Sport: Football & Wrestling
Born: January 10, 1892
Died: May 10, 1982
Town: Jersey City
Alexander Mathias Weyand was born January 10, 1892 in Jersey City. Muscular, tall and athletic, he did not participate in sports at Dickinson High School in order to focus on his studies. His goal was to be accepted to West Point. After an additional year at a prep school, Alex entered the U.S. Military—where he was immediately recruited for the powerhouse football team. A teammate, Dwight Eisenhower, nicknamed him Babe…and it stuck.
Alex played tackle on both sides of the ball. At 6’2 and 200-plus pounds he was a handful. As a junior in 1913, he earned second-team status on Walter Camp’s All-America team. Army lost just once, to Notre Dame, finishing 8–1. In 1914, Army avenged the loss, drubbing the Irish 20–7, and completing its nine-game schedule without a defeat. Alex played a fifth season in 1915 as team captain and earned All-America recognition for the third year in a row.
By then, Alex was one of West Point’s most celebrated all-around athletes. He was school wrestling champion three times, and was a standout in hockey, basketball, boxing, fencing and swimming. He also lettered in track & field. After graduating in 1916, Alex was assigned to an army unit on the Texas-Mexico border, where he pursued Mexican bandits. He went to France when America entered World War I and was wounded in battle, suffering sever hearing loss. He received a Purple Heart and Silver Star for gallantry. He received a battlefield promotion to major and became a battalion commander before the armistice in 1918.
While overseas, Alex won the All-Service wrestling title, and joined the 1920 Olympic squad in Belgium. He and Ed Willkie wrestled as Greco-Roman heavyweights and were overwhelmed by their European opponents. Willkie was the brother of future presidential candidate, Wendell Willkie, and a longtime opponent of Alex’s as an All-American lineman for the Naval Academy. In 1926, Alex authored a treatise on football entitled American Football: Its History and Development.
Alex attained the rank of colonel and served in Europe during World War II. His hearing issues kept him out of combat, and he ultimately ended up back in the States as commander of a POW camp in Utah. He retired in 1946 and returned to writing books on sports. He wrote about the Olympics, the history of basketball and lacrosse, and produced two more books on football—all of which were extremely popular. He also wrote for sports and military magazines.
In 1974, Alex was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He lived in Long Island for many years and passed away there in 1982 at the age of 90. He is buried at West Point.