On the Gridiron

Paul Hunt kicking fieldgoalAfter freshman football, Tiny was the starting right guard on the Varsity Team.  After the end of his junior season, the Cornell Daily Sun reported that he was elected captain for his senior season, having “distinguished himself all season by his brilliant defensive and offensive play.  Hunt was given honorable mention on the All-American selections by a group of representative coaches and sport-writers from all parts of the country this fall and should prove to be an excellent leader for the 1930 Red and White team”. (Emphasis added.)  He was also given favorable mention to several all-star teams.

Tiny was listed as the only “right guard” on the starting team in the single-wing formation. Only nineteen players were listed on the starting team with just sixteen substitutes.  The Team picture only had eighteen dressed players.  Cornell’s record in 1930 was six wins and two losses, with one of those wins against rival Penn13-6, in an upset, beating a bigger and stronger Penn Team for the first time since 1923, on Thanksgiving Day before a sold-out Franklin Field hometown crowd of sixty-five thousand fans.   “Genial Captain Hunt” caused a 14-yard loss to Penn, resulting in Penn punting from its end zone.  Cornell then took the ball down the field to score its first touchdown. Hunt kicked the extra point.

P. N. Hunt '31 was elected captain of the 1930 Cornell football team by the members of the squad yesterday. Hunt plays right guard and has distinguished himself all seasson by his brilliant defensive and offensive play. Hunt was given honorable mention on the All-American selections by a group of representative coaches and sport-writers from all parts of the country this fall and should prove to be an excellant leader for the 1930 Red and White team.

- Cornell Daily Sun, Vol. L, Issue 71, 17 Dec. 1929, P. 1.

 In this game, the Team was noted for its strong line play led by Captain Hunt.  In those days, this was the big “Turkey Day Game” in which Alumni and other fans came from as far away as Washington, DC, Cleveland, and Boston for this traditional season ending rivalry and festivities in Philadelphia.

Coach Dobie was regarded by his players as a strict disciplinarian who was able to maximize their abilities.  He had the acumen to motivate men to play beyond their potential .As a result thereof, Tiny led his teammates in a manner in which they all played together with great intensity.

In one game, Tiny extended his arm in a scrimmage play and his elbow was dislocated. A leather strapped harness was quickly made so that Tiny could return to play, if necessary, without fully extending his arm and dislocating his elbow again. A permanent harness was made over the weekend and Tiny practiced Monday and started the next game.

Tiny was a “sixty minute” game player.  He kicked off and kicked extra points.  Tiny wore a size 12 shoe, but Coach Dobie suggested that he wear a smaller size football shoe to contract his toes into the toe joints so that when he kicked the ball, it was like hitting a baseball with a bat. Thus, his toes could not retract into the toe joints upon contact with the ball.  Usually, he would kick the ball down near the goal line. Tiny usually made the kick off return tackle.  After his senior year, Tiny’s footlocker was filled with many awarded game balls.  At the end of the season, Tiny was selected for the All-Eastern Third Team.

Hunt Fitch Handshake

Tiny’s relationship with Football Team Manager Jerry Finch was very special. Jerry excelled in every scholastic and other activity in which he was involved.  His life is another example of Cornellians who continued to help the less fortunate throughout their lives. Jerry said that being football manager was the activity he loved the most because of the close relationship he had with dedicated football players of integrity who played with purpose.

Jerry went on to obtain his master’s and Ph.D. in English at Cornell and became the first modern day (and highly respected) Dean of Princeton and later its Secretary, enjoying a reputation of being “generous, thoughtful and kind.”  Both Jerry’s and Tiny’s values were the same.  Jerry wrote lovingly after Tiny’s death, “I wished I had ten dollars for every time I pulled Tiny’s jersey off when I was a sophomore compete”!  Tiny kept a photo of Jerry and himself, as Team Captain and Manager, on his chest of drawers all of his life.

The 1929 Football Season

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The 1930 Football Season

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