1966 Hall of Honor
At a time when football was in its infancy at Beloit College, William A. Atkinson achieved the unique distinction of being captain of the team four years in a row. He entered Beloit Academy in 1892, played football for the first time in Beloit’s fourth season of the new sport, was chosen captain and elected captain also the following three seasons during which time Beloit played such teams as Northwestern, the Universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota – as well as local and Chicago high schools and Y.M.C.A.s. The 1892 team lost all its four games; each team that Atkinson captained improved until the climax of 1895 when Beloit won six games and lost only to Northwestern. The college annual said of him: “He has won national reputation and is second to none in the west today,” while the college newspaper said that to him “probably more than to any other one man is due the success that Beloit has attained on the football field.” Atkinson was also prominent in baseball. He later entered the University of Wisconsin where was immediately named football captain. In later life he became a prominent Episcopal clergyman in Detroit.
When “Boob” Darling, guard on the 1925 Beloit College eleven, scored three points against Knute Rockne’s Notre Dame team in a 39-yard place kick, Beloit football history was made and a career in football started which culminated in national fame for Darling, both as a player and official. Darling starred on the 1925 team, called by the college annual of that year “without doubt the greatest team ever to represent Beloit on the gridiron,” and also on the 1926 team. He then joined the new Green Bay Packers professional team, gave up his college career and continued on five successive and successful Packers teams, including the 1929, 1930, and 1931 champions He remained with the Packers as a director, on the executive board and as president of the Alumni Association. He also played professional basketball with the Oshkosh All-Stars, charter members of the National Professional Basketball League. Darling officiated at some five hundred football and basketball games prior to his fifteen years of service as a Big Ten official, including officiating, in 1947, at the first Big Ten Rose Bowl game. He continues to participate in numerous sports including hunting, golfing, fishing and sailing. He is a member of the million Dollar Round Table in his chosen profession of life insurance.