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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Lewisville, NC

    Happy 100th Birthday, Ace Parker

    Ace Parker article from goduke.com

    What a remarkable variety of achievements:

    2-time football All-America at Duke
    Set numerous school records for rushing yardage and touchdowns
    Played 3 sports at Duke and was inducted into College Hall of Fame
    Played in the NFL, winning a Player of the Year award and achieving induction into Pro Football Hall of Fame
    Played Major League Baseball
    World War II veteran
    Longtime Duke Baseball coach, twice leading teams to the College World Series

    We occasionally have discussions about Duke's greatest athlete ever; it may well be Ace Parker.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Meeting with Marie Laveau
    Quote Originally Posted by roywhite View Post
    Ace Parker article from goduke.com

    What a remarkable variety of achievements:

    2-time football All-America at Duke
    Set numerous school records for rushing yardage and touchdowns
    Played 3 sports at Duke and was inducted into College Hall of Fame
    Played in the NFL, winning a Player of the Year award and achieving induction into Pro Football Hall of Fame
    Played Major League Baseball
    World War II veteran
    Longtime Duke Baseball coach, twice leading teams to the College World Series

    We occasionally have discussions about Duke's greatest athlete ever; it may well be Ace Parker.
    You may be right about that! Wasn't Ace was also still an assistant football coach at Duke into the late 60's?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Skinker-DeBaliviere, Saint Louis
    Give him a few more months and he'll have lived longer than Bill Werber did!

    A movie is not about what it's about; it's about how it's about it.
    ---Roger Ebert


    Some questions cannot be answered
    Who’s gonna bury who
    We need a love like Johnny, Johnny and June
    ---Over the Rhine

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by throatybeard View Post
    Give him a few more months and he'll have lived longer than Bill Werber did!
    But he will never have served more beer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Skinker-DeBaliviere, Saint Louis
    Quote Originally Posted by Indoor66 View Post
    But he will never have served more beer.
    It's a little known fact that he chose to stick with football and baseball because Eddie Cameron had him setting screens all the time.

    A movie is not about what it's about; it's about how it's about it.
    ---Roger Ebert


    Some questions cannot be answered
    Who’s gonna bury who
    We need a love like Johnny, Johnny and June
    ---Over the Rhine

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO

    Recruited Dave Sime

    Among his other million accomplishment, Ace Parker was the main reason world record holder Dave Sime came to Duke. Ace had played pro ball at the AAA level with Dave Sime's father. When Dave was being recruited by Notre Dame and Army IIRC, he was told he was to play football, but his primary interest was baseball. Dave's father called Ace, and Ace said, "Come on down. I'm sure we can work something out." Dave came to Duke on a baseball scholarship but almot immediately began working out on the track. Within two years Dave had set world records in the sprints and hurdles. Sime did play baseball and IIRC was All-ACC at least one year.

    sagegrouse

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    Among his other million accomplishment, Ace Parker was the main reason world record holder Dave Sime came to Duke. Ace had played pro ball at the AAA level with Dave Sime's father. When Dave was being recruited by Notre Dame and Army IIRC, he was told he was to play football, but his primary interest was baseball. Dave's father called Ace, and Ace said, "Come on down. I'm sure we can work something out." Dave came to Duke on a baseball scholarship but almot immediately began working out on the track. Within two years Dave had set world records in the sprints and hurdles. Sime did play baseball and IIRC was All-ACC at least one year.

    sagegrouse
    Very cool. My 8 year old son and Ace Parker share a birthday!
    "There can BE only one."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Meeting with Marie Laveau
    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    Among his other million accomplishment, Ace Parker was the main reason world record holder Dave Sime came to Duke. Ace had played pro ball at the AAA level with Dave Sime's father. When Dave was being recruited by Notre Dame and Army IIRC, he was told he was to play football, but his primary interest was baseball. Dave's father called Ace, and Ace said, "Come on down. I'm sure we can work something out." Dave came to Duke on a baseball scholarship but almot immediately began working out on the track. Within two years Dave had set world records in the sprints and hurdles. Sime did play baseball and IIRC was All-ACC at least one year.

    sagegrouse
    Dave Sime's grandson (Max McCaffrey) will be on our football team this fall. Ace had an eye for talent!

  9. #9

    Ace Parker

    Parker is very definitely in the discussion as one of the great athletes in Duke history.

    He's one of three Duke football players to win consensus All-America honors. He is in both the College Football and the NFL Hall of Fame.

    He was good enough to play basketball at Duke -- and, of course, he was a great baseball player -- good enough to play Major League baseball.

    As a teenager, he was a fantastic golfer. He beat Sam Snead in a long-driving contest while he was still in high school. Snead encouraged him to take up pro golf.

    As noted above, Parker was Duke's long-time baseball coach, succeeding Jack Coombs in the early '50s and holding the job to the late '80s. He was the coach the last time Duke went to the College World Series (1961). He was also the backfield coach for Bill Murray -- when Duke had the best football program in the ACC. Parker finally left Duke when Murray retired and he was passed over to succeed him (Doug Knight insisted on hiring in Ivy League coach with a losing record at Cornelll -- Tom Harp ... although Eddie Cameron wanted to hire Bud Wilkinson).

    There was a recent poll that voted Parker the greatest athloete in Virginia prep history ... ahead of Ronald Curry. I remember that when Virginia Tech played its first ACC football game, it was against Duke in Blacksburg -- and they honored Parker (who was originally planning to go to VPI).

