Class of 1962 – Can Do

The Class of 1962 – Can Do

Complied by Class Scribe & Sports Historian Dave Phillips – 2004

Overview

Thirteen media guides covering 14 sports in which the Academy competes at the varsity level contain hundreds of individual and team records.Exactly one of these records can be said to belong the Class of 1962.

Baseball

1st Row Downey, Mac McRae, Bob Lilley, Larry Crane, George Kirschenbauer, John Schmidt, Robert Fox, Al DeJardin, Ray LoPresto, Johnnie Nau, Linn, Ron Borrello 2d Major Ochs, Coach “Tipton”, White, Perkins, Kierstead, Caywood, Rogers, Boice, Arbogast, Vopatek, Cerzarski, Alikuppi, Davis, Sheppard, Capt. Munson, “Col. Reeder”, Maj. Wierenga 3d Michela, Banovic, Rusnak, Boyle, Dopslaff, Tanner, Haydash

I was unable to persuade anyone at the Academy to send me a baseball media guide. I think everyone was too busy winning 35 games, beating Navy three out of four, winning the Patriot League championship, and playing in the NCAA tournament.

In scrutinizing the on-line baseball archives, however, I found no mention of any member of the USMA Class of 1962 or any of the three teams to which that Class contributed other than the list of lettermen:

Larry Crane,
Al DeJardin,
Tom Eccleston,
Robert Fox,
Bob Lilley,
Mac McRae,
John Schmidt

John Grimshaw and Ray LoPresto appear in the Howitzer team photo.

Howitzer informs us that the 1960 team was 18-5 but lost to Navy and the 1961 team was 12-7-1 but lost to Navy. The 1962 team went 15-6 but lost to Navy.

In my mind’s eye I can still see Bob Lilley staggering under the longest, highest fly ball ever hit at Doubleday Field, post Babe Ruth. The ball was struck by Roger Maris during the exhibition game against the Yankees. Bob was holding down right field and had moved back towards the Library Tennis Courts fence out of respect for Maris. Now, if this happened in 1962, Maris was coming off the year he hit 61 home runs. If it happened in 1961, it was just after the major league season had begun, the season in which Maris would break the record. In fact, if it was 1961, it would have happened about

the time Maris began his run at the record, because he did not hit his first homer until game 9 of the season. (He hit 61 homers in his last 154 games of the season, just as Ruth had hit 60 in his 154 games.)

The overflow crowd had leeched onto the playing field and more or less surrounded Bob as he followed the arc of the ball, gauging its trajectory with geometric logic and experience gained from hundreds of games of baseball. I heard someone yell, “Go back further!” Bob heeded this advice, camped under the high-flying missile and actually got his glove on it but could not hold it. Maris strolled into third base. The ball struck the ground perhaps 20 feet from the fence, a monstrous shot.

It’s like it happened yesterday.

I did not witness George Kirschenbauer hitting a home run off the Yankees’ Bob Turley. I wish I had seen it. By all accounts, it was a magical moment. Turley was only a .500 pitcher in his last two years, despite being a young man; he was either 31 or 32 when he grooved one to our beloved Class president. This incident, like Bob’s heroic attempt, must be remembered by the generations to follow through oral history and story telling. Pass it on.

Basketball

Stu is moving fast

When we, members of the Can Do Class, think basketball, we think Stu Sherard. After all these years, his name — the media guide calls him “Stu,” but Howitzer confirms the correctness of “Stew” — is found all over the Army record book as follows:

Named All-American (honorable mention)by the Converse Yearbook.

In 1962 led Nation with free throw % of 92%

One of 24 members of the 1,000-point club. (His entry contains an error in the calculation of his free-throw percentage.)

Number 10 all-time career scoring leader and was number one upon graduation. Only one player with just three years of varsity eligibility, “Mike Silliman”, scored more points. Only three players finished their careers with more average points per game than Stew’s 19.4. (Another error appears in Stew’s career ppg average.)
Number 7 all-time in points per game and third upon graduation.

Had seventh best season points per game average, 22.7, second upon graduation.

One of only three Army basketball players who led their teams in scoring each year of eligibility.

Number six in career free throws made, number one upon graduation.

Number five in career free throw percentage, number one upon graduation.

Had sixth best season free throw percentage, number one upon graduation.

One of only four Army basketball players who led their teams in free throw percentage each year of eligibility. (Another error appears in this chart.) Stew’s 15 for 15 in free throws against Rider College is matched only by “Kevin Houston”‘s 16 for 16.

Of Army’s great perimeter shooting guards of our time – Kouns, Houston, Sherwin, Stew – only Houston played in the era of the three-point shot (just one year), making us wonder, “What if…?”

But — That still comes to five Academy records held at graduation.

