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The Dunlap Rules

I just finished reading Tiger Dunlap's book about what his parents taught and instilled in him growing up, and how those principles led to Fred becoming such a successful football coach, as well as Tiger becoming a tremendous success in the business world. The book is divided into 4 parts - Fred's early years, his Lehigh years, the Colgate years, and finally Tiger's rise from an insurance salesman to the CEO of a multibillion health care company and founder of a private equity firm. Family stories detailing what Tiger learned from his father are interspersed throughout all sections. I naturally started at The Colgate Years, then the very interesting story of Tiger's rise and success ("The Pupil Implements the Playbook"), before going back and reading the first 2 sections. I think reading the book chronologically might make it tougher to get into the book for a Colgate fan.

I was surprised that the Lehigh section is much longer (176 pages) than the Colgate one (104), given that Fred was at Colgate a year longer and had more success there (although Fred turned the program around at Lehigh, he had an overall losing record there at what was a Division 2 school at the time). It's also surprising since Tiger was a late teen and young adult during the Colgate years, as well as a Colgate student. Although again much of both sections contain family stories unrelated to football. Fred's last 5 years as Colgate coach is covered very sparsely, including Fred's heart attack during the 1986 season. Kenny Gamble is mentioned once in passing with other players, although he was the first Payton Award winner, set several NCAA records, and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. The great wins over Army in the 80s are not mentioned, nor the Army game where we came back from 4 TDs down to lose at the end only because Fred went for 2 after the last 2 'gate TDs. (That would have been a good example of the Dunlap rule to change course when things aren't working. Fred loves to tell the story of how he changed the offensive game plan at halftime of the 1985 Army game when down 31-3, and only lost 45-43 because of going for 2-pt conversions and the win.)

The Dunlap Rules might seem trite to someone without Colgate or Lehigh roots, but for anyone with affection and admiration of the Dunlaps, or love of Colgate football, this is a must read. There are some facts about Fred's Colgate football years, including some I never knew about, that I will point out in subsequent posts.

So that's why

I'm sometimes surprised by the things I learn for the first time about Colgate football after following it for 40 years. Those old enough to have watched the televised Colgate-Rutgers 1976 Thanksgiving game might remember that our special teams were in the punter's face all night. In addition to the infamous bogus clipping call when the snap sailed over the punter's head, Colgate had blocked a punt in the first half leading to a FG, and had hurried the punter all game leading to many bad kicks. In The Dunlap Rules, Tiger mentions how his father noticed in scouting films that the Rutgers long snapper had a hitch where he moved the ball slightly nearly a second before snapping it. He told the defensive lineman across from the center to swat at the ball as soon as he saw the hitch, and told the game officials right before the game he would be doing this and why!

Tiger Dunlap incorrectly says the infamous bogus clipping call which cost 53 yards and possession came after a blocked punt, when it was after a snap which sailed over the punter's head. (One of many factual errors about this game and Colgate fb in general, odd considering this is the most famous and scrutinized play in Colgate fb history.) Legendary Oklahoma coach Bud Wilkinson, who was announcing the game for ABC, immediately said that clipping couldn't be called in a loose ball situation. He also said that even if it COULD be called, the penalty should be marked from the spot of the foul and still be deep in Rutgers territory. Worse yet, because it was 4th down Wilkinson said that even if clipping COULD be called (and it couldn't) it should still be Colgate's ball. (I'm not certain that last point is true.) So Wilkinson was outraged on the air that Colgate was getting screwed 3 times over. Since the game was stopped to sort out and explain the mess, it's surprising this couldn't have been passed on somehow to the officials, or that some official supervisor watching couldn't have interceded.

Are go 'gate and I the only ones to remember these games?

I've commented before on how Mr. Colgate Football, Bob Cornell, frequently confuses games and details when reminiscing about past Raider games. I was surprised at the number of errors in The Dunlap Rules. Take the 1976 Colgate-Rutgers game, which has to be the most publicized, scrutinized Colgate fb game since the early 1930s. The errors often undercut the points Tiger was trying to make.

