Jim Ellis’ Comments

Our Army is a team. As General Patton said, “The Army moves as a team, eats as a team, and fights as a team.” The team is more important than any individual. While individuals may perform outstandingly (and we have an awards and promotion system to recognize outstanding performance); it is the success of the team that determines the outcome of the battle and the war. We train cadets at West Point to be outstanding individuals and to work together to accomplish team goals. But mostly we train them to be leaders of teams – Platoon through Theater Army. Patton understood the importance of teams and their accomplishments. I think General Patton would support the efforts on behalf of the ’53 Football Team.

Jim went on to say —

In my last three years on active duty, I was twice President of the
promotion board selecting LTC to COL. This was a very tough selection
because it was the first time that less than half of those eligible
would be selected. The selection rate from Captain to Major was about
75 to 80 % and the rate from Major to LTC was close to 65 %. But the
rate from LTC to Colonel was 40 % or less.

It was made even tougher by the fact that all the candidates were dedicated officers who had put 18 to 21 years into their careers with the attendant disruptions, relocations and dangers associated with our chosen profession.

The Army treated this selection process with extreme care. The promotion board was made up of 20 General Officers from all over the Army, and it met for six weeks. The board make-up was carefully chosen – every major command and line branch was represented (Chaplain, Medical and JAG had their own boards). Also, there were female and minority members.

Fairness and impartiality had to be practiced and outwardly perceived. The guidance was very clear and in two distinct but supporting parts:

Select the best qualified who meet the needs of the Army. Read that
carefully. We couldn’t select just combat arms officers; there were
needs in all branches. And, an Army with large numbers of minority and female troops had a need for upward mobility of minority and female officers.

The Army Athletic Hall of Fame selection committee is facing a similar task. They must select the best qualified who meet the needs of the graduates and current (and future) cadets – all of them. Each sport must be considered – team and individual, male and female. And, they must look at “old timers” as well as more recent candidates. I’m sure the selection committee members are all working under tough pressures.

Comment – in essence what Jim is saying is that the selection committee has a job to do and that job relates directly to the purpose of the Hall Of Fame.


The purpose of the Army Sports Hall of Fame, located within the Kenna Hall of Army Sports, is to honor the athletes, coaches, teams, administrators and others who have brought distinction to Army athletics over its many years of existence. Those team and individual achievements deemed worthy of admittance, based on the established criteria, will be formally recognized with displays in a designated Hall of Fame area of the Kenna Hall of Army Sports, located within the Kimsey Athletic Center.

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