Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jack Oliver 1923-2011

I missed this sad news when it happened last month, but a great Columbia scholar-athlete passed away in January.

His name was Jack Oliver ’47. And his story is extraordinary.

He started playing serious football at Washington High School in Massillon, Ohio where a man you MIGHT have heard of, Paul Brown, was the head coach of the football team.

After playing for the freshmen in 1941 and the varsity in 1942, Oliver left school to join the U.S. Navy and became a Seabee in the Pacific theater.

He came back to play on the 1946 team that went 6-3 with historic wins over Navy, Yale and a 59-31 thrashing of Syracuse.

Then things got really interesting.

Oliver went on to become one of the world’s leading geologists, putting a realistic spin on the so-called “Rocks for Jocks” stereotype.

His work eventually proved the once controversial theory of continental drift.

He went on to teach at Columbia and then Cornell for many decades.

Thank you Professor Oliver for your years of service to Alma Mater and your country.

And thank you Columbia football for making it all possible.


At Fri Feb 25, 12:52:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations are in order for Kathleen Barry of CU womens basketball for being named 1st team Academic All-American!!! She has been putting up great numbers on the court and in the classroom for 4 years. She exemplifies what Columbia Athletics is all about

At Fri Feb 25, 01:07:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great story! I would never have heard of him otherwise, so thank you.


At Fri Feb 25, 02:31:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting list. Actors or TV personalities that have played football in the Ivy League:

Ed Marinaro (Cornell), Tommy Lee Jones (Harvard), Brian Dennehy (Columbia), Ed Harris (Columbia)
James Whitmore (Yale), Matthew Fox (Columbia), Dean Cain (Princeton),
Kip Pardue (Yale), Eamon Sheehan (Yale), TV reporters Stone Phillips and Jack Ford (Yale), and sports broadcaster Marcellus Wiley and George Starke (Columbia).

Fictional characters who "played football in the Ivy League include:
Trapper John (M*A*S*H/Dartmouth)
Tom Buchanan (The Great Gatsby/Yale) ... Does television count ???

In addition to these guys, I believe one of the cast of "Leave It to Beaver" who played Lightweight football at Columbia in the late-60's … can anyone confirm that ???

Frank F

At Fri Feb 25, 10:22:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add Dartmouth's Brian White to the list.


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