Tiger says his father was right saying Colgate could be competitive with Rutgers, as Colgate only trailed 7-3 at halftime. Actually Colgate led 6-3 at half, and had dominated Rutgers much more than that score would indicate.  Rutgers had been limited to about 50 yards offense in the first half, and had yet to move the ball into Colgate territory. (Their FG came after a turnover deep in Colgate territory, following 3 plays in which the defense pushed Rutgers backwards.) The infamous clipping play occurred after a high snap, not a blocked punt as Tiger says, and it occurred when Colgate was still ahead and dominating, not when we were down 10-9 as Tiger says. The final Colgate drive didn't end at the Rutgers 20 after we turned the ball over on downs. It ended on the Scarlet Knights 8 when the clock ran out on 2nd down. It's funny that several people at that game - Mark Murphy, Bob Relph, Fred himself - reviewed the book but the mistakes went uncorrected.

Tiger states that after the 1976 Thanksgiving loss, the players talked about getting revenge at the "Kerr Dome" the following year, and explained that was a reference to Syracuse's Carrier Dome. But Syracuse played at Archbold Stadium then. Plans for the dome weren't made until 1978, and the Orange didn't play there until 1980. Tiger played in the 1977  Colgate-Bucknell game for the Bison, and says Colgate became ranked after the Raiders' "convincing win" the following week against Northeastern. Actually Colgate became ranked after the convincing win against Tiger's Bucknell team, and lost the ranking after a very unconvincing win (48-39) against Northeastern. Tiger incorrectly calls 1984 a losing season. (He doesn't mention that the 3-game losing streak to end 1984 was caused in part by a boycott of some players, including future NFLer Eugene Robinson, who claimed Fred had made a personnel decision for racial reasons. This would have been a good example of the Dunlap Rule to stick with what you believe is right, regardless of how unpopular the decision may be. I guess Tiger wanted to stay away from anything that could be labelled politically incorrect.)

Since one of the Dunlap Rules is that meticulous attention to detail leads to success, and that this propelled Tiger in the business world, all of the factual errors about Colgate football were puzzling.

Interesting reading, love stuff like that.

Freddy Jr was Colgate '82, don't think he played for the Bison... good stuff regardless!  He's also had a few reverses in his life, does he talk about the lessons learned from those events as well as the successes?  Guess I should read the book & find out...

The time which must not be discussed

I have never been a Colgate fb insider, but was never more an outsider than in the early 80s when I was a med student, and Colgate was going through the turmoil that would forever change the fb program and campus culture. I had heard 3rd hand snippets then and over the years that the Colgate administration changed the initial prohibition against playoff participation due to legal threats, but could never confirm this as nobody wanted to discuss it. The Dunlap Rules solves one of the 2 mysteries for me about Colgate football.

I learned in The Dunlap Rules that more than just a threat was involved, and that George Langdon had his sorry ass subpoenaed to appear in a Syracuse courtroom in a lawsuit led by current and former players! Good for them! The revelations in this book about this period are stunning. Langdon notified the NCAA and even the NY Times about the playoff prohibition without telling Fred Dunlap, who was not only the football coach but athletic director!! But Langdon then approached Dunlap and pleaded with him to convince the players to drop the lawsuit, which was not only against the school but also Langdon personally! The never-never land in which these faculty lounge socialists reside never ceases to amaze me.

Tiger quotes his dad recalling Langdon's concerns, and they confirm the worst many of us thought about that era. "Fred, we can't go to playoffs - it would damage Colgate's academic reputation." "Fred, what would the faculty think." "No Ivy League team is going to any playoffs." "We could have protests by our professors. They might even resign!" (I'm sometimes asked on this board how southern peer schools might handle an issue Colgate is facing. If Davidson or Duke faculty threatened to resign if a sport wasn't downgraded, students and alums would line the driveways and roads out of campus to wave goodbye to such faculty.)

