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Byline: Michael Martinez San Jose Mercury News The San Jose Mercury News is the major daily newspaper in San Jose, California and Silicon Valley. The paper is owned by MediaNews Group. Its headquarters and printing plant are located in North San Jose next to the Nimitz Freeway (Interstate 880).  

In the late afternoons, when the sun has begun to fade slowly in the distance, the campus at Occidental College History
The Birth of Occidental College
Occidental College (commonly referred to as Oxy) was founded on April 20, 1887, by a group of Presbyterian clergy and laymen.
 looks like something from a postcard. Students stroll along narrow walkways or sit on patches of grass beneath old eucalyptus trees, and there is a sense of serenity in the air. It feels like some idyllic college setting in the East, not a school located a few blocks from urban sprawl.

Surely, this is how Occidental must have looked in the fall of 1956, when Jack Kemp The neutrality and factual accuracy of this article are disputed.
Please see the relevant discussion on the .
 was the big man on campus. He wore a crew cut and drove a sports car, and on Saturdays he threw touchdown passes for the Tigers' football team. And now? Now he is Bob Dole's running mate running mate
1. The candidate or nominee for the lesser of two closely associated political offices.

2. A companion.

3. A horse used to set the pace in a race for another horse.
, the Republicans' nominee for vice president.

To say his former teammates and classmates Classmates can refer to either:
  •, a social networking website.
  • Classmates (film), a 2006 Malayalam blockbuster directed by Lal Jose, starring Prithviraj, Jayasurya, Indragith, Sunil, Jagathy, Kavya Madhavan, Balachandra Menon, ...
 are surprised by Kemp's political success borders on understatement. He was no standout in the classroom, but he was - and still is, say his close friends - a highly focused, highly motivated person.

``I knew he was going to do great things in life,'' said Ron Botchan Ronald Leslie "Ron" Botchan (born February 15, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York) was an American football linebacker in the American Football League from 1960 to 1962 and later as American football official in the National Football League (NFL) from 1980 to 2002. , a friend and former teammate, ``I just didn't know what they'd be.''

They turned out to be politics, although most sports fans know Kemp, 61, as a quarterback who won two American Football League For other uses of "AFL", see AFL.
''Note: There were three earlier and unrelated American professional football leagues of the same name: One in 1926, one in 1936-1937 and one in 1940-1941. They are listed at the end of this article.
 championships with the Buffalo Bills
    The Buffalo Bills are a professional American football team based in the Buffalo, New York, metropolitan area, playing their home games in the suburb of Orchard Park.
    . But before that, he was a talented quarterback at Division III
    For the Swedish football league, see Division 3.

    Division III (or DIII) is a division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association of the United States.
     Occidental, a kid who told all his friends he'd play professionally one day - and then did. And if there was a hint that politics would become his passion, no one saw it at the time.

    ``He was mostly involved with his fraternity and athletics,'' said Nancy Hause, a former classmate. ``He didn't run for politics or any offices that I remember, and that's why a lot of us who knew him are just amazed at where he is now - because he didn't show any of that.''

    What Kemp did show was a gift for the game. Although Oxy, as everyone calls it, was just 6-2 and 3-6 in his two seasons as a starter, Kemp was named Little All-America one year and threw for more than 1,100 yards as a senior. The school newspaper called him ``a fine field general and a good thrower'' and said he possessed a ``magic arm.''

    But his arm wasn't good enough to get Kemp, who graduated from Fairfax High, to a major university. Instead, he wound up at Oxy, where no athletic scholarships are awarded.

    ``I wasn't big enough to go to USC An abbreviation for U.S. Code.  or UCLA UCLA University of California at Los Angeles
    UCLA University Center for Learning Assistance (Illinois State University)
    UCLA University of Carrollton, TX and Lower Addison, TX
    ,'' he told Esquire magazine in 1978. ``I was 5-feet-10, 175 pounds. They weren't that interested. But I was going to play football. I mean, I was going to play pro football.''

