John Hilton, Class of 1960
John Hilton came to Fork Union as a postgraduate cadet in 1959. He played basketball, football and track and excelled in each to such an extend that he was named FUMA's Best All-Around Athlete for 1960. Hilton attended the University of Richmond on an athletic scholarship. He was one of the finest tight ends ever to play at University of Richmond and is eighth on Richmond's career receptions list with 87; ninth on the career yardage list with 1,289; and fourth in career touchdown receptions with 14. Hilton was selected All-State in 1961, 1962, and 1964, as well as All-Southern Conference in 1964. While at Richmond he participated in the Senior Bowl and the Blue-Gray All-Star classic. Hilton is a member of the University of Richmond's Hall of Fame.
After college, John was drafted by the Detroit Lions and spent nine years playing in the NFL - five years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, one year with the Green Bay Packers and two years with the Detroit Lions. He had a split year with the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins during his career. In 1996 Hilton was voted the Most Valuable Offensive Player for the Pittsburgh Steelers after breaking a 25 year Steeler's record for tight ends by making 46 catches. After his playing days John spent seven years coaching the NFL including three with the Chicago Bears. His coaching career also included three years with the Washington Redskins and one with the Green Bay Packers.
Stephen F. Meilinger, Class of 1950
Steve Meilinger came to FUMA for his senior year and was voted Fork Union's football player of the year from a team that lost only one game. While he remained an honor roll student, Meilinger won letters in football, basketball and track. He was also named to the 1st Team All-State Military Football League. At Fork Union high pressure recruiting caught up with Meilinger. He had offers from 36 different schools, but finally decided to play at the University of Kentucky, where he was coached by Bear Bryant.
Undoubtedly, he ranked as one of the greatest collegiate football players ever. He played both offense and defense at eight different positions. After his sophomore year, he made the All-SEC Team and was named All-American by the N.E.A. At the end of his junior year, he was the team's leading scorer and named to almost everyone's All-American Team as an end. He was also chosen as the quarterback on the All-SEC Team. In his senior year he made virtually every All-American Team and was chosen to play in the East-West Shrine Game, The Hula Bowl and the College All-Star Game. In 1954 he was a 1st round draft pick of the Washington Redskins, but due to his enlistment in the Army he didn't join the team until 1956. Starting in 1958 he played fro three years with Coach Vince Lombardi in Green Bay. Since his playing days, Meilinger has been selected to the All-Time SEC Team for the years 1950 to 1974. Kentucky has retired his jersey The Lehigh Valley has named him to its Hall of Fame.
Edwin J. Merrick, Class of 1935 (Deceased)
Ed Merrick came to Fork Union in 1932 and played football, basketball and baseball all three years. In 1936 he entered the University of Richmond where he started off once again playing three sports. It wasn't long before he was regarded as "The greatest football center ever to play for the University of Richmond." He was named All-State in football in 1938 and 1939 as well as being voted the Outstanding Tackle in 1938, 1939, and 1940. Merrick was named to the All-Southern Team three years and was the first college player from the state of Virginia ever selected to the College All-Star Game.
He played with the Richmond Rebels in the Dixie League and was named to the 1st Team All-Dixie League. Merrick stared coaching the University of Richmond Freshman Football Team in 1940. He enter the U.S. Air Force in 1942 and left in 1946 as a major after receiving the Soldier's Medal for Heroism and five Battle Stars.
In 1946 he returned to FUMA as Head Football Coach and compiled a 41-10 record, defeating Columbia Military Academy's undefeated team in the Orchid Bowl in 1950. During Merrick's 14 year reign as Head Football Coach at the University of Richmond (1951-65), his teams played the toughest schedule in the history of the University against football powers Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, West Virginia and Syracuse. He was State Coach of the Year in 1956 and State and South Carolina Coach of the Year in 1958. he is a Charter Member of the University of Richmond's Hall of Fame.
Vernon Thomas Morgan, Class of 1947 (Deceased)
At age 15 Vernon Morgan was signed by the New York Giants Baseball Team. His contract was voided because of a technicality, so the young man from Emporia came to FUMA. He became a standout in football, basketball and baseball. As captain of the football team, he received FUMA's Outstanding Athlete Award and was named to the All-Star Military Football Team. Morgan went from Fork Union to the University of Richmond where he planned to play the same three sports.
His start on the football field was delayed because his eligibility was questioned due to the pro contract that he had signed at age 15. Morgan was the first athlete to take a college athletic conference into court. It was November 1947 before the case was resolved in his favor and he made his debut as a halfback for the Spiders. Morgan's plans to play basketball at Richmond were thwarted due to an emergency appendectomy in December. He had also been expected to become Coach Mac Pitt's shortstop but he signed a pro contract and left before ever playing for Coach Pitt. A third baseman who saw big league service with the Chicago Cubs in 1954-55, he joined the Twins Organization as a player with the Chattanooga affiliate in 1956, served his first of 8 seasons as a manager in 1961 and was elevated to the Minnesota Twins as a coach in 1969 where he remained until his death in November 1975. Morgan holds the longevity record for Twins Coaching.
Michael A. Quick, Class of 1978
Michael Quick was born in Hamlet, NC as one of nine children. He starred in football and was on the state championship track team at Richmond (NC) High School before coming to Fork Union Military Academy. He set a record for receptions during his football career at FUMA and then went on to have an excellent basketball season as well. Quick lead the nation in high hurdles and was named Track Most Valuable Player. He was highly recruited in all three sports before accepting a full scholarship to NC State were he was the leading receiver in the college's history with 116 catches for 1,934 yards. He was named All-ACC at wide receiver and named Honorable Mention All-America as a senior. Quick played in the Olympia Gold Bowl and received Offensive Most Valuable Player of the Blue-Gray Game. He continued his success in track at NC State and had a best time of 13.6 for the 110-meter hurdles.
