Aug. 14, 2014
Purchase tickets | 2014 Hall of Fame Class
RALEIGH, N.C. - One of the most versatile athletes in NC State history, Jack McDowall will be posthumously inducted into the NC State Athletic Hall of Fame in the 2014 class. The four-sport letterman, who was named the top athlete in the first half-century of NC State Athletics, starred on the gridiron, the diamond, the hardwood in the 1920s.
Playing in an era when sports specialization didn’t exist, McDowall, a Florida native, set a standard at State College that future athletes surely aspired to equal or best.
McDowall came to State from Rockingham High School in Gainesville, Fla., with a reputation as a football star. He quickly earned distinction in that sport as a member of the school’s 1927 Southern Conference championship team under coach Gus Tebell.
Nicknamed “Spindle Legs,” McDowall played the halfback position and was known on the gridiron for his speed, versatility and toughness in the early days of Southern Conference football.
In a 20-0 State College victory over Richmond on Sept. 25, 1925, McDowall turned in one of his most sensational performances, which included a spectacular 80-yard scamper to paydirt on a punt return in the fourth quarter. He also passed for two touchdowns.
The Richmond Collegian reported in its of Oct. 2, 1925 edition, “Jack McDowell was the outstanding player of the game, being responsible for most of the scoring done. His 80-yard run was one of the most spectacular ever to be seen on a football gridiron. McDowall received the ball and by a clever bit of dodging, raced up the sidelines, warding off all tacklers and was stopped only after he had ran 80 yards.”
When he was not streaking down the sidelines of Riddick Field, McDowall was serving as a captain for the Red Terror basketball squad. In 1929, he helped lead that group to a Southern Conference title.
McDowall earned 11 letters in football, basketball, baseball and track. He won the Norris Cup twice for outstanding athletic ability and held the school’s high jump record at the time of graduation.
In 1975, he was inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame, the first of five NC State players who have earned that elite honor. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1965.
After graduation, McDowell coached football and basketball at Asheville High School before spending three decades as athletic director at Rollins College in his native state of Florida.
He also served as a second lieutenant in the United States Navy in World War II.
By George Cox, GoPack.com