) was still a school record. He was selected 1st team All-American at attack.
In 1962, the then Captain Joe Austin of the United States Air Force, was an assistant coach of the Army Lacrosse Team. Bob Fuellhart ’62, the second Lonely End, (following Bill Carpenter) on the Football Team, was playing on the Army Lacrosse Team as a defense man. Bob became very distressed when his favorite stick was broken in scrimmage. Assistant Coach Joe Austin, who had treasured his six foot high scoring attack stick for ten years generously loaned it to Fuellhart.
The head of the stick was much narrower than we liked for defensive use in those days but Bob felt that it helped his throwing and catching. (Today almost every defense stick has a head of this size which put Bobby much ahead of his time.) Appropriately, Fuellhart became first team All-American at close defense and won the Schmeisser Award as the outstanding defense man of 1962. Bill Carpenter was recipient of the Schmeisser Award in 1960.
This would seem to be quite a rarity for two players Joe and Bob, in two opposite positions, ten years apart, utilizing the same stick to become outstanding players of their times. Both Joe Austin and Bob Fuellhart were killed in the Vietnam War in the mid 1960’s.
Joe Austin, awarded 2 Silver Stars, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Purple Heart was first declared missing 19 March 1969, and confirmed Killed In Action 25 May 79.
Bill Carpenter was nominated for the Medal of Honor received the Distinguished Service Cross.
Bob Fuellhart, awarded a Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars (V), and Purple Heart, was Killed in Action 12 Aug 65, the day his daughter was born.
A Half Century of Lacrosse by William H. (Dinty) Moore III, the long-time Lacrosse Coach at Navy. It was told to Moore by Army Coach Jim (Ace) Adams. Edited by Butch Darrell Captain 1962 Lacrosse Team
Nomination West Point Sports Hall of Fame
The purpose of the West Point Sports Hall of Fame is to recognize and honor the Academy’s greatest athletes.
More than any other college sports hall of fame, the Academy’s should support West Point’s Mission for no other institution in America trains each of its graduates to walk in another’s land.
The Mission of the United States Military Academy is to provide a cadre of officers dedicated to a career of service to this Nation.
Attainment of Flag Rank meets that expectation.
The Corps of Cadets is surrounded by and lives in the shadow of the Academy’s greatest military heroes.
A Medal of Honor nomination is in that tradition.
As Cadets we gave —
As a member of the NCAA Football Hall of Fame; an All American in Football and Lacrosse, earning the Schmeissor Trophy as the outstanding defensive player of the year in Lacrosse; he stands with a very select group of West Point Athletes. Although the records he contributed to have long since been broken, as Football Team Captain against Oklahoma with one arm locked to his side from the elbow up — catching passes, returning kickoffs, and playing defense, exemplifies commitment.
As soldiers we served —
A career of dedicated service not only to this nation, but to the soldiers one leads demonstrates to the Corps of Cadets the expectation of each graduate. Attending only the absolutely required military schools, he spent nearly his entire military service leading America’s soldiers. His last 13 years of service included 33 months as a Brigade Commander, 2 Years as an Assistant Division Commander, 3 years as a Division Commander, 3 years as a Field Army Commander, and 15 months as a Theater J-3. His Boots Were Always Muddy.
Our Nations highest honor for valor —
Isolated on a hilltop, in command of a rifle company, facing insurmountable odds he led, resulting in his nomination for the Medal of Honor.
If the Army Sports Hall of Fame does support the Academy — Bill Carpenter, Class of 1960, Army’s Lonely End belongs. He is an example of a great Cadet Athlete and Soldier.
WORK AREA BELOW THIS POINT
DSC, 2 SS, BSM, 4 AM, 2 PH, LM, JSCM, 4 CM, DSM, 2 MSM
Carpenter, a 1960 graduate, played three seasons of varsity football and earned national acclaim as the Black Knights'”Lonely End” when legendary coach Earl “Red” Blaik unveiled his innovative offensive alignment in 1958.
A first team All-America choice in 1959, Carpenter graduated with an Academy-record 65 career receptions, 20 more than previous standard-bearer and fellow Hall of Famer Glenn Davis (45). Carpenter became the first Army receiver to surpass 1,000 yards receiving with 1,044 yards during his tenure.
A captain of the 1959 squad, Carpenter set a single-season yardage mark in his final season with 591 yards. He was inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1982, was awarded the Distinguished American of the Year honor by the Walter Camp Football Foundation in 1984 and was presented with the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award a year later.
Carpenter achieved the rank of Lieutenant General and in 1966 was recommended for the nation’s highest military honors for gallantry and service in Vietnam. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.