Tuesdays with Tony: Col. Lackey Chats About The Citadel-Furman Rivalry

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Col. Tony Lackey ’61 has been around Citadel Athletics since the mid-1950s and provides a weekly blog on some of the sports highlights that he recalls.

By Col. Tony Lackey ‘61

As told to Andy Solomon

The Citadel and Furman have met 91 times previously, with the Paladins holding 57-31-3 all-time series edge

The Citadel and Furman have met 91 times previously, with the Paladins holding 57-31-3 all-time series edge

The Citadel certainly possesses several football rivals and many point to VMI and Furman as our primary ones.  I concur, but dearly love playing against the Paladins because of the in-state location.

There was a time we played Furman regularly in the last game of the season and it was usually our Homecoming game, and in 1973 – Coach Bobby Ross’s first year – such was almost the case although we hosted and lost to Davidson a week later.  The Paladins, our Homecoming opponent that year, came into Johnson Hagood Stadium on Nov. 10.  Furman arrived undefeated, and we were much better than our final 3-8 overall mark (1-6 in the Southern Conference).

Coach Ross and Furman coach Art Baker – who would later coach the Bulldogs from 1978-82 – were both good friends and football rivals.  With their competitiveness, they used to battle each other on the tennis courts during the old Southern Conference Football Rousers and would end up facing each other in the finals.  Marathon battles, as I recall, and I believe that Coach Ross won more.

Bobby Ross started his illustrious head coaching career in Charleston, leading the Bulldog football team from 1973-77.

Bobby Ross started his illustrious head coaching career in Charleston, leading the Bulldog football team from 1973-77.

The coaches’ aggressive personalities possibly carried over to the Corps of Cadets and several Cadets labeled themselves “Furman Raiders.” These guys invaded the Furman campus in the middle of the week and they got caught.  For their failed efforts, they received 60 demerits and 120 tours (and were fortunate to get only that).

Furman, as I said, was undefeated and featured a terrific quarterback in David Whitehurst, who later played for the Green Bay Packers.  Whitehurst’s son played at Clemson and later in the NFL.

We had very little depth and, as it often occurs, we were banged up with injuries.  But we had Andrew Johnson, truly one of the most gifted running backs I’ve ever seen.

As the football team’s TAC Officer at the time, I was on the field for pregame warm-ups and I recall that two Furman assistant coaches approached Coach Ross after our warm-ups and asked if the Paladins could wear their purple jerseys (they were supposed to have worn white as we were in blue).

Coach Ross told the assistant coaches, in essence, that “You can wear skirts, if you want.”  (Furman ended up wearing their white jerseys.)

Several players overheard the conversation, had a laugh, but it kind of inspired them.

Furman kicked off and we had a return to about the 40-yard line or so.  On the first play from scrimmage – or maybe the second – Johnson ran about 60 yards for a touchdown and Johnson Hagood Stadium went crazy.  I think he finished with three touchdowns on the day.

We took an early lead but Furman came back strong to tie it up.  Again, Johnson was dynamic and finished with 172 yards on the game as we ended with an unexpected 26-21 upset victory.

With it being Homecoming and playing Furman, the stadium erupted after the cannon blasted for the final time.

I remember that The State newspaper’s Herman Helms was at the game and he was so impressed with Johnson that he referred to the future Hall of Famer as “a little Jim Brown,” as in the Cleveland Browns’ dominating rusher.

Every time I think of Andrew Johnson, I also think of Coach Rusty Hamilton, who recruited Johnson out of Savannah, but that is also another story for another day.

Not only did I believe that it was one of the best wins in the terrific Citadel-Furman rivalry, but I remember that Gen. (George) Seignious, who was our president then, called it a “very special win.”

Again, I was glad that we played Furman on Homecoming, and happier that we won.  But Andrew Johnson once again stole the show.

