Clint Castleberry

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Clint Castleberry
Date of birth: October 10, 1923
Place of birth: Atlanta, Georgia
Date of death: November 7, 1944
Place of death: Liberia
Career information
Position(s): Halfback
Height: 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight: 155 lb (70 kg)
College: Georgia Tech
Organizations
Career highlights and awards
Awards: 1942 All-SEC
2nd Team All-America
3rd Place Heisman

Lt. Clinton Dillard Castleberry, Jr. (October 10, 1923 in Atlanta, Georgia - November 7, 1944) was a football player in the 1940s.

College football[edit]

Castleberry showed extraordinary ability as a Georgia Tech "pony" back, standing at only 5'9" and weighing only 155 lbs. In high school, he played for Boys High in Atlanta, where he averaged 171 rushing yards per game and scored 102 points. In 1942, freshmen were ruled eligible to play varsity ball as rosters were drained by World War II. This allowed Castleberry to display his spectacular prowess on the football field. Against national power Navy, Castleberry led Tech to a 21-0 blowout on October 24, 1942 in Annapolis that was broadcast worldwide via the Armed Forces Radio Network. On October 3, 1942, Georgia Tech beat Notre Dame for the first time since 1928, especially impressive as the game was played in South Bend and Notre Dame had not lost a game in two years.[1] Castleberry led Georgia Tech in both passing and rushing yards, even after Notre Dame Head Coach Frank Leahy had been warned by a scout that Castleberry was "the most dangerous runner in America."[2]

Georgia Tech started the season 9-0 and climbed to a top five national ranking. During that ninth win, Castleberry injured his knee in a hard-fought 20-7 win over Florida in Atlanta. Despite the injury, Castleberry played in the final two games of the season, but not quite at full speed. On New Year's Day, Tech traveled to the Cotton Bowl Classic, losing a tight game with Texas, 14-7. Castleberry's injury improved for the bowl game, yet he was still not quite a hundred percent.

Castleberry finished third in the Heisman trophy voting for the season, behind winner Frank Sinkwich and Paul Governali, both seniors. This was the highest a freshman had ever placed in the Heisman voting.[3] Castleberry's number 19 is the only football jersey Georgia Tech has ever retired.[2]

Army Air Forces[edit]

After the 1942 season was over, Castleberry enlisted in Army Air Forces and planned to return to play football at Georgia Tech after the War. During World War II, he co-piloted a B-26 Marauder bomber known as "Dream Girl" and was stationed in Africa. In the early morning hours of November 7, 1944, Lt. Castleberry took off from Roberts Field in Liberia with another B-26 to continue a ferrying run up the coast toward Dakar, Senegal. Neither of the two planes were ever seen again, despite an extensive six-day search involving American and British search crews. On November 23, 1944, all crew members were officially re-classified from MIA to KNB (killed, no body).[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Heerji, Asif (2006-09-01). "Legend of Castleberry remains in Tech lore". The Technique. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-10-05. 
  2. ^ a b Edwards, Pat (1997-10-24). "Ramblins - Tech player was legendary on the field and in the sky". The Technique. Retrieved 2007-10-04. 
  3. ^ "1942: Frank Sinkwich". Heisman Trophy. Heisman.com. Retrieved 2007-10-05. [dead link]
  4. ^ Edwards, Pat (1996-12-06). "Ramblins". The Technique. Retrieved 2007-10-05.