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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC

    Duke's greatest athlete


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    About 150 feet in front of the Duke Chapel doors.
    Jim,

    Thanks for sharing your article with us. I'd heard of Dave Sime, but didn't really appreciate just how great he was until I read your article.

    For everyone else, I highly recommend reading the article linked in Jim's post. A great story with a happy ending. It sort of reminds me of "Moonlight" Graham in "Field of Dreams".
    JBDuke

    Andre Dawkins: “People ask me if I can still shoot, and I ask them if they can still breathe. That’s kind of the same thing.”

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Orleans
    Sime was the first name that popped into my head before reading the piece. Probably basketball-baseball stars Dick Groat and Bill Werber would be his closest competition for the title of Duke's greatest athlete, both before Buehler's time. A name popping up here lately -- Leo Hart -- would likely be in the conversation, as well as Jim Spanarkel. Rich Searl and Dennis Satyshur were terrific all-round athletes. May be shortchanging the later generations, as I imagine playing two sports became rarer as time went on.

    The usual great article, Jim.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    The thing that makes Sime so unique is that he was a great baseball player and a great track athlete in the same season. That's impressive in high school but to accomplish that at the ACC level is just off the charts.

    Speaking of multi-sports athletes, let's try a trivia question. What former Duke athlete hit a home run in his first major league at-bat?

  5. #5
    Let's not overlook 2-sport star Steve Johnson.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Orleans
    Quote Originally Posted by jimsumner View Post
    let's try a trivia question. What former Duke athlete hit a home run in his first major league at-bat?
    Ace Parker

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Correct. Football great Ace Parker.

    Multi-sport stars like Werber and Groat were more common in the days before specialization. Eric Tipton, another Duke football great, had a nice career in the major leagues and George McAfee could have had he selected baseball over football. Gordon Carver started off as a football-basketball-baseball-star but dropped the latter for track at the insistence of Wallace Wade. 1970 ACC football POY Ernie Jackson was a track star. Many more examples.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Orleans
    Quote Originally Posted by jimsumner View Post
    Correct. Football great Ace Parker.

    Multi-sport stars like Werber and Groat were more common in the days before specialization. Eric Tipton, another Duke football great, had a nice career in the major leagues and George McAfee could have had he selected baseball over football. Gordon Carver started off as a football-basketball-baseball-star but dropped the latter for track at the insistence of Wallace Wade. 1970 ACC football POY Ernie Jackson was a track star. Many more examples.
    Ernie was ACC player of the year as a junior? I hadn't remembered that. He could fly down that track, and had a nice long career in the NFL. I've clearly overlooked some of the best candidates for Duke's greatest athlete, so I'll defer to your perspective. Sime it is. He certainly had that rep back in the '60s.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    BTW, dkbaseball, Al Buehler was a great half-miler at Maryland. He and Dick Groat were contemporaries. Clearly, Buehler might be prejudiced towards tracksters but in this case, I think he's on target, and I love Groat.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    '71 for Jackson. Thanks, dk.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    New York, NY
    That was a great read. Lots of Duke fans had never heard of Sime, which is, I suppose, a point of writing the story.

    Thanks, Jim.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Orleans
    Quote Originally Posted by jimsumner View Post
    '71 for Jackson. Thanks, dk.
    Yeah, my vague recollection was that we had two in a row -- Steve Jones the next year.

  13. #13
    If you want to read about great Duke Athletes, our own Jim Sumner has written a book on the subject ("Tales from the Duke Blue Devils Hardwood" By Jim L Sumner, James Sumner, Published 2005, Sports Publishing LLC).

    You can find some info on Gordon Carver and other excerpts here: http://books.google.com/books?id=Pml...hl=en#PPA16,M1

    I hope Jim doesn't take exception to my posting this and I imagine his failure to do so was merely modesty.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rougemont Nebulae

    Let's not forget

    Randy Jones (Johnson?) Duke football standout and Olympic Bobsled team member.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Lewisville, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by jimsumner View Post
    '71 for Jackson. Thanks, dk.
    Ernie played both ways, on offense as a TB and on defense as a CB, for parts of that year. Duke had some talent (Ed Newman, Steve Jones, Willie Clayton, etc.) but was awfully thin, particularly when injuries struck.

