Chapter 132

A Reunion In Danville- June 1950

In 1950, the Chief, now the alumni secretary at Centre, invited all former letter winners to come to a reunion on the campus. There was to be the annual Centre Carnival, the dedication of a new addition to the Boyle-Humphrey Gymnasium, and a special function to honor the old Colonel veterans from the early 1920's teams who were coming back to the scene of so many memories from some 3 decades before.

Red Robertson's brother, Howard, was at the "reunion of Centre lettermen athletes" at the 1950 event

The featured speaker at the Phi Delta Theta banquet and dedication of the gym addition on June 10 was Fred M. Vinson, Centre Class of 1909, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

There were 32 players from Centre's "Golden Years" attending the weekend's events. Of the 28 Colonels who were at Soldiers Field on October 29, 1921 for the Harvard game, 16 were in Danville at the reunion.

Those who were at the 6-0 win are designated with a (*). 

Army Armstrong (*)          Clarence Jones                  Walter Skidmore
George Jones (*)                Terry Snowday (*)            Hump Tanner (*)
Alexander Bush                  Ed Kubale (*)                    Bracken Tate
George Chinn (*)               Hennie Lemon (*)            Case Thomasson (*)
Herb Covington (*)           Herman Lowenthal          Bob Waddell
Ben Cregor (*)                    Howard Lynch                  Red Weaver
Ed Diddle                            George McClure                Lefty Whitnell
Dick Gibson (*)                  Bo McMillin (*)                 Reginald Wilson
Minos Gordy (*)                 Joe Murphy (*)                  
Carl Hilker                          Jim Priest                           John McGee (*)- team manager
Hope Hudgins (*)              Elmer Rabenstein            Chief Myers (*)- athletic director/assistant coach
Bill James (*)                      Marshall Shearer            "Swede" Anderson (*)-team trainer

The attendees ( above ) at the 1950 Colonels' reunion, most of whom who had been at the 1921 Harvard game, and two Walter Camp All-Americans ( lower ) from 1919, Red Weaver and Bo McMillin

Attendees included Johnny McGee, the student manager and "Swede" Anderson, the head trainer during the "Wonder Team" era, who became head coach in 1946-50.

The other trainer and "rubber," Dudley Doneghy, was also there. Dudley had become associated with the team as a 24 year old in 1919, the year that Centre was undefeated and claimed the National Championship. He ended his career in 1955, a year that the Colonels were also undefeated. It was Dudley on whom Uncle Charlie and all of the subsequent coaches relied so heavily. He was a constant over the years. Coaches and players came and went, but Dudley was always there. When he died suddenly on November 28, 1962, Army spoke on behalf of the Centre Board of Trustees and said, "Centre lost a devoted friend. He was always popular with the Centre athletes and other students and was a wonderful person."

Team captains who attended were:

1917 Bracken Tate
1919-20 Bo McMillin
1921 Army Armstrong
1923 Ed Kubale
1924 Herb Covington

Red Roberts, captain of 1922, had tragically been killed in a hotel fire in Middlesboro, Kentucky in 1945.

Walter Skidmore was the captain of the 1925 team and was at the reunion. He was also a valuable team member during 1923-24, having also lettered during those years, and his service as captain of the '25 team deserves mention.

Matty Bell, captain of the 1918 team, was the athletic director at SMU, and sent his regrets. Also sending letters and having to decline the invitation were Bob Mathias, who was on the 1916 and 1917 teams and now president of a Chicago bank, Tom Bartlett, also a bank president, who couldn't get free from his hometown of Owensboro, Ky., and Sully Montgomery, who was in a hot race for sheriff in Fort Worth and wrote that he wasn't able to break away.

Despite all of the accomplishments of the men in attendance who had been members of the Gold and White, the man commanding the most attention was presiding over the smoker, Robert L. "Chief' Myers.

The Colonels stood and told story after story about how the Chief had influenced their lives. It was an evening devoted to pouring out their feelings of admiration, gratitude, and love for their mentor, a man they had always also considered their great friend. Over and over, they gave him credit for helping them in their later lives by instilling the "spirit of Old Centre, and the will to try just a little harder when the going was the hardest."

Bo told the story about when he was in Somerset and so homesick and lovesick that he was going to hop a freight and return to Fort Worth.

"Thad and Red hid my shoes and called the Chief who came down on a train from Danville and talked me into staying and getting my credits. I don't know what I would be doing today if Chief Myers hadn't talked some sense into me. I do know one thingĀ­ everything I have ever done, and everything I have ever become, I owe to the Chief."

George Chinn related how influential the Chief had been in his life and also entertained the crowd with a story about how he had become a Marine rather than being in the Navy.

"The recruiter told me was going to run the 'match test.' He was going to put a lighted match outside of my ear and if he saw light coming out of the other ear, I would be put in the Marines."

"They assigned me to the Marines!"

Many a tribute was also paid to Uncle Charlie who had died just the year before at age 71.

It was Uncle Charlie, a great teacher, who taught them to play "manly football," hard but clean, always representing Centre in a way which would earn the respect of their opponents. A copy of a tribute written the year before was enlarged and placed on an easel at the reunion. 

Earl Ruby, long-time sports editor of the Louisville "Courier-Journal," wrote a moving tribute to "the man who was a dominating influence in American athletics." Ruby used "Uncle Charley" but it was always "Uncle Charlie" and the highway bearing his name is "Charlie Moran Highway." 

The Chief very emotionally closed out the evening by praising each of "my boys."

"You have truly believed, and those beliefs allowed you to achieve your dreams. As I look out upon each of you, I know that your days at Old Centre molded your lives so that you were provided the knowledge and will to succeed, just as we had so much success during those years which are so near and dear in our memories, but now so far away."

I didn't make the 1950 reunion and wished I had. But, I was really busy in my medical practice and simply couldn't take the time. I would have loved to see all of the guys again and particularly hear Chief Myers speak. But Howard, as a former letterman, was there and told me how moving the Chief's comments were.

I kept up with the Chief after he returned to Centre as the Alumni Director in the 1940's.

He was great about sending out cards and I saved some of them.

Card in 1946 to Red Robertson from Chief Myers

The last one I received was in February of 1953. Hennie Lemon and I had heard that he was sick and was a little short of funds so we sent him money. Since he was in a sanatorium, we felt he must have tuberculosis.

Chief Myers, the man who started it all for Centre, the man who had the dream and literally made the Wonder Team possible, died several weeks after I last heard from him.

Grace Lutheran Sanatorium, San Antonia, Texas. 

February 14, 1953

It was "Chief" back in 1912 when Robert L. Myers was given that nickname by his players at Fort Worth's North Side High, and it was still "Chief" some 4 decades later.