By CHRIS SHOEMAKER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Chandos “Pete” Young was not only one of the g\reatest football players to ever play for Bluefield College, but arguably one of the nation’s most prolific running backs of his time.
In an effort to promote and preserve that legacy, Bluefield College and the Young family established two permanent tributes to Pete Young during the school’s homecoming football game on Oct.12.
During a pre-game ceremony, Young’s children signed a scholarship document creating the Pete Young “Mr. Touchdown” Football Endowed Scholarship. With gifts from the family, the scholarship fund will provide vital financial assistance to BC football players, and as an endowed scholarship it will serve as a lasting tribute to Young.
“The family’s seed gifts will be invested and will remain in perpetuity,” said BC’s Annette Tabor, associate vice president for advancement. “Only the earnings from the principal will be made available as scholarships, which means the original amount remains indefinitely, and annual scholarship gifts are given as a tribute to Pete Young forever.”
Richard Johnson, a junior wide receiver from Orange, Calif., was the first recipient of the scholarship.
“It means a lot to me to receive this scholarship because he (Pete Young) was part of the foundation of football at Bluefield College,” Johnson said. “When I made the trip from California to Bluefield, I wasn’t sure I would be able to stay. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to afford it.
But when they presented me with this scholarship, it allowed me to stay. I’m grateful.”
An additional tribute to Young also began, with the college unveiling a ‘#2’ emblem to be worn on the helmet of the current Bluefield College football player wearing No. 2, which is sophomore wide receiver Joel Calfee from PikeView.
“It’s a great honor,” Calfee said. “Pete Young was a great football player, and I’m glad I can be a part of something that preserves his legacy so that it never dies.”
Three members of the Young family participated in the scholarship signing and helmet ceremony, with Young’s daughter, Marchan Young, placing the #2 emblem on Calfee’s helmet.
“I’ve been emotional all day long,” Marchan Young said. “Putting the #2 on that helmet just made me want to cry.”
The emblem will remain on Calfee’s helmet for the remainder of this season and on the helmet of all future players who sport #2.
“This is great,” said another daughter, Margie Young, about the permanent tributes to her father. “It helps us realize that his legacy will continue. These young men (Richardson and Calfee) have been so appreciative and so humble. They seem truly honored to receive the scholarship and to wear the #2 on their helmet.”
Young was the nation’s leading scorer during his 1933 season at Bluefield College. As a running back, he scored 128 points while leading BC to its first and only undefeated season. The nation honored Pete Young with a ceremony emceed by Lowell Thomas, who hosted the first-ever television newsbroadcast in 1930.
During the ceremony, Rudy Vallee, a popular singer, actor, bandleader and entertainer of the 1930s, performed the song “Mr. Touchdown USA,” written in honor of Pete Young.
After Bluefield College, Young went on to play college football at Waynesburg College in Pennsylvania, Morris Harvey College in Charleston, W.Va., and Fordham University, where he scored the first televised touchdown. After college, he played professional football for the Tulsa Oilers in the American Football League.
His athletic career ended due to injuries sustained in the South Pacific during World War II for which he was awarded the Purple Heart.
Young later became a Methodist minister, pastoring for 30 years in West Virginia and North Carolina. He also served as assistant director for the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a facility for troubled teens in Georgia.
He died in 1994.
“After listening to his children talk about him, Pete Young was the kind of man you wish you had known,” Tabor said. “You can tell his children loved and admired him. His legacy of helping others lives on through them. All three are involved in making an impact on others by the career paths they have chosen and now by the establishment of this scholarship.”
Marchan Young is a regional director with Salvation Army. Margie Young is a retired director of special projects with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, and Young’s son, Albert Young, is the director of a residential drug and alcohol recovery facility in Georgia.
“Daddy would have loved this,” Margie Young said. “Bluefield College meant a lot to him.
“He never talked about his achievement as ‘Mr. Touchdown’ without also crediting Bluefield College.”