From Head Hog to   School Builder



  | 1 | 2 | 3 |

Roar, Lion Roar: Spectator Heralds Columbia's Greatest Athletes
By Alex Sachare '71

Gehrig, Luckman, McMillian and Teuscher Top Poll

Lou Gehrig '25 and Sid Luckman '39 head the list of Columbia's Greatest Athletes of the Twentieth Century, as selected by a panel of experts and honored in a special edition of the Columbia Daily Spectator published on December 10.

"The history of Columbia athletics in the last century is one for all associated with the school to be proud of, and that starts with the athletes profiled here," wrote Spectator. "From Gehrig to Luckman to (Jim) McMillian to (Cristina) Teuscher, Columbia has always had athletes that have both dominated and revolutionized their sports."

The 28-page supplement was produced by the Spectator sports staff under the leadership of sports editors Max Dickstein '01 and Dave Hensel '01, as well as editor in chief and former sports editor Nathan Hale '00.

A 17-member panel of alumni, journalists, athletic directors, historians and trustees was asked to select the top two athletes of the century and then, in no particular order, another 18 distinguished athletes. Panelists were given a ballot that listed 50 names with brief biographical sketches, but were encouraged to write in others they deemed worthy. A total of 57 athletes received votes, including 14 write-in candidates. A first place vote was worth five points, second place three points and the remaining selections one point.

A tie for 20th place foiled Spectator's original plan to select the "Top 20 Athletes of the 20th Century."

Gehrig, the Iron Horse who went on to anchor the great New York Yankees teams of the late 1920s and 1930s, received eight first-place votes and a total of 53 points to top the list. Luckman, who went from Columbia to NFL stardom with the Chicago Bears, drew six first-place votes and 48 points. McMillian, an All-American forward on Columbia's 1967-68 Ivy League champion basketball team, and Teuscher, an Olympic gold medallist and NCAA champion swimmer, tied for third place with 23 points apiece.

Following is the complete list of athletes honored, with their point total and number of first and second-place votes:

Athlete, year, main sport Pts. 1-2
1. Lou Gehrig '25, baseball 53 (8-4)
2. Sid Luckman '39, football 48 (6-4)
3. Jim McMillian '70, basketball 23 (1-1)
3. Cristina Teuscher '00, swimming 23 (0-4)
5. Chet Forte '57, basketball 22 (0-3)
6. Archie Roberts '65, football 19 (1-0)
7. Cliff Montgomery '34, football 17 (1-1)
8. Eddie Collins '07, baseball 13
9. Lou Kusserow '49, football 12 (0-2)
9. Katy Bilodeaux '87, fencing 12
11. Ben Johnson '39, track 10
12. 1929 heavyweight crew boat 9
12. Gene Larkin '84, baseball 9
14. Tony Corbisiero '83, swimming 8
14. Paul Governali '43, football 8
14. Bruce Soriano '72, fencing 8
14. Marcellus Wiley '96, football 8
18. John Azary '51, basketball 7
18. Ben Atkins '93, fencing 7
20. Jon Normile '89, fencing 6
20. John Witkowski '83, football 6

Others receiving votes: Rolando Acosta '79, baseball; Charles Allen '79, track; Amr Aly '85, soccer; Norman Armitage '31, fencing; Neil Banks '85, soccer; Al Barabas '36, football; Walter Budko '48, basketball; Steve Charles '79, soccer; Bob Cottingham '88, fencing; Rikki Dadason '96, soccer; Marty Domres '69, football; Harry Fisher '05, basketball; Dave Galdi '82, wrestling; Vitas Gerulaitis '75, tennis; Mike Grant '99, cross-country; George Gregory '31, basketball; Jose Iglesias '60, cross-country; Buck Jenkins '93, basketball; Wally Koppisch '25, football; Robert LeRoy '07, tennis; Ann Marsh '93, fencing; Jack Molinas '53, basketball; William Morley '02, football; Robert Nielson '51, fencing; Barry Nix '82, soccer; Henry O'Shaughnessy '45, wrestling; Nat Pendleton '15, wrestling; Eugene Rogers '45, swimming; Gene Rossides '49, football; Steve Sirtis '84, soccer; George Smith '15, baseball; George Starke '71, football; Bill Swiacki '48, football; Al Walker Jr. '20, golf; Harold Weekes '03, football; Mike Wilhite '78, baseball.

Spectator cited as Columbia's five greatest coaches Lou Little (football), Jack Rohan '53 (basketball), Dieter Ficken (soccer), Irv DeKoff (fencing) and James Murray (fencing). Four games were chosen as the greatest in Columbia's athletics history: the 1934 Rose Bowl win over Stanford; the 21-20 victory over Army that ended the Cadets' 32-game winning streak in 1947; the men's soccer team's 1-0 loss to Indiana in double overtime in the 1983 NCAA finals; and the 1988 football team's 16-13 win over Princeton that snapped the Lions' 44-game losing streak.

Finally, Columbia's five greatest teams were selected: the 1933 football team that won the Rose Bowl, the 1967-68 basketball team that won the ECAC Holiday Festival as well as the Ivy League title; the 1961 football team that won the Ivy championhip; the 1983 soccer team that finished second in the nation; and the 1950-51 basketball team that went 23-1.

The Columbia Spectator wants the entire University community to share in the memories of the last 100 years of Columbia athletics. Spectator is offering copies of the December 10 retrospective to the public in return for a small donation. For more information, contact Spectator between 9 and 5 at 212-854-9550 or write to:

Columbia Spectator
2875 Broadway
Third Floor
New York, NY 10025

  | 1 | 2 | 3 |
Search Columbia College Today
Need Help?

Columbia College Today Home
CCT Home

This Issue
This Issue


This Issue
Previous Issue

CCT Masthead