Doc Blanchard

Felix Anthony "Doc" Blanchard (December 11, 1924 – April 19, 2009) is best known as the college football player who became the first ever junior to win the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and was the first ever football player to win the James E. Sullivan Award, all in 1945. He played football for the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was known as "Mr. Inside." Because his father was a doctor, Felix Blanchard was nicknamed "Little Doc" as a boy.[1] After football, he served in the United States Air Force from 1947 until 1971 when he retired with the rank of colonel.

Doc Blanchard
Doc Blanchard 1947 Howitzer Photo
Blanchard's 1947 West Point yearbook photo
Army Black Knights – No. 35
Career history
CollegeNorth Carolina (1943)
Army (1944–1946)
High schoolBay St. Louis (MS) Saint Stanislaus
Personal information
Born:December 11, 1924
McColl, South Carolina
Died:April 19, 2009 (aged 84)
Bulverde, Texas
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight205 lb (93 kg)
Career highlights and awards
College Football Hall of Fame (1959)

Early years

Blanchard was born on December 11, 1924, in McColl, South Carolina. [2] His father was a doctor and had played college football at Tulane University and Wake Forest University.[1] The Blanchards moved from McColl, South Carolina to Dexter, Iowa in 1929. The Blanchards then moved to Bishopville, South Carolina two years later.[2] Blanchard, nicknamed "Little Doc", attended high school at Saint Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. He led the school's football team, the Rockachaws, to an undefeated season during his senior year in 1941. Blanchard was recruited to play college football by Army, Fordham University and the University of Notre Dame, among others.[3] Blanchard said in 1985 that he had been contacted about going to West Point when he was in high school.[3] He said, "At that point in time, I really wasn't interested. Academically, I never was too hot, so I never had any idea I would pass the entrance examination and go to West Point."[3]

Instead, Blanchard chose to play for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, in part because its coach, Jim Tatum, was his mother's cousin.[4] Because NCAA rules at the time did not allow freshmen to play varsity, Blanchard played with the freshman team.[4]

In 1943 after the United States became one of the Allies in World War II, Blanchard enlisted in the United States Army. He was stationed in New Mexico with a chemical-warfare unit until enrolling at West Point in July 1944 in an appointment his father secured.[3][5]

West Point years

Felix Doc Blanchard Army football
Doc Blanchard
"Mr. Inside"

During his three years of playing football at West Point, his team under coach Earl "Red" Blaik compiled an undefeated 27–0–1 record – the tie being a famous 0–0 game[4] against Notre Dame.[3]

Notre Dame coach Edward McKeever was amazed by Blanchard. After his 1944 team lost to Army by a score of 59–0, McKeever said, "I've just seen Superman in the flesh. He wears number 35 and goes by the name of Blanchard."[6]

An all-around athlete, Blanchard served as the placekicker and punter in addition to his primary roles as an offensive fullback and a linebacker on defense. He soon teamed with Glenn Davis on the 1944–45–46 teams (Davis won the Heisman in 1946, the year after Blanchard won it). They formed one of the most lethal rushing combinations in football history. In his three seasons at West Point Blanchard scored 38 touchdowns, gained 1,908 yards and earned the nickname "Mr. Inside." Teammate Davis earned the nickname "Mr. Outside"[7] and in November 1945, they both shared the cover of Time magazine.[3]

In 1945, Blanchard played against Leon Bramlett of the Naval Academy. Army won the match, 32–13. Both Blanchard and Bramlett, later a farmer and politician from Clarksdale, were inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.[8]

In 1984, at the awards ceremony marking the 50th Heisman Trophy presentation, Blanchard took the occasion to recall, in comparison to the big glitzy shows for the ceremony today, how he learned of his Heisman selection in 1945. He said, "I got a telegram. It said, 'You've been selected to win the Heisman Trophy. Please wire collect.'"[5]

In 1946, Blanchard missed the first two games of the season due to an injury to his knee.[9] In June 1946 his class was divided into two classes (1947 and 1948) to transition back to a peacetime four-year curriculum from the wartime three-year curriculum instituted in October 1942. Both Blanchard and Davis were placed in the final three-year group, the Class of 1947 (Davis had entered West Point in July 1943 but was turned back a year in 1944 for a deficiency in mathematics).

