Over the past 25 years, John Daye has devoted himself to a project that, finally, has come to fruition.
Daye, a former high school football coach at Chesterfield, Columbia, Orangeburg-Wilkinson, Brookland-Cayce and Heathwood Hall, has authored the book, “Encyclopedia of Armed Forces Football: The Complete History of the Glory Years.”
The book chronicles the era of armed services football – from the start of World War I through the Korean War – when it played a vital role on the sporting landscape with players and base teams that could compete with the best college and professional teams. Service teams, for instance, met in the 1918 and 1919 Rose Bowls.
By researching game programs, game films, and local and service newspapers, Daye, who also co-authored “Glory On The Gridiron,” a history of college football in South Carolina, with Fritz Hamer, was able to produce a 470-page encyclopedia with extensive team and player registers that cover the heyday of service football.
Here’s a question-and-answer session:
You go into World War II, and you have Otto Graham and Charley Trippi and Choo Choo Justice.
In the World War II era, Rex Enright came to Carolina in 1938 and left after the 1942 season. He went to Georgia Pre-Flight in the Navy and ran their physical training program as well as serving as the athletics director and coach. He was later stationed in Jacksonville at the Naval Station and was part of the Gator Bowl committee that helped bring South Carolina to the bowl game in 1946.
Lou Sossamon, a Carolina guy, was an All-Service player at Bainbridge, Md., Naval Training Center, which had an undefeated streak parts of three years. Sossamon was the best lineman on that team, and Choo Choo Justice was the best back. It was like an All-Star team that had great players from everywhere.
There are South Carolinians dotted all through this book.