Tributes & Stories


Sea Story: Royal Review
The 1962 Football Teams and Their Coaches


Sea Story: Royal Review

By Charlie Norton '62

In the summer of 1959, the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway was opened.  Among the participants were Queen Elizabeth, President Eisenhower, and the USNA Class of 1962.
I was part of a group that was to be embarked on the USS MACON (CA-132). We boarded USS JOSEPH P. KENNEDY JR (DD-850) in Annapolis Roads and sailed to Boston to meet up with MACON.
To transit the Seaway, MACON had her two outboard propellers and some of her mainmast removed. It was a tight squeeze through the locks.
Our ports of call were Boston, Montreal, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Buffalo.  Other units of the "fleet" visited a multitude of cities and towns throught the Great Lakes area.  Due to severe congestion on the homeward leg, USNA personnel were taken off in Buffalo and flown to Baltimore.
Queen Elizabeth was using the Royal Yacht BRITANNIA as her seagoing residence.  While we were anchored near Montreal she did a "Pass In Review", so of course all USN personnel manned their respective rails for a salute of three cheers.
My Sea Story takes place in Chicago. There was a parade that went down Michigan Avenue, ending at the Conrad Hilton hotel.

The parade route was 'guarded' by a row of barricades, then a row of police and other civilians, and in front the Navy and Marine Corps who were part of the fleet, as it were.  As fortune would have it, I was the last person in the line, very close to the hotel.
The Queen and Prince Phillip were riding separately in white 1960 (might have been 1959) Chrysler Imperials.  Gigantic automobiles.  When Prince Philip's car slowly turned in toward the hotel entrance he was no more than an arm's length from me.  In spite of the marvelous Plebe Year training I had just had, I did not keep my eyes "in the boat".  I glanced down, and he smiled and gave a slight nod.  Moments later  the Queen's car pulled in.  I literally had to move my feet backward to avoid having my tootsies smashed.
And that's the way it was!


The 1962 Football Teams and Their Coaches

By RADM David M. Goebel, USN (Ret.)

The Class of 1962 recently celebrated the Golden Anniversary of their graduation. Part of that celebration included a reunion dinner for those men who had played football during their tenure at the Academy. There were, of course, tales of valor on the gridiron which can only come from those who have been in the battle. There were the many kicking and receiving exploits of Greg Mather, an All-American that year, as well as those of captain John Hewitt which resulted in a 7 – 3 season and notable wins over Notre Dame, Miami and of course, Army. These momentous wins were gained by a team that was supposed to be several notches below the team of the prior class who had Heisman Trophy winner Joe Bellino as a head liner and played Missouri in the Orange Bowl. Still, they prevailed. The members of the 150# team (now Sprint) attended the dinner and were equally successful. Behind the leadership and ability of team captain Joe O’Brien, a consensus All-League player for three years, they went 5 – 0, defeating Army handily.

But what made these teams eminently successful? Yes, there were good, talented players who were driven to perfection on both teams, but there was more than just that. There were also the coaches, a group of men with pedigrees in football dating back to the very start of the game. And the assistants were frequently All-Americans who came to the Academy to lend a hand in sustaining the Navy gridiron glory.

The Head Coach was Wayne Hardin who played quarterback at the College of the Pacific (COP) (1946 – 1949) under legendary coach Amos Alonzo Stagg (All-American 1889) during part of his time there. Stagg was an innovator and is credited with being the developer or co-developer of over 20 unique aspects of the game, including the quick kick, the lateral pass, the sleeper play, the line shift and many others. Wayne had come to the Academy as an assistant in 1955 under coach Eddie Erdelatz and he undoubtedly brought some of the willingness demonstrated by Stagg to bring something new to every game to set the opposition back on their heels. When Erdelatz retired in 1959, having amassed winning seasons in the last seven years of his tenure, including two bowl appearances (Sugar Bowl in 1954 and Cotton Bowl in 1958), Wayne became Head Coach, a post he held until 1964.

