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Getting Navy's Goat In 1960!

In 1960, Duke football was a different world from what we know today.  The ACC had been recently formed, largely as a football league, and with Duke and Maryland as the powers in the new conference. 

Navy was still a football power as well, and when they came to Durham, some inspired students decided on one of the better pranks in Duke history. We'll leave it to one of the conspirators, Gary Nelson, to tell you the tale.

The photo was taken on campus the night before the Navy game in November 1960, when Duke upset second-ranked Navy.  A group of freshmen stole the goat from Card Gym, taking iron bars off a window while a guard patrolled the inside corridor.   There was a huge uproar on West Campus in the middle of the night, when word got out that the “frosh got the goat.”  The freshmen in the picture brought the goat down the tunnel onto the field before the game.  The Midshipmen were lined up on the field to greet the undefeated Navy team and a sizable melee ensued.  The goat was returned to the Middies a bit later.

The first row from L to R is Bill Gardner, Tom Cooley, and Mike Elzay.   Back row is John Scales, Doug Brown, Gary Nelson and Ryland Scott.  Here’s what known of the conspirators:

·         Bill Gardner retired last year from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, an international law firm, where Bill was a prominent white collar criminal defense lawyer.  He lives in Washington, D.C. and Nantucket, MA.

·         Tom Cooley is professor emeritus of English at Ohio State.  Tom lives today on Sanibel Island, FL and in Paris.

·         Mike Elzay has an investment advisory firm on Wall Street and lives on Long Island.  He travels a bit and follows the career of his daughter Michelle Elzay, who is receiving recognition as an artist.

·         Footballer Doug Brown is an orthopaedic surgeon with an extensive practice in Monroe, LA and spending time at the Greenbriar in White Sulphur Springs, WVa.

·         Gary Nelson (“Sagegrouse” on DBR) is an economist with a career in government and business and now heads a private equity firm.  He lives in Steamboat Springs, CO and Washington, DC.

·         Ryland Scott transferred to Georgia Tech after freshman year and has significant business and real estate interests in Atlanta.   He also spends time at his farm in Pine Mountain, GA.

·         John Scales is no longer with us.  He transferred to Florida and, while in med school there, was diagnosed with cancer.  He died in 1981.

Here’s more on the game and the 1960 football season.  Navy, which was led by Heisman winner Joe Bellino, went undefeated the rest of the year and played Missouri in the Orange Bowl, losing in an upset.  Duke finished the season 8-3, winning the ACC and defeating Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl, 7-6.  Duke came back from a 0-10 halftime deficit to score 19 points in the second half.  Youtube has a highlight film of the game.