Siding with the Navy has enabled me to know West Point’s strength. Any mention of West Point’s football would be incomplete without the names of some officers who have not only safeguarded the game at West Point, but have been the able representatives of the Army’s football during their service there. Such men are, Richmond P. Davis, Palmer E. Pierce, and W. R. Richardson.
THE WAY THEY HAVE IN THE ARMY
If there is any one man who has permanently influenced football at West Point that man is H. J. Koehler, for years Master of the Sword at the Academy. Under his active coaching some of the Army’s finest players were developed. In recent years he has not been a member of the coaching staff, but he none the less never loses touch with the team and his advice concerning men and methods is always eagerly sought. By virtue of long experience at the Academy and because of an aptitude for analysis of the game itself he has been invaluable in harmonizing practice and play with peculiar local conditions.
Any time the stranger seeks to delve either into the history or the constructive coaching of the game at the Academy, the younger men, as well as the older, will always answer your questions by saying “Go ask Koehler.” Always a hard worker and serious thinker, he is apt to give an almost nightly demonstration during the season of the foundation principles of the game.
Not only West Pointers, but also Yale and Princeton men, who had to face the elevens under Koehler’s coaching will remember Romeyn, who, had he been kicking in the days of Felton, Mahan and the other long distance artillerists, might well have held his own, in the opinion of Army men. Nesbitt, Waldron and Scales were among the other really brilliant players whom Koehler developed. He was in charge of some of the teams that played the hardest schedules in the history of West Point football. One year the cadets met Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Syracuse and Penn State. Surely this was a season’s work calculated to develop remarkable men, or break them in the making. Bettison, center, King Boyers at guard, and Bunker at tackle and half, were among the splendid players who survived this trial by fire. Casad, Clark and Phillips made up a backfield that would have been a credit to any of the colleges.
Soon, however, the Army strength was greatly to be augmented by the acquisition of Charles Dudley Daly, fresh from four years of football at Harvard. Reputations made elsewhere do not count for much at West Point. The coaches were glad to have Plebe Daly come out for the squad, but they knew and he knew quite as well as they, that there are no short cuts to the big “A.” Now began a remarkable demonstration of football genius. Not only did the former Harvard Captain make the team, but his aid in coaching was also eagerly sought. An unusual move this, but a tribute to the new man.