Written by Bryan Messerly
Ben Dunkerley was a standout offensive tackle for WVU in 1951-52, earning second team Associated Press All-America honors in 1952.
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Dunkerley aided in the success of a 7-2 overall record and 5-1 Southern Conference record in 1952. He was instrumental in protecting quarterback Fred Wyant, who was 55-for-125 for 867 yards, a then-record passing season by a WVU freshman.
During the 1952 season, Dunkerley paved the way for the WVU offense to produce 1,049 yards in 210 plays. The Mountaineers outscored their opponents by a 234-116 margin, accumulated more first downs (145-102) and overpowered opponents in the passing game, 1,028-898.
The Glassport, Pa., native was named to the All-Southern Conference First Team in 1951.
Dunkerley was drafted in the 12th round of the 1954 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. However, instead of playing that season with the Redskins, Dunkerley was sent to Germany with the U.S. Army. In Germany, Dunkerley battled through a separated shoulder injury and returned home.
Still contracted to play pro football, Dunkerley instead chose to become a family man as he married Jean on Aug. 4, 1956, and dedicated his life to his wife, children and coaching youth football. Outside of working in the mill, Dunkerley coached Fairless Hills midget football in the 60s and the Little Glassport Gladiators in the 70s in Glassport, Pa.
Dunkerley battled diabetes and a heart condition and passed away on Oct. 11, 1987, at the age of 56, leaving behind wife, Jean, three children, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.