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Robert Cantwell
November 30, 1964
The annual Sports Illustrated Silver Anniversary Awards go to 25 college football players of the class of 1940 who achieved distinguished careers through
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November 30, 1964

An Era Shaped By War

The annual Sports Illustrated Silver Anniversary Awards go to 25 college football players of the class of 1940 who achieved distinguished careers through

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Care and treatment of the eyes have been the chief concern of Max Bartley since he gave up his role of fullback for DePauw. For the past nine years he has been chief of the ophthalmology staff at Marion County General Hospital, and is now also head of the same department at St. Vincent's Hospital both in Indianapolis. Through his efforts at General Hospital the eye clinic was modernized and an eye disease diagnosis service established. He teaches at the Indiana School of Medicine and instructs residents in ophthalmology at the university's medical center.

"I can't remember a time when I wasn't set on becoming a doctor," says genial William Bliss—perhaps because his parents so often told him of the dedication of the family physician who saved his life when he had an attack of spinal meningitis. Dr. Bliss, who played end at Iowa State, is now a general surgeon at the McFarland Clinic in Ames, Iowa, which serves that city and surrounding communities, and was a leader in the drive to get the $1.5 million clinic built. He has been chairman of the Iowa State athletic council, and he sometimes serves as physician for his old high school team. " Athletics is my only hobby," he says.

He is, simply, a man of immense courage. At Alabama he was a fine punter and a halfback who also called signals. A captain just before the Battle of the Bulge, he was able to get safely away when his tank was shot out from under him, but he went back to rescue a man trapped inside. He was hit by a shell and blinded. Sent to Valley Forgo Hospital, he tried to learn the games they teach the blind as therapy. He had been a good bowler. Now he was awful. He tried horseback riding, and got knocked to the ground by a low-hanging limb. Finally an instructor got him to try golf, which he had never played, and he found he enjoyed it. In 1946 he was invited to a tournament for blind golfers in Los Angeles and finished second. He got a job with a sporting-goods store in Birmingham, and when Alabama played a spring-practice game for his benefit 30,000 people paid a dollar to watch, thus financing a home for him and his family. He now runs his own insurance firm, and both it and his golf are a success. He has won the National Blind Golf Championship 13 times. He once shot a 78 on a par-71 course, and another time took only 29 putts in 18 holes. In 1957 a newspaper editorial said of a speech he made to high school football players: "Boswell delivered an inspirational address which the youngsters were fortunate to hear, for it is doubtful that they ever again will see a more remarkable example of what a man with a healthy background of athletics can do in the face of prohibitive odds." Such a man can even keep his sense of humor. Asked once about a defeat in a blind tournament, Charley Boswell said, "Maybe my opponent peeked."

When he was a tackle on the national championship Texas Aggies, his teammates called him Boo Hoo Boyd because his temper was so short he sometimes would burst into tears of frustration during a game. He not only could outplay much of his team, it was generally conceded that he could outfight, outdrink and outswear everybody on it. "I was," he says, "pretty fast and pretty wild." The son of a Baptist minister, he was years slowing down, but in 1948 he enrolled at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and went on to get a master's degree in theology. He has been preaching ever since. An evangelist, he prefers to work under a tent, but this summer he established a permanent church in Houston. He still calls it a tent, but it is actually an aluminum Quonset hut. "My type of evangelism draws the fellow that needs it," he says, "the one who shies away from a fancy church with ornate fixtures. When I tell those old Aggies I'm preaching," Joe Boyd adds with delight, "their eyeballs roll and their false teeth fall out."

Turning down numerous scholarship offers from other schools, John Dickinson went to Pittsburgh to play right end for a coach he much admired, Jock Sutherland. Against Duke in 1939 he made a play the coach understandably admired, catching what amounted to a $100,000 lateral pass. Dickinson recalls George McAfee of Duke coming around end on a reverse. "I stayed outside," says Dickinson, "and McAfee cut inside of me. I couldn't get to him, but I yelled, 'Hey!' Pitt was wearing white jerseys, the color Duke usually wore, and I think that confused him. He lateraled the ball right to me, and I ran it 70 yards the other way. We scored, and won 14-13." Duke was thus deprived of a trip to the Rose Bowl—a trip worth $100,000. Dickinson graduated from medical school at Pitt and became a specialist in ear and throat surgery. Now a department chairman at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, he set up the first clinical bone bank in the nation, pioneered work in new types of ear operations and founded a clinic for deaf children, using his own funds to start it.