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Bulldog Basketball Looks to Make History in 2013-14

Citadel Huddle

The Citadel basketball team has played 1,811 games since the date of the first NCAA tournament game and none of those have taken place in the Big Dance. The only appearance the Cadets have made in postseason play came in March 2010 when they faced Old Dominion in the CollegeInsider.com tournament.

The Oregon Emerald celebrates the hometown university's 1939 NCAA basketball championship.

The Oregon Emerald celebrates the hometown university’s 1939 NCAA basketball championship.

A total of eight teams played in that initial tournament in 1939 with Oregon emerging as the first-ever NCAA men’s basketball champion by defeating Ohio State 46-33 at Northwestern’s Patten Gymnasium. In the 75 years that have followed, just about every school that played Division I basketball in 1939 has appeared in the NCAA tournament.

The Citadel is one of those five as the Bulldogs enter the 2013-14 season still seeking its first appearance in the Big Dance. Ironically, the host school for that first tournament in 1939 – Northwestern – is also on the list along with William & Mary, Army and St. Francis (N.Y.).

An interesting footnote to the unlucky five is that Army chose to take its 20-5 record and participate in the 1968 NIT rather than the NCAA tournament.

Patten Gymnasium on the campus of Northwestern University, was the site of the first NCAA Basketball Championship

Patten Gymnasium, on the campus of Northwestern University, was the site of the first NCAA Basketball Championship

When The Citadel reaches an NCAA tournament, it will prove to be a small victory for Northwestern graduate and Citadel Media Relations Director Mike Hoffman. Hoffman would have the opportunity to knock this off his “sports bucket list” as neither his alma mater nor his employer has earned a berth in the Big Dance.

The Bulldogs have embraced their quest for the first NCAA tournament bid in program history by focusing on attitude, commitment, integrity and relationship as part of a four-step credo.

One of the ways The Citadel is making a commitment to this journey begins in August when the Bulldogs are set to compete in a five-day trek through Canada. During the visit with our neighbors to the north, The Citadel will twice take on the University of Windsor (Aug. 19-20) among its opposition.

“The trip to Canada this season is just one of the many ways we are trying to get an edge in order to help us reach our goal of getting into the NCAA tournament,” said head coach Chuck Driesell. “This is going to be an exciting and successful trip for our players and program as we make strides towards this goal.”

 Jon Cole

– Associate Director of Media Relations –

Some Midweek Knowledge on The Citadel’s Massive Bulldog Monument

Michael Hamby, a retired pro football player with the Buffalo Bills, created the bulldog monument.

Michael Hamby, a retired pro football player with the Buffalo Bills, created the bulldog monument.

It first appeared prior to the football team’s opening game against Webber International on August 30, 2008.

It was talked about more during the postgame than the final score, which was a convincing 54-7 Citadel victory.

“It” is The Citadel Bulldog Monument, a 10-foot tall tenacious presence that guards Johnson Hagood Stadium from the corner of Hagood Avenue and Congress Street.

The “Big Dog on Campus” was crafted in the likeness of live mascot Boo by renowned sculpture-artist Michael Hamby, a retired professional football player with the Buffalo Bills whose commissioned sculptures include works for the NFL Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.

The cost of the Bulldog Monument was covered by donations from the Class of 1968.

It is reportedly the largest bulldog in the land.

Boo, one of The Citadel's two bulldog mascots, poses with the Bulldog monument created in his likeness.

Boo, one of The Citadel’s two bulldog mascots, poses with the Bulldog monument created in his likeness.

Here are some facts on The Bulldog Monument:

  • Estimated weight:  800 pounds
  • Length:  8 feet
  • Height:  5½ feet (statute)
  • Height:  10 feet (includes base)

Tuesdays with Tony: Col. Lackey Recalls A Thriller Against Memphis State in 1958

JHS 1958

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Col. Tony Lackey ’61 has been around Citadel Athletics since the mid-1950s and provides a weekly blog on some of the sports highlights that he recalls.