Wayne selected a superb supporting cast. Some of the more senior assistant coaches included Ernie Jorge who was a guard on the team at St. Mary’s College in 1935 which boasted Eddie Erdelatz as an end. He went on to captain that team in 1937. After WWII Ernie became line coach at the COP from 1947 – 1950, which was in part during Stagg’s tenure as Head Coach and Hardin was the quarterback. He was Head Coach at COP during the 1951 – 1952 seasons, one season of which (1952) Hardin was his backfield coach. Another of Hardin’s assistant coaches while at Navy was Hugh McWilliams who had also played for Alonzo Stagg, but a few years before Hardin. But the reader can get the point. These men were innovators who understood and loved the game and they themselves had had a great teacher, Amos Alonzo Stagg. Combine this with the superb scouting of Steve Belichick (more below) and you have a powerful foundation upon which to build a contender. And during the mid to late 1950s and early 1960s period Navy was always a contender. The success of Erdelatz has already been mentioned. Under Hardin Navy defeated Army five consecutive times, a feat not matched until Paul Johnson did it, a streak which has now been extended to 11 consecutive wins. He additionally had two Heisman Trophy winners in Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach and had his teams in two bowl games, the Orange Bowl in 1960 and the Sugar Bowl in 1963. This was a period when there were only 4 major bowls being played.

Another assistant was Steve Belichick, father of the current coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick. Steve played his college football at Western Reserve University from 1938 – 1940. He joined the Detroit Lions (1941) and gained some collegiate coaching experience prior to coming Navy in 1956, primarily as a scout. While at USNA Steve authored a book on scouting that remains to this day the premier book on the subject. An interesting side note concerns his son Bill. Ernie Jorge would draw up the offensive game plan for the games and would send a copy of the plan to Steve Belichick prior to the game. Steve would share it with Bill, who was around 10 or so at the time who would in turn study the plan and discuss it with his father. Additionally, Bill would accompany his father on scouting trips when he could. He learned some of the finer points of the business as well as how to read game films during this period.

Several of the other assistants had been All-Americans during their playing years and many of them had experience in the professional league prior coming to Navy. All had an intense interest in football. All but one had prior military experience. Dick Duden, who coached the ends, was captain of the 1945 Navy team and an All-American that year. He also played for the Giants. Jack Cloud, the 150’s head coach and a varsity assistant, had been a standout player for William and Mary (1947 – 1950) and played for the Packers and the Redskins before he came to Navy. Jim Carrington, who had a full 20-year Navy career, was another Navy All-American (football, lacrosse, swimming). J.D. Roberts was an All-American guard under Bud Wilkinson from 1950 – 1953 where he was awarded the Outland Trophy as the best collegiate lineman. Although he had no professional experience prior coming to Navy, he coached the New Orleans Saints from 1970 – 1973. Jim Royer, a 1957 graduate of USNA joined Roberts while he was coaching the Saints and later became the Player Development Coordinator for the Jets. Rick Forzano was a defensive backfield coach at Navy (1959 – 1964). After coaching stints with the Cardinals and the Bengals he returned to Navy as Head Coach in 1969. Rick was later Head Coach of the Detroit Lions from 1974 to 1976. George Welsh graduated from Navy in 1956 where he was an All-American quarterback. He later coached under Rip Engle and Joe Paterno prior to assuming the reigns at Navy in 1973, taking over from Rick Forzano. George followed his Navy stint as Head Coach at Virginia for 18 years. So, it was a star-studded cast who had been well schooled in the trade of coaching football. Other notable assistants included Phil Monahan who was Captain of the 1954 team which defeated Mississippi in the Sugar Bowl that year. An active duty Marine while he coached Phil retired a Major General and recently was Director of Football Operations at Boston College. Tom Forrestal was the quarterback on the 1958 team that beat Rice in the Cotton Bowl. Pete Jokanovich also played on the 1958 team.

So, were the players on the 1962 football teams (varsity and 150’s) good? Of course! Their win-loss records show that, but they had the advantage of exceptional coaching provided by men who had ‘been there and done that’. The undisputed leader was Wayne Hardin, a disciple of Amos Alonzo Stagg who gathered many other Stagg disciples with him. And, he had probably the best scout available at that time in Steve Belichick who said that Wayne was so successful because he was many years ahead of his contemporaries in the coaching profession. The large number of All-American’s on the staff, many of whom had professional experience, also helped. Together these men provided an atmosphere of success where the players learned that achievement counts. The best man played, regardless of any other factor. That is the most enduring lesson any coach can teach. To be successful it can be no other way whether it is in football, in the Navy or in life.