The Athletic Program 327
last campaign at Wake Forest. He had been head coach at the college
for fourteen years and had achieved a record of seventy-seven
victories and forty-nine losses-figures made impressive by the power
of his opposition. After his resignation in March 1951, he became an
assistant coach under Herman Hickman at Yale University and later
joined the Canadian Football League. His departure was mourned by
the more rabid sports enthusiasts among the students and alumni, but
it is probably true that Wake Forest could no longer afford him.
Walker's influence remained for several years. As his successor, the
administration in consultation with Jim Weaver, athletic director,
chose Tom Rogers, who had been a line coach under Walker and had
been associated with Wake Forest for eleven years. As a student he
had played football at Duke, and to aid him he enlisted some of the
brightest stars in the recent football history of the college. Among
them were Pat Preston, John "Red" Cochran, and Tom Fetzer.
Rogers got off to a tremendous start, having inherited from Walker
some excellent players. With the sterling play of Bill George, Ed
Listopad, Dickie Davis, and Guido Scarton harassing the opposition,
Wake Forest in 1951 beat State, Duke, and Carolina to win the Big
Four championship for the first time in twenty-six years. The record
for the season was 6-4. The 1952 season was almost as good, with
five victories, one tie, and four losses.
One of the remarkable athletes playing for Wake Forest at this time
was Bill George, who was later to be a standout professional with the
Chicago Bears. George was a wrestler as well as a football star, and
although Wake Forest had no wrestling team, he was given
permission to represent the college in intercollegiate competition,
sometimes hitch-hiking to the meets. In 1948 and 1949 George, who
weighed 215 solid pounds, won the heavyweight championship of the
Southern Conference, thereby enabling Wake Forest to place in the
finals even though the college had no team. In 1952 George won the
unlimited weight division championship and singlehandedly scored
more points than the entire teams of The Citadel, VMI, and Duke. On
the football field George played tackle.
In May 1953 Wake Forest, along with six other schools, withdrew
from the Southern Conference and participated in June talks which
led to the formation of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The other
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