This Day in College Football History – April 19th

Doc Blanchard (December 11, 1924 – April 19, 2009) is best known as the college football player who became the first ever junior to win the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and was the first ever football player to win the James E. Sullivan Award, all in 1945. He played football for the United States Military Academy at West Point. Because his father was a doctor, Felix Blanchard was nicknamed “Little Doc” as a boy. After football, he served in the United States Air Force from 1947 until 1971 when he retired with the rank of Colonel. Blanchard was born on December 11, 1924 in McColl, South Carolina His father was a doctor and had played college football at Tulane University and Wake Forest University. The Blanchards moved from McColl, South Carolina to Dexter, Iowa in 1929. The Blanchards then moved to Bishopville, South Carolina two years later. Blanchard, nicknamed “Little Doc” due to his father’s occupation, attended high school at Saint Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. He led the school’s football team, the Rockachaws, to an undefeated season during his senior year in 1941. Blanchard was recruited to play college football by Army, Fordham University and the University of Notre Dame, among others. Blanchard said in 1985 that he had been contacted about going to West Point when he was in high school. He said, “At that point in time, I really wasn’t interested. Academically, I never was too hot, so I never had any idea I would pass the entrance examination and go to West Point.” Instead, Blanchard chose to play for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, in part because its coach, Jim Tatum, was his mother’s cousin. Because NCAA rules at the time did not allow freshmen to play varsity, Blanchard played with the freshman team.

 

Blanchard decided to enlist in the United States Army in 1943. He was stationed in New Mexico with a chemical-warfare unit until enrolling at West Point in July 1944 in an appointment his father secured.During his three years of playing football at West Point, his team under coach Earl “Red” Blaik compiled an undefeated 27–0–1 record – the tie being a famous 0–0 game against Notre Dame. Notre Dame coach Edward McKeever was amazed by Blanchard. After his 1944 team lost to Army by a score of 59–0, McKeever said, “I’ve just seen Superman in the flesh. He wears number 35 and goes by the name of Blanchard.” An all-around athlete, Blanchard served as the placekicker and punter in addition to his primary roles as an offensive fullback and a linebacker on defense. He soon teamed with Glenn Davis on the 1944-45-46 teams (Davis won the Heisman in 1946, the year after Blanchard won it). They formed one of the most lethal rushing combinations in football history. In his three seasons at West Point Blanchard scored 38 touchdowns, gained 1,908 yards and earned the nickname “Mr. Inside.” Teammate Davis earned the nickname “Mr. Outside” and in November 1945, they both shared the cover of Time magazine. In 1945, Blanchard played against Leon Bramlett of the Naval Academy. Army won the match, 32-13. Both Blanchard and Bramlett, later a farmer and politician from Clarksdale, were inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

 

In 1984, at the awards ceremony marking the 50th Heisman Trophy presentation, Blanchard took the occasion to recall, in comparison to the big glitzy shows for the ceremony today, how he learned of his Heisman selection in 1945. He said, “I got a telegram. It said, ‘You’ve been selected to win the Heisman Trophy. Please wire collect.’” In 1946, Blanchard missed the first two games of the season due to an injury to his knee. In June 1946 his class was divided into two classes (1947 and 1948) to transition back to a peacetime four-year curriculum from the wartime three-year curriculum instituted in October 1942. Both Blanchard and Davis were placed in the final three-year group, the Class of 1947 (Davis had entered West Point in July 1943 but was turned back a year in 1944 for a deficiency in mathematics). In addition to football, Blanchard was also a member of the Army track and field team, with a shot put championship and a 10-second 100 yard dash in 1945. In 1947, Blanchard graduated from West Point, 296th in order of merit among 310 graduates, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He coached Army’s freshman team in the 1950s, but he never played professional football, choosing a military career instead.

 

Blanchard had the opportunity to play professional football after being selected third overall in the 1946 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. After he was turned down in 1947 for a furlough to play with the NFL, Blanchard then chose to embark upon a career in the United States Air Force and became a fighter pilot. In 1959, while with the 77th Tactical Fighter Squadron and flying back to his base at RAF Wethersfield near London, an oil line in Major Blanchard’s F-100 Super Sabre broke and a fire broke out. He could have parachuted to safety, but the plane might have crashed into a village. He instead stayed with the plane and made a perfect landing. The event garnered him an Air Force commendation for bravery. In the Vietnam War, Blanchard flew 113 missions from Thailand, 84 of them over North Vietnam. He piloted a fighter-bomber during a one-year tour of duty that ended in January 1969. He retired from the Air Force in 1971 as a colonel. After retiring from the Air Force, he spent several more years as the commandant of cadets at the New Mexico Military Institute, a junior college that prepares students to enter the service academies.