Quick was the Philadelphia Eagles first draft pick in 1982 and remained with the team until his retirement in 1991. He was voted to the Pro Bowl 5 straight years (1983-1987). Over those five seasons, he caught more touchdown passes (53) than any other NFL player, and ranked 3rd in yardage. He ranked among the top three in the NFC in TD receptions from 1983-87 and is the only player in Eagles' history to have 3 consecutive 1,000 yard receiving seasons (1983-1985). Adding to his honors, Quick was named 1st Team All-NFL and 2nd Team All-NFC in 1987.
U. S. "Sonny" Randle, Class of 1954
Sonny Randle entered FUMA as a kindergartner and remained until graduation 13 years later. He participated in track, basketball and football. He set a record in the 100-yard dash that stood for over 35 years. Randle was named to the All-State Football and Basketball Teams and was named All-American in track. While at the University of Virginia he played basketball as well as football. He was named to the Honorable Mention All-American Football team in 1958, leading the nation in kick-off returns and pass receiving. Randle played in the 1958 Blue-Gray Football Game. Randle went on to a 10 year career in the NFL. He was with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1959 to 1967, where he was selected to the Pro Bowl 4 years (1960, '61, '62, '65) and was named All-Pro three straight years (1960-62). Randle was named to the All-Time Cardinal Team in 1988 with 417 receptions for over 6,000 yards and 71 touchdowns. From the Cardinals he went onto the San Francisco 49ers (1967-1969) and the Dallas Cowboys (1967-1970). "Sonny Randle caught more touchdowns in the 1960s than anyone in football." His coaching career began at East Carolina where he became Head Football Coach and was named SC Coach of the Year. He also was Head Football Coach at UVA, Massanutten Academy and Marshall University. Sonny was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.
James Wesley "Bud" Sherrill, Class of 1947 (Deceased)
"Bud" Sherrill was FUMA's Outstanding Athlete of the Year in 1946-1947, having excelled in football, basketball and track. He won a number of medals in track and field. Sherrill was awarded a scholarship to the University of Tennessee in 1947. He played football there for four years - primarily as a defensive half-back. In 1949, he set a single season pass interception record (12), which he holds to this date. In 1952, Bud was the third round draft choice of the Chicago Bears. He was also chosen to be on the 1951 All-Stars Team. He reported to the Bears' training camp that summer, and later to the "All-Stars" Camp. While with the All-Stars, his right shoulder was injured, and as a result he was unable to play pro-ball during 1951. Bud was called to active duty in 1952 and served in Korea. In 1954 he hoped to resume his pro career when he asked to be traded from the Bears to the Redskins, but after a coaching change at Washington he asked to return to Chicago. George Hallas agreed but, before they could execute their option, he was picked up by the New York Giants. Vince Lombardi was the offensive coordinator for the Giants when "Bud" suffered a career-ending knee injury. In 1958 "Bud" coached the Norfolk Navy Tars and from 1983-1986 he coached the punters and kickers at FUMA as a volunteer.
Charles G. "Rosie" Thomas, Class of 1921 (Deceased)
"Rosie" Thomas entered Fork Union in 1918 and during his three years at FUMA he was a gifted and talented athlete. He went onto VPI where he continued his athletic prowess and graduated in 1925. After graduation he coached the Tech freshman baseball team to an undefeated season. He then went on to sign a pro baseball contract with Indianapolis of the International League as a catcher. An arm injury ended his baseball career and he returned to FUMA in 1930 to teach math and science. At this same time he became athletic Director and coached football, basketball, baseball and track.
Coach Thomas served FUMA as coach and Athletic Director from 1931 until 1968. During his long and highly successful coaching career, his teams won 14 State Baseball Championships, 6 State Football and 6 State Basketball Championships. During the seasons between 1935 and 1941, he engineered a single-wing offense that defeated all comers in the Virginia Military Football League and produced undefeated teams in 1936, 1938 and 1939. In 1948 all three of his teams - football, basketball and baseball - won state titles. In addition to his athletic duties, he served as Assistant to the President from 1960 to 1968. He was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1979. Coach Thomas was one of the most widely known and respected men in athletics.
Pliny M. Cropp, Class of 1936 (Deceased)
Like his brother Wilson, Pliny Marshall Cropp was voted FUMA's Best Athlete in 1936 when he lettered in three sports - baseball, basketball and football. He was captain of the undefeated State Championship football team of 1935, while the 1935 basketball tam was also undefeated. Cropp himself was an honorable mention to the All-State Prep Basketball Team. At VPI and SU he was on the basketball team his freshman year. Cropp's love of sports continued past college where he was the baseball Coach of the Cardinals Athletic Club and the Albemarle Weaving Company team.
Wilson W. Cropp, Class of 1935 (Deceased)
Wilson Warner Cropp, Pliny's brother, came to Fork Union in 1930. By 1934 Wilson was voted Best Athlete, serving as captain of the football, baseball, basketball, and track teams. Indeed, his basketball team went undefeated in 1934. He received state-wide recognition as well, achieving All-State honors in baseball, basketball, and football. Wilson went on to VPI and SU where he was named to the All-State Freshman Football team. His close association with sports continued after college when he became Commissioner of the Charlottesville Junior Baseball Association in 1965.
