From Head Hog to   School Builder




Roar, Lion, Roar!
By Alex Sachare

Alex Sachare

I'm confident that the Spectator poll naming Columbia's greatest athletes of the twentieth century (story, page 36) will arouse fond memories for many alumni. While we all have our favorites and some may have been overlooked by the 17-member voting panel, few could harbor any qualms about the leaders. After starring at Columbia, Lou Gehrig '25 and Sid Luckman '39 went to the very top of the professional ranks as well.

Gehrig, whose streak of 2,130 consecutive games stood as baseball's iron-man standard until Cal Ripken Jr. surpassed it in 1995, was the heart and soul of the great New York Yankees teams of the late 1920s and 1930s. Luckman helped usher pro football into the modern era as the T-formation quarterback of the Chicago Bears, leading the team to four National Football League championships, one of them coming on a 73-0 rout of the Washington Redskins in 1940 that stands as the most one-sided playoff game in history. And both, by all accounts, were classy gentlemen as well as great athletes.

My favorite Columbia sports star tied for third place in the poll. Jim McMillian was a 6-5 forward who led the Lions basketball team to the 1968 Ivy League championship, a national ranking and 20-win seasons in each of his three varsity campaigns (freshmen were ineligible for varsity play in those days). Hard-working and fundamentally sound, McMillian went on to play nine seasons in the NBA and was a starter on the Lakers team that won a record 33 games in a row en route to the 1972 championship.

Three of my years at Columbia overlapped with McMillian's, so I had the pleasure of spending many an enjoyable evening in the bandbox University Hall gymnasium, with its huge courtside pillars and overhead running track, watching No. 5 drain those corner jumpers.

Another of my favorite athletes also made the Spectator list: Marty Domres '69, a 6-5 quarterback whose strong right arm carried him to the NFL. Columbia's football team wasn't very good back then, going 2-7 just about every fall, but Domres filled the air with passes and always kept things interesting at Baker Field.

CCT is pleased to present the results of the Spectator poll, in hopes it will rekindle similar memories for you.

* * *

We are in the process of reevaluating and redefining the duties, responsibilities and makeup of the CCT Alumni Advisory Board and wish to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank members of the past Board for their dedication and participation over the years: Ray Robinson '41, Walter Wager '44, Jason Epstein '49, Gilbert Rogin '51, Ira Silverman '57, David M. Alpern '63, Carey Winfrey '63, Albert Scardino '70, Richard F. Snow '70, Paul A. Argenti '75, John Glusman '78, Duchesne Paul Drew '89, and Elena Cabral '93. They not only served CCT and its staff, but by extension all alumni and the College as well.

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