 

Blanchard died of pneumonia on April 19, 2009 in Bulverde, Texas. He had been living with his daughter Mary and her husband Aaron for the last 20 years of his life. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living Heisman Trophy winner. He is interred at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas. Blanchard was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959. At a 1991 ceremony, he presented his Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and James E. Sullivan Award to his—and his father’s—former high school alma mater, Saint Stanislaus College prep school, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. He also presented his jersey to the school. The trophy, awards and jersey were enshrined in the Brother Alexis Memorial Resource Center on the Saint Stanislaus campus until they were briefly lost to flooding during Hurricane Katrina. The items have since been recovered. In Blanchard’s honor, the Interstate 20 / U.S. Route 15 interchange near his hometown of Bishopville, South Carolina has been named the Felix “Doc” Blanchard Interchange. Beginning in 2004 the Rotary presents the Doc Blanchard Award as well as the Glenn Davis Award to the two high school football players participating in the U.S. Army All American Bowl who best exemplify the U.S. Army’s high standard of excellence in community service, education and athletic distinction. The Doc Blanchard Award is given to a player from the Bowl’s East team, while the Davis Award is given to a player from the Bowl’s West team. The first recipient of the Doc Blanchard Award was Ryan Baker. West Point announced in April 2009, before Blanchard’s death, that Blanchard’s number 35 would be retired, and it was on October 10 during a home game against Vanderbilt.

Jack  Pardee (April 19, 1936 – April 1, 2013) was a linebacker and the only head coach to helm a team in college football, the National Football League, the United States Football League, the World Football League, and the Canadian Football League. Pardee was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1986. As a teenager, Pardee moved to Christoval, Texas, where he excelled as a member of the six-man football team. He was an All-American linebacker at Texas A&M University and a two-time All-Pro with the Los Angeles Rams (1963) and the Washington Redskins (1971). He was one of the few six-man players to ever make it to the NFL, and his knowledge of that wide-open game would serve him well as a coach. Pardee was one of the famed Junction Boys, the 1954 Texas A&M preseason camp held in Junction, Texas, by football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He was part of the 35 left from the approximately 100 players who went to Junction. After completing college at Texas A&M, Pardee was the 14th overall pick when he was drafted in the second round by the Los Angeles Rams as a linebacker. Pardee played for the Rams from 1957 to 1970, sitting out the 1965 season while battling melanoma. In 1971, Pardee joined the Washington Redskins, ending his playing career there in 1973.

When the World Football League started in 1974, Pardee got his first head coaching job with the Washington Ambassadors. The team would later relocate to Norfolk, Virginia, and become the Virginia Ambassadors before finally moving to their third and final home as the Florida Blazers. The Blazers, based in Orlando, made it all the way to the 1974 World Bowl and lost by one point to the Birmingham Americans. Pardee’s regular-season coaching record in 1974 with the Blazers was 14–6, and 2–1 in the 1974 WFL Playoffs and World Bowl. This was all the more remarkable considering that the Blazers went unpaid for the last three months of the season. Some of the Blazers players relocated to San Antonio as the Wings for the 1975 season, and Pardee would move on, too, signing on as head coach of the Chicago Bears for the 1975 season.

In 1975, Pardee was hired by the Chicago Bears as head coach. He spent the next three years there, leading Chicago to their first playoff berth in 14 years in 1977, before moving on to the Washington Redskins. In 1979, he led the Redskins to within one game of making the playoffs, but in the season’s final week, they blew a 13-point lead to the eventual NFC East champions Dallas Cowboys and missed the playoffs. He was fired after going 6-10 in 1980. In 1981, he was hired as assistant head coach in charge of defense for the San Diego Chargers.

