Fall is for College Football

30 Oct 2014 by PaulCarter, No Comments »

Richard Nixon honed his indomitable fighting spirit playing football all four years at Whittier College. Each fall he and his fellow Whittier Poets took to the gridiron under the direction of Coach Wallace Newman,  a man Nixon admired and learned more from than any man he ever knew except for his father. Chief Newman, who had been a stand-out athlete at USC, “only asked you to do your best.” Teammate John Chapin recalled that Coach Newman “knew more football and the fundamentals than anybody. He had the backing of his players and all of them would do anything for him.” Including taking on a football giant.

After the University of Southern California football team won back to back national championships in 1931 and 1932 under the guidance of legendary coach Howard Jones, Whittier accepted a challenge to play USC on September 23, 1933 in the Trojans’ home opener at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The game was the first of a doubleheader with Occidental taking on USC in a second game.

Whittier lost 51-0 before a crowd of 35,000 fans, and Occidental did not fare any better, getting skunked 39-0. Nixon, twenty years old, five-foot-eleven, listed at a generous one-hundred-seventy-six pounds, wore No. 23, and played tackle. He was at least 20 pounds lighter any of his offensive linemen counterparts, which had to have made for some tough slogging on the Coliseum turf. But Nixon never gave up.

Teammate Herman Fink was an All Conference player. He noted that “If I had his guts and my weight, I’d probably become an All-American football player instead of just and All-Conference player.  He certainly had what it took.”

Program roster for the Whittier Poets' season opener against National Champion USC

 

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