Birthplace: Giles County, TN
Don Whitmire played tackle for Alabama, 1941-1942 and Navy, 1943-1944. He was a first-team All America in 1942, was consensus All-America 1943, and unanimous All-America 1944. Rip Miller, Navy line coach, recruited him for Navy after spotting his picture in Street and Smith Football Magazine in 1943. The Washington Touchdown Club in 1944 voted Whitmire the Rockne Trophy as the nation's best lineman. Whitmire was brigade commander, the highest rank a midshipman can attain, at the Naval Academy. He was a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy and directed the evacuation of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. It was the biggest evacuation in world history, with 82,000 men, women and children escaping to freedom. When Don was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1956, his home town, Decatur, Alabama; held a parade, with 9,000 spectators lining the streets. In the four years he played college football, his teams had a 31-9 record. When he was elected to the Hall of Fame, he said, "Football taught me the virtue of team play and enhanced my leadership qualities. These traits have been most valuable in my Navy career. Football taught me to take the hard knocks and come up fighting."
United States Naval Academy