Knowing now the truth about why Langdon about-faced to avoid a lawsuit makes the bs put out by the Colgate Scene and fed to the NY Times even more amusing in retrospect. After an "exchange of information" with the players, Langdon felt it wasn't fair to take away the goal of a national championship from players who had worked hard to put themselves in a position to achieve it, you see. The academic insecurity, the pretentiousness, the Ivy-inferiority complex, the vacuity, the lack of awareness and leadership - all are reinforced in Tiger's brief chapter on the subject. Fred Dunlap felt that a "fanatical" minority of the faculty were obsessed over the publicity the football team was getting (sound familiar? How big of a minority - a quarter of the faculty?)  Many on this board like to pretend this shameful time didn't happen, but those of us who love Colgate fb and sports in general must never forget it.

In his conclusion on this topic Tiger fails to mention that the crisis triggered a 3-game losing streak and badly hurt our chances of winning the I-AA championship. And while he points out that other PL schools eventually voted for playoff participation by the PL champ against Colgate's will, he should have pointed out that we went to the championship game in 2003 without any harm to Colgate's academic reputation. And that brings me to second mystery about Colgate fb perhaps someone can solve for me. Did Colgate really make players take exams in their Chattanooga hotel in 2003, or were they just posed pictures? I'm not sure which would be worse. Actually I think it would be worse if we did make those kids take exams before a national championship game, and speaks volumes about the problems that continue. Does anyone know?

Tiger played for Bucknell as a freshman before transferring

In The Dunlap Rules, Tiger recalls starting his first game against Colgate at Andy Kerr. He describes almost getting into a brawl with Colgate offensive tackle Ed Argast, until Argast recognized him. Word soon spread that coach Dunlap's son was playing against them, and Tiger got a lot of kidding during the game. He describes Henry White grinning and winking at him whenever he set in the slot position across from him.

Personal observations

I only met Tiger Dunlap a few times, and only once as a student. I shared a T-bar lift with him up Trainer Hill. (Wasn't that great? I learned to ski there and eventually became a pretty good skier. Too bad the lawyers mandated that it go - it was a great asset to the campus.) This was the winter after the 1977 season. I congratulated him on his father finishing second in coach of the year voting to Lou Holtz. Tiger told me he thought his father would have won if we hadn't lost to Delaware!

I've spoken with Tiger several times at the Colgate Alumni golf tourney in July. My friends and I were fascinated with his stories of being invited out to Vegas golf weekends with Michael Jordan and other sports celebrities. Friends postulated that Fred's connections in the athletic world led to Tiger's friendship with Jordan and other figures, but this explanation didn't quite ring true with me. I had another friend who had played golf with Michael Jordan, who told me Jordan didn't pick his golf partners because they were good competition or good conversationalists - he picked them because they liked to bet a lot of money. Now that I know Tiger became extremely wealthy in the business world, these connections now make sense.

Tiger enjoyed meeting and talking with fellow Colgate alums. You would never have known by his disposition that he could have bought and sold the lot of us at the tourney. The modesty, respect for others, and understanding of what's important in life, taught to him by his parents, was evident then, and even more so now that I know his story.

So I can't say I knew Jr. well when at Gate, but I have no recollection of him being a transfer.  I do remember him trying to keep my out of a party at DU and my pal Sledge waving him off...

The playoff year when Langdon "relented" I can tell you undergrad sentiment was fully behind the team & the lawsuit.  We (correctly) viewed playoff non-participation as another attempt to change Colgate's culture, an ongoing battle.  

Most recently I've heard that our incoming president thinks that part of his job will be convincing the faculty that fraternities can be additive to academic life, not a negative.  What a breath of fresh air!  Here's to hoping he will be successful both there and in embracing our athletic heritage, which hopefully will continue this fall!

Gate'83 wrote:
So I can't say I knew Jr. well when at Gate, but I have no recollection of him being a transfer.  I do remember him trying to keep my out of a party at DU and my pal Sledge waving him off...

The playoff year when Langdon "relented" I can tell you undergrad sentiment was fully behind the team & the lawsuit.  We (correctly) viewed playoff non-participation as another attempt to change Colgate's culture, an ongoing battle.  

Most recently I've heard that our incoming president thinks that part of his job will be convincing the faculty that fraternities can be additive to academic life, not a negative.  What a breath of fresh air!  Here's to hoping he will be successful both there and in embracing our athletic heritage, which hopefully will continue this fall!

I hear great stings about Casey.  I think it is a real plus that he is the man. Forum Index -> Football
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