In 1947, Blanchard played himself in the movie The Spirit of West Point. His West Point teammate Glenn Davis also played himself in the film. Other cast members include Robert Shayne as Coach Colonel Earl "Red" Blaik, Anne Nagel as Mrs. Blaik, George O'Hanlon as Joe Wilson, Michael Browne as Roger "Mileaway" McCarty, Tanis Chandler as Mildred, Mary Newton as Mrs. Mary Blanchard and William Forrest as Doc Blanchard's father, Dr. Felix Blanchard. Also appearing as themselves are 1940 Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon and sportscasters Bill Stern and Harry Wismer. The screenplay was written by Tom Reed based on a story by Mary Howard. Ralph Murphy directed.[10][11][12]

In addition to football, Blanchard was also a member of the Army track and field team, with a shot put championship and a 10-second 100-yard dash in 1945.[9]

In 1947, Blanchard graduated from West Point, 296th in order of merit among 310 graduates, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force.[5] He coached Army's freshman team in the 1950s, but he never played professional football, choosing a military career instead.[5]

1941 Doc Blanchard on Gulf Coast Championship St Stanislaus football team
The 1941 Saint Stanislaus College prep school Gulf Coast championship Team. Doc Blanchard is No. 61.

Military career

Blanchard had the opportunity to play professional football after being selected third overall in the 1946 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.[13] After he was turned down in 1947 for a furlough to play with the NFL,[5] Blanchard then chose to embark upon a career in the United States Air Force and became a fighter pilot. In 1959, while with the 77th Tactical Fighter Squadron and flying back to his base at RAF Wethersfield near London, a gas leak in Major Blanchard's F-100 Super Sabre broke and caught his plane on fire.

Rather than escaping and parachuting out safely, he decided to stay with the plane and land it safely, because of a village on the ground that would have been damaged. This garnered him an Air Force commendation for bravery.[5]

In the Vietnam War, Blanchard flew 113 missions from Thailand, 84 of them over North Vietnam. He piloted a fighter-bomber during a one-year tour of duty that ended in January 1969.[5] He retired from the Air Force in 1971 as a colonel.[5][7] After retiring from the Air Force, he spent several more years as the commandant of cadets at the New Mexico Military Institute, a junior college that prepares students to enter the service academies.


Blanchard died of pneumonia on April 19, 2009, in Bulverde, Texas.[14] He had been living with his daughter Mary and her husband Aaron for the last 15 years of his life.[3] At the time of his death, he was the oldest living Heisman Trophy winner.[9] He is interred at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.

Honors and memorials

Blanchard was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959.[3]

At a 1991 ceremony, he presented his Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and James E. Sullivan Award to his—and his father's[15]—former high school alma mater, Saint Stanislaus College prep school, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.[16] He also presented his jersey to the school.[16] The trophy, awards and jersey were enshrined in the Brother Alexis Memorial Resource Center on the Saint Stanislaus campus until they were briefly lost to flooding during Hurricane Katrina. The items have since been recovered.[7][16]

In Blanchard's honor, the Interstate 20 / U.S. Route 15 interchange near his hometown of Bishopville, South Carolina, has been named the Felix "Doc" Blanchard Interchange.[17]

Beginning in 2004 the Rotary presents the Doc Blanchard Award as well as the Glenn Davis Award to the two high school football players participating in the U.S. Army All American Bowl who best exemplify the U.S. Army's high standard of excellence in community service, education and athletic distinction. The Doc Blanchard Award is given to a player from the Bowl's East team, while the Davis Award is given to a player from the Bowl's West team. The first recipient of the Doc Blanchard Award was Ryan Baker.[18]

