Benning to field first post team in nearly 30 years

From: Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Marketing Publicity

For the first time since 1983, Fort Benning will field a post football team. Information about tryouts will be disseminated March 15 following a skills clinic and competition at historic Doughboy Stadium on Main Post.

Tryouts are open to all active duty service members. The Columbus Lions will start the event with a game practice at 3pm, followed by a meet-and-greet session for children. The skills clinic and competition will follow.

Fort Benning Soldiers built Doughboy Stadium in 1924-1925 as a memorial to comrades killed in World War I. It was funded by contributions from Soldiers and military units around the world. Gen. John J. Pershing poured the first load of concrete during the ground breaking ceremony in 1924.

Though the first game at Doughboy took place Sept. 16, 1925 (Benning beat Florida's Stetson University 51-7), a formal dedication was celebrated on October 17 with a game between the Blue Tide of Fort Benning and a team from Oglethorpe University out of Atlanta before a crowd of 9,000. Fort Benning's decisive 27-6 victory foreshadowed a lengthy period on success for Fort Benning football. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who earned five stars before becoming president of the United States, helped coach the Doughboys to an all-Army championship the following year.

Fort Benning quickly earned a reputation as a contender among colleges throughout the Southeast. The Doughboys played teams from the universities of Florida, Georgia and Alabama. The 1946 Doughboys, made up of raw recruits fresh out of high school, included John Green, now an NFL Hall of Famer, and Jack Stroud, who played 11 years with the New York Giants. The team, coached by a young Army captain named Bill Meeks, outscored opponents 353 to 45 in six games and captured the Service Championship. Meeks went on to work with the Dallas Cowboys.

Perhaps the greatest of all the Doughboy teams was the 1962 squad. Led by Pat Dye, future coach of Auburn University, the team went undefeated. Two years later, the Washington Touchdown Club named Dye Army Player of the Year. The success of the Doughboys quickly waned when Fort Benning Soldiers were called to fight in Vietnam. The installation fielded post teams up until 1983, when the decision was made to disband the team in favor of a strong intramural program.