Posts Tagged ‘Hall of Fame’

Lt. Frank Mt. Pleasant

December 22, 2009

 I just came across a photo of Frank Mt. Pleasant in his WWI army uniform. Unfortunately, there are a few errors in the associated text. He competed in the 1908 Olympics, placing 6th in both the broad jump and triple jump although injured at the time. In Paris, after healing, he beat the Olympic broad jump champ in a big meet. His name is misspelled in the caption under the dog. He was the first Carlisle Indian to get a degree, a Ph. B., from Dickinson College. However, some others previously got LL B. degrees from Dickinson School of Law.

He has been inducted into the Dickson College and Indiana University of Pennsylvania halls of fame as an athlete and a coach, respectively. He was earlier inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. It is astounding that the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame has not inducted him when you consider that the vast majority of his playing and coaching career was in Pennsylvania and he was a premiere athlete in two sports first at Carlisle Indian School and then at Dockinson College during his playing days.

Lone Star Inducted into Albright College Hall of Fame

October 24, 2008

Last Friday night I was given the honor of standing in for Lone Star Dietz at his induction ceremony for the Albright College Hall of Fame. (Link to Albright website: At the banquet I had the pleasure of sharing a table with Marcia and Sheldon Cohen, the wife and son of the late Gus Cohen, one of the stars of the 1937 undefeated team. Gus didn’t have it easy. He was orphaned as a child and had little money but was a good student and athlete. His high school coach took him to see various colleges when he was nearing graduation. Getting schools interested in him as both a student and an athlete was no problem. However, in those Depression days, getting financial support was a problem. Albright College came through with a scholarship so he became a Lion.

At Albright College his coach, Lone Star Dietz, became the father Gus didn’t have. Doris’s cooking probably didn’t hurt either. That Doris was also Jewish may have made communication with her easier. Gus got a lot from Albright but it wasn’t a one-way street because he gave back when he could. There is now a Gus Cohen scholarship at Albright and the school’s archives are much richer thanks to the generosity of the Cohen family.

Earlier Friday Marcia and Sheldon donated Gus’s considerable stack of memorabilia to the college. Included are Gus’s letter sweater and game programs. The item I am most interested in seeing is Gus’s playbook from 1938, I think. It will be great to see what Lone Star was running at that time. He had the reputation of being the best implementer of the single-wing, some say better than Warner himself. Who knows, it might even include the Dead Indian Play. I must set a day aside to sift through this stuff.


Albright College Hall of Fame Plaque

Albright College Hall of Fame Plaque

Puttin’ on my top hat …

October 13, 2008

This week promotion for my new book, Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs, kicks off with a book talk and signing at Whistlestop Bookshop in Carlisle, PA. The timing is good because reviews are starting to come in. I can only hope they’re all as good as the one that ends:

 “Historians, sociologists and anthropologists will appreciate the exhaustive research, attention to detail, accuracy, authority, and integrity Benjey has put into completing this work. Sports fans and casual readers will be drawn into Benjey’s unique and compelling writing style. ‘Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs’ by Tom Benjey is destined to become a classic.”
My immediate challenge is to turn the reviewer’s last word into best seller.

Friday night I am in Reading, PA to accept Lone Star Dietz’s induction into the Albright College Hall of Fame for his family. I will, of course, wear a tuxedo to pay homage to Lone Star but could never look as dapper as he did. This long-overdue honor should be followed by another, induction into the College Football Hall of Fame for his record as a coach. Unfortunately, that doesn’t look like it is in the cards, at least for now.

I have been doing radio interviews across the country as of late and some stations place recordings of these interviews on their web sites. I will link my author page on to those that I can find. 




Lone Star decked out in Portland, 1915












Lone Star to be Inducted

June 6, 2008

The College Football Hall of Fame may have snubbed Lone Star Dietz but Albright College hasn’t. Rick Ferry, Albright’s athletic director, informed me that Lone Star Dietz is to be inducted into the Red and White’s Hall of Fame on October 17. One of Lone Star’s problems in being selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame is that few of the sports writers and athletic directors on the Honors Committee are familiar with him or his record. Fortunately, the situation is different at Albright College. Two of the paintings that Lone Star donated to the College, the Albright Lion and a portrait of All-American Dick Riffle, hang where the public can see them in the Bollman Center. Also, photos of Dietz’s teams hang in the equipment cage. If one wants to venture off to other parts of the campus his paintings can be found in other buildings as well.

Another advantage Albright has is that a few people who knew him are still alive and remember him well. One of my pleasures in giving book talks is that one of his old players would sometimes show up. Their stories are wonderful. They often show us a side of Dietz of which we were unaware. Sometimes a child of a deceased player contacts me and shares stories that his father told him about Coach. As great a coach as Dietz was I sometimes think he had more impact on his boys off the field. It will be great to attend the ceremony and see Lone Star receive his due. Now I must revise his chapter in Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs before it goes to press. But that will be a pleasure.  



Lone Star Dietz selected for Hall of Fame

April 1, 2008

At long last an oversight or, as many view it, a snubbing is being corrected. Lone Star Dietz should have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame decades ago but hasn’t been. Some view this as just another example of Indians being abused by white men. Dietz has been inducted into a number of halls of fame including the prestigious Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame back in the 1970s. His role in establishing the New Year’s Day football tradition, most notably the Rose Bowl, is reason enough to induct him. But that’s not all. His won-loss record qualifies him for induction and that’s saying something. Lone Star Dietz did not nestle into a successful program and ride that horse for decades; he undertook a number of reconstruction efforts and turned programs around. On the few occasions he couldn’t turn a perpetual loser into a winner, he got the student body excited.

So, why hasn’t he been inducted? Until a few years ago the Hall had his record wrong and didn’t consider him qualified. Now that the record has been corrected he is eligible and his name has been on the ballot. A couple of years ago he came close but while the ballots were being counted, the Honors Committee (now that’s a dubious name) decided they wanted to induct Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden. There was one hitch: Paterno and Bowden’s names weren’t on the ballot because, as active coaches, they weren’t eligible. That problem was easily dealt with. All they had to do was to change the rules in midstream. Presto! Paterno and Bowden were eligible and the men whose names were actually on the ballot were forgotten. Sorry, Lone Star.

But this year he’s getting a fair shake and is belatedly being inducted. Perhaps this will lift the Lone Star Curse from Washington State.

April Fool!