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Sports / Recreation

History Channel to feature former CSU football star, war hero Friday night

May 15, 2009

Lewis "Dude" Dent may be remembered for his success on the gridiron, as a legendary performer at Colorado A&M, but he was much more than just a football star. He was a heroic soldier.

That part of his story is much more important, and tonight, an episode of the History Channel series Patton 360 will profile Lt. Dent and his tragic death at Troyes, France, on Aug. 25, 1944, as the American Army approached Paris to liberate it from the Nazi Army.

Dent fought for General Patton in WWII

Patton 360 recreates the legendary Gen. George S. Patton's career throughout World War II by way of historic photos, film, interviews and computerized re-enactments of battle. The episode that mentions Dent will be the sixth in the series, as Dent was one of the men that served with the famous general in combat.

Those interested should check their local listings for the starting time, but the show should air at 7 p.m. MDT on most Colorado cable outlets and satellite providers.

Colorado native arrived on campus in 1939

A native of Craig, Colo., Dent arrived on the Colorado State campus in the fall of 1939 and became an all-conference halfback for coaches Harry Hughes and Julius "Hans" Wagner from 1940-42.

At the same time, another newcomer to the team, then known as the Aggies, was John Mosley, believed to be the program's first African-American player. Mosley, who was inducted into the state's sports hall of fame earlier this spring, identified Dent as the one player who stood up for him when he began playing. Dent frequently pushed back at teammates and opposing players that attempted to start fights with Mosley.

Besides his role at fullback, Dent was named team captain in 1942 and also kicked and punted for the Aggies.

Entered military shortly before graduation

Following his career at CSU, Dent was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers (of the NFL) to play in 1943, but instead he entered into the military shortly before graduation, just a few credits away from a degree in mechanical engineering.

Supplying much of the information about Dent's time at Colorado A&M is John Hirn, author of Aggies to Rams; The History of Football at Colorado State University. Hirn recently completed his book, the most comprehensive collection of CSU football history ever assembled, which also features a foreword by current Head Coach Steve Fairchild.

Fans can pre-order their copy of the book, which will be released in time for football season. Hirn is donating 80 percent of his net profits to the CSU General Athletic Scholarship Fund, to help aspiring athletes like Dent pay for their college education.