James P. Kite, Jr., Class of 1952
When you think of Jim Kite's athletic career, you think of two things - baseball and golf. At FUMA, Jim lettered in baseball four times. As pitcher and captain of the baseball team in 1950, Jim had 111 season strikeouts. In 1951, he had posted a batting average of .371. He led the State Military Prep Baseball Championship Team in 1950 and his 1950 and 1951 teams posted consecutive records of 16-1. He continued his baseball career after FUMA, pitching for the New York Yankees Farm System in Richmond, Denver, Louisville, Birmingham, and New Orleans. He was also manager of the Shenandoah Indians in 1960. Later Jim turned to golf. He was the runner up in the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship in 1987, VSGA Senior Golfer of the Year in 1994, and State Senior Four-Ball Champion six times.
Don V. Majkowski, Class of 1983
FUMA's Best Athlete of 1983, Don Majkowski was MVP in football and track. He was a member of the undefeated Blue Devils football team of 1982, and held the indoor high jump record from 1983 to 1993. He also set records for the 300 meter hurdles and the triple jump. After leaving FUMA, Majkowski entered the University of Virginia, acting as their starting quarterback from 1984 to 1986. He was named ACC Offensive Back of the Week in 1986 and was the rushing leader among ACC quarterback in 1985. He finished his career at UVA ranked second among UVA's All-Time Passing and All-Time Total Offense Lists.
Majkowski was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and played with the team from 1987 to 1993. In that time he was selected to the Pro Bowl (1989), led the league in passing yards, attempts and completions (1989) and was the NFC Offensive Player of the Week that same year. Majkowski was the first Packer rookie to throw for over 300 yards in a game. After leaving the Packers, he moved to the Indianapolis Colts, then to the Detroit Lions.
Richard "Dick" McElwee, Class of 1939 (Deceased)
FUMA's Outstanding Athlete of 1939, Dick McElwee, Jr. was a member of three state championship teams: basketball, baseball and football. Captain of the football and basketball teams, he was also Co-Captain of the All-State Military School Football Team of 1938. At West Virginia University, McElwee was the captain of the 1942 football team. Their star halfback and kicker, he racked up many records for his outstanding play, including: total offense, passing, pass receiving, rushing and scoring. He was named to WVU's All-Time team as a back. After college, McElwee became head football coach at Romney High School in West Virginia from 1944 to 1954 and he led his team to the West Virginia State High School Championships in 1949. He was coach of the WV North-South Championship Team in 1954, and also coached at Charleston High School from 1954 to 1959. His overall West Virginia coaching record was 113-36-11. After leaving West Virginia, McElwee coached for five more years at McArthur High School in Florida.
Don S. Oakes '57, Class of 1957
Don Oakes came to FUMA in 1956 where he as a member of the All-State Military Championship Football team. After his year at FUMA, he went on to VPI and SU where he was named to the All-State and All-Southern Conference Teams in 1959 while being a member of the wrestling team as well. Drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, Oakes played at tackle for two years before moving on to the Boston Patriots for five years. During that time, he was selected to the Pro Bowl, was a first-team member of the Eastern All-Stars of 1967, and was the Patriots Top Offensive Linesman of 1966. After his career in the NFL, Oakes turned to coaching, leading the wrestling team at Lord Botetourt High School in Virginia in 1971. He moved on to be head football coach of William Byrd High School from 1972 to 1980. During his tenure, the team became Blue Ridge District Champions and he was selected as District Coach of the Year in 1973. He has been the Assistant Coach at Cave Spring High School since 1981.
Gladstone E. Smith, Jr., Class of 1946
Another Best Athlete at FUMA, Gladstone Smith led the Blue Devils to the State Mioiary Prep Baseball Championship in 1947 and 1948. He struck out 108 batters in 64 innings, with a batting average of .412. He lettered in baseball and football at FUMA. At Hampden-Sydney College, Smith led the 1950 State Championship Team, maintaining a .530 batting average with an ERA of 1.34, while batting average with an ERA of 1.34, while batting in 27 runs in 16 games. He was also a two-year starter at end. In 1950, Smith signed with the New York Yankees, playing in the Yankee farm system for three years. Smith was inducted into the Hampden-Sydney Hall of Fame in 1993.
Lester Everette "Jim" Tharpe, Class of 1923 (Deceased)
A member of FUMA's track team from 1922 to 1923, Lester Tharpe set records during his short time here which would last for decades. Tharpe held the 800 meter record for 55 years (123-1988), the 1600 meter record for 56 years (1922-1988), as well as setting the mile and half mile interscholastic records for 1923. He went on to the University of Richmond where he set South Atlantic Records as a half miler, quarter miler and miler. He also held the record for the mile (4:22.6) for 42 years, plus the 440 record for 31 years. During his two years at FUMA and four years at University of Richmond, Tharpe won 74 out of 76 races, which included 15 championship titles, and set 10 new records. He went on to qualify for the 1928 Olympics, but due to an accident could not compete. Tharpe was inducted into the University of Richmond Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.
