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  • Credit: Courtesy of Caltech Athletics
06/26/2003 07:00:00

1944 Caltech Football Team Honored by Hall of Fame

PASADENA, Calif. — The undefeated and unscored-upon 1944 Caltech football team was inducted into the International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame June 21 in Kingston, R.I., and a lunch will be held for the team members at Caltech's faculty club, the Athenaeum, on July 8 at 11:30 a.m. Members of the media are welcome to attend. Please RSVP by calling (626) 395-3226.

The war-time team was primarily made up of men who came to Caltech from Stanford as part of a Navy training program. There were about 100 engineering students, many of whom had been Stanford football players, who were part of the Naval College Training Program, later called V-12. They were called to active duty and assigned to Caltech.

Each day began with reveille at 6 a.m. and they fell in for inspection at 6:15 a.m. "We then double-timed over to Tournament Park where we did calisthenics for 30 minutes and then back for breakfast and class," said Ruben Mettler, the commander of the group and a three-time Caltech degree earner--BS in 1944, MS in 1947, and Ph.D. in 1949, all in electrical engineering. Mettler is a Caltech life trustee, former chair of the Board of Trustees, and a recipient of Caltech's Distinguished Alumni Award.

By the time the Institute decided to field a team, two of the games were against junior varsity squads because the varsity teams' schedules were already set.

The scores were as follows: Caltech 67, University of Redlands 0 Caltech 39, University of Redlands 0 Caltech 20, USC JV 0 Caltech 33, UCLA JV 0

In October, the season was cut short due to exams, commencement, vacation, and students being called to serve in the war.

The award was accepted at the Hall of Fame ceremony by team captain Bill Gulley who was the Battalion Commander of the Caltech V-12 unit. After the war, Gulley was recruited by the San Francisco 49ers, but he declined a contract in order to pursue an engineering career. He ultimately became a senior vice president with Fluor Corp.

Presenting the award was Daniel E. Doyle, Jr., founder and executive director of the Institute for International Sport. "We celebrate individuals and teams who represent the very best of the scholar-athlete ideal--individuals and teams whose academic and athletic accomplishments are equaled or exceeded by their contributions to society."

"The undefeated 1944 Caltech football team won its games by a combined score of 159 to 0. Reviewing the lives of the team members felt like reading a 'Who's Who in America,'" he added.

The team members included Mettler, who ultimately became chairman and chief executive officer at TRW Inc.

Return Moore ultimately became a cofounder of Moore and Taber Corporation, a consulting firm that advised on bridge foundation, landslide investigations, and all phases of geotechnical work. He operated the firm for 30 years.

John Nichols spent 35 years working for oil companies as a petroleum engineer.

Norman Lee worked for Gulf States Utility Company from 1949 to 1986, less one year when he was recalled to active duty in Korea in 1951. When he retired he was vice chairman of the board, president, and chief operations officer.

Neville Long spent 25 years at Bechtel in international project operations and was vice president of Bechtel International Ltd.

Leo Robert Coda retired from Rockwell International after 28 years. He worked on such programs as the Space Shuttle and the Navaho missile program.

The late Bill Young retired as a Navy Commander after 28 years of serving as captain on a destroyer and a submarine. He then joined Nissan Motor Corporation-USA as product quality manager.

Charles Cutler served as an instructor in electromagnetic radiation and antenna theory at the Capitol Radio Engineering Institute in Washington, D.C., and then switched fields by entering the George Washington University Law School in 1947. He joined the Kirkland & Ellis law firm, where he was a partner for 30 years.

Leo R. Voyles operated a small oil distribution business in Phoenix, Arizona.

Milton Strauss worked as a TV weatherman in Madison, Wisconsin, operated Sandy Beach Resort in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, and headed up the Wisconsin Division of Tourism's marketing bureau and later the Wisconsin Film Office, before retiring.

Donald Tillman served as a civil engineer with the City of Los Angeles for 35 years. The Tillman Water Reclamation Plant and Japanese Garden were named for him.

The International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame and Museum, administered by the Institute for International Sport, is a comprehensive educational and resource center that selects individuals for membership every two years. Hall of Fame inductees are chosen based on their distinguished athletic, academic, and humanitarian achievements. More than 1,200 academicians, journalists, representatives of national Olympic organizations, and former athletes contribute to the selection process. The Hall of Fame is located on the campus of the University of Rhode Island.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jill Perry Media Relations Director (626) 395-3226

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Written by Jill Perry