Three hundred distinguished alumni of Brown University gathered the other day over dinner to honor the retirement of a man who left high school after one year and attended Brown for 50. The man (shown here talking to Thomas F. Gilbane, the outstanding center of Brown's great 1932 football team) is Jack McKinnon, athletic trainer for all sports at Brown since 1909.
Brown took up football in 1878 and has had only 12 coaches since. Jack McKinnon has worked under seven of them, including tough Tuss McLaughry and his bearded, tobacco-chewing "Iron Men" of 1926; McKinnon's equipment in those days consisted of a bottle of iodine and some tape. Today he lords it over a full line of electronic gadgets, mountains of foam rubber and armorlike protective equipment. Yet injuries have skyrocketed since the late '20s, when players scorned helmets and wore their playing socks for 10 days. "Why, when the Iron Men were here," McKinnon recalls, "we had one injury all season. I can only think that players today aren't as tough. The auto has hurt. Boys don't walk as much and their joints aren't as tough because of it."
McKinnon does not want to retire. "The boys have kept me young and made me forget my troubles." In saying farewell McKinnon's boys set right a 43-year-old injustice: Jack McKinnon was not allowed to make the 1916 Rose Bowl trip with his team; this year Jack will go to the Rose Bowl as guest of his boys.