The sleepy-eyed, rail-thin, hunched shouldered jump-shooting Missourian thrilled us for three years on Wednesday afternoons (I went to almost every game) and Saturdays.

He was team captain First Class year, never scored 30 points in a game (according to the media guide, but the 1960 Howtizer credits him with a 34-point performance against Massachusetts and he scored 35 points against UCLA in a Christmas Tournament); and was the Most Valuable Player of the 1962 East-West All-Star game, draining long jumpers over all those future pros. Oddly, the media guide does not mention this last fact but we who watched the game on TV in the Weapons Room (or maybe it was the First Class Club) will not forget it. My personal recollection includes a brief spell where Stew was having difficulty guarding Nate Archibald, but that in no way tarnishes the luster of this roundball hero.
As for the team accomplishments during our three years:

The 1959-60 team is Army’s 10th best in total rebounds, 8th best in rebounds per game, and had the 10th highest number of players disqualified for personal fouls.

The 1960-61 team was 9th highest in disqualifications, had one of Army’s 15 100-point games, and suffered one of Army’s 19 100-points-against games, losing 103 – 54 to Ohio State. This Army team was the first to go to the National Invitational Tournament, winning 13 of 14 games late in the season, including nine in a row.

The list of lettermen includes Larry Crane (1960 and 1962 — we would like Larry to tell us about 1961), Al DeJardin (1960 and 1962 — same question), Bob Loupe (1962), and Stew (1960, 1961, and 1962).

The media guide includes two photos of Stew and a rather odd one of Larry

The 19591960 team was 14-9 and lost to Navy.

The 19601961 team was 17-7 for a winning percentage of .708. That percentage has been bested only five times in the 43 seasons since: twice by Tates Lockes-coached teams, twice by Bob Knight, and once by Mike Krzyzewski. This team also lost to Navy.

The 19611962 team was 10-11 but we will long remember how we beat Navy in the Field House. Stew had fouled out and the straw that stirred the drink for Army’s offense, Al DeJardin, had also been disqualified. No matter. One of the five players we had on the floor was Bob Loupe — can anyone name the others? — and his famous scoop shot in the last few seconds was all we needed. Absolutely unforgettable. Navy did have one more chance, but I think they threw the ball away.

Army basketball has compiled a record of 1046-987 since 1903 (.515), including 37 – 63 against Navy. Our last winning season was 1984-85.

Forgive another personal reminiscence. One lonely Saturday afternoon in 1959 at Camp Buckner, I checked out a basketball from the Guard Room and spent about an hour at the outdoor courts all by myself. Someone was walking the Area on the adjacent tennis courts. When I was done, I headed on back and the man walking the Area was taking a break under a tree. He called out to me with a surprised look on his face. I recognized him immediately: Fred Kaiser, captain-elect of the Army basketball team. He told me he had been watching while he walked and thought he was watching Stu Sherard. This is my all-time sports moment.

Oh, one more personal reminiscence. In 1971, I was on a pretty good Math Department team in the West Point faculty league. We won our league and were to face Military Psychology and Leadership for the championship. MP&L had Stew and Bill Cross and some supporting players. We knew the key to victory was to hold Stew down somehow. We decided not to double-team him but rather to put our best defender, Roy Buckner ’64, two-time lacrosse letterman, on him and employ a lot of switching and fighting through picks. The game was not that close. Stew got knocked down after every shot but had 30-something points and once again the Math Department was thwarted in its determination to dominate all faculty athletic competition.

Cross Country

Despite its status as a varsity sport, cross country archives proved elusive. That means I did not find any.

The sport is mentioned almost in passing in the track and field media guide. One column each is devoted to the men’s and women’s 2003 seasons. The men defeated Navy for the first time since 1996. The women also beat Navy for the first “sweep” since 1987.

So it’s back to our Howitzer for information on the 1961 season.

Howitzer lists John Jones, Fred LaRoque, Stan Thompson, and Ron Zinn as Army “A” Award winners. The team photo depicts these four along with Gus Gertsch and manager Terry Murphy.

Although we have no context for this particular season, it must be seen as successful for several reasons.

We swept two triangular meets and went 4-1 head-to-head. One of those was against the hated Midshipmen, handily, 22-37, at Crabtown. John Jones finished first. Sweet. And largely unrecognized.

As a proponent of public transportation, I admire those who can run these long distances. One could say John, Fred, Stan, and Ron received at least some recognition as letter winners, but I would like Gus Gertsch to tell us what he got out of all that pain and suffering. Besides wonderful aerobic fitness, frequent rushes of adrenalin and endorphins, and a chiseled body, of course.

Football

What is this powerful hold that football has over American men? We overlook the hypocrisy and cheating, the runaway costs, the tenuous connection between the institution’s football team and the educational mission. We devote ourselves to the fortunes of 19- and 20-year old athletes who may or, more likely, may not be students.

