DeWitt C. Gibson Jr.
DeWitt Gibson was a two-sport Wildcat athlete in the mid-1930s. He competed on one of the finest-ever Northwestern football squads in 1936, while also proving himself on the wrestling mat and in the classroom.
The 1934 pigskin team posted a 3-5 record, but the following season, Lynn Waldorf came in as the new coach. Improvement resulted, as the Cats went 4-3-1. The record included a 14-7 victory over Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., the Cats' first triumph over the Irish since 1901. Students celebrated the in the Loop, and a reception was held for the team at the 12th Street Station upon their return to Chicago. Classes were canceled the following Monday, and a dance was held that evening in honor of the great victory.
Gibson played tackle for the 1936 team, which brought home Northwestern's first undisputed Big Ten championship in the school's history, after tying for three previous crowns, with a 6-0 conference mark. The Wildcats opened with an 18-7 victory over Iowa and closed the conference slate by beating Michigan, 9-0. The squad also shut out Minnesota, 6-0, in mid-season. Only a 26-0 loss to Notre Dame in the final game of the season kept the Cats from going undefeated for the first time ever.
Gibson was also a force indoors on the wrestling mats. He wrestled in the heavyweight class for the 1937 team, which posted successive wins over Wisconsin, Chicago and Michigan State. One of Gibson's teammates, Arnie Taylor, said that Gibson "performed like an angry bull when aroused."
Gibson wrote about his experiences as an athlete, excerpted from Walter Paulison's The Tale of the Wildcats: "My most vivid recollection of wrestling is the fine condition one had to attain. I would report for wrestling direct from football, thinking I was in good shape, only to find out that I couldn't go but a few minutes of intense work on the mat."
Gibson was a leader, too, as he captained the wrestling squad during his final year at Northwestern.