RUMSON: TALK ABOUT DOWNSIZING

From this… to that? Having moved out of the 18,000-square-foot colossus above, Pete and Judy Dawkins recently purchased the home shown below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Eight months after selling one of Rumson’s most jaw-dropping homes for $12 million, Heisman Trophy winner and financier Pete Dawkins has picked up a relatively modest house across town.

Monmouth County property records show Dawkins and his wife, Judy, closed on a house on Highland Avenue earlier this month, paying $1.3 million.

Unlike Long Point, the Dawkinses’ former Navesink River-front estate whose driveway was nearly as long as their new street, the new place has neighboring homes just a dozen feet away on either side.

As to what he Dawkinses plan to do with the house, they’re not saying.

“That’s not something I can help you with, thank you,” a woman who answered the phone at the Dawkinses number told redbankgreen before hanging up Tuesday afternoon.

The new abode appears to represent a striking change in lifestyle for the couple.

Seventy-three-year-old Pete Dawkins, who won the 1958 Heisman at West Point, went on to become a Rhodes scholar, a career Army officer, a onetime Senate hopeful and Wall Street executive, ending his career as vice chairman at Citigroup.

In 2000, he and his wife bought Long Point from the widow of an heir to the A&P supermarket fortune for $4.5 million, and then promptly tore down the existing mansion.

When they were finished rebuilding, the 10.4-acre property featured a sumptuous 18,000-square-foot showcase main residence with 180-degree views along the river. A ginormous poolhouse that the couple wanted to build spurred a long court battle with their next-door neighbors, Wall Street trader Mickey Gooch and his wife, Diane, publisher of the Two River Times. The Dawkinses won.

The couple sold the West River Road estate last June to George Hall, a hedge fund manager and champion horse owner, grossing less than half the original asking price of $29.9 million.

The new Dawkins crib, which had been on the market for a year at $1.4 million, is a buff gray three-level built in 2008 with five bedrooms – the master of which is a not-ostentatious 19 feet by 15 – and four full baths. Listing literature said the house “exudes a Nantucket ambiance” with cedar shakes siding, two fireplaces, Brazilian cherry floors and a butler’s pantry, but its most prominent exterior feature is a two-car garage that hides the front door.

The house is also on the waterfront, but in this case on a creek that separates mainland Rumson from Barley Point Island.

Gloria Nilson, of Gloria Nilson Realtors, represented the Dawkinses in the transaction. She did not return a request for comment.

The sellers were Dennis and Suzanne Shea.