Friday, June 22, 2012

71 Ben Dunkerley

Hometown: Glassport, PA
Career: 1951-1952
Record: 12-7, Bowl Record: 0-0
Ben Dunkerley had a brief but impactful career at West Virginia University. Dunkerley is probably the least well-known of the great Mountaineer linemen of his era. Coach Pappy Lewis was able to convince some less heralded athletes such as Dunkerley to come to Morgantown. What Coach Lewis had found was a raw athlete that made a major impact along the offensive line. Dunkerley’s first year on campus saw the Mountaineers go from a loser to a 5-5 record. By the 1952 season, with the influx of another talented recruiting class, the Mountaineers would once again be winners, with a 7-2 record. Dunkerley’s efforts earned him an All-Southern Conference mention in 1951 and 2nd team All-America in 1952. The WVU Sports Hall of Fame will induct Dunkerley this year.
Memorable Game: By the time the 1952 season came around, WVU was listening to rumblings about conference realignment (see it’s not just a recent craze). Eight of their Southern Conference foes were in discussion to form a new conference, what would become the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The Mountaineers wanted to be the ninth member of the conference and were in search of a statement win to prove their worth to the ACC contingency. West Virginia would get there shot in the season finale in 1952 at South Carolina. WVU got shelled be South Carolina in 1951 and the Mountaineers had vengeance in mind. The Mountaineers would run over the Gamecocks behind blocking from Dunkerley and the offensive line. WVU would prevail with a 13-6 road win to cement a solid season. While the win would not aid WVU’s case for ACC inclusion, the win sent a message to the rest of the Southern Conference: the Mountaineers were a contender. WVU would win the Southern Conference for the next 4 seasons.
Competition: This must sound like a broken record as of late, but there is no beating out a WVU Sports Hall of Famer for this spot. Other players of note include Kurt Kehl and Rick Lukowski.
Teaser: Tomorrow is one of the biggest linemen in WVU history, at least in terms of physical size. This player was a big hit in the late 80s and early 90s, much like the mullet. Why people ever thought this hairstyle was socially acceptable, I wil never understand. I mean seriously, who wants to look like Billy Ray Cyrus?

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