Speaking for myself, I love it and cannot get enough of it. Especially Army football. In my memory lane excursions, I spend time with the 1958 team, our three upperclass seasons, the Jim Young years, and the remarkable series of Army-Navy games that were determined by late field goals and 99-yard drives.

I once promised my roommate, Chris Stanat, First Class year that if we did not beat Navy, I would sit in the lobby of the Ben Franklin Hotel reading my Tactics Notebook until it was time to head for the train station.

Our three seasons, under Coach Dale Hall, seemed disappointing at the time. We lost three times to Navy. We did not win the Lambert Trophy or achieve any kind of national recognition. We were 4-4-1 in 1959, 6-3-1 in 1960, and 6-4 in 1961.

In retrospect, these seasons grow somewhat in stature. I remember a victory at Penn State and another over Syracuse in Yankee Stadium. There were two tough, hard-fought losses to Oklahoma in a home-and-home series. We played strong teams. Dale Hall‘s three-year record at Army as head coach — 16-11-2, .586 — has not been eclipsed since. If these were not Golden Years for Army football, they were our years and we should consider them 24 carat.

Although no member of our Class is an all-time Army football record holder, ’62 can be found many places in the football media guide, probably the best of all the Army sports media guides. It’s detailed, voluminous, interesting, and professional.

Our first mention comes with a description of the Kimsey Center.

Al Rushatz receives several mentions. First is his two touchdowns in the second half against Navy in 1960. He led the team in rushing in 1960 (648 yards) and 1961 (556). In 1961, Al had back-to-back 100-yard rushing games: 151 yards on 22 carries against William and Mary and 125 yards on 24 carries against West Virginia. Al stands 24th in career rushing yards and was seventh upon graduation, behind only Bob Anderson, Gil Stephenson, Tommy Bell, Glenn Davis, Doc Blanchard, and Pat Uebel, Davis and Bell having had four-year careers. Al also led the team in scoring with 10 touchdowns and a PAT for 61 points in 1960 and eight TD for 48 points in 1961.

Mike Casp‘s photo appears as our Captain.

George Kirschenbauer is listed as team leader in pass receptions in 1960 with 25 catches for 273 yards, an average of 10.9 yards per catch. Tom Culver led the following year with 20 catches for 305 yards, 15.3 yards per catch. (And we thought Tom spent his time in the coach’s dog house, at least some of us less-informed types did.) These ratings seem to be based on yards per catch. Tom’s 55-yard reception from “Dick Eckert” against Navy didn’t hurt.

The defensive records included in the media guide begin with 1963.

Dale Kuhns is cited as being selected for the 1961 North-South Shrine Game. This classic was played on Christmas Day in Miami, the South prevailing, 35-16. Did Dale go and play? How was it? Which great players did he tackle or open holes for? Was he excused from recitation the day he got back?

1962 receives no further mention with respect to regional or national honors, although I recall seeing framed certificates on the wall of the old Cadet Gymnasium attesting to some kind of all-American status for Al for one and perhaps others. I wonder if those framed certificates were safeguarded when the gym was taken down?

In recognition of the important and difficult, time-consuming responsibilities of the head manager, the media guide lists them all and “T.R. Davis” is included.

The list of lettermen includes Glen Blumhardt (1959, 1960 but not 1961), Barry Butzer (1960, 1961), Bob Fuellhart (1960 but not 1961), Pete King (1961), Dale (1959, 1960, 1961), Al (1959, 1960, 1961), Tom Culver (1961), Bill Whitehead (1959, 1960, 1961), and Paul Zmuida (1960, 1961). I am guessing that the “missing” years I have recorded are a result of injuries.

In 114 seasons, Army has compiled a record of 622-406-51 for a winning percentage of .600, our 0-13 record in 2003 costing us seven points off that mark. We are 49-48-7 against Navy.

150, Lightweight, Sprint Football

Army is and always has been a powerhouse in this sport, sometimes referred to as lightweight football but now officially known as Sprint Football.

Sadly, no official media guide was published last year and we rely on the current coach’s self-published Year in Review (YIR) for history.

We learn from YIR that Army began play in 1957 and has racked up a terrific record of 238-47-2 and a winning percentage of .833. Navy accounts for 29 and Cornell 12 of the 47 losses and our overall record against the Squids is 31-28-1, .525. Army often plays Navy twice in a season. In 2003, for instance, Navy won, 14-0, in the Pride Bowl — the conference has sponsored an exhibition game each year since 1983 — and Army won the conference game, 30-25, and the conference title with it.

