Published January 7, 2004

   
Greenfield's Raymond "Dutch" Purdin

  

The following article appeared in the January 3, 2004 edition of the Times-Gazette newspaper. It was written by Jeff Gilliland, a staff writer.

Click photos to enlarge.

GREENFIELD — He is the only Highland County athlete to play a full season of professional football. He was named the outstanding player of the 1960 Blue-Gray Classic college all-star game, played four years of college football at Northwestern under coach Ara Parseghian and played four years for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.  

 

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Greenfield native Raymond "Dutch" Purdin is pictured during his collegiate football days at Northwestern University.

Yet few people under the age of 50 have ever heard of Raymond "Dutch" Purdin, a 1955 graduate of McClain High School in Greenfield. 

 

"In our era, from the 1950s to the present, he was by far the best athlete to come out of McClain High School," said George Foltz, a teammate of Purdin on McClain's 1954 foot-ball squad. "Before that, you had great basket-ball players like Bill Uhl, who became an All-American at Dayton, Jimmy Hull, a two-time AII-American at Ohio State and Don Grate, another All-American at Ohio State. But over the last 50 years, Purdin was the best."

According to Foltz, Purdin was an All-Ohio selection in football, basketball and track at McClain.

 

Records are sketchy, but according to information from a variety of sources, some of Purdin's high school accomplishments include:

• In football, as a junior, Purdin was a mem­ber of the McClain team that went a perfect 9-0. The coach Of that team was Everett Marcum, who had played on McClain's last unbeaten and untied team in 1938. Purdin played half-back and defensive back at McClain. 

Purdin was an All-South Central Ohio  League football selection as an offensive back in both the 1953 and 1954 seasons. Records were not available for the 1952 season.

• In basketball, Purdin was a member of the 1953-54Tiger squad that posted a 21-2 record. He was a second team All-SCOL selection in 1953-54. Records for 1952-53 and 1954-55 were not available.

' • Purdin was also a track and field standout, specializing in the dashes, long jump and pole vault. According to MHS records, Purdin pole vaulted 12'1" at the 1955 Southeast District Class A meet held at Ohio University. The same year, he long jumped 20'10 1/2" at the

Upper Arlington Relays. Both those efforts would still be outstanding performances near­ly 50 years later. Purdin was also outstanding in the 100-yard and 220-yard dashes and, according to Foltz, once ran a 9.9 second 100-yard dash at McClain.

Following high school Purdin enrolled in the Manlius School, a college military preparatory school for boys in Manlius, N.Y. Manlius athletic opponents consisted of small colleges and universities or freshmen from larger schools and Purdin again was a three-sport star.

In the 1955 season, Manlius posted a 6-1 football record with its only loss coming to the West Point Plebes, 21-7. Purdin led the team with 11 touchdowns.

In the 1955-56 basketball season, Manlius posted its best record in 26 years at 18-3. Purdin was the second leading scorer.

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This is a photo of a football card from Greenfield native Raymond "Dutch" Purdin's final season as a member of the Canadian Football League's Saskatchewan Roughriders.

In track, Purdin again was a team leader, participating in the 1(X), 220, pole vault, long jump, high jump and 880-meter relay. Purdin was a co-recipient of the Balfour Track Trophy; given each year to the most valuable member of the tack team.

Purdin chose to return to Manlius the next year and reported early to take an officer candidate school course. He was commis­sioned as a 2nd lieutenant at Manlius and served as battalion mess officer, supervising operation of the school's dining hall.

Athletic records from that year are not complete.

In football, Manlius was 5-0 through its first five games and had not given up a point, including a 4-0 victory over the Syracuse freshmen. Purdin was a star halfback and co-captain on the team.

In basketball, records are sparse, but Manlius was 12-3 in its first 15 games. Purdin scored 36 points against the Colgate freshmen, 35 against the Cornell freshmen and 36 against the Union College freshmen.

No track records were available for that year.

Back in Greenfield for the sum­mer after his second year at Manlius, Purdin met up with Parseghian, who had married a Greenfield girl by the name of Katie Davis. Parseghian's most glorious days would come later at Notre Dame, but at the time he was the head coach at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Knowing of Purdin's accomplishments, Parseghian asked him to come and play at Northwestern and Purdin ended up playing four years at the Big Ten Conference school.

Records from Purdin's Northwestern career are also sparse. But in his junior season, when the Wildcats went 6-3, he averaged 5.2 yards a carry and caught 12 passes for 278 yards. During his senior season he was featured on the cover of the Sept. 18, 1960 issue of the Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine.

Purdin saved his best collegiate performance for his final game, when he was selected to play in the 23rd annual Blue-Gray Classic all-star game in Montgomery, Ala. In a driving rainstorm that was so bad the field clock refused to run, Purdin scored the first three touchdowns of the game as he led the North squad to a 35-7 Victory over quarterback Fran Tarkenton's South squad.

Purdin returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown, caught touchdown passes of 39 and eight yards, rushed five times for 22 yards and success-fully kicked the game's final PAT. He also had another punt return of 33 yards.

Here's how a United Press International (UPI) writer described Purdin's performance:

"Ray Purdin, Northwestern University halfback, shook off season-long injuries and blinding rain today to score three touch-downs and give the Yankees a 35to 7 victory over the South in the 23rd annual Blue-Gary football classic.

"Purdin electrified a rain-drowned crowd of 10,000 and a national television audience with his brilliant broken-field running.

"The 5-11, 193-pounder from Greenfield, Ohio snatched a punt from a puddle midway in the sec­ond period and raced 58 yards through the entire Rebel defense for the Yanks' third score.

"In the first period he grabbed a short pass over center from Purdue quarterback Bernie Allen of East Liverpool, Ohio and threaded his way 39 yards for a touchdown. He sneaked eight yards into the end zone earlier in the same period to grab another Allen aerial for his third score."

Following college, Purdin was drafted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL and he played four seasons for them before an injured shoulder pushed him out of the game. In his final season he was listed as a 6-1, 205-pound halfback.

Individual stats could not be located on his professional career, but in his four seasons the Roughriders went 5-10-1, 8-7-1, 7-2-2 and 9-7.

According to Foltz, Purdin went into sports broadcasting for local Saskatchewan radio and tele­vision shows after his playing days. He came back to Ohio and worked in Springfield as a sports coordinator and then moved to Kalamazoo, Mich. to work as an activities director with a senior citizen center. He is now retired and lives in Kalamazoo.