Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dartmouth Loses A Legend

Dartmouth has lost one of its all-time greats with the passing of All-American Don McKinnon '63, the co-winner of the 1962 Bob Blackman Trophy as Big Green MVP along with quarterback Bill King.

McKinnon, who played both center and linebacker, won both the Golden Trophy as the best Catholic collegiate football player in the nation and Bulger Lowe Award as the best college player in New England after the 1962 season.

The sociology major then went on to play in the Coaches All-America game in Buffalo in June of 1963.

"Big Don" McKinnon starred on the undefeated and untied '62 Ivy League championship team that posted five shutouts and limited opponents to nine total points through the first seven games of a 9-0 campaign. That was Dartmouth's first unbeaten team since 1925.

Former Dartmouth assistant and later Big Green head coach Joe Yukica on McKinnon:
"Don could have played for any team in the country. He was our Chuck Bednarik (Penn’s post-war great), as valuable a two-way player as there was."
McKinnon was drafted in the 11th round by the New York Giants with the NFL's 153rd pick. The Arlington, Mass., native and graduate of Matignon High School instead signed with his hometown Boston Patriots of the AFL, who took him in the 10th round with the 79th overall pick.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound McKinnon played in 17 games with the Patriots over the 1963 and '64 seasons. He went on to have a successful Wall Street career.

From the 1964 Patriots media guide:
Don was Dartmouth's center, linebacker and All Everything in '62 ... Last year he did such an impressive job in training that he ousted veteran Rommie Loudd from the linebacking quartet which also includes Tom Addison, Jack Rudolph and Nick Buoniconti ... The big blonde was the first authentic Dartmouth All-American since Bob McLeod of the mid thirties, the first Ivy League selection since Princeton's Dick Kazmaier a decade ago ... Although he suffered a fractured hip during training this summer, Don is ready to go for the '64 Pats ... Don is still single and lives with his folks in Arlington, Mass. 
Services for Don McKinnon are tentatively slated for May on Block Island.

McKinnon intercepting a Brown pass. (Photos courtesy of Dartmouth)
Bill King (left) and Don McKinnon share a laugh.
That's McKinnon on the left in the back row along with, left to right, Ed Boies and Tom Spangenberg in the from row, Dale Runge and Bill Blumenschein in the middle row, and Charlie Green to the right of McKinnon in the back row.

Not even that 1½ inches of snow we've had so far will keep BGA from delivering news of your next Dartmouth-bound high school senior football player. He's David Chalmers, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end/tackle from Tuscarora HS and Leesburg, Va., who has Tweeted his commitment to the Big Green.

Chalmers was one of six teammates from a 14-1 squad to make the Group 5A all-state first team. (LINK). He also was chosen first-team all-Conference 14. (LINK)

At 6-3, 225, incoming Ohio freshman Vito Penza has labeled in some places on the Internet as an "athlete" but he makes no bones about what position he wants to play at Dartmouth. From a story on Youngstown's The Vindicator site (LINK):
On the football field, Penza made it very clear he intends on playing quarterback for the Big Green. 
“I’m definitely going in as a quarterback,” he said. “I’m going to compete. I know they have a great quarterback in Dalyn Williams up there right now, but as a competitor I’m definitely going to try and at least give it a shot to win the starting job."
The Record out of Stockton, Calif., has a short piece about 5-10, 191 Rashaad Cooper of Kimball HS heading this way. From the story (LINK):
Cooper added that the Dartmouth coaches see him having an impact as a tailback and on special teams. 
Josie Harper, the former Dartmouth women's lacrosse coach who went on to become the first woman to serve as an athletic director in the Ivy League, has been inducted into the Rose Tree Media School District Ring of Honor in suburban Philadelphia. Find a story and photo HERE.
The Wall Street Journal has a story about Edward Gerson, who writes his class notes Dartmouth. Nothing unusual with that, except . . .
Today, Mr. Gerson is 100 years old, and only three of his classmates survive, according to Dartmouth. That is creating some challenges.
Mr. Gerson relays what news he can of the two alums he is in contact with: Edwin Reich, a former clothier he met at summer camp in 1926, and Irving Sager, who was in real estate. For a time he chronicled Mr. Reich ’s lifetime holes-in-one until he stopped playing golf, and Mr. Sager’s love life, until his last flame—who was actually Mr. Gerson’s first cousin—died in 2013 at 96.
“Hey, fellows! Hang in there or soon I won’t have anybody to write about,” he urged in early 2012.
Find the full story HERE.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Florida DB Chooses Dartmouth

