Posts Tagged ‘Wallace Denny’

Carlisle Indians Continue to be Snubbed

March 11, 2011

The 2011 ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame came out this week with Lone Star Dietz’s name removed. This is yet another snub to a Carlisle Indian School player. Dietz has also been snubbed by the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame as a demonstration of their ingratitude. After all, where would the Rose Bowl be without Dietz? Nothing the College Football Hall of Fame does surprises me anymore. A few years ago, when Dietz should have been inducted, the selection committee ignored the votes for the seven coaches on that year’s ballot and selected two coaches who were not on the ballot because they were not eligible for induction due to the fact that they were still actively coaching. So, the ironically named Honors Committee, in an Animal Farm-like move, changed the rules to make these two eligible and selected them even though no voter received a ballot with their names on it. Unfortunately, Dietz isn’t the only Carlisle Indian to be snubbed by a Hall of Fame.

The Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame has failed to induct Olympian Frank Mt. Pleasant into even a regional chapter is astounding. If Mt. Pleasant’s football and track accomplishments at Carlisle aren’t enough, consider what he did elsewhere in Pennsylvania. That he has already been inducted in both the Dickinson College and the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Halls of Fame indicates that he accomplished quite a bit while at each of those institutions on top of what he did at Carlisle. Frank is no stranger to being snubbed, as Walter Camp, who only gave him Honorable Mention on his 1907 All America team for being not rugged enough because he was too injured to play in the Chicago game, the Indians’ 11th game of the season. I’m not holding my breath for the PA Sports Hall of Fame doing the right thing anymore than I am for the College Football HoF. But these aren’t the only Carlisle Indians deserving of honors.

The College Football Hall of Fame does not have a category for athletic trainers but it does have a catch-all category called contributor, though. Wall ace Denny pioneered the role of athletic trainer first as a student at the Indian school and, later, as a member of the staff, and for decades after that with Pop Warner at Stanford and Temple. Before Denny started assisting Pop Warner with the care of the players’ bodies, there was no such thing as an athletic trainer as we know it. But Wallace Denny changed all that and should be remembered for it.

If Carlisle Indian School had a large alumni organization and could guarantee large ticket sales for induction events, these men might have a chance, but they don’t and little money would be raised by their selection.

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Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals is Out Now

September 2, 2010

The second volume of the Native American Sports Heroes Series is now out and available to readers. Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals was released yesterday and is expected to be of interest to libraries and readers interested in Native American history, sports and government Indian boarding schools. This book follows the following players from their youths on the reservation, through their times at Carlisle to their later lives:

  • Chauncey Archiquette
  • Wilson Charles
  • Wallace Denny
  • Lone Star Dietz
  • Louis Island
  • James Johnson
  • Frank Lone Star
  • Jonas Metoxen
  • Thomas St. Germain
  • Caleb Sickles
  • George Vedernack
  • Gus Welch
  • Hugh Wheelock
  • Joel Wheelock
  • Martin Wheelock
  • Charles Williams
  • William Winneshiek

Readers will learn who became doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs. Some became musicians and led all-Indian bands. One was invited to join Richard Byrd’s Second Antarctic Expedition. Another was instrumental in establishing the Rose Bowl. Readers will also learn more about the naming of the Washington, DC NFL team and about the all-Indian NFL team. Several served in WWI even though non-citizen Indians were not drafted. Most lived long, productive lives but some didn’t. Some married girls they met at Carlisle, others married white girls and still others married girls from the reservation. One even married a congressman’s daughter.

The reading level is such that anyone from seventh grade through senior citizen can appreciate it and It is my hope that school children will read it to gain a better understanding of their history.

Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals

May 13, 2010

Yesterday, a reader asked about Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals, wondering if it would be a series of blogs or a book. That tells me it’s time to talk about it a bit. Last year I wrote Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals, Volume I of the Native American Sports Heroes Series. I have now completed Volume II of that series. Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals will be released on September 1. Like the earlier book, it follows 17 football stars with ties to a particular state, Wisconsin in this case, from their childhoods on the reservation, generally, to their time at Carlisle, and through their later lives. Background chapters on Carlisle Indian School, its legendary football teams, and coach “Pop” Warner set the stage for the individual biographies.

Not included are busts of the players drawn by Bob Carroll. Bob graciously drew those for Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals just before the end of his life. In their place, is a map that shows all the Indian Reservations in the state of Wisconsin which is intended to assist the reader in knowing where these people spent their early childhoods and, in some cases, returned to after finishing at Carlisle.

Chapters are included for:

Chauncey Archiquette

Wilson Charles

Wallace Denny

Lone Star Dietz

Louis Island

James Johnson

Frank Lone Star

Jonas Metoxen

Thomas St. Germain

Caleb Sickles

George Vedernack

Gus Welch

Joel & Hugh Wheelock

Martin Wheelock

Charles Williams

William Winneshiek

It is my hope that historians, teachers and librarians review this book and make it more available to students who would learn a lot about how disadvantaged people overcame obstacles to excel.