Earl S. Winfield, Class of 1981
Voted FUMA's Best Athlete of 1981, Earl Winfield was the football MVP and spring track MVP during his time here. In 1981, he held the pole vault record (which stood for ten years), set records in the 100 meter high hurdles, long jump, triple jump, shot put, discus and high jump. Winfield went on to the University of North Carolina, where he was a wide receiver from 1981-1985. He made the 1st team All-ACC in 1984 and 1985, set records for career receptions in 1985, was UNC's leading receiver and the ACC Offensive Player of the Week in 1984. After his career at UNC, Earl joined the Canadian Football League, playing with the Hamilton Tiger Cats from 1987-1996. His honors there are impressive. Winfield became the Tiger Cats' All-Time Touchdown Leader and Most Outstanding Player for 1993 and 1994. He was the All-Northern and All-Canadian All-Star for two years, All-Eastern All-Star for three years, and Most Outstanding Player in the Eastern Division for 1988. Winfield led the CFL in receiving touchdowns in 1995 and was the first player in CFL history to score a touchdown three different ways in one game.
Jim Bunch, Class of 1976
Jim Bunch's impressive football career started in 1974 at Lee Davis High School in Midlothian, VA. There he was named Football MVP and Lineman of the Year for Virginia. He followed that performance up with a postgraduate year at FUMA where he was also named Football MVP. At the University of Alabama, Jim shined. He was a member of the All-SEC Team for 1986, '77, '78, and '79; SEC Sophomore Player of the Year ('77), and was a member of two national championship teams (1978 and 1979). He was named to the Kodak All-American Team, the Associated Press All-American Team, and the Sports Writers All-American Team. He also received the General Douglas MacArthur Memorial Award and was named to the 1st Team Alabama Team of the Decade and the 2nd Team Alabama Team of the Century. In 1999, Jim was nominated for the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
Domenico E. Cataldi, Class of 1948
Voted the Best Athlete of his class in 1948, Dom Cataldi has long been remembered for his prowess in football, basketball, and baseball, where he lettered in all three sports. Captain of the basketball squad in 1946, he was also a member of the All-State Basketball Team (1946 and 1948) and the All-State Virginia Military Academy State Squad (1947). In 1948, Cataldi signed with the Utica blue Socks, a Philadelphia Phillies Farm Club. In 1949, he attended Stout State, where he lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. During this time he was also a member of the Menomonie Eagles Amateur Baseball Championship Team. Still active in sports, Cataldi is a member of the All-Star 70+ Softball Travel Team and a member of the San Diego "Top Guns" - finalists for the senior softball world championships in 1997.
William C. Duke, Class of 1950
The captain of a FUMA football team should be a large young man, shouldn't he? Not necessarily, as evidenced by Billy Duke, FUMA's football and track captain for 1949-1950. In 1950, he led his football team to a state military title and was named the most valuable backfield performer by his squad, However, Duke is best know as a track star, a sport in which he also lettered, as he led his squad to numerous championships. He also set the state indoor pole vault record in 1949. After graduating from FUMA, Duke attended the University of North Carolina, where he ran track and field, played soccer, and won the Freshman Decathlon in 1950. In 1957 he coached the Air Force team to victory in the Annual Air Force, Army, and Navy Track and Field Championships, winning the pole vault event at that meet.
William H. Miller, Class of 1953
At Liberty High School in Pennsylvania, Bill Miller distinguished himself as a natural athlete. He lettered in basketball, baseball, football and soccer. He was also named to the 1st Team All-East Penn League, won the Bethlehem Boys's Club Athlete of the Year, and was named on the United Press 1st Team All-State, and the Associated Press 1st Team All-State (1952). During his postgraduate year at FUMA, he carried on this same tradition. Miller lettered in basketball and baseball and made the 1st Team All-Military League. From FUMA, Miller traveled to the University of Virginia where he once again lettered in basketball, baseball, and soccer. He was twice named to the All-ACC Tournament (2nd Team), the 1st Tam All-Washington Post (1957), and the 1st Team All-American City Tournament. However, Bill's heart remained at FUMA where he returned to serve as the varsity basketball coach for 13 years and the Assistant Athletic Director of the Academy for 30 years. In 1999, Miller was inducted into the Liberty High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Melvin Turpin, Class of 1980 (Deceased)
FUMA's most valuable player for the postgraduate basketball squad, Mel Turpin was also voted the number one player in the state for varsity basketball. While at FUMA, he averaged 19 points, 12 rebounds, and six blocked shots per game. At the University of Kentucky, Turpin made the 1st Team All-SEC for 1982 and 1983, and was a starter for the NCAA Final Four Kentucky Wildcats Team (1983-1984)., In 1984, he was the SEC scoring leader, and he still holds the record for the most field goals made in SEC tournament play. He still is co-holder for the individual with the most points scored in a single SEC tournament game (1984). A first-round draft pick by the then Washington Bullets, Turpin was in the National Basketball Association for nine years, also playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Michael Stevenson Clarke, Class of 1979
Stevenson Clarke played tennis like no other at FUMA before or since. When he laced up his shoes, victory was almost a certainty. In four years at Fork Union, Clarke compiled a 109-1 combined singles and doubles record, including 72 consecutive victories. He was ranked as one of the top 50 high school players in the country at the time.
Clarke's skills were evident even before he came to Fork Union. He was winning junior tournaments in the Washington, DC area, and by the time he turned professional, he had accumulated more than 60 amateur championships. Clarke graduated from FUMA and went on to star for nationally ranked Louisiana Sate University. He was a four-year starter for the Tigers and was team captain in 1981. After college, Clarke continued to tour as an amateur, claiming the National Indoor Doubles Championship in 1982. That same year, he was ranked as the second-best amateur player in the nation. He finally took a shot at the professional tour that year, and attained a world ranking from 1982 through 1985.
