Pete Dawkins is forever remembered as Army football’s last Heisman Trophy winner in 1958.
But what was Dawkins’ favorite sport at West Point? The answer may be surprising. Hockey.
Dawkins was actually recruited as a hockey player to West Point.
“Murray Asbury was a year ahead of me (at West Point) and he was also a hockey player,” Dawkins said on the Black Knight Nation podcast. “He had told (coach) Jack Riley all sorts of exaggerated qualities of mine. When I applied, they thought they were getting a really good hockey player. It was good enough for me that I was able to become part of the class of 1959 having being brought in as a hockey player. I did play hockey and loved it. I think it’s the sport that I enjoyed the most out of all the sports I played.”
Why did Dawkins enjoy hockey over football, baseball and rugby?
“In other games I played all of them except hockey, they had a lot of drills, boring things that I didn’t enjoy,” said Dawkins, a three-year letterwinner in hockey at West Point. “Hockey was different the way Jack Riley ran it. We warmed up, got on the ice and he’d go through one or two five-minute drills and we just scrimmage. I’d look forward to hockey practice more than football practice.”
Dawkins shared stories of legendary Army coach Red Blaik telling him, he “was fired” as a quarterback and how returning punts ended up as his path into the offense, Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s idea of using Bill Carpenter as “The Lonesome End” and an encounter with the revered military leader in the mess hall.
Watch the full podcast with Pete Dawkins below.