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Ark Newton

Ark Newton
Full-body shot of Newton in Florida Gators football uniform, standing on field
Newton in 1923
Florida Gators
Position Halfback
Class Graduate
Career history
College
High school Camden
Personal information
Date of birth (1903-01-31)January 31, 1903
Place of birth Camden, Arkansas
Date of death January 1974
Place of death Nashville, Tennessee
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Career highlights and awards

Robert Dee "Ark" Newton, Jr. (January 31, 1903 – January, 1974) was an American college football for the Florida Gators football team of the University of Florida. Newton was also a member of the Florida Gators baseball, basketball and track teams.

Early years

Newton was born on January 31, 1903 in Camden, Arkansas to Robert Dee Newton, Sr. and Cornelia Ellen Newton. His father was a real estate agent.[1]

Newton was called "Ark" by his college teammates because he came from Arkansas; before and after college, he was known as "Bud" to his Arkansas friends. He first starred as an all-state tackle at Camden High School in Camden.[2] While there he worked as a derrick man and driver of an eight-wheeled truck in the oil fields of Arkansas. The first university Newton attended was Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He was a member of the football, baseball, basketball, and track teams, earning a medal as the best all-around athlete at the school.[3] Upon leaving Hendrix at the age of 18, Newton worked for the government on the Mississippi River between Vicksburg and Natchez as a foreman of a group of laborers building willow mattresses for use in levee construction. Many of the engineers he worked with had attended the University of Florida, and their praise intrigued Newton enough to come.[3]

University of Florida

Newton won a total of 14 varsity letters at Florida and twice lettered in football, baseball, basketball and track in the same year.[4] At the time he set a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) record in the broad jump at 22 feet, 5 inches (also reported as 22 feet, 9 inches).[3][5] He also once held the Southeastern Pentathlon championship.[5]

College football

1922

The 1922 Spalding's Football Guide ranked Florida as the best forward passing team in the country.[6] One sportswriter claimed Ark Newton threw 13 completions in a row in a 27 to 6 win at Tulane.[7] A description of the football game with Clemson in 1922 reads "The whistle frequently found Ark Newton, Florida's star on his feet with four or five of the Carolinians clinging around him and the others smothered under the Florida poundage."[8] Newton was selected for the All-Southern team of Ed Hebert of the Times-Picayune in 1922.[9]

1923

With multiple votes, he was deemed an All-Southern halfback in 1923.[10] Newton was a starter that year for the 16 to 6 upset victory in the rain over Alabama at a soggy Rickwood Field.[11] His punting, including one of at least 60 yards, along with the running of Edgar C. Jones, got the win.[12] He was elected captain of Florida's 1924 football team.[13]

1924

Newton ran a kickoff for a 102-yard touchdown against Army at West Point.[14] Former Tampa Tribune sports editor Pete Norton called Newton "Florida's greatest football player"[15] and "the greatest all-round athlete of the past decade in Florida."[16]

Professional football career

In 1926 Newton played with the Newark Bears of the American Football League. The team was notable for the number of players from Georgia Tech, but also included two fellow former Gators, linemen Cy Williams and Goldy Goldstein.[17] The Bears are remembered for the team's financially weak ownership group, which led to the folding of the team mid-season.[18]

Marriage, later life, and honors

On June 20, 1926 Newton married one Ora Belle Simmons of Conway.[19] He later worked as a sheriff in Arkansas.[20]

Newton has been inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great".[21]

See also

References

  1. Year: 1920; Census Place: Camden, Ouachita, Arkansas; Roll: T625_75; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 144; Image: 153.
  2. ""Ark" Newton Is Shining Star Of 1923 Gator Gridiron Team". The Evening Independent, St. Petersburg, Fla. November 27, 1923. p. 15. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Bud Newton Real Football Player". The Manatee River Journal. December 7, 1922. 
  4. Mike Huguenin (November 25, 1999). "Florida's Fabulous 50 #33 Ark Newton". The Gainesville Sun. p. C1. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 ""Ark" Newton To Represent State In Coming Meet". Miami Daily News. April 22, 1924. 
  6. Newton, Virgil M. (September 19, 1923). "'Ark' Newton Ready To Go". St. Petersburg Times. 
  7. "Prokop Duplicated Ark Newton's Feat". The Miami News. November 19, 1943. 
  8. "Florida's Force Baffles Tigers". The State. December 3, 1922. 
  9. "Selection of Mythical All-Southern Grid Team Difficult Task; Much Star Talent of Dixie Elevens This Season". The Montgomery Advertiser. December 3, 1922. 
  10. "All Star Eleven To Be Awarded By Atlanta Paper". Times-Picayune. December 9, 1923.
  11. Mike Bynum. Greatest Moments In Florida Gators Football. p. 5. 
  12. "Gators Trounce Alabama In Titular Grid Contest". The Evening Independent. November 30, 1923. 
  13. "Name Ark Newton For Gator Captain". St. Petersburg Times. December 19, 1923. 
  14. "100 Things About 100 Years of Gator Football". 
  15. Norton, Pete (December 23, 1934). "Sport Outlook". St. Petersburg Times. 
  16. Norton, Pete (September 24, 1931). "Sport Outlook". St. Petersburg Times. 
  17. Steve Rajtar. Gone Pro: Florida Gator Athletes Who Became Pros. p. 89. 
  18. David S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen and Rick Korch, The Football Encyclopedia: The Complete History of Professional Football, From 1892 to the Present, St. Martin's Press, New York, New York (1994).
  19. Arkansas, County Marriages Index, 1837-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
  20. Pete Norton (March 24, 1933). "The Sport Outlook". St. Petersbug Times. p. 2-1. 
  21. F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved December 14, 2014.