Volunteering for the Special Olympics Saturday were Dartmouth football players (from left): Kevin Muzzi, Rocco Di Leo, Sam Laptad, Porter Ontko, Dan Gorman, Ryan McManus, Charlie Miller, Danny McManus, Josh Davis and  Garrett Schmidt. (Click photo to enlarge.)
Kicking off today with a couple of weather thoughts . . .

With up to three feet of snow in the forecast in the New York metropolitan area, can you imagine if the Super Bowl was slated for the Meadowlands this year? It would have served the NFL right for scheduling the game outdoors in the north in the middle of winter ;-)

The latest forecast calls for somewhere between 6 and 12 inches of snow here in the Upper Valley. While folks in the cities are going crazy buying bread and milk and ridiculous plastic snow shovels (grain shovels are the implement of choice in these parts) some of us are lamenting the fact that we will likely miss the brunt of the storm.

In case you were wondering, it was 4.7 below this morning when Griff the Wonder Pup walked me.
Another day, another commitment per Twitter and 247 Sports.

This time it is Nick Peart, a 5-foot-10, 175ish defensive back from American Heritage HS and Plantation, Fla. Here are his senior highlights:

Dartmouth's Dalyn Williams gets a mention in a story posted by The Sports Network about a deep class of FCS quarterbacks next fall. (LINK)
The Yale Daily News has a lengthy look at tailback Tyler Varga's performance in the Senior Bowl and what it means for his NFL draft chances. (LINK)
Ugh. Coast Carolina is installing "Teal Turf." (LINK)

Next thing you know Dartmouth will be installing turf in its school color. Oh wait . . .

The Dartmouth writes about the results of the sanctions for Clickergate. (LINK)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

One More

Add tailback Rashaad Cooper of Kimball HS in Tracy, Calif., to the list of Dartmouth recruits according to a very cute Tweet. Do check it out HERE.

The 5-foot-10, 191 Cooper was the All-Valley Oak League Utility Player of the Year – and on occasion  apparently a one-man band. Huh?

Consider this: He had 337 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries in a 70-28 loss to Central Catholic of Modesto. For his Yahoo profile, click HERE.
Here's the best guess of the recruiting class at this point. Bold names are confirmed early decision recruits. Italic names have been reported as heading to Hanover with best-guess positions. (Corrections not just welcomed but encouraged ;-)

Harry Kraft
5-8, 174
Chestnut Hill, Mass./Belmont Hill

Scott Lloyd
6-3, 210
Fullerton, Calif./Berkshire School

Vito Penza
6-3, 225
Youngstown, Ohio/Ursuline HS

Rashaad Cooper
5-10, 191
Tracy, Calf./Kimball HS

Miles Smith
5-10, 205
Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta HS

Dylan Mellor
6-1, 190
Purcellville, Va/Woodgrove HS

Emmanuel Soto
6-2 1/2, 190
Davie, Fla./University School of Nova

Nick Capella
6-6, 273
Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure HS

Matt Kaskey
6-6, 295
Winnetka, Ill./New Trier HS

John Kilcommons
6-3, 297
Berwynn, Ill./Nazareth Academy

Patrick Kilcommons
6-2, 280
Berwynn, Ill./Nazareth Academy

Kevin Barrett
6-5, 217
Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy

Brandon Chu
6-0, 288
Plano, Texas/Trinity Christian HS

Jackson Perry
6-2, 275
Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman HS

Jimmy McHugh
6-3, 265
Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown HS

Kalil Washington
6-1, 220
Robinson, Texas/Robinson HS

Harrison Farber
6-2 1/2, 208
Cresskill, N.J./Cresskill HS

Jake Moen
6-4, 220
Gilroy, Calif./Christopher HS

Nathan Nunez
6-2, 220
Amherst, Ohio/Steele HS

Jack Traynor
6-0, 220
Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest HS

