Washington resident inducted into Davidson Hall of Fame
Published 2:11 pm Wednesday, February 11, 2015
DAVIDSON — Pack Hindsley was a kid with ambition — an adolescent that made even the proudest of parents a little bit envious.
Growing up in the mountains of Beckley, W.V., Hindsley’s drive and motivation to excel in the classroom carried him to the highest academic honor at Woodrow Wilson High School, valedictorian of the Class of 1962, and his 6-foot-2, 200-plus-pound frame laid the groundwork for his success on the diamond, the hardwood and, especially, the football field.
But it was never about one or the other — academics or athletics. Rather, Hindsley strived for equilibrium between the two. An all-state competitor and a seasoned scholastic with visions of someday becoming a doctor, it wasn’t long before schools like Ohio State, Tennessee and Alabama drew interest.
“You go to these places and the guys were football players, they weren’t students,” Hindsley said. “They weren’t planning on being doctors and lawyers. I felt very uncomfortable in that sort of atmosphere, being valedictorian of my high school and a three-sport, all-state athlete.
“Bear Bryant offered me a scholarship to keep me from going to Clemson or Tennessee. He didn’t know I wasn’t going to go to either of those. He wanted me to come there so they wouldn’t get me, not so I could of necessarily made the team,” he joked.
Above all else, earning his doctorate was No. 1 on Hindsley’s list of priorities. So after a great deal of thought, the lengthy defensive end decided an academically prestigious institution would be the best bet for not only the next four years, but the rest of his life.
Hindsley committed to Davidson College, a Division I institution that hadn’t had a winning football season in over three decades. Fifty-three years later, the West Virginia native and current Washington resident is being honored for his achievements on the field.
“Everyone ends up being humbled from that place,” Hindsley said. “It’s the kind of place that makes you proud to have been there and proud to know the people who have been there. I just love to tell the story of Davidson to anyone that will listen.”
Throughout football’s relatively young history as a sport, linemen rarely ever get recognized for their on-the-field contributions. But with such an elite talent playing for a school that had only 30 allotted scholarships at the time, Hindsley became known as the “heart and soul” of Davidson’s football renaissance.
Under the tutelage of legendary Coach Homer Smith, who later went on to lead the Wildcats to their only bowl appearance (Tangerine Bowl, 1969) and coach at the professional level with Kansas City, Davidson finished with a 6-4 record in 1965, Hindsley’s senior year and Smith’s first as coach.
The team captain, then listed at 6-2, 216, became the first player in program history at the time to be recognized nationally, earning an Associated Press All-State honorable mention.
“I went a whole year where I was never blocked,” Hindsley said. “I blocked about nine passes, caused or recovered about 10 fumbles. There was only one game where anyone ran outside of me.”
Hindsley was an integral piece to a brand new defensive scheme Smith invented prior to the 1965 season. A “container,” as he put it, was the player responsible for keeping anything — quarterback, tailback of fullback — from breaking to the outside and gaining ground. With an athletic and relatively undersized frame for a defensive end, Hindsley was the ideal player to fit that role.
And in that role, he excelled.
On Saturday, Hindsley returned to his alma mater and was greeted by former teammates, coaches and the wife of Coach Smith, who passed away in 2011. Later that evening during Wildcats’ basketball game against Duquesne, Hindsley and four other sportsmen were officially inducted into the Davidson College Hall of Fame — Brent Ferrell, who ran cross-country and track in the late ‘90s; Amy Kanoff Schumacher, a soccer player who graduated in ’98; Ian Kaplan, a seasoned wrestler in the late ‘90s; and Harry Vance (posthumoursly), a 1926 graduate who played football, baseball, wrested and ran track. Each one of the living inductees had five minutes to speak to the crowd.
“Each of us who were inducted had the opportunity to say whatever they wanted,” Hindsley said. “I told the story of what I saw as the building of ‘the Davidson person.’ I told them about what we went through mentally and what it was physically like to play football back then.”
Hindsley, now 70, honored his college in more ways than just simply football, but by living out his dream. After his time in Wildcat red was over, he attended medical school, trained as a general surgeon, went to the Army, researched cancer, studied urology and became what he always wanted to be — not a NFL defensive lineman, but a doctor.