Dave "Cha Cha" Reimann '75 -- all he needed was a chance to shine and Amherst was blinded

Eph Legends
Eph Legends

Nothing but green grass and white lines stood between RB Dave Reimann and the goal line when he burst through the right side of the line against Amherst in 1973 on Weston Field late in the second quarter.

That was Reimann's second surprise of the day.

The first came when Eph Head Coach Bob Odell told him during the first quarter that he would be going into the game in the second quarter. Prior to breaking free vs. Amherst the majority of his football experience at Williams had been to run the "scout" team offense vs. the Eph defense in practice.

Reimann, a junior, had just transferred to Williams after graduating from Fullerton Community College. "A close family friend and colleague of my dad at Fullerton
Community College had gone to Dartmouth and acted as an unofficial college advisor to me, my brothers, and my sisters," recalled Reimann. "I told him I was looking for a small school with an excellent academic reputation located in a rural environment that might allow me to play a little football after a two-year lay-off.

"My family could not afford the cost of any college visits, so I accepted the invitation to attend Williams without ever seeing the school or setting."

Most of the fall Reimann would run short distances down on Cole Field and get walloped or on occasion break through and run about 15 yards before heading back to the huddle while head coach Bob Odell and the defensive coaches got all over the Eph defense.

Dave Reimann was even
happier than this when his
two rushing TDs upset
Amherst in 1973

Reimann's stunning TD run came about 90 seconds after Amherst opened the scoring, but failed to convert the PAT. Eph placekicker Ron Thomas, playing with a broken hand, put the Ephs up 7-6 with a successful PAT. "I remember three thoughts," said Reimann. "First -- it's not supposed to be like this.  Second -- run as fast and as hard as you can and don't get caught from behind. Third -- don't drop the football."

Reimann was not scheduled to play that day against Amherst. The Ephs had absolutely no intention of running the wishbone attack either, it was not a part of their offensive arsenal – that is, until the Amherst defense wrecked havoc with the original Williams offensive game plan. 

Assistant coach Renzie Lamb recalled that Amherst had a lot of trouble stopping the wishbone when they played Wesleyan. He suggested to coach Odell that the Ephs put in the scout team to run the wishbone. The Eph scout team had practiced it the week before in preparing the Eph defense to play against Wesleyan's offense.

If the first Reimann TD was a shock, the second one was a lightning bolt.

On Amherst's first play after the Williams kickoff Eph co-captain Andy Morrow recovered a fumble on the Amherst 17. On the second play Eph QB Bill McMillan ran left and pitched the ball to Reimann who went 14 yards for the TD. The Thomas PAT gave the Ephs a 14-6 lead at the half.

Amherst would later tie the contest at 14-all, but the previously unheralded Eph defense made its presence felt time after time and Williams went on to ruin another Amherst chance at a perfect season, 30-14.

Reimann entered "The Biggest Little Game in America" with eight carries for 44 yards in seven games and he carried the ball 13 times against the Lord Jeffs picking up 106 yards and scored twice. On the year, Reimann totaled 21 carries and 150 yards (7.2) and scored two TDs.

"Every player believes in his ability to help a team -- to make a difference," noted Reimann. "I was no different. I knew that I could play and help my team. But I also knew I was lucky to be part of the team and to get the periodic chance to play some offense and to carry the ball."

Reimann acquired the nickname "Cha Cha" at Williams courtesy of Ray Cox, also a reserve running back. "We were watching game films my junior season," said Reimann. "I was running down the sideline for a nice gain, and my head was bobbing, my arms were churning, and my legs were driving in this strange rhythmic pattern and Ray started to add his own sound effects -- by the end of the run, the coaches were laughing, the players were laughing, and I had the nickname -- "Cha Cha."

Reimann, a history major at Williams, currently runs the Reimann Law Group in Los Angeles where he provides litigation and counseling services to commercial developers and landowners. He did not decide to study and practice law while at Williams, but a couple years after he graduated.

Asked to name a favorite professor at Williams, Reimann added a new classification: indoors and outdoors. "Indoors -- John Hyde and Fred Rudolph -- both men combined great passion for their work with a genuine and abiding interest in the lives of their students outside of the classroom," said Reimann.

"Outdoors -- Bob O'Dell, Dick Farley, and Renzie Lamb: Good coaches are good teachers and those three were great teachers -- they just worked in the biggest classroom on campus," noted Reimann.

"I think we come to appreciate some of the lessons we learned at Williams after we leave the campus and see what kinds of choices we make in life and how those choices are influenced by the people who taught us," stated Reimann. "Odell, Farley, and Lamb have always served me well as models and examples of good people doing good things with honor and integrity -- and making the right choices even when they're hard -- choices like Odell going for the 2-point conversion against Amherst instead of the 1-point PAT that would have assured a tie; Dick Farley keeping an injured star player out the toughest game of the season simply because the player was not physically ready to play; or Lamb reaching out to a former player with kindness and generosity and respect."

In the summer of 2006 Reimann was on the East Coast enjoying a family vacation when he rented a car and took his oldest son Will to South Bend, Ind., to attend the College Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies honoring Dick Farley.

"At the end of the dinner, one of the former players – Mark Duff –gave my son a beautiful commemorative football that I'm sure Mark had bought for himself," said Reimann. "Now here's a 14-year old football fan armed with a commemorative football and a pen and surrounded by the likes of Jerry Rice and Anthony Davis and all of the other inductees. There were just two people he asked to sign the ball -- Dick Farley and his son, Scott. I could not have been more proud."

Dave and Will were warmly welcomed by Dick, the Farley family, and the Williams football family in South Bend. "We enjoyed hearing all the stories that showed that there is something extraordinary about the people who go to Williams to work or study -- something that makes them and their world just a little bit better," noted Reimann.