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Hollie Donan

Sport: Football

Born: June 24, 1928

Died: March 4, 2014

Town: Montclair

Holland R. Donan was born June 24, 1928 in Montclair. Tall and muscular, the boy called Hollie was drawn to football, where his quickness and anticipation made him an exceptional interior lineman for Montclair High and Blair Academy. An excellent student, Hollie was accepted at Princeton where he became the star of Charlie Caldwell’s defense. Caldwell called him the finest two-way tackle he ever coached.

At 6’5” and 230 pounds, Hollie was celebrated in magazines and newspapers as one of the nation’s top players. He dominated opponents and spurred teammates on with his gung-ho attitude. As a senior in 1950, Hollie led the Tigers to a perfect 9–0 record and a #6 national ranking.

The Tigers were one of the last holdouts of the single-wing offense. They outscored their Ivy League opponents 184–45, and defeated Colgate, Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth—all Top 10 teams—in the final four games of the season. Halfback Dick Kazmaier and center Redmond Finney joined Hollie on the All-America First Team. Hollie was honored as New Jersey’s top athlete for 1950 and was recognized as the country’s top lineman.

After graduation, Hollie went into the Army. He served from 1951 to 1953, then chose to go into business rather than pursue an NFL career. He spent more than five decades in the insurance business, opening two agencies in New York during that time. He continued to live in Montclair, with a winter home in Naples, Florida. Hollie passed away at age 85 in Toms River.

 

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