Copies of the softcover version of Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals are now in stock for June 1st release.

Wallace Denny for Hall of Fame

January 28, 2010

While researching the life of Wallace Denny for “Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals,” I became curious of whether trainers can be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The short answer is yes but not through the same process as coaches and players. A trainer can be nominated for the Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award. It seems like a longshot but I may just nominate him.

Wallace Denny, fullblood Oneida, started his football career as a player for the Carlisle Indian School. When Pop Warner arrived in 1899, he observed that Denny had more to offer off the field than on it, at least while play was in progress, and made Denny his “utility man.” Wallace became Warner’s right-hand man. He put the chalk lines on the field, repaired equipment and rubbed players’ aching muscles. Before long, he was tending to various injuries, aches and pains. He and Warner improvised appliances to protect wounded parts of players’ bodies to allow them to play. Over time, Denny became a bit of a psychiatrist as he counseled players who needed psychological boosts. When Warner was back at Cornell from 1904 through 1906, Wallace and Bemus Pierce devised a set of signals that used words from their native languages to identify the various plays Carlisle ran. The opposition was told exactly which play was to be run but they understood neither the words nor the plays they represented.

Warner and Denny rejoined again in 1907 when Warner returned to Carlisle and remained a team until they retired in 1940. Denny didn’t move to Pittsburgh with Warner in 1915 but may have joined him on football weekends because Charlie Moran served as trainer for Carlisle’s coach in 1915, Victor Kelley.

Wallace Denny became a trainer before such a position existed and pioneered it for four decades. By the time he retired, trainers were standard members of coaching staffs.

The Start of Jim Thorpe’s Athletic Career

August 25, 2009

In a 1966 interview by reporter Virgil Gaither of The Lawton Constitution-Morning Press, Paul LaRoque (pronounced La Rock) shared some stories about his time at the Carlisle Indian School. At the time of the interview, the 72-year-old former star was living in Minneapolis but was in Oklahoma to attend his granddaughter’s wedding. One of his favorite stories was about Jim Thorpe:

 “I’ll never forget the first day we noticed him on the campus. It was in the spring and we were working out for track. Several athletes had been high jumping and the bar was at an even five feet. No one had cleared that height and we were taking a breather when Thorpe strolled by.

 “He was picking up paper around the field as part of his job to pay his way through school. Jim looked at the cross-bar, backed off about three steps and sailed over the bar without much effort.

 “Warner was standing several yards away talking with one of the athletes and didn’t see Thorpe’s jump. We all saw it, but kept quiet because we didn’t want him to take our place on the squad.

 “However, the trainer saw Jim’s leap and raced over to tell Pop. The coach went over and measured the bar, then hollered at Thorpe, who had already walked over to the other side of the field.

 “He asked Jim if he could jump that high again and Thorpe walked over and cleared the bar again with plenty of room to spare.

 “Pop told Thorpe to forget about picking up paper and report for track the next day. That’s the way he started his athletic career at Carlisle.”

Flag Mystery Solved

July 11, 2009

Thanks to a local internet trunk being out of service, this blog is posted late. Is being dependent on modern technology wonderful? A second proof arrived for Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals and it will be accepted. That means books will be printed soon. This brings us to the next book in the series, Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals.

Relatives of Chauncey Archiquette contacted me after seeing the message about the pristine 1897 Carlisle-Cincinnati game program. Chauncey wasn’t included in Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs because I had little information on him at the time and because, at 160,000 words, the book was running long. Now that I am doing a book on Wisconsin stars, of which there were many, there should be room for him and some others such as Wilson Charles and Wallace Denny.

Here is an update on the flag in the band photo that was discussed in the previous message. Richard Tritt, photocurator at Cumberland County Historical Society, researched the photo and found the following:

I found the photo in our collection, but only in school publications and in postcards. It appears as a large full page photo in the CARLISLE ARROW, July 27, 1906. There is no story. It appears again with a story about the band being at an event in the CARLISLE ARROW of Jan. 31, 1908. The same photo was used on a postcard that was issued prior to Feb. 28, 1907. It is printed on an undivided back postcard, thus the date. After that date postcards were divided on the back. Even with the best of the four copies that I have, the stars on the flag can’t be counted. The top row of the stars is hidden by the leaves in the tree. We do know that it had to have been taken before July 27, 1906. The 1908 written on the copy that she had is probably because her copy was taken from the 1908 issue of the ARROW.

So, the flag wouldn’t have been a 1908 flag because the photo was taken prior to July 27, 1906. George Gardner’s great grandson is right. This is surely not a 1908 flag.