Herman A. Clark, Class of 1950
Herman A. Clark made his name on the gridiron and in the coaching ranks in Virginia and the Carolinas. His passing skills led Fork Union to the state military schools football championship in 1950. Clark was an all-around athlete, lettering in football, baseball, and basketball. It was football that he made a name for himself. The team captain of 1950 was named All-State both years at FUMA. As the leader of the Blue Devils, Clark lost just one game in two seasons, while throwing 20 touchdown passes. He went on to win the Orchid Bowl after his senior season.
Clark played one year of freshman football at the University of Richmond, then transferred to Chowan Junior College where he became the school's first All-American in 1955. In 1986, Clark was inducted into Chowan's Hall of Fame.
Clark returned to Chowan as an assistant coach for one year, then went on his own. During his 10-year stint as head coach at Murfreesboro (NC) High School, he never endured a losing campaign. He was named the state's Coach of the Year in 1972, and coached the "East" Squad in the North Carolina East-West Shrine Game. Clark also coached at Scotland Neck (NC) High School for five seasons.
Edward N. George, Class of 1991
Edward Nathan George rewrote football and track records at Fork Union after transferring to the Academy after his sophomore year at Philadelphia's Abington High School. In the two years that followed, George started at running back and linebacker. George rushed for 2,572 yards and touchdowns during his career and was team captain of the 1989 squad. During his senior season, he rushed for 1,372 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also excelled in track and field, where he held sate titles in the 300 hurdles.
After his senior season, the Division I schools came calling and George chose Ohio State University. He started just tow years, but managed to rush for 3,768 yards (second in school history) and 44 touchdowns. In 1995, George was named winner of the Heisman, Doak Walker and ESPY awards as the nation's best player. In addition to the Heisman Trophy, George won several NFL Rookie of the Year awards in 1996, and was the Tennessee Titans' starting tailback until 2003. Throughout his tenure as one of the NFL's premier running backs, he not only possessed an explosive combination of speed, power and toughness, but was the epitome of durability. George's punishing north-and-south running style won him the 1997 AP's "Offensive Rookie of the Year" honors as well as four consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl from 1998-2001. Drafted in the first round by the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, George owns virtually every franchise rushing record. He also led the AFC Champion Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. He also spent one season playing for the Dallas Cowboys with fellow FUMA alumni Vinny Testaverde and Dexter Coakley.
George stands among the sport's best. After being drafted in the first round by the Houston Oilers, he went on to win the 1996 Rookie of the Year Award, and has been voted to five Pro Bowls. In 2002, he ranked second on the franchise's all-time rushing list with 6,872 yards.
Charles J. Bossolina, Class of 1949 (Deceased)
Bossolina was a top athlete at Fork Union, playing basketball, football and track. He was well-regarded by his teammates and fondly remembered as an athlete whose leadership was respected both on the athletic field and in the daily life of the Cadet Corps. He served as the football team's Defensive Captain in 1948 and became Captain of the team in 1949. He was All-State during his senior year. During the same year, Bossolina was President of the FUMA Varsity Club.
Many sports articles boasted Bossolina's leadership on the field while at Fork Union. One such article ran the headline: "Bossolina, Fork Union Center, Is Team's 'Coach on the Field'." His expertise as lineman helped lead the team to success in many games, four seasons in a row. He is remembered by fellow alumni as having great spirit and determination. This factor rated him as one of the best centers in the state. Bossolina's team spirit carried through in his role as cadet as he was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned as Executive Officer of his company during his second year at Fork Union.
Bossolina's success at the Academy helped him receive a full scholarship to Furman University where he carried on his tradition as an outstanding center. In 1951, he received Honorable Mention Guard for the All-State Team.
After graduating from college, Bossolina built his own vending business and owned two restaurants in the New York metropolitan area. His fellow alumni still remember him fondly: "I knew Charlie most of my life - he was a quality person" and "Charlie was an inspiration to all who knew him on and off the athletic field."
William A. Blair, Class of 1949
"Coach." This is the name many alumni and friends use when talking about Bill Blair from Galax, Virginia. During his time as a cadet at Fork Union, Blair was a member of the football, baseball and basketball teams. In 1949, he served as Co-Captain of the baseball team. When he graduated from FUMA, Blair attended Hampden-Sydney College and was Co-Captain of both the football and baseball teams and was honored as All-State on both teams.
In 1958, he returned to FUMA as an English and Latin instructor and as an athletic coach. In 1962, he was named the Assistant Athletic Director and continued his teaching duties until 1969. Blair was then promoted to Athletic Director and served as such until his retirement in 1995. Among his many accomplishments during his time at FUMA, Blair founded and developed FUMA's prep (high school) athletic program and initiated the Academy's entrance into the Virginia Preparatory League. He also served as President of Virginias Military Schools' League from 1970 to 1972 and was inducted into the Twin Counties (Southwest Virginia) Sports Hall of Fame in 1984. Blair's commitment to Fork Union goes beyond the court and playing fields. He helped nurture thousands of young men and served as a mentor for many FUMA cadets. Blair's impact as their teacher, coach, and lifelong friend cannot be measured, but is evident in the many lives he helped shape at the Academy.