West Point announced in April 2009, before Blanchard's death, that Blanchard's number 35 would be retired, and it was on October 10 during a home game against Vanderbilt.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b Hickok, R. "Blanchard, "Doc" (Felix A.)". Sports Biographies, (2002, 2003, 2004). Archived from the original on 2002-02-23. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
  2. ^ a b Fimrite, Ron: "Mr. Inside & Mr. Outside, Sports Illustrated, November 21, 1988.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Associated Press: Army's Mr. Inside, Doc Blanchard, dies at 84
  4. ^ a b c ESPN: Blanchard More Than Football Hero
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i New York Times: Doc Blanchard, Army's Mr. Inside, Is Dead at 84
  6. ^ National Football Foundation: Army's Felix "Doc" Blanchard Passes Away
  7. ^ a b c Lorge, S. "Mr. Inside, Mr. Outside". Heisman Heroes, Sports Illustrated (CNN/Sports Illustrated 2001). Retrieved 2007-06-18.
  8. ^ "Leon C. "Lee" Bramlett". Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c San Antonio Express-News: 'Doc' Blanchard won't be part of the A&M vs. Army hoopla
  10. ^ IMDb: The Spirit of West Point (1947)
  11. ^ New York Times: The Spirit of West Point (1947) overview
  12. ^ New York Times: The Spirit of West Point (1947) movie review by B.C. Published: October 3, 1947 Accessed: April 20, 2009
  13. ^ "1946 NFL Draft". Archived from the original on 2009-01-02. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  14. ^ Goldstein, Richard (2009-04-10). "Doc Blanchard, Army's Mr. Inside, Is Dead at 84". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  15. ^ Reprint of The State newspaper article: Bishopville's Favorite Son Archived January 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ a b c The Times-Picayune: Tad Gormley memories include Army's Doc Blanchard
  17. ^ The State: Long-overdue honor for Blanchard comes soon
  18. ^ U.S. Army All-American Bowl Awards Archived 2011-01-23 at the Wayback Machine

External links

1944 College Football All-America Team

The 1944 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1944. The nine selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1944 season are (1) Collier's Weekly, as selected by Grantland Rice, (2) the Associated Press, (3) the United Press, (4) the All-America Board, (5) Football News, (6) the International News Service (INS), (7) Look magazine, (8) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) and (9) the Sporting News.

Ohio State quarterback Les Horvath and Navy tackle Don Whitmire were the only players unanimously chosen as first-team player by all of the official selectors. Horvath won the 1944 Heisman Trophy as the Buckeyes turned in a 9–0 record and finished second in the national polls. Whitmire later served in Vietnam and held the rank of rear admiral.

Georgia Tech end Phil Tinsley received first-team honors from eight of the nine official selectors, and Army backfield duo of Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard each received seven first-team honors.

1945 Army Cadets football team

The 1945 Army Cadets football team represented the United States Military Academy in the 1945 college football season. The Cadets were coached by Earl Blaik in his fifth year and finished the season undefeated with a record of nine wins and zero losses (9–0). The squad was also recognized as consensus national champions for the 1945 season. For the season, the Cadets' offense scored 412 points, while the defense allowed 46 points.

1945 College Football All-America Team

The 1945 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1945. The nine selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1945 season are (1) Collier's Weekly, as selected by Grantland Rice, (2) the Associated Press, (3) the United Press, (4) the All-America Board, (5) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), (6) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), (7) the International News Service (INS), (8) Look magazine, (9) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) and (10) the Sporting News.

1946 Army vs. Notre Dame football game

The 1946 Army vs. Notre Dame football game was a regular season college football game played on November 9, 1946. Army (the football program of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York), then ranked Number 1 in the Associated Press college football poll, played the University of Notre Dame, of South Bend, Indiana, ranked Number 2, at Yankee Stadium in New York City. This game is regarded as one of the 20th century Games of the Century.