In 1984, Pardee returned to his native Texas by becoming the head coach of the Houston Gamblers. The Gamblers played spring football in the United States Football League. The Gamblers had one of the most potent offenses in pro football, the run and shoot offense, with Jim Kelly as quarterback. The Gamblers merged with the New Jersey Generals in 1986, and Pardee was named head coach. With Kelly and Doug Flutie both vying for the role of starting quarterback, and Herschel Walker in the backfield, the Generals were poised to dominate the USFL. But the league’s attempted move to a fall schedule (at the behest of the Generals’ owner, Donald Trump), ruined any chance of that. Pardee’s combined USFL coaching record was 23-15. There would be no 1986 season, and the Generals, despite Trump’s best efforts, disbanded with the rest of the league.

Pardee returned to Houston in 1987 as head coach at the University of Houston. During his three-year stint, the Cougars, using the same offense he coached in the USFL, produced the first-ever African American quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy, Andre Ware. His team also became the first major college team in NCAA history to have over 1,000 total offensive yards in a single game, raking up 1,021 yards while beating SMU, 95–21.  Not long after Pardee’s arrival, however, Houston was slapped with crippling NCAA sanctions due to numerous major violations under his predecessor, Bill Yeoman. Among them, the Cougars were banned from bowl games in 1989 and 1990 and kicked off live television in 1989. As a result, most of the nation never got a chance to see the Cougars set numerous offensive records during the 1989 season.

In 1990, Pardee packed up the run and shoot offense and moved across town, and back to the NFL, by joining the Houston Oilers. He spent five years coaching a team which made the playoffs each of his first four years there, led by Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon. After starting the 1994 season 1–9, Pardee resigned. He continued his coaching career in the Canadian Football League. In 1995, he was named head coach of the Birmingham Barracudas. Canadian football is somewhat more wide-open than American football, and owner Art Williams thought Pardee’s roots in the six-man game made him a natural fit. The “Cudas” were part of a failed experiment to expand the CFL into the United States. With Matt Dunigan at quarterback, Birmingham made the playoffs, but lost in the first round. However, due to dreadful attendance late in the season, the ‘Cudas were shuttered at the end of the season along with the CFL’s other American teams. In December 2007, Pardee, then 71, was contacted by athletic director Dave Maggard about the vacant head coaching job at the University of Houston. Signaling interest, he made it as far as a finalist for the position, but the school moved forward with Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Kevin Sumlin.

Pardee was married for 50 years to Phyllis Lane Perryman and had five children and 12 grandchildren. Pardee’s youngest son, Ted, is the color commentator for the Houston Cougars football radio broadcasts. In November 2012, Pardee was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer and it was reported by his family that he only had six to nine more months to live, The cancer spread to other organs and Pardee moved to a Denver hospice.  Pardee died April 1, 2013, two and a half weeks before his 77th birthday. The family has established a memorial scholarship fund in Pardee’s name at the University of Houston. He is survived by his wife Phyllis, five children, and 12 grandchildren.

Marchy Schwartz (March 20, 1909 – April 18, 1991) was a football player and coach. He played college football at the University of Notre Dame from 1929 to 1931, and was a two-time All-American at halfback. Schwartz served as the head football coach at Creighton University from 1935 to 1939 and at Stanford University from 1942 to 1950, compiling a career college football coaching record of 47–50–6; Stanford, like may other universities, suspended football during World War II. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1974. Schwartz was of Jewish heritage, and was a graduate of Saint Stanislaus College prep school in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. From 1929 to 1930, he led Notre Dame, coached by Knute Rockne, to a 19–0 record and consecutive national championships. In a game against Carnegie Tech in 1931, he rushed for 188 yards, including touchdown runs of 58 and 60 yards. Schwartz served as an assistant football coach at Notre Dame from 1932 to 1933 under Heartley Anderson, and at the University of Chicago in 1934 under Clark Shaughnessy. In 1940, Shaughnessy hired Schwartz as Stanford’s backfield coach. He helped coach the 1940 “Wow Boys” that recorded a perfect season and won the 1941 Rose Bowl. Schwartz died on April 18, 1991 in Danville, California, aged 82.

 

Keith Jackson (born April 19, 1965) is a former tight end who played for the Philadelphia Eagles (1988–1991), Miami Dolphins (1992–1994), and Green Bay Packers (1995–1996).  Jackson was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. He attended Little Rock Parkview High School and garnered All-State team honors on offense (tight end) and defense (safety). He was named to the 1983 PARADE All-American Team. In 2011, PARADE named Jackson to the Top PARADE All-America High School Football Players of All Time. Jackson played for the University of Oklahoma from 1984 to 1987, where he was nicknamed “Boomer Sooner”. He assisted the Sooners to a 42-5-1 record in his four seasons and a national championship in 1985. He caught a total of 62 passes for 1,407 yards, at an average of 23.7 yards per catch, and was a College Football All-America Team selection in 1986 and 1987. In the 1986 Orange Bowl, the national championship, Jackson caught a 71-yard pass from Jamelle Holieway for a touchdown, which would be the first of his two touchdowns in the Sooners’ victory over Penn State. Jackson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001. He was later voted Offensive Player of the Century at OU. He is also a member of Omega Psi Phi.

