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Jay Berwanger
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Football Player
    (March 19, 1914-June 26, 2002)
    Born in Dubuque, Iowa
    Birth name was John Jacob Berwanger
    Halfback for the University of Chicago (1933-35)
    First recipient of the Heisman Trophy (1935)
    In a game against the University of Michigan, he gave Michigan center Gerald Ford a scar beneath his left eye.
    Technically, he did not win the Heisman Trophy: he won the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy (which was renamed after coach John Heisman a year later).
    He only accepted the Heisman Trophy because it provided a free trip to New York City.
    He used the Heisman Trophy as a doorstop in his library.
    He was the #1 pick in the first ever NFL draft (1936), but never played pro football, mainly because he and Chicago Bears owner George Halas were unable to reach agreement on a salary.
    Although he had been offered athletic scholarships by four other colleges, he decided to go the University of Chicago because 'I wanted to attend a school that would give me a first-rate education in business, without special treatment.'
    Red Barber called him 'the best college player I ever saw.'
    He also competed in track and field for Chicago, setting a school record in the decathlon that lasted until 2007.
    At Chicago, he was captain of the football team, captain of the track team, president of his fraternity and president of the senior class.
    He was a flight instructor for the Navy during World War II.
    He founded a company making rubber and plastic parts for cars which was earning $30 million a year when he sold it in 1992.
    He took up windsurfing in his 70s. (And commented, 'What's the big deal? There are hundred-pound girls who can do it.')

Credit: C. Fishel


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