Rivers Cahee
5-11, 185
Lafayette, La./Taft School

Drew Hunnicutt
6-2, 190

Argyle, Texas/Liberty Christian HS

Former Dartmouth assistant Glenn Pires, who has gone on to have a long career as an NFL assistant, has joined John Fox's staff as linebackers coach for the Chicago Bears. (LINK) He had been in the same position with the Atlanta Falcons for the past seven years. Find his Wikipedia entry HERE.
And finally, the video isn't particularly good but you can see Tyler Varga's two touchdowns in yesterday's Senior Bowl here:

Varga had four carries for 31 yards and three receptions for 39 yards while also opening eyes as a blocker. (LINK)
In a bizarre coincidence, the Dartmouth men's basketball team roared back from a 14-point second-half deficit to shock Harvard yesterday on its home floor and the Harvard women's basketball team roared back from, you guessed it, a 14-point second-half deficit to shock Dartmouth on its home floor. Find the men's story HERE and the women's story HERE.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Getting To Know Bo

Dartmouth wide receiver Bo Patterson does a "prospect interview" with the Draft Diamonds website HERE.

This is a great Q&A that will get your attention:
Q: Who was the toughest player you ever faced?
A: Jadaveon Clowney
And no, that wasn't when he was at Dartmouth ;-)
Speaking of the draft, tune in to the Senior Bowl today to catch a glimpse of Yale tailback Tyler Varga and Harvard defensive end/linebacker Zach Hodges. Check out what Packers.com reported in a review of the running backs after the week of practice:
Yale’s Tyler Varga is the big winner. Varga wasn’t even rated by scouts coming into the week, but will leave Mobile having dominated drills. “Complete running back; stood out in running drills; outstanding receiver; stood out in blocking drills,” (draft analyst Tony) Pauline said.
The Senior Bowl will be broadcast on the NFL Network today with a 4 p.m. kickoff. That will be preceded at 3 by, "A look back at all the news and storylines coming out of the of Senior Bowl practices and a preview of the 2015 Senior Bowl."
Went to dinner last night with Mrs. BGA at Jesse's, a local steakhouse. I had a hunch when a few athletic looking young guys and their parents passed by our table with name tags on, and pretty much knew what was up when a huge kid with a name tag walked by. Yup, a recruiting dinner.

It wasn't the first time we stumbled across a recruiting dinner. On the Friday night after Thanksgiving we were in Happy Valley for the football game the next day against Michigan State when Mrs. BGA happened upon Penn State coach James Franklin with several prospects as we were leaving the Hotel State College. We'd gotten dinner in the popular Corner Room downstairs while Franklin and his group were upstairs in the dining room where Mrs. BGA caught a peak. Fun stuff.
The Dartblog site takes a detailed look at punishment doled out for the Clickergate cheating scandal HERE.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Three-Star DT Switches From Vandy To Dartmouth

Dartmouth completed the trade of wide receiver coach Cortez Hankton with the widely reported news that consensus three-star lineman Jackson Perry has switched his commitment from Vanderbilt to Dartmouth (eschewing offers from Nebraska, UCLA, Colorado State, Utah State, Harvard and Yale by the way).

OK, there's a little fiction there. It wasn't really a trade for Hankton, who has joined the staff in Nashville.

The rest is true.

Perry, variously listed at 6-foot-2 and 6-3, and 275 and 282, has indeed switched from Vanderbilt to Dartmouth. Check out this STORY from Scout.com.

A couple of quotes in the story from Perry, first about the original appeal of Vandy, and then about Dartmouth:
"SEC football, a world-class education, and a cool location, I really thought that was what I was looking for."
And . . .
"I am so excited about Dartmouth. When my family and I visited we were so impressed by everything. They showed me everything I was really looking for. They didn't just talk about the education and football program, but how the two work together. They explained the internships, how student-athletes find jobs after graduating, and all the details I wanted to hear about. 
According to the story, Dartmouth wants Perry on the interior defensive line with some opportunity on the end.

Read what a Vandy site wrote about his earlier commitment HERE.

Find highlights on his Hudl page.

There's lots of Tweeting about Perry going on, including among Nebraska fans who thought/think he should end up with the Cornhuskers.