By Col. Tony Lackey ‘61

As told to Andy Solomon

Today I want to reflect on the 1958 football season.  It wasn’t necessarily a great season as we finished with a 4-6 overall record (2-3 in the Southern Conference).  We were playing with many of the young players that Coach John Sauer and his top assistant, Al Davis (yes, THAT Al Davis), had recruited.

However, this was Coach Eddie Teague’s second season at The Citadel, and we got off to a horrible start as we lost our first three games (to Newberry and Davidson at Johnson Hagood Stadium and at Wofford).  Our next game was at Memphis State.

Memphis was coming off a close loss or even a tie game against their rival, Ole Miss, who was ranked nationally.  It was also Memphis’s Homecoming game, and they were supposed to beat us handily and in front of a huge crowd.

The Memphis coach was the legendary Billy “Spook” Murphy, who visited with Coach Teague prior to the game.  Coach Murphy informed Coach Teague that it would probably be best if The Citadel’s buses were moved to a secluded parking area near the end zone so the team could leave right after the game, implying that we would get whipped and would want to leave as soon as possible.

Well, assistant coach Pride Ratteree, one of the all-time favorite assistants ever to coach at The Citadel, overheard this conversation and he really got upset to the point that assistant coach Hank Witt had to restrain him by grabbing him and pulling him away.

This fired up the Bulldogs.

I don’t recall the specifics, but Memphis led for most of the game until the last 3-to-4 minutes when Britt Knox caught a pass from I believe Jerry Nettles, who was making his first career start.   We eventually won the game, 28-26, in what was one of the biggest upsets in the nation that week.

Later that season, Homecoming rolled around and VMI came to Charleston.  Now VMI was on a 19-game non-losing streak having tied Penn State earlier.  That tie put the Keydets on the front of Sports Illustrated.

Yep, the Sports Illustrated curse looms on the horizon.

Our starting quarterback, Hall of Famer Bobby Schwarze, was injured as was Nettles, so our third-string quarterback, Dick Guererri, a veteran student from Geneva, NY, filled in.  VMI had fumbled a lot and I’m sure that our defense had a lot to do with it.  But we won the game, 14-6, and there was much celebration in town because it was also Homecoming.

Citadel Media Guide 1958

That was also the game in which tennis player Jim Jeffrey and his pals “kidnapped” the mascot that WCBD-TV (then-called WUSN) had on their front yard, which was an elephant named “Suzie Q.”  But that’s another story for another day.

Still with the ’58 season and right after the VMI win, we played the University of Georgia in Athens.  Those Bulldogs were coached by Wally Butts, and he scheduled us as a tune-up for their annual battle with Georgia Tech.

That Georgia team featured quite a few standout athletes that eventually had successful NFL (or coaching) careers that included Charlie Britt (Rams), Bobby Walden (Steelers), Jimmy Orr (Colts), Pat Dye (Auburn) and a young quarterback named Fran Tarkenton (Vikings).  Needless to say, they were loaded.

And after our beating VMI, Georgia was more than ready for us.

It was a hot, November day (Nov. 22) in Athens and we had about 500 cadets there for the contest.  I remember that Bobby Crouch of Salisbury, NC was the only freshman to start (I believe that Paul Maguire was hurt), and he caught a touchdown pass that was called back.

Coach Butts, toward the end of the game, re-inserted his starters to which Coach Teague yelled to him from across the field, “What are you doing?  Do you think we’re going to stage a serious comeback?”

Back then (and possibly still), UGA had a bell that they rung after the game and the number of times they rang the bell reflected the number of points they scored.  Well, they won the game, 76-0, but our cadets weren’t going to let them ring that bell.

Many of those 500 cadets returned to the bus to secure the hanger that their jackets were on (remember, it was a hot day).  Using their hangers, the cadets wired that bell where it couldn’t ring.  However, their band – truly one of the best in the South – got the last laugh as they played “76 Trombones” afterwards.

