Staubach, others from '63 Navy team recall glory days

September 12, 1992|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS -- As Roger Staubach stood at his side, Adm. Thomas Lynch, the superintendent at the Naval Academy, was asked to describe perhaps the best player to ever wear a Navy uniform.

"He was a good athlete. We had a lot of good athletes," Lynch said of Staubach, his teammate on the 1963 Navy football team that was ranked No. 2 in the country. "He was just one of the guys."

It isn't often that a Hall of Famer and Heisman Trophy winner is described as one of the guys, but that illustrates the uniqueness of the 1963 Navy team -- the last truly great team at the academy.

Staubach, the former Dallas Cowboy, and approximately 40 other members of that team are being reunited here this weekend. Those Midshipmen won all but two games and played for the national championship, losing to top-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl, 28-6.

"This weekend is special, it gives us a chance to reminisce about the season," said Staubach.

That success has yet to be repeated at Navy. Lynch, the center and captain of the 1963 team, was one of several key contributors who didn't return the next season, when Navy finished 3-6-1. Staubach was there, and by the time he graduated in 1965, he figured his football career was over.

"I benefited quite a bit here, and when I played in the college all-star game I realized I could play at a higher level," Staubach said, speaking at the new Alumni Hall. "I said if I could play at 22 and 23, why not at 27 [after his military obligation]. I was mature, and the academy gave me that maturity."

Staubach will be in attendance when host Navy faces No. 23 Virginia tonight. While sitting there, he may remember the 1963 season, when the Midshipmen won at Michigan and Notre Dame, in addition to beating Maryland, Pittsburgh and West Virginia.

"We can't play Notre Dame and Michigan every week, but I think we can compete at a level somewhere in between," Staubach said. "That year we had a special team and special people just coming together. It would have been special at any college in America."

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