And stay tuned. There's been some Internet noise about another Power 5 commit possibly heading this way. Email me if you hear anything, OK? ;-)
The New Haven Register writes about Yale tailback Tyler Varga opening eyes in Senior Bowl practices.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

IFA Dinner On Tap

Tonight's Ivy Football Association (LINK) dinner will bring droves of former players at all eight conference schools to New York City and the Metropolitan Ballroom of The Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel.

Each school will honor one distinguished alum, with Dartmouth celebrating Dr. Kenneth DeHaven '61. From the Green Line Dartmouth football newsletter:
DeHaven is the past president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the Arthroscopy Association of North America, the International Society of the Knee (a parent society to ISAKOS) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 
DeHaven was the starting center for two years on the football team, earning All-Ivy and All-New England first-team honors from the Associated Press as the captain in 1960. His most famous play on the gridiron came during his junior campaign when he blocked a short field goal attempt in the fourth quarter against Brown to preserve a scoreless tie.
Beginning in 1972, Dr. DeHaven was one of the first to utilize arthroscopy in an Orthopaedic Sports Medicine practice.
The IFA dinner is held every two years. After the last dinner, Bloomerg News ran a STORY about the event that began this way:
Shoulders rubbed at the Ivy Football Association Dinner. That’s what happens when 1,200 alumni of Ivy League football gather for a reunion. 
“It’s quite an amazing thing that happens when people kind of bang heads for a number of years but also have brains,” said Michael O’Flynn, who played defensive end at Dartmouth, where former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson also played. “It teaches you to get up after being knocked down. It teaches you to do things you never dreamed of doing.”
Bloomerg included this video with its story:

Nathan Nunez, a Dartmouth-bound high school senior from Steele High School and Amherst, Ohio, is the subject of this Chronicle-Telegram STORY that details his college choice.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why Dartmouth?

The Washington Post writes about the impact Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens had on the recruiting of Virginia receiver Dylan Mellor. From the STORY:
Mellor, who caught 72 passes for 1,115 yards and 19 touchdowns this past season, said his relationship with Teevens was the strongest of any from the start. In late November, the Big Green coach called for the first time and asked Mellor if he had dreams of playing in the NFL. No other coach had suggested such a thing, Mellor said. Teevens visited the Mellor home on Dec. 7, with the visit moving Mellor’s mother to tears. “Everything he said was what my mom was for,” Mellor said.
Speaking of the NFL, The New York Times writes about Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, whose late father Harry '77 played at Dartmouth and then had a shot with the San Diego Chargers. Wilson's uncle Ben is a Dartmouth trustee. (LINK)

From the Times STORY:
(Ben Wilson) laughed when teased about not being able to persuade his nephew to attend Dartmouth as well. The course of Ivy League football, and certainly of Dartmouth football, might have changed significantly.
“I took him on a tour of the campus,” Ben Wilson said. “He clearly enjoyed being on the campus where his dad had been a student.”
Nevertheless, Ben Wilson isn’t so sure that Dartmouth would have been the ideal place for his nephew. “All of the doubts that were raised about Russell would have been exacerbated had he gone to Dartmouth, because people would have said, Not only is he small, but he hasn’t played against any competition,” he said. “That would have been yet another hurdle to overcome.’
In retrospect, Russell Wilson could have made it regardless of where he played.
College Sporting News "Fabulous Fifty FCS All-America Team" members of interest (LINK):
• Tyler Varga, Yale running back
• Harold Spears, New Hampshire tight end
• RJ Harris, New Hampshire wide receiver
• Zach Hodges, Harvard defensive end 
Now pay attention.

From a Football Scoop posting:
As it stands right now, Division III is the only collegiate division that does not allow players to wear pads during spring practices. Players take the field in the spring with a jersey and pair of shorts as practices trended more towards conditioning than anything resembling a practice in the fall.
A recent vote aimed to change that immediately. 
In a discussion of the impetus for the vote, Football Scoop included a takeout from "Proposal 5," pushing for padded practices. It mentioned both the difficulty teaching safe technique without pads, and the increased chance of injury trying to do so without pads.

Makes sense.

But do you want to guess what led off the list of reasons why pads should be allowed in the spring? Because (and the italics are mine) . . .
Football student-athletes are not currently provided similar opportunities to those afforded other student-athletes with fall or spring championships to develop their sport-specific skills during a nontraditional segment. 
In other words, what's fair for athletes in one sport is fair for athletes in another.