Gifted with an extraordinary memory, Howard Ector is said to know more Georgia citizens on a first-name basis than any other businessman in the state. One of the deftest quarterbacks in his school's history (in a game against Missouri in the Orange Bowl he was tackled on 32 plays although he actually carried the ball only 11 times), he became a coast artillery officer and, later in the war, a bomber pilot, then returned to Tech to handle the delicate job of distributing season tickets to alumni. He is now an estate planner with the Trust Company of Georgia and involved in many Atlanta civic activities. "I learned one great lesson when I was handling tickets at Tech," Ector says. "We never had enough to meet the demand. I went to work every morning knowing there was no solution to the problem facing me. I learned the only way to do business was to be consistent in all my actions."

Robert Good got a good deal out of Lehigh. He won Phi Beta Kappa honors there, earned his Master of Science and his doctor's degree there and learned there that a strong, athletically minded man could find himself working as both a varsity tackle and a varsity fullback. He was a submariner during the war, and since then has been involved in a career of scientific research that has ranged from the production of gold leaf on Bibles to helping du Pont uncover impurities in nylon, where "a break in the miles of thread is a disaster." He also has written a handbook on proximity fuses for shells. Now living in Swarthmore, Pa. and employed at General Electric's Space Sciences Laboratories, he is developing techniques for testing space-vehicle materials.

For three years he was a tailback at Tufts, and he likes to remember football as a game uncomplicated by split T formations and blitzing linebackers. He scored two touchdowns and passed for a third in one impressive win over Massachusetts but relishes most the four extra points he kicked that day, because he had never even tried one before. Griffin became a squadron commander of the 5th Air Sea Rescue Unit during the war, a pilot for Eastern Air Lines and a training consultant to the Department of the Air Force. Three years ago he was named vice-president and treasurer of the National Educational Television and Radio Center, which he describes as "not a series of classroom presentations but a growing cultural force." The New York organization is programming headquarters for nearly 90 educational television stations. He has developed considerable distaste for the self-important. "I like to remind myself," he says, "of the time I was flying a DC-4 from New York to Miami. About halfway along I walked back to talk to the passengers. It was soon after the war, and we pilots felt like pretty hot stuff. As I was striding down the aisle an elderly man touched my arm and asked, 'Driver, where are we?' I never forgot that, and never intend to."

As one of football's first roving linebackers, Center Howard Grimes made the Liberty Magazine All-America team, but he was shocked nonetheless when Tim Mara of the New York Giants offered him a professional contract calling for $125 a game. It was "a tremendous amount of money in those days," he recalls, but he passed it up for a $100-a-month job with the Aetna Life Insurance Co. in Hartford, Conn. He felt there was a more stable future in insurance, and he must have been right; he would not still be playing football with the Giants, but he is still with Aetna. An Army pilot during the war, he settled in Wellesley, Mass. and is now the northeast manager of Aetna's Affiliated Companies' Group and Pension Department. He is engaged in a multitude of community affairs, including service as president of Wellesley's nationally known mental health organization.

In football Albin F. Irzyk played quarterback. He made up for his slight size (5 feet 8, 149 pounds) by aggressiveness, and the bigger the foe he hit, the more he glowed. The son of Polish immigrants, he worked his way through school by holding numerous jobs and "sleeping very little." He joined the Army immediately after graduation, earned a battlefield promotion to lieutenant colonel at 28 and received many medals—including the DSC and two Croix de Guerre—mainly for his exploits as a commander of tanks in General George Patton's Third Army, where his feats earned him the nickname "Risky." Now stationed at NATO headquarters in France, General Irzyk remains a formidable figure. He does not drink, smoke or enjoy small talk. "I am not," he says, "an amusing man." But he is—as ever—a competitive man, one who savors combat, be it on a football field or the battlefield.

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