Former Heisman winner dies

By Jeff Lawson - bio | email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Doc Blanchard passed away over the weekend. The name should be familiar to fans of college football from an earlier generation. Doc won the Heisman trophy in 1945 when he led Army to an undefeated season.

Blanchard also had a connection to South Mississippi. Although he did not grow up here, he graduated from St. Stanislaus in 1941.

Walk into the school resource center, and you will see Blanchard's Heisman trophy in a special glass case. He donated it to the school back in 1990. Monday, two black ribbons were also in that trophy case, in memory of Doc.

"St. Stanislaus obviously had a special place in Doc's heart," Jay Ladner told us.

Ladner is the St. Stanislaus basketball coach. Although he never met Blanchard, he did speak to him on the phone a number of times over the years.

As far as we know, the Heisman that Blanchard donated is the only one that currently is on display at any high school in the country.

"This school had a tremendous influence on forming him, and his ideals," Ladner said. "He felt like it was a big part of his life and why he went on to be a success, because of the foundation he received here at St. Stanislaus."

Blanchard's only stipulation when he donated the Heisman was that it be placed somewhere where the students could see it. That was Doc's way of telling the students that anything is possible through hard work and dedication.

Despite being a superstar, Blanchard never played professional football. Instead, he served his country for 25 years as a fighter pilot in Korea and Vietnam.

"He had tremendous character. Everybody you spoke with talked about how honorable a man he was," Ladner explained.

Doc is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and was the first junior to ever win the Heisman. Despite those accomplishments, you get the sense he was the kind of man who wanted to be judged not by what he did on the football field, but how he lived his life.

Blanchard can rest now, knowing he wasn't just an extraordinary athlete, but an ever better man.

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