But what I remember most about that 1958 team was that it was the foundation for the successes that our 1960 and ’61 teams were to later enjoy as they won the Tangerine Bowl and Southern Conference title in back-to-back years.

Brandon McCladdie Talks About Starting His Career In Athletics

McCladdie started at cornerback in all 11 games in 2012, recording 45 tackles, three tackles for loss, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.

McCladdie started at cornerback in all 11 games in 2012, recording 45 tackles, three tackles for loss, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.

Career in Sports – Get to know members of the Brigadier Foundation

Many people have interest in working in collegiate athletics; but like me they have doubt about how to get involved. Education is the foundation: Some common bachelor degrees are Business Administration, Sport Management, Communications, Marketing, and the list continues. After college is when the path differs by person. While some people begin as graduate assistants, others as interns, collegiate athletics offers a variety of careers depending on your interest. Each college has its own athletic department which consists of a variety of areas composed of both males and females. Media Relations, Compliance, Tickets, and Facilities are just a few. Today we will highlight some of the employees from our Fundraising Department, better known as The Citadel’s Brigadier Foundation.

The Citadel Brigadier Foundation (TCBF) provides assistance to approximately 225 cadet-student-athletes. Because no state monies are received in the Athletic Department’s budget for scholarship aid, the money raised by TCBF is critical to the Bulldogs producing competitive teams throughout the year.

A few staff members of TCBF were asked three questions about their experience in athletics.

1. Why did you choose to work in college athletics?

2. How did you choose to focus on fundraising?

3. What is your favorite sport?

Bryson Young

Bryson Young – Development Coordinator

Bryson handles all aspects of the club level, coordinates events, assists with donor relations and manages the website for TCBF.

1. “I came upon a job at Clemson working with the basketball team. I loved the atmosphere, variety, upbeat pace, and the overall environment of sports. I knew from there I wanted to work in sports.”

2. “After graduation, I interned with Charlotte Collegiate Football (CCF). I worked with a group of members called the Leatherheads, who invested both time and money to make sure CCF was a successful program. The position was similar to donor relations and it was one of the areas I enjoyed most during my internship.”

3. “Basketball”

 Inabnett, Gina

Gina Inabnett -Membership Coordinator

Gina is the main contact point for all phone and in-person inquiries related to memberships. She maintains the membership database for TCBF.

1. “I really enjoy the atmosphere!  You’re involved in a variety of activities and each day at work is different. It’s all FUN STUFF!”

2. “I enjoy the different personalities of donors, meeting new people, and ultimately helping athletes gain an education while competing in the sport they love.”

3. “Football”

Davis, Caleb

Caleb Davis- Associate Director/ Fundraising

Caleb manages prospects for support of athletic programs; reaches out to prospects through via email, phone, letters, and personal visits.

1. “All my life I’ve been involved in athletics. The Citadel had a job opening and I felt that I was burning out in retail clothing after 14 years. The former Director of TCBF asked if I knew anyone like myself for the position and I decided to nominate myself. Luckily, I was granted an opportunity to interview for the position and later selected for the job. ”

2. “I wanted to be able to use my personable sales skills. This job was something that I could jump right into apart from other administration jobs where you have to work your way up.”

3. “Football, with baseball being a close second”

As a current rotating intern of The Citadel Athletic Department, I get a chance to work with TCBF staff. Part of my internship involves revising the parking and club level seating list, updating the donor/alumni database, and aiding with special event projects. As a full scholarship student-athlete at The Citadel, I will admit I was uncertain where the money for my scholarship derived from. After almost two months of my internship, I’ve learned a lot of detailed work goes into the process. The staff of TCBF does an excellent job maintaining excellent professional relationships with key supporters, donors and prospective donors. Without them we would not be able to bring in the high level student-athletes we have today.

 Interested in learning more about our various employees of different divisions in the athletic department? Stay tuned for more information about this topic on our blog.