1946 NFL Draft

The 1946 National Football League Draft was held on January 14, 1946, at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, New York.The selections were initially withheld from the public out of fear that the newly formed All-America Football Conference would sign away players selected high. The most notable draft choice in this player selection meeting was made by the Washington Redskins and remains one of the biggest draft blunders of all time. They chose Cal Rossi with the 9th overall pick, but Rossi, a junior at UCLA, was not eligible to be drafted. They chose him again in the 1947 NFL draft, but he never played football professionally.

Army Black Knights football

The Army Black Knights football team, previously known as the Army Cadets, represents the United States Military Academy in college football. Army is currently a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) member of the NCAA. The Black Knights currently play home games in Michie Stadium with a capacity of 38,000 at West Point, New York. The Black Knights are coached by Jeff Monken who is in his sixth season as head coach. Army is a three-time national champion, winning the title from 1944-1946.

With the exception of seven seasons (1998–2004) where the team was a member of Conference USA, Army has competed as an independent, meaning that they have no affiliation with any conference. Currently, Army is one of six FBS schools whose football teams do not belong to any conference; the others being BYU, Liberty, New Mexico State, Notre Dame, and UMass. However, all of these schools belong to conferences for all other sports. Army is primarily a member of the Patriot League, BYU is primarily a member of the West Coast Conference, Liberty is in the Atlantic Sun Conference, New Mexico State is in the Western Athletic Conference, Notre Dame is part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and UMass belongs to the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Three players from Army have won the Heisman Trophy: Doc Blanchard (1945), Glenn Davis (1946), and Pete Dawkins (1958).The three major service academies—Air Force, Army, and Navy—compete for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, which is awarded to the academy that defeats the others in football that year (or retained by the previous winner in the event of a three-way tie). Army has won eight CIC Trophies, most recently in 2018.

Army–Notre Dame football rivalry

The Army–Notre Dame football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Army Black Knights football team of the United States Military Academy and Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team of the University of Notre Dame. The rivalry dates back to 1913, when both teams were among the top college football programs in the United States.

Arnold Tucker

Arnold Tucker (born January 5, 1924) is a retired United States Air Force officer who graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1947.

While lettering twice in football, Tucker was a part of three national championship squads (1944, 1945, 1946) on the gridiron. He earned first team all-America honors in 1946 after garnering second team laurels in 1945. After serving as Army's starting quarterback in 1945 and 1946, Tucker finished fifth in the 1946 Heisman Trophy balloting in 1946, behind teammates Glenn Davis and Felix "Doc" Blanchard among others.During his two years as a starter, Tucker guided the Black Knights to a combined 18–0–1 record, while Army went 27–0–1 during his three years as a team member. Tucker passed for 618 yards and nine touchdowns in 1946 and also registered a school-record eight interceptions as a defensive back that year. He still shares the single-season Academy record for interceptions and stands second on Army's career list with 11. Tucker, who was selected to participate in the 1947 College All-star Game played in Chicago, also returned punts and kickoffs for the Black Knights.

Tucker lettered twice and served as team captain during his senior year on the basketball team.

LTC Tucker retired from the US Air Force after a distinguished career in 1974. A former University of Miami and Army star, Tucker played at Miami High in his youth and was a legend there. He won the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation's best amateur athlete in 1947 and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He currently resides in the Miami area.

Bob Fenimore

Robert Dale Fenimore (October 6, 1925 – July 28, 2010) known as the Blonde Bomber or Blonde Blizard was a halfback for the Oklahoma A&M football team from 1943 to 1946. Member of the 1945 National Championship Oklahoma A&M team. He was the first two-time All America selection from Oklahoma A&M and finished third in the Heisman voting in 1945, but still led the nation in rushing with 142 carries for 1,048 yards.

Bulverde, Texas

Bulverde ( buul-VUR-dee) is a city in Comal County, Texas, United States. The population was 4,630 at the 2010 census, up from 3,761 at the 2000 census. It is part of the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Fifty-eighth Texas Legislature

The 58th Texas Legislature met from January 8, 1963, to May 24, 1963. All members present during this session were elected in the 1962 general elections.