    In the days of the two-way player, Kemp was also a defensive back, kicker and punter. In track, he threw the javelin and at one time held the school record.

    ``He never gave up,'' said Mike Quint, a running back at Oxy and now an insurance broker in Laguna Niguel. ``The thing about Kemp is that he's very tenacious. I remember a game we played against Pomona. We were losing big, and Jack just wouldn't give up. He threw me a touchdown pass, and we ended up scoring three times. When he kicked the last extra point, he finally said, `I guess we won.' But he was so near-sighted, he couldn't see the scoreboard. We hadn't won the game.''

    One of Kemp's closest friends on the team was Jim Mora, now the New Orleans Saints' coach. They were members of the same fraternity, Alpha Tau Omega ATΩ (Alpha Tau Omega) is an American fraternity. It annually ranks among the top ten national fraternities for number of chapters and total number of members. ATO has more than 245 active and inactive chapters with more than 175,000 members and more than 6,000 undergraduate , where the best parties were thrown - although Botchan said, ``We were the square bunch. On Friday nights, we'd usually go get haircuts.''

    But Kemp wasn't known for long nights in the college library. As he told an interviewer once, ``I just got an education by osmosis osmosis (ŏzmō`sĭs), transfer of a liquid solvent through a semipermeable membrane that does not allow dissolved solids (solutes) to pass. Osmosis refers only to transfer of solvent; transfer of solute is called dialysis. .'' His football coach at Oxy, Roy Dennis, once wrote that Kemp had a ``lackluster academic career.'' But friends say he was a keen reader and thinker.

    ``When he got focused, he could do anything,'' Quint said. ``He was just focused on football.''

    Mora MORA, In civil law. This term, in mora, is used to denote that a party to a contract, who is obliged to do anything, has neglected to perform it, and is in default. Story on Bailm. Sec. 123, 259; Jones on Bailm. 70; Poth. Pret a Usage, c. 2, Sec. 2, art. 2, n.  has said of Kemp, ``He was a smart guy, (but) like a lot of us, at that time he wasn't as academically conscientious.''

    Advanced in glad-handing

    What Kemp may have lacked in study habits, though, he made up for in charm. Forty years later, the recollections are of a young man who dressed well, smiled frequently and seemed to know everyone on campus. Just like a politician.

    ``As a person, he was very pleasant, spoke well and carried himself with dignity,'' said Keith Beebe, who was Kemp's Biblical Literature professor and presided at the wedding of Kemp and his wife, Joanne, in 1958. ``He always stood upright. He wore a shirt and pants to class, not this droopy droop ¬†
    v. drooped, droop·ing, droops

    1. To bend or hang downward: "His mouth drooped sadly, pulled down, no doubt, by the plump weight of his jowls" 
     stuff that goes on now.''

    Said Hause, who is the coordinator of career services at Oxy: ``He was open and warm, and there was always a smile and a `Hi, how are you?' He was definitely a very polite kind of guy.''

    Kemp earned his degree in physical education, but after leaving Occidental he enrolled in economics classes at Cal Western and Long Beach State. ``He was just doing it to improve himself,'' Quint said. ``He started reading a lot of the German economists like (Ludwig) von Mises and (Friedrich August) von Hayek. Later, he got focused on politics.''

    Kemp's career as a pro football player endured several bumps along the way. Drafted in the 17th round by the Detroit Lions, he was released before the start of the 1957 season. He was eventually cut by five teams in the United States and Canada before signing with the Los Angeles Chargers in 1960. He moved with the franchise to San Diego and later enjoyed his greatest success with the Bills.



    Photo: Long before he became Republican nominee for vice pr esident, Jack Kemp was a star quarterback at Occidental. He was no standout in the classroom, but he was - and still is, say his close friends - a highly focused, highly motivated person.

    Daily News File Photo
    COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
    No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
    Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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    Title Annotation:SPORTS
    Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
    Date:Sep 8, 1996

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