Monk Meyer

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Monk Meyer
Born(1911-05-01)May 1, 1911
West Point, New York
DiedAugust 11, 2001(2001-08-11) (aged 90)
Oakland, California
AllegianceUnited States United States of America
Service/branch United States Army United States Army seal
RankUS-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General
AwardsUS-DSC-RIBBON.png Distinguished Service Cross
SilverStar.gif Silver Star
Purple Heart ribbon.svg Purple Heart

Charles R. "Monk" Meyer (May 1, 1913 – August 11, 2001) was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1935, the first year the trophy was awarded, while playing for the United States Military Academy.[1]

Early life[edit]

As the son of LTC Hermie Meyer and born at West Point, NY, on May 1, 1913, "Monk" was tagged by birth and tradition to serve his country with a career in the military. Monk grew up at various Army bases throughout the nation and even in the Philippines as his father received assignments during his military career. The Meyer family relocated to the Lehigh Valley area in time for Monk to play football, basketball and baseball at Allentown High School. After leaving Allentown High, Meyer prepped at Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill Academy and entered West Point in 1933 as a player who could run, pass, kick and play defense. For two seasons, 1935 and 1936, the "150-pound Mighty Mite" was the big gun of the Army attack for coach Gar Davidson.

Although small in stature at 5-9 and 150 pounds, and looking more like the team's student manager, "Monk" Meyer was indeed a West Point football star. And like many other Army graduates, he went on to display heroism on the battlefield for his country.

The Touchdown Pass

In 1935 against Notre Dame before a capacity crowd of 78,114 in Yankee Stadium, it was Meyer's 41-yard first-quarter TD pass and stellar performance in a 6–6 tie that brought him into the limelight. The press recognition eventually led to his All-American mention and then to his being named runner-up to the University of Chicago's Jay Berwanger in the first-ever Heisman Trophy vote that year.

In 1936, Monk had another big day in Yankee Stadium. This time the Army ace outdueled famed Columbia passer and future Chicago Bears Hall of Fame quarterback Sid Luckman as the Black Knights prevailed, 27–16, over the Lions.

Military career[edit]

Meyer graduated from West Point in 1937 and led troops in the Pacific Theater under the overall command of GEN Douglas MacArthur during World War II and again in Korea, and was wounded twice. In addition he served in Vietnam and was a Pearl Harbor survivor.

After 30 years of military service, Meyer retired in 1967 as a Brigadier General. He died August 11, 2001 in Hampton, NH and is buried at the West Point Cemetery at the United States Military Academy in New York.


Meyer received the Sports Illustrated Silver Anniversary All-American Award in 1961.

He was inducted into the Lehigh Valley chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.

Like President Dwight D. Eisenhower and GEN MacArthur before him, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame also presented Monk its most prestigious accolade, the Gold Medal Award, in 1987.

During his military career, Meyer was awarded the following valorous medals:

  Distinguished Service Cross
Bronze oak leaf cluster
  Silver Star with oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
  Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster