Dominate Athlete of the Early 60’s
He came to West Point from the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania and, during four years as a cadet, set the standard for athletic prowess and physical development. He was recognized as an All-American in two major Academy sports and earned both the Army Athletic Association Award for most valuable service to athletics during his career as a cadet and the 306th Infantry Award, presented in the name of the late Walter B. Tunick, for excellence in physical education. He put his stamp on cadet physical development during 10 years in the USMA Department of Physical Education, the last six as Deputy Head of the Department. This latter period was marked by unprecedented improvement in cooperation among the Dean, Commandant, and Director of Athletics and such initiatives as the Master Fitness Trainer program and realignment of responsibility for competitive cadet clubs. He conceived of and designed the ’62 Room in the Cadet Gymnasium, lauded by three Superintendents as the finest class gifts of their tenures. During this period, he received a President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Award.
Al up the Middle, #31, Army Football All American
He was a three-year starter in football in an era of shorter careers and seasons, one-platoon football, and competition against the likes of Nebraska, Penn State, and Michigan. Running from the fullback position, he led the team in scoring and rushing two years and graduated seventh in career yards rushing. He was selected by the American Football Coaches Association as an All-American in 1961. He was inducted into the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 2002. He played on offense and defense in the 1962 East-West College All Star game in Buffalo, NY, on June 29, 1962.
Induction into The Army Sports Hall of Fame
62 Captain, 177 Pounds, Army All American Wrestler
Doug Blubaugh Army Assistant Wrestling Coach had this say about Al – – “If it were not for Al Rushatz I would never have won my Olypmic Gold Medal”. When Al was a Plebe & Yearling, Doug practiced against him daily. Doug also stated “Al would have been a National Champion if he had not torn up his knee”
Within days after the Navy football game, he would drop from his 195 pounds football weight to begin the wrestling season at 177 pounds. In three years, he lost but once in dual meets. He was the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association champion at 177 pounds in 1960. He became Army’s second wrestling All-American with his third place finish in the 1960 NCAA tournament. He was an inspirational team captain First Class Year, drawing fans to matches just to see him compete, while battling crippling injuries.
Unlike most athletic programs, Army’s is effective in supporting the purpose of the institution: the development of leaders of character for careers in the armed forces. This man embodies that concept. He was a hero to his classmates and a role model for all four cadet classes. Nearly every day during his 4 years he either practiced or competed. At graduation he had earned 6 Army A’s and 3 Gold Stars.
The above is the Nomination Letter written by Dave Phillips, below is what Dave’s Nomination Letter accomplished – the recognition Al deserves
The last entry under Credits is the dedication of this site to Al.
Al’s contribution to the Football & Wrestling Teams are addressed at
#31 Surrounded by Middies
The Plaque Given by the Class of 62 – West Point Wrestling Locker Room
Start of 59 Season
One little known fact is that Al played the entire 60 minutes against Syracuse in the 1960 game at Yankee Stadium. I still to this day have fixed in my mind Al coming around right end toward us, getting tripped up at the line, going near horizontal, dropping his free hand to the ground, regaining his balance — off running down the side line.
At his Induction into West Point’s Hall of Fame, he thanked his blockers Bill, Barry and Mike (Center, and 2 Guards – as most of his runs were right up the Gut); mentioning that we had lost all 3 – bill & Mike our Captain – Vietnam and Barry in a car accident.
Army 9 – Syracuse 6
Ernie Davis was to play along side Jim Brown with the Cleveland Browns in 1962. Al was with Ernie for a couple of days at the 1962 East-West College All Star game in Buffalo, NY, on June 29, 1962. Ernie never played in the Game and died shortly thereafter. Al played both offense and defense. He might not played as much if Ernie Davis had not been diagnosed with Leukemia.