Erik R. Christensen, Class of 1951
An all-around athlete, Christensen played football, basketball and track in the two years he spent at Fork Union Military Academy. He was Co-Captain in 1950 of the football team, along with former Sports Hall of Fame inductee Herman Clark. In that same year, the football team was undefeated and he led defense on the team that had five shutouts and allowed the opposition only 22 points for the entire season. Christensen was named All-State Tackle for two years. In 1950, a newspaper article quoted the Fork Union coaching staff as stating: "Christensen is a sure bet for college stardom." He was also nicknamed "The Ox" by his teammates because of his terrific strength. He was a top cadet, honor roll student, and also played basketball and track along with his outstanding talent on the football field.
Christensen's talent took him to the University of Richmond where he was a four-year starter in football (starting every game). He was All-State all four years, playing tackle and end. He was the only Virginia college player to receive this honor at two different positions. He served as Co-Captain in 1955 and he went on to play in the 1956 College All Star Game. Beyond college, Christensen played for the Washington Redskins in 1956 and the Calgary Stampeders in 1957.
In addition to being a great athlete, Christensen earned a commission in the U.S. Army through the ROTC program at the University of Richmond. He served on active duty for ten years and retired as Captain.
William M. Furrer, Class of 1987
Furrer came to Fork Union Military Academy as a postgraduate from Pullman (Washington) High School where he won all-league honors as a senior, passing for 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns. As a postgraduate football player, he alternated as quarterback with two other players in the fall of 1986. He caught the eye of Virginia Tech coaches during the Academy's annual game with Virginia Tech's JV team when Furrer completed 9 of 16 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown.
Furrer was recruited by Virginia Tech and became one of the top quarterbacks in the school's history. He was selected as one of eight national recipients of the prestigious National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete Award in 1991. He holds several individual records at Virginia Tech including Most Passes Completed at 494. With 5,915 total yards and 43 touchdowns, Furrer is currently ranked third on the list of all-time Career Passing Leaders for Virginia Tech.
Furrer was drafted by the Chicago Bears as quarterback in 1992 and played seven years in the NFL. His NFL career included seasons with the Denver Broncos, Houston Oilers and St. Louis Rams. Currently, Furrer is a partner with Intra-Focus Marketing Solutions in Georgetown, Texas.
Ibrahim M. Aden, Class of 1992
Ibrahim Aden was born in Borau, Somalia and came to the United States in 1988. He entered Fork Union Military Academy in September 1990 and in his senior year was the world's fastest high school miler, sweeping all major U.S. races with a time of 4:05. He was the 1992 winner in the 5th Avenue Mile and Millrose Games in New York; Sunkist Invitational in Los Angeles; Penn Relays in Philadelphia; Volunteer Track Classic in Knoxville; Golden South in Orlando; Golden West in Sacramento; and Keebler Invitational in Chicago. After leaving FUMA, he attended Central Arizona College and became the National JUCO Champion in the 1500m in 1994. He was the IC4A Champion in the 1500m at George Mason University in 1995 and 1996.
Aden's international competition is quite extensive. As a two-time Olympian for Somalia, he carried the national flag in the 2000 Summer Olympic opening ceremonies in Sydney. He also competed in the 800m in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. In the 1500m, his competition included the World Championships in Athens (1997) and the World Championships in Seville (1999).
Coach Fred Hardy remembers Aden as one of the most talented track athletes he ever coached: "His collegiate record and his accomplishments on the world track scene speak for themselves. With his obvious talent, Ibrahim brought a tenacious commitment to bear that made him one of the best middle-distance runners of his day. And that commitment also served him well outside of athletics. During his years at FUMA, Ibrahim struggled with a language and a curriculum that was not familiar to him. I recall only a very few students who worked as long or as diligently every night on their schoolwork. I'm sure it was this same commitment that led to his earning a degree from one of Virginia's finest universities. Ibrahim Aden is an example of the FUMA philosophy at its best."
Vinny Testaverde, FUMA Class of 1982
“Believe it or not, it had nothing to do with the football field,” said Vinny Testaverde when asked recently on our radio show Shuman Says to relate his favorite FUMA memory. “They asked me to come be part of the track team and throw the javelin. They didn’t have a javelin thrower. I had never thrown it before. We went out there and I think I set the school record in throwing the javelin. That was one of my favorite memories.”
Vinny Testaverde attended FUMA as a postgraduate in 1981-82 and played quarterback on the PG football team under Coach Pulliam. His arm strength was incredible and Vinny’s javelin throw of 212’ 1” in competition still stands as the FUMA record.
Testaverde was born to be a football player, with his father Al Testaverde his biggest fan. As starting quarterback of Sewanhaka High in Elmont, New York during his senior season, Testaverde racked up almost 700 yards in passing, despite playing in an offensive scheme built around running the veer play.
Having a rocket arm wasn’t enough for the young athlete to gain a scholarship, however. He also needed to demonstrate the kind of academic achievement that would attract the recruiters from the top Division I programs.
So Testaverde left behind the comfort of his loving family and his status as high school star in order to meet the challenges of Fork Union Military Academy. That choice not only led to a scholarship to the University of Miami, it helped reinforce and develop the qualities of determination, patience, leadership, responsibility, and dedication to hard work that would characterize Testaverde’s long football career.
It was, truly, a choice that would prove life-changing for Testaverde.
“It saved my football dreams,” Testaverde told New York Times writer Bill Pennington in an interview for Pennington’s book The Heisman.
“I remember that from 7:30 to 9:45 every night, the entire school was studying,” Testaverde told Pennington. “And it made a difference. I learned what you can accomplish when you focus.”