 -Brandon McCladdie-

Marketing Intern

TCBF

Andy Solomon Ranks His Favorite Southern Conference Locations

The Southern Conference's school locale map for the 2013-14 season. The map will change quite a bit next season with the addition of VMI, East Tennessee State and Mercer and the departures of Georgia Southern, Elon and Appalachian State. The College of Charleston officially left the SoCon on July 1 to compete in the Colonial Athletic Association.

The Southern Conference’s school locale map for the 2013-14 year. The map will change quite a bit next season with the addition of VMI, East Tennessee State and Mercer and the departures of Georgia Southern, Elon and Appalachian State. The College of Charleston officially left the SoCon on July 1 to compete in the Colonial Athletic Association.

During my two-plus decades at The Citadel, I’ve journeyed across the Southern Conference “footprint” and have come to enjoy many of the destinations.  Now, granted, I haven’t traveled as much as the “other Andy” (Clawson) or even Mike Groshon (and the live mascots), but I’ve done my share and more than most.

A beautiful mountain view, such as this one, can be seen from the campus of Western Carolina in Cullowhee, N.C.

A beautiful mountain view, such as this one, can be seen from the campus of Western Carolina in Cullowhee, N.C.

We know that Charleston is the top target city in the land and, thus, will not include my hometown in this personal poll.  However, with the on-going adjustments with regard to membership in the league, here then are my top SoCon cities – current and future – and remember, while you have your opinion, this is mine:

  1. Cullowhee, NC (Western Carolina):  Hailing from the Lowcountry, I thoroughly enjoy the mountains and the breathtaking scenery that Cullowhee and the neighboring areas provide.  I’ve vacationed there many times, my wife is from the region and, further, I enjoy my limited gambling skills at Harrah’s. The Pancake House in Sylva is among my favorites.
  2. Boone, NC (Appalachian State):  Again, the mountains provide me with a lot of time for reflection and Boone is a nice town outside the college community. There’s a little, old-time general store in nearby Todd that everyone should experience, especially when they have live (pickin’ and grinnin’) music from the locals on Friday nights.
  3. Lexington, VA (VMI): The Shenandoah Valley is spectacular and as a student of history, I could visit the VMI Museum and Gen. George Marshall Museum every year.  Seeing Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s coat with the bullet hole in it continues to be among my favorite sites.  Also, the ice cream shop at the top of the hill near campus is a must and walking VMI’s campus really makes me appreciate ours.
  4. Greenville, SC (Furman): An underrated city, Greenville is the Piedmont and the Piedmont is Greenville. The view of Paris Mountain from the Paladins’ football press box is spectacular.  I also got married in Greenville (and those memories are indeed positive).
  5. Chattanooga, TN (UT-Chattanooga): Another underrated city with good facilities, Chattanooga has a lot to offer including the Choo-Choo, the Aquarium, terrific restaurants and much, much more.  I remember touring the Chickamauga (Civil War) Battlegrounds with former Athletics Director Walt Nadzak, whom I should have left at the motel.
  6. Statesboro, GA (Georgia Southern): Ah, down home Statesboro.  Home of the Statesboro Blues (Allman Brothers Band song) and Beautiful Eagle Creek (where one can step across it, assuming one can find it), there are many rabid fans and they all come out to see their Eagles. Best part of going to Statesboro (other than it being the closest rival, geographically speaking) is the return stop in Savannah.
  7. Spartanburg, SC (Wofford): Believe it or not, I am fond of Spartanburg although I’ve listed it toward the bottom.  It has its own distinctions – excluding The Beacon – and is a big small town.  I lived there for a brief spell, and will admit that I liked it.
  8. Johnson City, TN (East Tennessee State): The tri-city area of Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport is indeed very nice, and again, I adore the mountains and the folks there love their sports (too bad the Southern Conference doesn’t have a NASCAR team).  Personally, I can’t stand the Mini-Dome but like the area.
  9. Davidson, NC (Davidson): OK, let’s be honest:  Davidson is North Charlotte.  And let’s remember that Charlotte is a major league city.  I lived in Rock Hill for six years, and ventured into Charlotte quite a bit.  Charlotte is truly a great city, but the traffic is unreal.  However, the Davidson community is supportive, kind and very intelligent.
  10. Elon, NC (Elon): Somewhat of a border town to Greensboro, which has the ability to be a charming area, but I can’t say that I really like Greensboro.
  11. Greensboro, NC (UNC-Greensboro):  I’ve listed them last for multiple reasons.  But Mom always said that if I can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.  I listen to my mother.
  12. *Macon, GA (Mercer): I haven’t been to Macon in more than 35 years, but understand that it is a nice place.  I look forward to returning there in the future.
  13. *Birmingham, AL (Samford): I’ve never been there, but a steel city in Alabama doesn’t really appeal to me, although I’m certain there are some nice spots.  However, I have friends that live there and are very happy.  Further, I’m glad they come to Charleston so I can see them.