Are you listening, Ivy League?

For those of you new to the Ivy League, the Ancient Eight allows every athlete in the league to go to the NCAA playoffs except football players, who, to borrow from the italicized part of the statement above, are not provided with similar opportunities to those afforded other student-athletes . . .
Sad news on the local front with the passing of Dave Orr '57, long an avid follower of the Dartmouth football program. Until this fall I don't think I'd ever been at a game at Memorial Field without seeing Dave up in the press box keeping participation, or tackles, or notes for a newsletter, some of the various responsibilities he had over the years. For many years he also was a fixture at Big Green road games.

Dave will be missed not only by his friends at Dartmouth, but also by Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl all-star football game. There was no bigger advocate for the annual contest between graduated high school seniors from Vermont and New Hampshire that raises money for Shriners Hospitals.

Read more about Dave's life here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Smart Move

That huge sigh of relief you heard coming out of Hanover was from members of the wide receiving corps upon learning that Offensive Quality Control Assistant Jerry Taylor would be stepping in as their new position coach.

Taylor replaces the hugely popular Cortez Hankton, who has moved on to Vanderbilt. (See this STORY on the Vanderbilt site.)

A "Getting to Know" story about Taylor on BGA Premium this fall introduced him this way:
Jerry Taylor, a former scholarship quarterback at Bowie State University, is in his first year heading up Dartmouth offensive quality control. Taylor, who most recently worked as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Virginia State, began his coaching career as a volunteer at the University of Richmond  where he had game preparation, game day and office responsibilities. He also served as wide receivers and quarterbacks coach at Lee-Davis High School in Mechanicsville, Va., and as tight ends coach at St. Francis University.
Taylor has been a quarterback instructor at various Nike football camps as well as working at the Dual Threat Super Dozen Quarterback Camp run by former national championship MVP quarterback Tee Martin. He holds a business administration degree from Averett University. 
Find the full Q&A from last fall with the personable Taylor on BGA Premium HERE.

Green Alert Take: Sliding Taylor over was a no-brainer. He has impressed in his quality control role, has experience coaching receivers at the college level, and will be an asset on the recruiting trail.
One of the receivers that Taylor will inherit is Dylan Mellor. Check out this STORY on the incoming freshman from Virginia.
Speaking of incoming freshmen, the Lake Forester in Illinois writes about linebacker Jack Traynor. From the STORY:
A 6-foot, 220-pound middle linebacker, Traynor finished his three-year varsity career with 378 tackles. According to the Illinois High School Association website, that broke the 24-year-old state record for solo tackles by 23 (Brian Zeeb of Greenville set the previous record with 355 between 1988-90).
Traynor didn’t get to 378 by taking shortcuts. Quite the opposite. He has a clear set of values when it comes to playing football. It’s a fusion of old fashioned, mud-on-your-uniform principles and a bookishly fastidious approach to preparation.
“There’s a right way to tackle and a wrong way to tackle. If you go in thinking ‘I’ll bend the rules a little bit and do something different because its easier,’ you’re not going to end up being successful,” Traynor said.
Traynor's philosophy is surely music to the ears of Don Dobes, Dartmouth's defensive coordinator and linebacker coach. Dobes generously gave of his time this fall when I was asked to freelance a story about a week of defensive game preparation. Check out the story for an idea about how a team prepares for an opponent (as well as for insights about the hectic life of a college football coach) in PEAK, the quarterly publication of Dartmouth Peak Performance (DP2).

I also had stories in the magazine about Dartmouth's initiative with regard to Relative Energy Deficiency, the athletic department's new Cardiac Screening protocol, and the introduction of the Lone Pine as a secondary logo for athletics. Find the full Peak Magazine HERE.
Dartmouth's Dalyn Williams gets a mention in a STORY about his Dallas-area high school being known for developing college quarterbacks.
Did you know there will be Ivy Leaguers on both teams in the Super Bowl?

James Develin was a defensive end at Brown but he's playing fullback for the New England Patriots and caught a touchdown pass on Sunday. (BIO)

Bryan Walters was a wide receiver at Cornell and while he still runs occasional routes for the Seattle Seahawks, his claim to fame these days is as the team's primary punt returner. (BIO)