Walter Ripley, the current athletic director/basketball
coach at Alabama School for the Deaf, shared a tale
with DeafDigest Sports editor. Walter was a first year
student at Gallaudet during the 1979 football season.
On the quarterback depth chart, he was listed as fifth
string. Many fifth stringers would quit the team out of
frustration. Not Walter, as he was patient for his time
to come up. And it did.
The first stringer suffered a season-ending injury
in the first game of season. The second-stringer
also suffered a season-ending injury in that same
season-opening game! The third stringer suffered
a season-ending injury in the third game of the
The fourth stringer took over but was knocked out
of the season not too long after he took over
as the starter.
Suddenly, Ripley who started as fifth stringer,
became the team’s starter for the remainder of