The YIR does not list lettermen, but Howitzer states that we produced 13 Army “A” Award winners: Ron Brown, Skip Campbell, Bob Carroll, Russ DeVries, Bob DeVries, Turk Griffith, Erv Kamm, Steve Kott, John Landry, “Jon Lynn”, Art Pattarozzi, Larry Sanders, and Sonny Sloan. Mac McRae, Ernie Webb, “Dick Storat” (manager), and Jim Kays (assistant manager) also appear in the team photo. I am guessing that injuries prevented one or more of these four from being letter winners in their First Class years. For example, Jim Kays earned a major “A” for Yearling and Cow years. Ron Brown is shown twice as team captain.

Our teams went 5-1 in 1959, 1960, and 1961, losing to Navy all three years. We were league champions in 1960.

Nobody has ever given serious thought to my idea to rejuvenate the Eastern Sprint Football League, which now includes Army, Navy, Cornell, and a couple of other teams. Why do Army and Navy not field two teams each in the league: Army Black and Army Gold, Navy Blue and Navy Gold. The two Army teams would not play each other, nor would the two Navy teams: conflict of interest. But add two more solid teams to the league and it would take off.

Golf

Through spring, 2003, Army rang up a record of 405-170-13, a winning percentage of .700. Against Navy, the record is 27-35-1, .437.

All this was done with very little contribution from the Class of 1962.

Dick Sklar is shown in the Howitzer team photo and he was Corps Squad golf for four years, but we had no golf lettermen. In fact, a Cow, John Woods ’63, served as team captain our First Class year. But, get this, he was not the captain his own First Class year! What is up with that?

If a copy of this report makes it to Dick Sklar in Russia, maybe he can explain this interesting turn of events.

We took golf in PE; it was called a carryover sport. And I know many of us are completely hooked on it. It all goes back to those several lessons on The Plain when “Mr. Sorge” explained golf terminology to us: “The fairway is that portion of the golf course ‘twixt tee and green.”

Gymnastics

The patient reader of the media guide will be pleasantly surprised to discover rather impressive contributions by the Can Do Class to the 78-year history of Army gymnastics.

Now this sport hit me hard when we first met on the 5th, 6th, or 7th floor of the Cadet Gymnasium, whichever it was, plebe year gymnastics instruction. Coach Maloney and the enlisted soldier with the squeaky voice demanded things from us I, for one, was simply not prepared to give. Climb a rope? Stand on my head? Swing my legs over a pommel horse? Forward roll? It was a relief finally to do these ridiculously easy skills, take my 2.2, and move on to boxing.

Where I once got a 2.7 for making Seth Hudak’s nose bleed. I never properly thanked him. But I digress.

Then we attended the corps squad gymnastics meet to qualify for a fall out and the scales fell from our eyes. And now, spend 10 minutes watching Olympic gymnastics and we can properly appreciate the sport and our guys who excelled in it.

We were Eastern League champions in 1960 and in 1962. The latter team, Maloney’s last, was Army’s last Eastern League championship (although Maloney resigned after the first meet!). Phil Costain, team captain, was Eastern League champion in the horizontal bar in 1962. Howitzer states that Phil was named national champion in that event in 1962 but there is no mention of this accomplishment in the media guide. Furthermore, one would think that the national champion would also be named All-American, but,

according to the guide, no Army gymnast made All-American between 1958 and 1994. Is this an oversight?

We were 10-0 in 1960 and beat Navy by four, 5-2 in 1961 and lost to Navy by one (!), and 7-0-1 trounceing Navy in ’62.

The guide identifies our letter winners: Phil Costain (2 letters), Warren (Steve?) Foote (1 letter in 1962 but he did not graduate with us; does anyone know why?), Ed Hendren (2), Larry Mooring (1), Ken Wallace (2), Merle Williams (2), and Will Worthington (1). Of those I knew, I always considered them the fittest looking of the fittest.

In 79 years, Army has compiled a gymnastics record of 512-248-6, a winning percentage of .672. We are 43-28-2 versus Navy.

Hockey

In his final year, Ron Chisholm held opponents to 2.18 goals per game, an Academy record that has stood for 42 years. This is the only Academy individual or team record belonging to the Class of 1962.
Ron had a sensational career but this writer is only now realizing it.

His 50 career wins in goal is third all-time and put him first by 13 wins at graduation.

His 1639 career saves is 8th all-time but was first by 41 saves at graduation.

His career goals-against average of 2.53 is 3d all-time but was first by about a full goal at graduation.

His career save percentage of .905 is second all-time but was tops at graduation.

His eight career shutouts is second all-time but was first by five shutouts at graduation.

In addition to his all-time record for goals-against per game in First Class year, his Cow year mark is still 6th best and his Yearling year mark is 9th. Ron stood first, second, and third in this category at graduation!