After being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1988, Jackson recorded 81 receptions for 869 yards, and 6 touchdowns in his first season, along with seven catches for 142 yards in the Eagles’ only playoff game that year, and won the NFC Rookie of the Year award. The Eagles team record of 869 receiving yards in Jackson’s rookie season was broken by DeSean Jackson in 2008, who also became the first rookie since Keith Jackson to lead the team in receptions. The two are not related. In his nine seasons, Jackson made the Pro Bowl six times (1988–1990, 1992–1993, 1996). In his final season, Jackson made 40 receptions for 505 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns, assisting the Green Bay Packers to a 13-3 record and a win in Super Bowl XXXI. Jackson finished his career with 441 receptions for 5,283 yards and 49 touchdowns. During his career every time he had a highlight on NFL Primetime ESPN anchor Chris Berman would make reference to his famous name by imitating the voice of sports broadcaster Keith Jackson.

Jackson is currently a color commentator on radio broadcasts for the Arkansas Razorbacks. His son, Keith Jackson, Jr., played defensive line at Arkansas and was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the 2007 NFL Draft. Jackson is not related to the ABC sportscaster of the same name. In November 2012, Jackson was named as a 2013 recipient of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, presented each year to six distinguished former college student-athletes on the 25th anniversary of the completion of their college sports careers.

Bob Dove (February 21, 1921 – April 19, 2006) served as an All-America end at the University of Notre Dame and went on to play for eight seasons in the National Football League. Following his retirement as a professional player, Dove embarked on a 37-year coaching career at the professional and collegiate levels. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. Dove was born in Youngstown, Ohio, United States, a steel-production center located near the Pennsylvania border. Dove was a three-year starter at the city’s South High School from 1936–38; and he was selected as an all-city player by the Youngstown Vindicator (the local daily paper) in his final year. Dove went on to greater athletic feats at the University of Notre Dame, where he was a three-year starter at end from 1940-42. He was a consensus All-American in his final two seasons. As a freshman in 1939, he caught 15 passes for 87 yards. Dove then became the first sophomore to start for the Notre Dame “Fighting Irish” in 11 seasons. He received the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy in 1942 as the top lineman in the country and also played in the East-West Shrine All-Star Game. During his three seasons as a starter, Dove helped the Irish to a 22-4-3 record, including an undefeated (8-0-1) campaign in the first season of legendary coach Frank Leahy. In 1948, Dove joined the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals, where he played for five seasons. In 1953, he was traded to the Detroit Lions and played on their 1953 and 1954 championship teams. He retired in 1955.

Dove was an assistant coach at the University of Detroit from 1955–57, and then became an assistant for the Lions in 1958-59, and for the Buffalo Bills in 1960-61. He was head coach at Hiram College for seven seasons. He joined the Youngstown State University staff in 1969, where he served as assistant under four coaches, including Jim Tressel. In 1987, Dove was named coach emeritus and served in that position through the 1991 Division I-AA national championship season. Following a long illness, Dove died in Canfield, Ohio on April 19, 2006. His funeral was held at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in Canfield. Beyond his 2002 induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, Dove was also a second-team selection on Street & Smith’s All-Time Dream Team, which covered players from the first 50 years of its publication (1941–1990). Dove was chosen at defensive end on the second team, ranked behind Ted Hendricks of Miami and Hugh Green of Pittsburgh, and alongside Bubba Smith of Michigan State. Earlier, in 1975, Dove was one of 10 players inducted into the Citizens Savings Hall of Fame in Los Angeles. The other nine players were Ron Beagle, Navy; Chuck Bednarik, Pennsylvania: Carl Diehl, Dartmouth; Bill Fisher, Notre Dame; Leroy Keyes, Purdue; Tommy Nobis, Texas; Greg Pruitt, Oklahoma; Joe Romig, Colorado; and Charles “Bubba” Smith, Michigan State.

 

 

 

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