This weekend Americans will buy a ton of hamburger patties, hot dogs, buns galore, chips and watermelon, and they will kick off the unofficial first weekend of summer. They will spend this three-day weekend drinking colds one buy the pool and chasing the little ones through the sprinklers in the front yard. And hopefully, they will remember that this weekend is about more than just barbeques and fun in the sun—it’s about paying our respects to those who fought so that America could be the beacon of freedom and personal liberties that is today.
As such, we at Reign of Troy would like to take this time to honor a few Trojans who not only served Trojan Nation on the gridiron, but they also served on the front lines and fought on bravely for the benefit of others.
First, we tip our hats to Don Doll.
Doll played for USC during the years of “The Great War” from 1944, 1946-1948. He was just 17-years old the first time he suited up for Troy, and he made an immediate impact for the team. At the end of his freshman year, USC took on Tennessee in the Rose Bowl where they shutout the Volunteers, 25-0. Doll was the leading rusher of the game and Braven Dyer of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Doll “shouldered the ball carrying most of the burden almost single-handedly,” for USC. In his time with the Trojans he was a standout halfback (on offense and defense), leading the team in rushing in ’44, ’47, and ’48 and receptions, also in 1948.
In 1945, Doll did not play for or even attend USC, as he served in the Marine Corps during the final year of World War II. At nineteen years old, his football career was temporarily put on hold, with the very realistic possibility that me might not return to play again. He was fortunate enough, however, to have only served one term, but that does not mean it was an uneventful time. On the contrary, Doll got to see one of the most important moments in the history of mankind take place: He was there aboard the USS Missouri when Japan officially surrendered, thus signaling the end of World War II.
At the end of the war, he returned to USC and had his aforementioned standout career. He then went on to have an NFL career as a defensive back for six years, playing for the Detroit Lions (1949-52), the Washington Redskins (’53), and the Los Angeles Rams (’54). He tied an NFL record with four interceptions in a single game and is the only player in NFL history to have 10 or more interceptions in each of three different seasons (1949, 1950 and 1953). He was also apart of the Lions’ 1952 championship season, was selected to play in each of the first four NFL Pro Bowls and was named the MVP of the 1952 Pro Bowl. When he retired at the end of the 1954 season, he was the NFL’s all-time leader with 41 interceptions.
On September 22, 2010, Don Doll died at the ripe old age of 84. He lived a long, legendary, fruitful life and the Trojan Family is very proud to have ties to someone like him. He wore the cardinal and gold colors of Troy with pride and when it mattered most, he bravely served a cause bigger than himself. We can all thank men like Don Doll, the countless other veterans, and all the fallen soldiers because were it not for them, the landscape of the world as we know it would be drastically different.
Fight On Forever, Don Doll. Reign of Troy salutes you.