During his two years as starting quarterback for the University of Miami, he led the team to a 21-1 record and set a number of passing records, many of which still stand today, more than two decades later.
Testaverde was awarded the Heisman Trophy honoring him as the best college football player in 1986. It was a dream come true for his father. Al Testaverde, a construction worker, used to eat his lunches on the street outside the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City and imagine the day he would enter as a guest of honor to see his son, then just a young boy, win the prestigious award.
Picked first overall in the 1987 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay, Testaverde went on to play for 21 years in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (’87-92), Cleveland Browns (’93-’95), Baltimore Ravens (’96-’97), New York Jets (’98-’03, ‘05), Dallas Cowboys (’04), New England Patriots (’06), and Carolina Panthers (’07).
He ranks among the top ten quarterbacks in history in career statistics for passing yards, passes attempted, passes completed, touchdown passes, and he holds a number of NFL passing records outright. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1996 and 1998.
In one of his most memorable games, Testaverde led the Jets to their greatest comeback win ever, 40-37 over the Dolphins in October 2000. Entering the fourth quarter down 30-7, Testaverde connected on four touchdown passes to win the game that became known as the “Monday Night Miracle.” This game was voted by fans in 2000 as the “greatest game televised on ABC’s Monday Night Football.”
Roman Oben, FUMA Class of 1991
Roman Oben was one of the members of the vaunted PG Class of 1991 from which over 50 players went to Division I schools and 13 players ended up in the NFL. Even among that kind of competition, Roman Oben stands out.
In fact, in the 1991 Skirmisher, it is noted that Roman Oben was voted by his classmates as “most likely to make CNN’s ‘Play of the Day.’”
Oben was born in Cameroon, West Africa and moved to the United States when he was four years old. He attended Gonzaga High School in Washington, DC and then came to Fork Union to prep for college.
In addition to football, Oben participated in track and set the standing FUMA discus record at 175’ 10”.
He continued on both the gridiron and track at the University of Louisville, placing in the shot put in the Metro Conference Track Championship and being named to the All-National Independent First Team in football.
Drafted in 1996 by the New York Giants, Oben started in over 90% of the games in his 12-year career at left tackle. He played for the New York Giants (’96-’99), Cleveland Browns (’00-’01), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (’02-’03), and San Diego Chargers (’04-’07).
He was the starting left tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their Super Bowl victory in 2002, leading an offensive line that allowed only one sack in 100 passing situations during the postseason, and earning a Super Bowl XXXVII championship ring in the process.
In September 2006, the University of Louisville honored Oben prior to their game against rival Kentucky by adding his #72 jersey to their Ring of Fame. Oben was the 15th former Cardinal to receive this honor, joining Louisville legends like Johnny Unitas.
Even before his retirement from the NFL, Oben was not content to have all of his accomplishments take place on the football field. Having already obtained his bachelor’s degree from Louisville in the decidedly non-athletic field of economics, Oben went on to earn a master’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson in Public Administration in May 2001. During his studies, Oben interned for two Democratic Congressmen, Bill Pascrell of New Jersey and Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland, Ohio.
Oben has made several trips to his native Cameroon where his Roman Oben Foundation has helped provide textbooks, school furniture, and construction aid for schools there.
Oben now lives with his family in the New York City metropolitan area and serves as Chairman of the Democratic Party in Kinnelon, New Jersey.
He works as the Vice President of Development for The Corporate Playbook, an organization helping current and alumni college athletes with career coaching, employer resources, professional placement services, and networking for employment opportunities with growing companies.
Shammond Williams, FUMA Class of 1994
Another FUMA alumnus who studied economics in college, Shammond Williams never really dreamed of playing basketball in the NBA. His plans were to earn his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina in Industrial Relations and become a financial broker. Getting drafted into the NBA after college was just a bonus.
Shammond Williams is one of those well-grounded individuals who doesn’t forget his roots. When asked to recount the basketball accomplishments that bring him pride, this NBA veteran doesn’t start by telling stories of playing with his friend and teammate Kobe Bryant, he points to when he helped his Southside High School team in Greenville, South Carolina win the 1992 South Carolina AA Championship.
Williams still returns regularly to South Carolina to host basketball camps for area youth. Williams is also a frequent visitor to Coach Fletcher Arritt’s annual basketball camp at Fork Union where he dazzles the young players with his ball-handling skills and flawless shooting technique.
As captain of the PG basketball team in 1993-94, Shammond Williams left his mark on FUMA both on and off the court. Not only did he win the Thomas PG Athlete Award and Frank A. Crockett Captain’s Award, he also won the Best Drilled Cadet competition.
His outstanding performance continued at the University of North Carolina where he played for Coach Dean Smith and helped lead the Tar Heels to the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four three out of his four years there.
Williams set career and season records that stand to this day, including Most 3-Point Goals Made in a Season (95); Most 3-Point Goals Made in a Career (233); Highest Free Throw Percentage in a Season (91.1%); and Highest Free Throw Percentage in a Career (84.9%). He was selected the Most Valuable Player of the 1997 ACC Tournament.
Drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1998, Williams also played for the Atlanta Hawks (’98-’99), Seattle Supersonics (’99-’02), Boston Celtics (’02), Denver Nuggets (’03), Orlando Magic (’03-’04), New Orleans Hornets (’04), and the Los Angeles Lakers (’06-’07).
In international play, he has competed for Ulker, Turkey (’04), Unics, Russia (’04-’05), Barcelona, Spain (’05-’06), and Pamesa Valencia, Spain (’06-’09). He was named the Most Valuable Player in the FIBA Europe League All-Star Game in 2005.
