NOTE: The Men of Sparta and White Rocks are poems by By John Mullen, a Michigan State backup quarterback, 1964-66
MEN OF SPARTA
By John Mullen
The history of football was changed forever.
The assemblage of champions was Duffy’s endeavor.
From how football was televised to post season games,
But the integration of players became our “claim to fame.”
Brotherhood trumps race and talent was the key.
We started with “I” and progressed to “we.”
Two National Championships were the results attained,
But teamwork and comradery were the gifts we gained.
We experienced the thrill of victory with only one “agony of defeat.”
In the “Game of the Century” we “kissed our sister” which was bittersweet.
Our record of 19-1-1 only tells part of the story,
Only our friendships and memories exceeded our glory.
Black or White, super star or white rock, we didn’t care.
We fought side by side as a family, which is very rare.
Brotherhood developed as we came together as peers.
Congratulations to the Men of Sparta for those incredible years
WHAT IS A WHITE ROCK?
By John Mullen
A “White Rock” is a white carbon rock formation that is very rare.
It is a diamond in the rough to be perfectly fair.
Our Michigan State “White Rocks” are a valuable jewels
We are opponents impressionist, that provide valuable tools
The Green Team is the one you see most on the field
The “white rock” fight hard but to the best they yield
We are solid as a white rocks and one step away
From the star and the glory of playing on Saturday
Many future stars started as “white Rocks”
And proceeded to glory thru our road of hard knocks.
We play the best of the best, day after day
The harder we work the better they play
Our contrition are many as we follow our dream
White Rocks are special and an integral part of the team
NOTE: Pat Gallinagh was an Academic All-American as a starting defensive lineman on the 1966 team. His poems are in “Raye of Light.”
The Legend of the White Rocks
The 1965 & 66 Scouting Teams
Folklore has it that there was once a Spartan football team that never won a game
Yet sometimes it’s said they put the Big Ten and National Champs to shame
They labored in the hot sun without much fanfare or recognition
Hoping that someday their efforts might earn them a starting position
Every football program has one, made up of the unsung heroes of the team
They practice hard everyday and while trying to maintain their self-esteem
Some schools call them the scouting team but at State they were the “White Rocks”
Named for the color of their jerseys and the hardness of their knocks
Their job was to give the starters a good picture of Michigan State’s next foe
The more realistic their efforts then the seeds of victory they would sow
At times they took some brutal beatings but could give as good as they got
But battered and bruised they knew they had given the starters their best shot
’They were led by coach Al Dorow, a swashbuckler, who would hold up the play
After gazing up at the cue card, they would try to execute without delay
And if they did it well enough, chances were that Saturday would produce a win
Throughout all of 1965 & 66 the White Rocks did their job well again and again
The hitting at times was horrendous and lots of blood, sweat & tears would fall
But the White Rocks earned their keep by getting starters ready to play ball
Most of the fans and media never heard their names as they focused on the “Stars”
But thanks to their intensity and dedication, they helped raise the Spartans bars
The no-names who made up these motley crews had all been great high school players
They came from far and near to play at Michigan State and ignored the smug naysayers
Some were just a little short on talent or experience but they knew they could compete
And they would challenge those ahead of them with their hustle and their feet
Some eventually became starters, some sat the bench and some only played in routs
Some sadly never lettered but did their job and endured the coaches’ shouts
But Michigan State was their choice cause they wanted to be with the best
And even if that meant serving on the White Rocks, then that would be their test
Every now and then they would get a chuckle when they burned the starting defense
And listened as the coaches screamed knowing things were about to get more intense
They knew what was coming next, but that didn’t bother them at all
When the starters got mad and angry, they’d unload on them on the next call
When they sacked one of Duffy’s quarterbacks, the Old Man would blow his top
And the starter who missed his block knew the White Rocks might be his next stop
The White Rock knew the man he beat was going to try and make him pay
But if the White Rock did it again, a starter he would not stay
Guys like Jimmy Hoye and Maurice Haynes were typical of this crew
Both had been great high school athletes but at State there were more than just a few
They could well have been starters elsewhere had they chosen another school
But they came for more than football but an education too
After graduation both of them excelled in their chosen field
And playing with White Rocks some important lessons for them did yield
That being part of something bigger than you can give your life more meaning
And when your group experiences success, all the members wind up beaming
Most of the starters had served a tour or two with the White Rocks brigade
And even those who never lettered knew a lasting impression they had made
Both on their teammates and their coaches who knew what they had done
Without them no Big Ten or National Championships would have been won
So now it’s time that these forgotten heroes get the recognition they deserve
They had went head to head against the Big Ten’s best with courage and raw nerve
Tho unheralded they made those Spartan Teams better by their labors everyday
The nameless and the known are part of the legend of the White Rocks won’t fade away
By Pat Gallinagh
A White Rock Alum
The author was a member of the White Rocks for two years before
earning a starter’s stop in 1966. Most of his classmates also spent
some time with the “White Rocks”, very few were three year starters from day one.
But the time spent there let them know what it took to start and even if
one never cracked the starting line-up they knew they were on a par
with those they went up against and never backed away. They were led by former
All-American and NFL quarterback, coach Al Dorow who was a free spirit with a
sense of humor and a razor for a tongue who could get his charges fired up.
to take on the big boys. Those who served on the “White Rocks”
are justly proud of their contributions to the 1965 & 66 Big Ten
and National Champions teams even if they are not in the team
picture or their names are not on the national championship plaques.
They were true Spartans and deserve credit for their contributions.
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