*Haven’t yet been there for a SoCon contest.

Gen. Stonewall Jackson stands tall in front of the VMI Museum in Lexington, Va.

Gen. Stonewall Jackson stands tall in front of the VMI Museum in Lexington, Va.

– Andy Solomon –

Associate Athletics Director

Quarterback Ben Dupree Gives Fans an Update on The Citadel Football Team

Ben Dupree-Chattanooga-2012-4

Dupree enters his final year at The Citadel with 1,671 rushing yards, ranking 17th in school history and trailing only Jack Douglas (3,908) and Stanley Myers (2,055) among Bulldog quarterbacks.

I am aware that a lot of fans want to know what goes on inside the locker room before a football game, or even a typical day in the life of a football player at The Citadel. But, much of that is confidential information that stays among the players. Instead, I am simply going to provide an update on our football team.

The summer is our time to get better as players and as teammates as well. We spend much of our summer hanging out with each other and going to class and/or work, but just know we began our mornings like this…

The incoming freshmen reported to campus on June 16 and departed (temporarily) on July 12. They worked out and took two classes – English and psychology – for four straight weeks. Many of the freshmen looked impressive during our weekly 7-on-7’s. (7-on-7 is a two-hand touch offense vs. defense passing-only scrimmage in which only seven players can be on the field).

Our strength coach, Coach D (Donnell Boucher), worked them very hard and even said they are the fastest freshmen class he’s ever had. He said this because he clocked their 40-yard dash times and eight of the 22 players ran 4.5s or better.

Devan Robbins proved to be the fastest with a blazing time of 4.35 seconds. That’s faster than both Andre Roberts and Cortez Allen. Speaking of Andre, he worked out with us this morning (July 16) at 5:45 am. It was a blessing to be able to work with him because he is an example of someone who made their dream come true. He and Cortez both handled the hardships of The Citadel and worked to become starters in professional football.

The coaches had a vacation break and reported back on July 15. All of them are just as excited as the players to get the season started. I recently had a talk with our offensive coordinator, Coach (Bob) Bodine. We talked about a few new wrinkles in the offense which is also very confidential so I can’t elaborate on that.

Coach Higgins led the Bulldogs to a 7-4 season in 2012, the team's first winning season since the 2007

Coach Higgins led the Bulldogs to a 7-4 season in 2012, the team’s first winning season since the 2007

I also came across Coach (Kevin) Higgins in the weight room this morning, as he was getting his daily workout. Everybody is excited about this upcoming season because we have much of our team back from last year.

Seniors such as Brandon McCladdie, Derek Douglas, Darien Robinson (highlight video), Matt Thompson, Jim Knowles and Keith Carter are among those who are looking to take the Bulldogs to places they haven’t been in a while, so make sure you come to the games and show your support!!!!

– Ben Dupree –

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Senior Ben Dupree, the starting quarterback, is from Hotel Company and Harrisburg, PA.

Click HERE to check out Ben Dupree’s highlight video from his first three seasons!