    Parker is now the oldest living member of the College ands Pro football HOFs. He's also the second oldest living former Major League baseball player (Bill Werber was the oldest for about two years before his death recently).

    It's nice that we remember him at 100 ... a great Duke athlete!

  10. #10
    Ace was playing for Duke when my parents were there and was the baseball coach and football asst (as noted) when i was there.

    was pleased he got noted by PTI today.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    ... Eddie Cameron wanted to hire Bud Wilkinson...
    How close was this to happening/was there a real shot at it happening -- would Wilkinson have been receptive? Did Cameron speak to him about it?

  12. #12

    wilkinson

    Quote Originally Posted by Reilly View Post
    How close was this to happening/was there a real shot at it happening -- would Wilkinson have been receptive? Did Cameron speak to him about it?
    Wilkinson was available. He had retired from coaching at Oklahoma and his Senate run had come up short in 1964. He was working as the main analyst for ABC College Football (and since that was the only source of college football on TV those days, aside from the bowl games, that was a big job.).

    Cameron know Wilkinson from his son -- Jay Wilkinson, who as an All-American running back/kick returner at Duke.

    Was there a chance he might have come? Well, Cameron sent former coach Wallace Wade to New York to feel Wilkinson out. His first reaction was to say no and to recommend his former top assistant at Oklahoma, Gomer Jones. Before things could go much further, Knight -- who was determined to turn Duke into an Ivy League school -- forced Cameron ton hire Tom Harp, who had a losing record at Cornell. That was the beginning of the long, slow slide of Duke football. There were a first ups and downs in the next few decades, but replacing Murray with Harp was the first (huge) misstep.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Walnut Creek, California
    Quote Originally Posted by Reilly View Post
    How close was this to happening/was there a real shot at it happening -- would Wilkinson have been receptive? Did Cameron speak to him about it?
    Bud knew the Duke football program well as his son Jay had been an All-American halfback at Duke two years earlier, graduating in 1964. He knew all the football-connected staff and of course was close to Cameron. Had Knight not overruled Cameron in favor of Harp, Wilkinson would probably have accepted. What he didn't know was that Knight and others had a different vision of the future.

    As for Harp, he probably did possess the X's and O's necessary to be a successful coach. We'll never know for sure, but he thought a Cornell type of approach to recruiting was fine. As a result, the entire football program was essentially destroyed by an administration which did not want big-time football. Knight seemed to think the Ivy model was a good one to follow. I also believe he really was convinced that the University of Chicago had done the right thing by abandoning football altogether. The general idea was that a great research/academic university and football scholarships were incompatible. He couldn't walk away from the ACC, however, so football had to stay. But he cobbled together a policy limiting salaries, recruitment, scheduling and resisting any redshirting. The pendulum began to swing back under Mike McGee, but he wasn't given the support he needed and was unnecessarily fired. The following years devolved into 40+ years of mediocrity. Not until Cut arrived was any serious consideration given to modifying the policy. I think Mike Krzyzewski was able to get the ear first of Nan and later of Dick, leading to a more realistic approach to football. But within the university there has always been an influential anti-football cadre.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO

    Plunkett Proved the Opposite

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim3k View Post
    Bud knew the Duke football program well as his son Jay had been an All-American halfback at Duke two years earlier, graduating in 1964. He knew all the football-connected staff and of course was close to Cameron. Had Knight not overruled Cameron in favor of Harp, Wilkinson would probably have accepted. What he didn't know was that Knight and others had a different vision of the future.

    As for Harp, he probably did possess the X's and O's necessary to be a successful coach. We'll never know for sure, but he thought a Cornell type of approach to recruiting was fine. As a result, the entire football program was essentially destroyed by an administration which did not want big-time football. Knight seemed to think the Ivy model was a good one to follow. I also believe he really was convinced that the University of Chicago had done the right thing by abandoning football altogether. The general idea was that a great research/academic university and football scholarships were incompatible. He couldn't walk away from the ACC, however, so football had to stay. But he cobbled together a policy limiting salaries, recruitment, scheduling and resisting any redshirting. The pendulum began to swing back under Mike McGee, but he wasn't given the support he needed and was unnecessarily fired. The following years devolved into 40+ years of mediocrity. Not until Cut arrived was any serious consideration given to modifying the policy. I think Mike Krzyzewski was able to get the ear first of Nan and later of Dick, leading to a more realistic approach to football. But within the university there has always been an influential anti-football cadre.
    The thinking at the time was that big-time football and first-rate academics were incompatible. This was the supposed lesson derived by the deemphasis of football that happened in the early '50s with the Ivy League. No, that's just how the Ivy League decided to approach the issue of college athletics. Then, Jim Plunkett arrived at Stanford about the same time Duke backed off of football, and -- mirabile dictu -- Stanford went to the Rose Bowl two years in a row. Gee, maybe a strong academic school can be competitive on the field.

    I thought then and think now that Knight and the Board of Trustees were wrong. Moreover, I find the contradictions and hypocrisy in Ivy League athletics to be worse than anything that goes on at Duke.

    sagegrouse

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by throatybeard View Post
    Give him a few more months and he'll have lived longer than Bill Werber did!
    Billy Werber and Ace were major league teammates. Ace's first game:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/bo...93704240.shtml

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