The day will surely come when Williams will finally retire his sneakers and put his college degree to full-time use, but until then Williams will continue to thrill the crowds with his game-winning skills.
Coach Red Pulliam
Not one member of the Corps of Cadets will forget COL R. L. “Red” Pulliam as Commandant of the Upper School for some twenty years or as Interim President of the Academy during the 1990-91 and 1993-94 school years.
Red Pulliam came to Fork Union in 1956 as an English Instructor and Varsity Football Coach. He served as FUMA’s Head Football Coach for 26 years and compiled a remarkable 170-69-7 (.705) record and coached many players who would go on to distinguished playing careers in college and in the National Football League.
Pulliam was inducted into the Randolph-Macon College Hall of Fame in 1999, honoring his standout career from 1949-1953 on the football field, where he was a three-year starter. He earned All-State First Team honors and was named Honorable Mention Little All-America. Pulliam was also named a Distinguished Alumnus of Randolph-Macon in 1997.
Coach Fletcher Arritt, FUMA Class of 1960
In 1959, Fletcher Arritt came to Fork Union Military Academy from Fayetteville, West Virginia as a postgraduate cadet. That year he was co-captain of the basketball team and member of the track team. Upon his graduation in 1960, Arritt spent four years playing basketball at the University of Virginia where he also ran track and cross country.
Arritt returned to Fork Union in 1966 to teach biology and also coached basketball, track, and junior-prep football. After serving as an assistant basketball coach, Arritt became head of the postgraduate team in 1971. He has sent close to 500 players from his program to play among the college ranks, including over 200 Division-I basketball players. Of his 46-year history of basketball, it has been said that there is no coach who has done a better job of preparing kids for college. Seven players have been sent to the NBA, and nearly 25 former players have coached at either the high school or collegiate level. Arritt has seen over 800 wins in his career by using his old-school principle of coaching - instilling the corps of cadets with the values of "Body, Mind and Spirit."
Coach Arritt's reign over the postgraduate basketball program has made Blue Devils one of the nation's premier scholastic basketball programs. He started the Fork Union Basketball School in 1985 and continues to serve well over 100 campers each summer. The Passing Game with Fletcher Arritt is broadcast on sports-radio stations throughout Virginia. Fletcher Arritt's passion is most evident when he shares insights with students and players. "Be proud of that uniform. You'll always be something special while you wear it. Once you take it off, you're just another person walking the streets."
William Dexter Coakley, FUMA Class of 1993
A native of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, William Dexter Coakley attended Wando High School where he earned four letters in football before coming to Fork Union Military Academy as a postgraduate. He was named Most Valuable Player twice and was twice selected All-Conference as a defensive back. As a senior, Coakley was named Wando High School's Athlete of the Year. After attending FUMA for a year, Coakley received a scholarship to Appalachian State University and won the first two Buck Buchanan Awards given each year to the nation's top Division 1-AA defensive player. He was also named All-American for three seasons, as well as Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year for two seasons.
In 1997 Coakley was drafted as a third-round pick for the Dallas Cowboys. He was a three-time Pro Bowl choice and 1999 All-Pro player. Coakley received the Cowboys' Unsung Hero Award in 2002 as selected by his teammates and fans for his determination and commitment beyond the playing field. Coakley has also served as speaker for "Babe's Best," a program created to recognize outstanding high school athletes. Coakley also played two years for the St. Louis Rams. In 2011, he became the first inductee into Appalachian State's Football Hall of Fame.
Coach Gus Lacy
The legendary Coach Lacy spent close to 45 years at Fork Union Military Academy and wore many hats during his time as coach, instructor, and admissions/development director. His influence in the classroom and on the playing field was unsurpassed. He served as Assistant Varsity Football Coach; Varsity Track Coach; Cross Country Coach; and finally the Assistant Athletic Director from 1955-1965, during which time he also led the track team to three Virginia State Championships in 1957, 1960, and 1963.
Gus Lacy's passion for sports began in 1939 when he was a 4-year letterman in football, basketball, and baseball at C.H. Friend High School in South Boston, Virginia. He then went on to play football at the University of North Carolina before serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II from 1943-46. His involvement in other athletic activities while at Fork Union included serving as an official for Piedmont Basketball for 27 years, in addition to holding the title of Commissioner from 1955-1978. He was co-owner and director of the Sonny Randle Football Camp and wrote numerous articles published in the Athletic Journal and Scholastic Coach. He was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame (Halifax-South Boston) in 1998. In 2000 the Gus Lacy Track Classic was established to dedicate the newly renovated outdoor track facility named in his honor.
Frederick Mueller, FUMA Class of 1955
In his two years as a cadet at Fork Union Military Academy, Frederick Mueller played football and baseball under the direction of Coach Rosie Thomas. He was named to the All Military League Football Team and as a postgraduate was awarded the FUMA Best Athlete Medal. His playing career in football continued at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he was a letterman and starting guard for three years. Mueller served as Assistant Football coach at Miami Edison High School (1961-1963); Montclair State University (1963-1966); and the University of North Carolina (1966-1968). He also coached lacrosse at the University of North Carolina from 1966-1970.
For over 40 years Dr. Mueller has been a Professor of Exercise and Sports Science, and former Department Chair, at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He also serves as the Director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research and the Research Director for the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. Dr. Mueller co-wrote the book, Football Fatalities and Catastrophic Injuries, 1931-2008.