His save percentage in his last year puts him second all-time but he was first at graduation.

His five shutouts First Class year puts him second but first at graduation.

He received the Henry “Hal” Beukema Award as the most valuable player on the hockey team in 1962.

By my count, then, Ron Chisholm held eight all-time Army hockey records when we graduated. Was it just me who did not know this?

The hockey media guide is a good one and mining this Ron Chisholm data from it resulted in the discovery of a very interesting sub-story, one that might support a mini-series.

The goalie for the 1962-63 season was “Jack Shephard”, ’63. The year after that, the goalie was “Neil Mieras”, ’64. So each of those guys got to start in goal for one year. Well, Shephard eclipsed Ron in three of the all-time goalie records and Mieras tied him for another! These three goalies put together a five-year run of excellence unequalled in the annals of Army hockey history.

So visualize Shepard and Mieras, top goalies, riding the bench for two full years waiting for the man ahead to graduate. I’ll bet there is a story there and I hope someone will come forward with it.

The excellent media guide makes mention of Dave Harkins’ generosity in donating funds for the team recreation room and includes a full list of letter winners with their career statistics:
Marty Bilafer (forward, 24 goals, 28 assists, 52 total points), Rusty Broshous (forward, 20-43-63), Dave Harkins (forward, 30-34-64), Albie Symes (forward, 35-43-78), “Fred Avis” (forward, 11-14-25, did not graduate), Ron Chisholm, and Paul Dobbins, our captain (defense, 16-61-77).

We were 16-5-1 in 1959-60. That .750 percentage is 5th best in modern Army hockey history. In 1960-61, we went 17-8 and were 17-6-1 First Class year. That year gets glowing treatment in Howitzer: 18 wins if one counts a victory over THE SWISS NATIONAL TEAM!, trouncing of BC, a shutout of BU to snap a 28-game losing streak to them, and a trip to the ECAC tournament (losing to Harvard in OT).

Since 1904, Army is 989-833-74, a winning percentage of .552.

Army has never lost to Navy in hockey.

Lacrosse

I know for a fact that many of our classmates had never heard of lacrosse prior to Beast Barracks. One afternoon during that stirring summer, rain forced cancellation of mass athletics and lots of new cadets found themselves sitting on the floor of the Central Gymnasium watching a replay of the 1958 Army-Navy lacrosse game. Army had won, 17-12 and was named national champions. Some of us were seeing lacrosse for the first time.

I knew about it. While a kid at West Point one October, I was importuned into trying out for the youth lacrosse team. Some eighth grade goon stuck me in the goal with a mask and baseball catcher’s chest protector. I took two or three balls on the shoulder and inside thigh and gave up lacrosse. I walked home and as I entered our quarters on Wilson Road, I heard the TV in the living room: “And that brings Bobby Thompson to the plate with two on and the Giants down by two.”

Our class made a giant contribution to Army lacrosse during our three years. We shared the national championship in 1961. In 1962, Bob Fuellhart received the Schmeisser Memorial Cup for being the nation’s top defenseman. (Although it was Jack Reavill who was singled out in Sports Illustrated because of his blue eyes.) In 1962, Al Biddison and Bob Fuellhart both made first team All-American.

Wait, there’s more. Al was honorable mention for All-America in 1960 and 1961. Bob was honorable mention for All-America in 1961.

Butch Darrell honorable mention for All-America in 1961 and 1962. And old Blue Eyes was honorable mention for All-America in 1962.

And more. “Dick Ryer” joined Jackson, Al, and Butch at the North-South All Star game in 1962. I could not find anything on the web about this game, but it must have been played after graduation. Perhaps one of the four all stars will tell me about it.

No Army team since has sent four players to this game and no Army team has ever sent more than four players.

Of 108 names of all-time leaders in career and season points, career and season goals, career and season assists, career and season saves, and career save percentage, we find scant mention of classes earlier than about 1970: “Bob Miser” ’60 four times (he played three varsity seasons beforer coming to West Point), one guy from ’52, one from ’65, one from ’55, one from ’53, and “Norm Webb” from ’64. I think teams began scheduling more games a year and scoring soared after the giants who strode The Plain in the “60”s departed.

The list of lettermen includes “Dick Ryer” (one letter), Jack Reavill (1), “Dave Moore” (2), “Tom Middaugh” (3), Dave Harkins (2), Bob Fuellhart (2), Butch Darrell (2), Tom Culver (1), “Len Butler” (3), Rusty Broshous (2), Al Biddison (3), and “Mac Howard” (1).

As I say, these athletes were more important to Army lacrosse than we may have realized.

In 1960, we were 8-2, losing to Mt. Washington and Navy. In 1961, we were 9-2, losing to Mt. Washington and Virginia, beating Navy, and earning a share of the national championship. In 1962, we went 9-3, losing to Mt. Washington, Hopkins, and Navy.

