9 Army A’s — Football, Baseball and Hockey — earning one in every season of the 3 years he was eligible to play. Ralph was an All American Guard in 1954. He was also the Captain of the 1955 – 1956 Hockey Team.
He played in the 1955 North – South Game.
At Graduation he received the AAA (The Triple A) Award for rendering the most valuable service to athletics during his Cadet Years.
Ralph receiving the Triple A Award on 2 June 1956 from Lt. General Bryan Superintendant USMA
In 2009 Ralph was selected for the Army Sports Hall of Fame
Chesnauskas, a 1956 graduate, won the prestigious AAA Award following a stellar career that included nine letters, three each in football, hockey and baseball.
On the gridiron, Chesnauskas was a guard who earned first-team All-American honors in 1954, was selected to participate in the 1955 North-South Shrine Game and was a part of 18 victories.
Chesnauskas, who served as hockey team captain as a senior, netted seven points off of four goals and three assists and was part of 29 wins as a standout defenseman for Hall of Fame coach Jack Riley.
Ralph and Rockey Marciano, Heavy Weight Champion of the World 1952 – 1956.
Ralph 63 next to Col Blaik 1954 Army South Carolina Game.
Col Blaik telling Ralph to stay at West Point
3 Army A’s in Baseball.
Ralph is #12
(Front L-R) Oats, Ofgant, McCormank, Harvy, O’Connor, Sturgis — (Standing) Boudreau, Chesnauskas, Hickey, and Coach Riley.
55-56 Team — Ralph Chesnauskas – Brockton, Mass; Edward Hickey – Boston, Mass; John Evans – Baltimore , Md; Pat Mellin – St Paul, Minn; James Dunn – Albany, NY
Coach Riley’s son 4 1/2 year old Jay.
The Duke Game.
January 18, 1981 North Shore News Paper page 25 (Note there is an error – Pete Dawkins did not earn 9 Army A’s)
By JOHN GARNER, Jr.
September 11, 2009
When former three-sport standout Ralph Chesnauskas proudly walks to the podium tonight for his induction into the U.S. Military Academy Sports Hall of Fame, it will open a vault full of cherished memories.
Chesnauskas, a 1956 West Point graduate, enjoyed a star-studded collegiate experience that included nine letters — three each in football, hockey and baseball. He will put an exclamation point on a playing career that occurred over 50 years ago.
“I was honored to get the call from Army AD Kevin Anderson that I’ve been selected to the Army Hall of Fame,” said Chesnauskas, a full-time resident of Cummaquid. “During my time at West Point, there were many lessons to be learned that came in useful later on in life.”
In the fall, Chesnauskas was a two-way player at guard and defensive tackle, earned first-team All-American honors in 1954, was selected to the 1955 North-South Shrine Game and was an integral part of 18 victories and three national Top 20 rankings.
The rugged 6-0, 207-pound Brockton native played for legendary Col. Earl “Red” Blaik, head coach at Army from 1941-58, who posted a 121-32-10 record and won national championships in 1944-45, led by Heisman Trophy winners Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard.
Blanchard, nicknamed “Mr. Inside” during his playing days, was one of Army’s assistant coaches in the early and mid-1950’s, along with future LSU coach Paul Dietzel, 1947 Outland Trophy winner Joe Steffy and Vince Lombardi, who captured five NFL titles and the Super Bowls I and II as head coach of the Green Bay Packers.
“Coach Blaik was a great strategist, but was aloof and very low key — he almost never hollered at his players,” Chesnauskas said. “But Coach Lombardi was just the opposite — he was always yelling and screaming and was a gregarious person.”
Army recovered from an honor code scandal in 1951 that saw many frontline players dismissed from the squad and the Academy. But after records of 2-7 and 4-4-1, the Cadets posted winning seasons of 7-1-1, 7-2 and 6-3 against the likes of Michigan, Syracuse, Penn State, Tulane, Yale, Dartmouth, Navy and previously undefeated Duke during Chesnauskas’ tenure.
After playing on the interior his first three seasons, Chesnauskas moved to tackle and end in 1955 after talented southpaw Don Holleder switched from end to quarterback. Holleder was later killed in 1967 during the Vietnam War.
A classmate of General Norman Schwarzkopf, Chesnauskas served as hockey team captain as a senior, scored four goals and three assists and was part of 29 wins as a standout defenseman for Hall of Fame and 1960 Olympic Gold Medal coach Jack Riley, who lives in Marstons Mills.
“When he arrived at West Point, he couldn’t even skate,” said the charismatic Riley, who will be on hand to see his former player inducted. “By his senior year he became captain and a pretty good defenseman who would hit anything that moved on the ice.”
During his three-year baseball career as an outfielder, the Cadets won 30 games, including a victory against Navy.
After a rough start academically, Ralph became a Dean’s List student and Academic All-American his senior year and became friends with Army halfback Pete Dawkins, who would capture the 1958 Heisman Trophy,
Upon graduation from West Point, Chesnauskas went to tank training at Fort Knox and jump school at Fort Benning, before being stationed in West Germany until his honorable discharge from the Army in 1959.
He worked at Gillette for 38 years, where he became vice president of engineering. After living in Peabody for 35 years and summering in Marstons Mills since 1980, he moved to Cummaquid full-time with his wife seven years ago. He works outside in their garden, splits and cuts wood and is just seven pounds over his playing weight a half-century ago at West Point.
In addition to Chesnauskas, the Army Hall of Fame Class of 2009 includes current Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, Bill Carpenter, Tracy Hanlon, Ray Murphy, Nicki Robbins, Jack Rust and Thomas Truxtun.
They will all be recognized during Army’s football game against Duke tomorrow at Michie Stadium — right on the field not surprisingly named after Coach Blaik.
John Garner Jr. can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.