IMAGE:  February 2004
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GRAPHIC:  Also in every issueLETTERS
…the Magazine’s constant air of self-congratulation…

As a reaction to the letter from Robert Michaelson, SB’66 (December/03), I am writing to declare that at one time there were scholar-athletes and they were gymnasts under D. L. Hoffer. They were both because he saw to it that they were both. As his daughter I know the time, care, and concern he invested in all of them. He was no mediocre person or coach. He guided his teams to 16 of 19 Big Ten championships and was the first gymnastic coach elected to the Helms Hall of Fame. I grew up in Bartlett at gym meets and have carried a pain in my heart for his lack of recognition from the University.

I have no knowledge of Eckersall, but the words of Mr. Michaelson speak to me and I hope are also noted by the Hall of Fame Committee. To Mr. Michaelson I can only say that there was excellence under D. L. during Stagg’s time at the University. The men who earned the “C” under D. L. deserve the honor.

Jane Hoffer Seaborg, AB’39
Denver, Colorado

In “First Round Picks” (October/03), detailing the inaugural class of the Chicago Athletics Hall of Fame, you state that Ted Haydon was the head track coach from 1950 to 1975. His last year of coaching was 1985, the year of his death. I was a member of the 1984–85 team.

Thanks for the great memories.

Butch Anton, SB’88
Lansdale, Pennsylvania

I was interested in Bob Greenebaum’s corrective letter (December/03) and wish to add to it inasmuch as I was accepted to the football “squad” in summer 1937, fully two years after the presumed 1935 close date. Recruited by a squad member, I appeared before the coach and was asked about my prior experience. I answered truthfully that the only contact between me and the Lindbloom High School squad had been my appointment as Division Room ticket sales representative.

What year was I at the University? Again I responded truthfully: senior. After the next question, with either a firm and unshakable belief in miracles or the urgent need for warm bodies to pour into U of C uniforms, the coach said, “Suit ’im up,” and the die was cast.
At 169 pounds, I was the third lightest member of the squad. The two lighter were also shorter. In the season’s first game I was in the predictable position of bench warmer. At half-time, spread out on the wrestling mats with half an orange to suck on, we were given a Knute Rockne type of inspirational talk by the coach. When he was out of earshot, the silence was broken by the fellow who had recruited me: “Have you ever heard such tortured English?” That’s all I remember.

When faced with the twin appeal of serving under Kwang Sup Yum, AM’23, PhD’30, the head librarian who had a cadre of sublibrarians whose main duties were the checking in and checking out of books, or attempting to reverse the undistinguished career of the Maroon football team (a task for which I was even less equipped), I dropped out of football.

It was Walter Eckersall (who, besides being a star athlete, had more than a bit of prescience) and Robert Maynard Hutchins (with a more recent database) who saw the cursive (original meaning before it was appropriated by the Palmer Method) handwriting on the wall. When the latter withdrew the University of Chicago football team from competition in the Big Ten, he knew what he was doing. He made the judgment that Big Ten competition was not for the likes of Chicago, then or in the foreseeable future.

In what respect did I make my mark on the football summer squad in 1937? It was through the loudly voiced comment by the trainer/masseur while working on my thigh: “This guy has the biggest charley-horses I’ve ever seen!”

Ralph K. Meister, SB’38, PhD’51
Aurora, Illinois

The University of Chicago Magazine welcomes letters on its contents or on topics related to the University of Chicago. Letters for publication must be signed and may be edited for space and clarity. To ensure the widest possible range of views and voices, we ask readers to limit their correspondence to 300 words or less.

Please send letters to: Editor, University of Chicago Magazine, 5801 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637. E-mail:






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