Since 1907, Army has compiled a record of 657-285-7 for a winning percentage of .696. (I believe the media guide has an error in this calculation.) We are 26-49-3 all time against Navy.

Pistol

Pistol is no longer an intercollegiate sport at West Point. This fact made it difficult to learn much about any contributions our class may have made to the program.

The Army Sports Information Office reported that it did not possess the archives from this sport. The OIC of the Cadet Pistol Club said the same thing. Later, I could not locate the Cadet Pistol Club on the Cadet Activities website. It appeared under Cadet Marksmanship Club and Cadet Competitive Shooting Club (which has beat Navy and Air Force three straight years).

Somewhere files exist that can tell us team and individual records over the years. Maybe this report will result in those files being located.

Our Howitzer, however, provides good coverage of the 1961-62 season. “Ray Pendleton”, “Dave Swick”, and “Bob Shuey” are singled out as Army “A” award winners. Dave is twice identified as captain of a team that went 7-1, finished first in the NRA sectionals, broke “the USRA intercollegiate record” and beat Navy.

Lee Pardi is shown as the team manager.

I never attended a pistol match nor do I recall ever meeting anyone who did. I won’t pretend to be ashamed of this shortcoming, but apparently our team was quite good and deserves to be in the spotlight, even this dim one I am shining.Nor can I say the event I will now describe actually happened but it might have happened. I’ll go so far as to say it must have happened.

It’s Army-Navy Winter Sports Weekend, 1962, at West Point. The Field House is packed for the basketball and wrestling contests. At some point that afternoon, we hear this from the PA announcer, “In Army-Navy competition this afternoon, in pistol: Navy, 1354. Army, 1377”. And a crowd of several thousand roars with approval to learn of this latest example of Army superiority.

Wouldn’t we all like to have an account of that sweet victory? A victory surely noted in the files but available to us now only in the 800 or so copies of the 1962 Howitzer.

Questions remain.

Was the victory over Navy at home or in Annapolis? Is there “home court advantage in pistol?

What was that USRA intercollegiate record and how long did it stand?

What is or was the USRA?

Did their marksmanship help Dave, Ray, and Bob during their army careers? Were they able to continue to compete?

Members of the pistol team were also members of the Pistol Club. Was this a way to get around a lack of “off-season Corps Squad status” for our marksmen?

Was it even possible back then to go to a pistol match and have a place to sit down and spectate?

Finally, speaking as a bolo at Camp Buckner — I had to devote a Saturday afternoon to qualify in my second attempt — it is easy to respect those who can shoot a pistol well. As a lieutenant, I confirmed four incidents of soldiers harming or nearly harming themselves and others by mishandling the .45 cal pistol. And as a field grade officer shooting for familiarization at that same Camp Buckner range, I witnessed outstanding and competent fellow officers, officers who later commanded brigades and divisions, fire pistol shots that struck the ground 10 feet in front of their feet instead of targets 25 yards down range.

Rifle

According to the media guide for Army’s rifle team, we have been competing since 1919 except for two periods when the program was discontinued: 1937-38 and 1995-96. The latter hiatus was due to a fire in the old rifle range. In 1932, competition was outdoors.

During that period, the guide reports that Army has compiled a record of 778-136, a winning percentage of .851. The 2003-04 team went 9-2 and lost to Navy at Annapolis, both teams breaking scoring records. Army’s team included men and women; a woman was our top shooter.

We look in vain for aggregate Army-Navy results.

The new facility, which also houses the pistol team, is apparently quite wonderful.

Howitzer, but not the guide, informs us that “Ed Brown”, John Dilley, John King, and “Joe Porter” were Army “A” Award winners and Ed is mentioned twice as captain. “Bob Martin” is pictured as manager.

I believe Bob did a good deal of firing himself. As he was in B-1 with me, I heard him relate some inside scoop on rifle marksmanship that was pretty interesting. There is a major mental component to it, I take it.

I wouldn’t know; I was a TRAINFIRE Marksman only. Everybody else I know made Expert or Sharpshooter. I could hit what I could see, however.

All these fellows had that club status thing going for them in the off-season. More power to them.

And now we find our first mention of the Class of 1962 in the Army record book: John King was second team all-American in 1962! Who knew? Was a big deal made of this? I remember being presented with a certificate by the Commandant on the Poop Deck in recognition of B-1’s loss in the Brigade Intramural Basketball championship game (our coach, Ron Skarupa, was not available for some reason). John’s accomplishment deserved at least that spotlight.

I hope John will provide us some details.

Rifle went 8-0 our Yearling year, 6-3 Cow year, and 10-3 First Class year. During our Class’ three-year contribution to Army rifle, John King was the only shooter to achieve any all-American status.

