Archie Griffin wins second consecutive Heisman Trophy

On December 2, 1975, Ohio State University running back Archie Griffin becomes the first player in history to win the Heisman Trophy two years in a row. Following in the footsteps of his three older brothers, all football stars, the young Griffin trained hard to get in shape and lose the nickname “Tank” given to him by his childhood football coaches. He had an impressive high school career, rushing for 1,737 yards and scoring 29 touchdowns during his senior year at Columbus Eastmoor High School in Columbus, Ohio. At OSU, Coach Woody Hayes hesitated before putting Griffin in the starting lineup, but relented after he put in a tremendous 239-yard performance off the bench in a come-from-behind victory over North Carolina during his freshman season.

From that point on, Griffin started every game for the Buckeyes. During each of his four years at OSU, the team won or shared the Big Ten title and went to the Rose Bowl. In 1974, Griffin became only the fifth player to win the Heisman, the coveted trophy given each year to the most outstanding player in college football, as a junior. He won in a landslide that year, receiving more than four times the number of first place votes as the runner-up, Anthony Davis of Southern California, and winning all five regions (East, South, Midwest, Southwest and Far West).

During his senior season, far from slumping, Griffin extended his stretch of 100-plus-yard games to 31 (during which the Buckeyes went 29-1-1) and amassed an NCAA record-breaking 5,177 career rushing yards. He triumphed in Heisman voting by a slightly smaller margin, taking four out of the five regions (Chuck Muncie of California took the Far West). His uniform number (45) was the first one ever retired by Ohio State.

After his graduation in March 1976, Griffin went number 21 in the NFL draft and joined the Cincinnati Bengals. He played pro football for seven years, running a total of 691 times for 2,808 yards before his only serious injury, a torn stomach muscle, ended his career. Griffin returned to his alma mater in 1984, becoming associate athletic director and later president of the OSU Alumni Association.


Napoleon crowned emperor

In Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Napoleon I, the first Frenchman to hold the title of emperor in a thousand years. Pope Pius VII handed Napoleon the crown that the 35-year-old conqueror of Europe placed on his own head. The Corsican-born Napoleon, more

John Brown hanged

In Charles Town, Virginia, militant abolitionist John Brown is executed on charges of treason, murder, and insurrection. Brown, born in Connecticut in 1800, first became militant during the mid-1850s, when as a leader of the Free State forces in Kansas he fought pro-slavery more

Monroe Doctrine declared

During his annual address to Congress, President James Monroe proclaims a new U.S. foreign policy initiative that becomes known as the “Monroe Doctrine.” Primarily the work of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, the Monroe Doctrine forbade European interference in the American more

McCarthy condemned by Senate

The U.S. Senate votes 65 to 22 to condemn Senator Joseph R. McCarthy for conduct unbecoming of a senator. The condemnation, which was equivalent to a censure, related to McCarthy’s controversial investigation of suspected communists in the U.S. government, military, and civilian more

Enron files for bankruptcy

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Monroe introduces bold new foreign policy

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Polk affirms Monroe Doctrine

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Dam collapses in France, killing 412

The Malpasset Dam in France collapses on this day in 1959 and the resulting flood kills more than 400 people. The city of Frejus, dating back to Caesar’s time, was devastated by the massive flood. Frejus was built by Roman Emperor Caesar as a port city on the French Riviera. Over more

Kennedy cousin rape trial begins

Opening testimony takes place in the highly publicized rape trial of William Kennedy Smith, a nephew of President John F. Kennedy and son of Jean Kennedy Smith, the president’s sister and a former ambassador to Ireland. Smith, then a 30-year-old medical student at Georgetown more

General Gracie killed at Petersburg

On this day in 1864, Confederate General Archibald Gracie Jr. is killed in the trenches at Petersburg, Virginia, when an artillery shell explodes near him. Gracie was born in New York City in 1832 (his grandfather built Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the mayor of New more

Castro declares himself a Marxist-Leninist

Following a year of severely strained relations between the United States and Cuba, Cuban leader Fidel Castro openly declares that he is a Marxist-Leninist. The announcement sealed the bitter Cold War animosity between the two nations. Castro came to power in 1959 after leading a more