Fifty-ninth Texas Legislature

The 59th Texas Legislature met from January 12, 1965, to May 31, 1965, and again in a special called session from February 14, 1966, to February 23, 1966. All members present during this session were elected in the 1964 general elections.

Heisman Trophy

The Heisman Memorial Trophy (usually known colloquially as the Heisman Trophy or The Heisman), is awarded annually to a player in NCAA football. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. It is presented by the Heisman Trophy Trust in early December before the postseason bowl games.

The award was created by the Downtown Athletic Club in 1935 to recognize "the most valuable college football player east of the Mississippi," and was first awarded to University of Chicago halfback Jay Berwanger. After the death in October 1936 of the Club's athletic director, John Heisman, the award was named in his honor and broadened to include players west of the Mississippi. Heisman had been active in college athletics as a football player; a head football, basketball, and baseball coach; and an athletic director. It is the oldest of several overall awards in college football, including the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and the AP Player of the Year. The Heisman and the AP Player of the Year honor the most outstanding player, while the Maxwell and the Walter Camp award recognizes the best player, and the Archie Griffin Award recognizes the most valuable player. The most recent winner of the Heisman Trophy is University of Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.

List of Army Black Knights in the NFL Draft

This is a list of Army Black Knights football players in the NFL Draft.

List of sportspeople educated at the United States Military Academy

The United States Military Academy (USMA) is an undergraduate college in West Point, New York that educates and commissions officers for the United States Army. The Academy is a member of the Division I Patriot League in most sports, but its men's ice hockey program competes in the Atlantic Hockey league and its football program competes independent of a league. The Academy fields 24 club sports teams. In addition, about 65% of the cadets compete in intramural sports, known at the academy as "company athletics".This list is drawn from alumni of the Military Academy who are athletes or athletic coaches. Eleven alumni have competed in the Olympic Games as athletes or coaches. The first was George S. Patton (class of 1909) in the modern pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics. The most recent is Mike Krzyzewski (class of 1969), who was head coach of the U.S. men's basketball team at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Three alumni are recipients of college football's Heisman Trophy: Doc Blanchard (class of 1947), Glenn Davis (class of 1947), and Pete Dawkins (class of 1959). Bob Mischak (class of 1954)

was named No. 7 on's list of Top Ten All Time NFL Players from service academies and was a 3x Super Bowl winner.

(Note - There are at least 2 others who were on the US Olympic Team Handball squad ... Craig Gilbert - '78; Pete Lash - '81 (who went on to garner MVP awards at the World Championship); and possibly Jim Thome - '68, as a long-time US team coach. / asst. coach. Gilbert and Lash are both shown on the West Point wall of Olympic athletes at Kimsey Athletic Center, at the south end of Michie Stadium. Gilbert participated in '84, and Lash in '84 and '88.)

Sixtieth Texas Legislature

The 60th Texas Legislature met from January 10, 1967, to May 29, 1967, and again in a special called session from June 4, 1968, to July 3, 1968. All members present during this session were elected in the 1966 general elections. The Democrats retained control of the Legislature.

Sixty-first Texas Legislature

The 61st Texas Legislature met in 1969 in a regular session from January 14 to June 2 and in two consecutive special sessions from July 28 to August 26 and from August 27 to September 9. All members present during this session were elected in the 1968 general elections.

Sixty-second Texas Legislature

The 62nd Texas Legislature met from January 12, 1971, to May 31, 1971, in regular session, and again in four more special called sessions (see below). All members present during this session were elected in the 1970 general elections.

Sixty-third Texas Legislature

The 63rd Texas Legislature met from January 9, 1973, to May 28, 1973, in regular session, and again in a special called session from December 18, 1973, to December 20, 1973. All members present during this session were elected in the 1972 general elections.

Doc Blanchard—championships, awards, and honors

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