Did the rifle team — and the pistol team, too, for that matter — make those fancy Spring Break trips to warm places like most off-season varsity sports do now? They couldn’t have gone far; we got off at 3:15 on a Wednesday and had to be back by supper formation on Sunday. At West Point now, I think that is called “short weekend”.

Soccer

The soccer media guide informs us that Doug Morgan was named Regional All-American in 1961, one of 56 cadets to be so honored since 1959. As most of us knew nothing of the game back then, only now does Doug’s selection take on significance, at least for me. How did Doug — and the other lettermen listed in the media guide (Art Brown, “Ric Cesped”, Dick Irwin, Paul Kirkegaard, “Sammy Samaniego”, John Schmidt) — learn the game well enough to play it at the college level? Sammy we understand, but the others? Perhaps they will tell us.

No mention of Art Brown as captain — we have to refer to Howitzer to confirm that the sleek goalie from C-1 had that position (I can see him yelling commands to his teammates all the way at the other end of the “pitch”) — and no other mention of our Class or our teams can be found in the media guide. Except the season records:

1959: 7-1-2
1960: 8-2-0
1961: 5-5-0

We lost to Navy all three years.

Army soccer has an overall record of 561-330-105 (.616) in 82 seasons. We are 24-33-12 against Navy.

Squash

From what I could find, squash is neither a club nor a varsity sport at USMA and no archives were available to me. Again, maybe the distribution of this report will get those records out of the closet; we know they exist.

Again we turn to our Howitzer to learn what we can about Army squash, winter of 1961-62.

Our lettermen were Jim McQuillen, “Jim Peterson”, and Don Voss. The team photo also includes “Dave Windom” (manager) and “Rich Carlson”. Jim McQuillen is cited as captain.

In the absence of historical squash records, it is difficult to put the season in context. The team went 8-5, winning only one point each from the effete Ivy League powerhouses Harvard, Yale, and Princeton but shutting out MIT, Wesleyan, and Cornell and beating Trinity, 8-1. That win over Trinity looms large now, as Trinity has won the last six national intercollegiate squash championships and its coach is a former Army tennis coach.

Beating Trinity College in 1962 is something to boast about. Like bragging that Army football”s record against the University of Tennessee since 1984 is 1-0-1, both games being played at their place.

Most importantly, given no chance, we beat Navy, 6-3. Think about the number of times Army has upset Navy in any sport since we became involved in the rivalry and this victory stands out.

It was not easy to support the squash team by going to the matches. It was hard to find the courts, for one thing. There may or may not have been a place to sit. Few knew the rules until we learned them in Yearling PE. And there was always this uneasiness about playing without umpires and calling your own matches. We were at a disadvantage there; we had the Cadet Honor System. I always felt we had to be that much better under these conditions.

Here are my questions (and I welcome yours):

Did the same player get that one point against Harvard, Yale, and Princeton? Now that would be something to remember.

Where was that match against Navy played and how did we manage to win?

Is my sense of being at a disadvantage against the barbarians from other schools because of the Cadet Honor System overstated?

Doesn’t one use a different stroke in squash than in tennis and, if so, did that hurt “Jim Peterson” at all?

Were the two Jims, Don, and Rich ever to compete again in this sport? Or even play at all?

Swimming

The Army swimming and diving teams of our era are the Rodney Dangerfields of Army sports history: no respect whatsoever.

The media guide has one Can Do class citation: Barry Thomas is listed as team captain, First Class year.

To be sure, the media guide is all about now and the Class of 1962 is so five minutes ago. No “Army swimming history” no yearly records, no list of lettermen. Much space is devoted to the women’s team.

But just a glance at Howitzer is all you need to learn that the 1961-62 team BROKE EVERY ACADEMY RECORD (except one)!

Again: the 1961-62 team BROKE EVERY ACADEMY RECORD (except one)!

Using the analytical skills developed during 191/2 years of formal education, I conclude that Barry was a member of the record-breaking 400-yard free-style relay team and held the 50-yard free-style record when he graduated.

Then “Bert Finn” must have accomplished the same in the 400 yard free and “Steve Childers” in the breaststroke.

According to Howitzer, our letter winners were Barry, Bert, and Steve.

The media guide records Academy, pool, and plebe records in 14 individual and five relay events and four diving events. All these marks were set since 1977. The top ten times in the 14 individual events were likewise accomplished since 1977.

Everything is still in yards.

We were 11-4 in 1961-62 and lost to Navy.

Army swimming is 604-344-4 in 83 seasons for a winning percentage of .637. We are 29-37 against Navy. Army has won the Patriot League nine times in 14 seasons, including seven successive championships from 1992 to 1998.

