Dartmouth College has long been known as one of the U.S. oldest and most famous institutions of higher learning. However, what people may not know in detail is that it has also been home to famous college football players, including the likes of Dennis Durkin, Reggie Williams and more. Spanning over four decades of gridiron excellence, Dartmouth long ago established a standard in the Ivy League for its own excellence, including in terms of athletic prowess. And that garnered the school the stadium title of the “Big Green.” Looking back, that institution was built on the performance of its football players.
In terms of collegiate athletics, Dartmouth has long been a destination for many. With over 35 different sports sponsored by the school with official teams, schedule and athlete development, the school has been home to hundreds of high-performing examples of mind over body year after year. And that development has been most apparent in the following names:
Playing his best seasons in 1969 and 1970, Bowden reached co-captain status on the Dartmouth football team in 1970. That was the season that Dartmouth played undefeated, and Bowden was a major contributor to that success. The team took home the Lambert Trophy, and between both years combined, Dartmouth only lost one game out of 18 with Bowden on board.
While he only played over a span of three different years, Reggie Williams dominated the front line on the football field. As a linebacker for Dartmouth from 1973 until 1975, Williams stood out immediately, being elevated to multiple special player statuses year after year. All-Ivy, All-East as well as All-New England team membership, Williams was a regular, consistent top player name until his last year. No surprise, that won Williams a place in the school’s Hall of Fame as well as the general College Hall of Fame as well. Interestingly, all that performance didn’t get Williams a first pick into professional football status; the Cincinnati Bengals picked up Williams as a third-round draft selection. However, he paid them back with 16 interceptions, 23 fumble possessions, and two placements of the team at the Super Bowl.
While the position isn’t one that fans immediately think of as a hall of fame player on the gridiron, Dennis Durkin as a kicker was the ideal almost all kickers strive to achieve. His performance on the field under pressure was impeccable. Year after year, Durkin delivered when it mattered, avoiding the worst status of a kicker who couldn’t make a field goal when it matters. Instead, Durkin was the pinch hitter that gave Dartmouth the points it needed to push over the top of opponents. And in 1992, Durkin had a perfect season, scoring all 13 of his field goals that season. It awarded Durkin the title to All Ivy First team and All American as well. While he wasn’t the historical best, Durkin made it up to third place as Dartmouth’s most valuable kickers of all time.
Establishing his name during the 1992 season, Jay Fiedler was a large presence and notable influence until his final year in 1994. Playing the quarterback position, Fiedler collegiate records covered over 11,000 yards in passing, and he produced a healthy 66 touchdown total for Dartmouth during the same period. The entirety of Fiedler’s career easily translated to a professional football career on the New York Jets, and it also placed Fiedler in Dartmouth’s hall of fame as well.
Folks might remember Lalos’ name on the New York Giants. However, his early start for gridiron excellence occurred at Dartmouth when Lalos made a name for himself as a defensive end. One of the more recent products from the Big Green, Lalos signed with the NFL in 2020. Ironically, Lalos played his first professional game clobbering the Bengals by a painful margin and then followed up with another upset on a Dartmouth player, winning over the Seahawks the same season.
Again, the Big Green has a long track record and pedigree of athletics, with the excellence of the school’s sports programs most evident in its football stars over almost half a century.