    If I recall correctly, Ernie took back an interception all the way to give us a win over Stanford on the West Coast.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Hudson Valley

    Ernie Jackson

    Both Ernie and C.G. Newsome were in my house - Frats then were not very accepting of blacks and so they both ended up in what was, to be truthful, a rather dorky independent house.
    Ernie has to be the quickest person i have ever known. I played on our IM b'ball team with him. I kid you not - He once made a pass, realized that the person he had passed to had broken the other way, took off and caught up with the ball before it went out of bounds. Now - it was a lazy pass, but even so -

    A couple of other points - in those days, they folded the bleachers back in the Indoor Stadium (it wasn't yet Cameron) and we played IM b'ball on courts going crosswise across the main court. The IM finals (which we never made) were played on the varsity court - which must have been a trip
    Also, in those days you had to take four semesters of PE. One semester, I took a Volleyball course that was held in the Indoor Stadium, although not on the main court.

    Also - yes Ernie intercepted a pass thrown by Stanford quarterback Jim Plunkett and ran it back in what may have been the last Duke football game on national TV. If I remember correctly, he had one arm in a cast when he did that

    Finally Ernie was a dedicated member of the house tube team - I remember several times when he threw his shoes at the TV in response to Jesse Helms editorials. On the othe hand, I never remember Newsome watching TV down in the Commons Room. He was always studying - which is probably one trait that has led to him now a University President.

    Jim
    T 70 (Class of Stray Gator)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Plunkett was in the NFL by then. Don Bunce was the Stanford QB.

    Steve Jones missed the Stanford game after being in an automobile accident on campus, so the Duke defense did yeoman's work that day.

    FWIW, Leo Hart, Wes Chesson, Ernie Jackson, Steve Jones, Ed Newman, and Rich Searl overlapped for one season at Duke. Some serious talent. But no depth.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Hudson Valley

    Plunkett

    OK - I will take your word for it - but my memory is certainly that it was Plunkett - but that was more than 35 years ago and maybe my memory is not accurate

    Jim

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Orleans
    Quote Originally Posted by Tappan Zee Devil View Post
    OK - I will take your word for it - but my memory is certainly that it was Plunkett - but that was more than 35 years ago and maybe my memory is not accurate

    Jim
    Was it Ernie's junior or senior year? If the former, Plunkett would have been the Stanford QB -- that being the year of the quarterback, with Plunkett, Joe Theisman, Archie Manning, Leo Hart, and I believe Dan Pastorini all seniors. If Ernie was a senior, Bunce was the Stanford QB. I'm guessing Jim is right, because I know we played Stanford in Durham the year after Ernie graduated, and it makes sense that Duke would have played at Stanford the year before (and also because Jim is our resident Duke historian).

    BTW, my recollection of Ernie as a hoopster is that he was indeed quick, but unskilled. One reason that I mentioned his classmates Rich Searl and Dennis Satyshur in this thread is that in addition to being fine two-sport athletes at Duke, they were tremendous basketball players who, as freshmen, virtually by themselves won the IM basketball final against a Phi Kap team that had five starters who had been high school all-state players. Roywhite no doubt will recall the game. Satyshur wasn't a big guy, but for pure, all-round athletic skill he was right up there with most anybody I've known.

  20. #20

    Quinton McCracken

    There's no disagreement with Dave Sime here but Q should be way up on the list of Duke's best athletes. Man, he was fast. Played pretty good d-back and was good enough to switch hit in the majors for 10 years. Bobby Brower was also a freak of an athlete. Could jump and run like a hoops player and cover some serious ground in the outfield. If not mistaken, he gained 100+ yards in his last football game (UNC?) before deciding baseball was his choice. Played some with the Rangers and Yankees.

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