Tennis

According to the 2003-04 media guide, Army has compiled a record of 816-600-12 since 1920, a winning percentage of .576 (incorrectly calculated as .574 in the media guide.

The team’s record during the upperclass years of ’62 were 9-8 in 1960 (lost to Navy, 4-5), 6-9 in 1961 (lost to Navy, 1-8), and 11-6 in 1962 (beat Navy, 6-3) for a three-year mark of 26-23. That record includes 5 wins and 17 losses against Ivy League teams; we never beat Harvard, Yale, or Princeton during this period. “Lief Norlie” coached.

Army tennis is thriving now since joining the Patriot League. Since the spring season of 1995, Army has won the team title four times and finished second six times, losing out to Navy or American University each time. In three PL (individual tournaments)the Black Knights have won twice and finished second.

All tennis all-time individual records date from 1993; some team records are held by earlier classes, but not ’62.

Lettermen from ’62 were team captain “Jim Peterson”, Don Voss, and “Rich Carlson”. The team photo also includes Jim McQuillen.

From the media guide, I calculate the record against Navy as 27-48. In some years, we played the Squids twice, in some years not at all.

The Navy win in 1962 must have been sweet and wouldn’t we like to hear from Jim, Don, Rich, and Jim on this score?

Incidentally, regarding the Ivy League, in the early 1980’s, the Academy approached the Ivy League about joining them for football. This was prior to the Jim Young hire. The Ivy League position was that we would not be welcome because USMA, in effect, had an unlimited number of athletic scholarships.

Track & Field

Photo Ron Zinn, Olympics, Killed in Action – Vietnam

The Class of 1962 is hosed pretty well by the media guide. We can excuse the absence of the fact that Gary Brown held the Academy record in the pole vault for a while. After all, that record has been broken many times. And no doubt this athletic team does not receive abundant funding from ODIA as a “non-revenue-producing” sport, money being saved on the guide perhaps. So there was just no room in the guide for year-by-year season records, team captains, aggregate record against opponents, letter winners, and the like.

It takes some digging in Howitzer to learn that the indoor track team defeated Navy in all three of our upper class years (although no member of ’62 seems to have been a member of the 1959-60 team). Howitzer also lists our letter winners: Gary Brown (team captain), “Terry Garwick”, Gus Gertsch, “Fred Gordon”, John Jones, Pete King, Fred LaRoque, Larry Mengel, Jerry Seay, Ed Sprague, Stan Thompson. The 1963 Howitzer adds “George Schein” and “Don Williamson”.

But how could the remarkable Ron Zinn not be included in the Army track and field media guide? He was a member of two US Olympic teams and I remember well watching the beginning of one of his Olympic races on television (black and white). He was in the lead as the walkers left the stadium. I was so proud of him and West Point I practically levitated.

The Gary Brown record prompts this thought: it would be a great thing to know what Academy records were held by ’62 at graduation.

Indoor track team records:

1959-60: 7-0, beat Navy; 1960-61: 3-3, beat Navy; 1961-62: 6-1, beat Navy by 2 points!

Outdoor track team records:

1960: 3-4, lost to Navy
1961: 2-5, lost to Navy
1962: 5-1, beat Navy by one point!

Wouldn’t you want some details of those two thrilling victories over Navy in 1962?

Wrestling

When we think about wrestling, our thoughts usually gravitate towards two images: endless repetitions of “sit out and turn in” in the Cadet Gymnasium during plebe wrestling instruction and Al Rushatz.

Al is featured prominently in the media guide. He is listed as team captain in 1962. His photograph appears in the pantheon of Army’s 14 All-Americans. He was third in the 1960 NCAA tournament at 177 pounds, won the Easterns at that weight the same year, and was Eastern runner up in 1961 and 1962 at 177 lbs. and 167 lbs. respectively. Only four Army wrestlers have ever done better at the NCAA championships than Al Rushatz, including the great double winner, Mike Natvig, Class of 63. Perhaps we can think of a way to memorialize our champion by getting a wrestling award named after him.

But Al R. was not the only outstanding wrestler in ’62. Buzzy Kriesel finished fourth at the Easterns as a Cow at 167 lbs. and Dale Kuhns was Eastern runner up at heavyweight as a First Classman. Howitzer lists Denny Benchoff, “Phil Burns”, and “Al McElhose” as additional Army “A” winners. In 1961-62, Al R. and Dale were both undefeated in dual matches.

This strong corps from the Can Do class led the Army wrestling team to records of 6-5 in 1959-60, 7-4 in 1960-61, and 6-4 in 1961-62. Apparently, Leroy Alitz did not believe is patsy schedules as we find Penn State, Syracuse, Springfield, Lehigh, Pittsburgh, and Illinois on the schedules, along with Navy.

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