By Andy Solomon
Born on a Dorchester County farm 94 years ago, Harvey All was a member of the Greatest Generation, a World War II bridge builder in Germany who later came to adopt The Citadel and its athletes as his own.
Win or lose, he adores his Bulldogs and continues to love them.
He can still be seen at pregame tailgates near the entrance of Stoney Field, across the street from historic Johnson Hagood Stadium. Though he didn’t start tailgating until the early 1980s, All enjoys the regular shish kabobs and Beaufort Stew and especially the desserts that his family makes regularly as members of the All family reunite with friends and long-time tailgating neighbors.
They’ll talk about Citadel football, past and present, and several of the great players that All adored, like John Small, Tony Passander, Andrew Johnson, Brian Ruff, Joe Isaac, Kenny Caldwell and Stump Mitchell, all members of the Athletic Hall of Fame.
He particularly liked Ronnie Easterby, a local product who went to St. Andrews High School along with All’s two daughters, Kathy and Judy.
He also adored basketball games in the old Armory (now McAlister Field House) and came to enjoy friendships with the likes of Tee Hooper, Al Kroboth, Ben Ledbetter and Johnny DeBrosse, among others.
So where did All’s affinity for Citadel athletics come about since he didn’t attend the Military College of South Carolina?
It all has to do with his wife, Christine, and where she worked.
Christine All came to work in The Citadel’s department of athletics in 1966, having been previously employed at West Virginia Pulp and Paper Co. (predecessor to Westvaco). She quit working when she got pregnant with Kathy and went back to work when Judy was in third grade.
Christine worked directly for Director of Athletics Eddie Teague and she oversaw eligibility for all of the sports, worked for Director of Sports Medicine Andy Clawson and Assistant Athletic Director Hank Witt. As an employee of the department, Christine received complimentary tickets for the games.
While their two young daughters were making signs and creating confetti for the home games, Christine was working away at the Armory and Harvey was studying the upcoming game’s starting lineups.
“It didn’t take long before daddy was a very vocal fan,” recalled Kathy. “He was always the loudest in the stands. We never wanted to sit beside him because he would elbow whoever was next to him. He ‘helped’ the defense tackle and would lean to the left and right as the offense traveled down the field, pushing whomever sat by him into the person on the other side.
“He always indulged us as we begged to stay after the game and wait outside the old locker room at the end of the stadium for the team to come out,” Kathy added. “Honestly, I think if we hadn’t asked to stay, he would have requested it. He loved congratulating the players, win or lose. He always supported the Bulldogs, even if we weren’t having a winning season.”
And he’s still doing it, albeit a tad slower.
“Mom and dad went on train trips to away games,” Kathy continued. “They were at the Army game when John Small bled all over his uniform. We, as a family, made many road trips to App State and Furman. I remember one year we went to Clemson, in the hellish heat of August, and momma had to sit in the ER tent because it was so hot. Daddy, however, wouldn’t leave the stands.”
Being an Army veteran, All always enjoyed the pageantry that is so much a part of The Citadel football experience. He would stand as tall as the cadets when they performed their pregame march onto the field. He truly loved Parents’ Day when the Summerall Guards would give their annual performance.
“He loved everything about football games – all the traditions – the flag waving, singing and playing Dixie and especially The Citadel Ramble,” Kathy recollected. “Dad loved the cadets surfing as the band played the theme from Hawaii 5-0 and cadets being passed up and down the stands.
“I don’t remember when we started tailgating,” she added. “I guess it was as soon as people started gathering outside the stadium. Even now he will go with us three hours before the game, stay the two hours afterwards and not complain about being tired, even at 94.”
Basketball was another of All’s favorite sports.
“Even though football was our first passion, we went to basketball, baseball and wrestling matches, too,” she continued. “I’ll never forget one basketball game we were into our fourth overtime. We always sat in the folding chairs on the floor level, and daddy always let the referees know how he felt about their questionable calls. Well, this time, he picked up one of the folding chairs and tossed it into the aisle.
“We always went to Bill’s Holly House (where Hay Tire is now located) after basketball games and waited for the team there. We had many basketball players visit our house, and they’d knock their heads on the light fixture in our den. Momma felt like the players were all her boys, so we always had players in our house. Since Daddy only has us two girls, I guess he thought they were his boys, too,” she
While All got to know many of the coaches through Christine, he came to really admire Coach Red Parker and Coach Bobby Ross. He had a great relationship with football assistant coaches Charlie Rizzo and Rusty Hamilton. Basketball coach Les Robinson and baseball coach Chal Port were two others he adored.
All worked at Westvaco for 44 years and continues to enjoy his retirement. But when football games come around, he perks up, helps a little with the tailgating responsibilities and is usually the first in the car to go and is happy the entire time.
After all, he’s off to see his beloved Bulldogs.