Pete Doherty

Pete Doherty

On January 20, 2022 our football team’s quarterback, Pete Doherty, passed away in Virginia Beach, VA with his devoted wife Sheila and step-daughter Brook by his side.

“One of Pete’s most remarkable accomplishments was that he set the Ivy League record for the number of passing touchdowns in one game, five against Columbia in 1966,” says his fullback, Chris Kule. “Other people have tied that mark since then, but the big distinction is that Pete completed all five TDs in the first half! He threw such a hard ball, with such a tight spiral, it was qualitatively different from all the other quarterbacks we ever had. I asked him if somebody had coached him, and he said he started out in peewee league as a long snapper because he was the only one who could snapp the ball consistently back to the punter. The coaches eventually realized they were wasting his talents, and they switched him to quarterback.”

Bob Kenney, his wide receiver, says, “He was a perfect passer – 6-foot-4, real strong, quick release, could move really well, and the pass was always very accurate. You’d run a route, and all of a sudden the pass was there, hitting you in the chest every time. He was a man before his time; if he were playing today, he’d be passing 40 times a game and be outstanding.”

“While most of our classmates probably knew Pete as a quarterback, he also got a varsity Y sailboat racing for Yale,” says Rich Eittreim. “He was a terrific sailor – East Coast collegiate sailing champion and, as a member of the U.S. Sailing Team, competing internationally in the Finn class sailboat. He was also a veteran, having served in the Coast Guard (Lieutenant JG). While at the Coast Guard Academy, he taught a variety of courses and coached football and sailing. He then became a lawyer. As Assistant Attorney General for Rhode Island, he argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning jurisdiction of the waters surrounding Block Island. He also served as counsel for Virginia Polytechnic Institute.”

In later years, Pete farmed in upstate New York – raising sheep, milking dairy cows, and breeding Border Collies. He wrote legal documents and served as an affiant for numerous conservation groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity and the North Carolina Audubon Society. “A very varied life indeed!” says Rich.

“Pete always impressed me as someone to look up to, and that is confirmed in the story of his life,” says Charlie Carter. “I found it especially heartening that he lived the last part of his life working in the area of wildlife biology. I share with his family and especially Yale classmates who were his friends my sorrow at their loss.”