Celebrate the epic players of football lore.
Celebrate the epic players of football lore.
The Gridiron Legends program honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the game of football in the state of Texas, either at the high school, collegiate or professional level.
Check out the 2021 inductees:
The Gridiron Legends will be officially inducted on January 4, 2022 at the Texas Bowl.
Vince Young grew up in the Hiram Clarke neighborhood of Houston, Texas, where he attended Madison High School. He started at quarterback for three years and garnered 12,987 yards of total offense during his high school career. As a senior, he led his team to the Class 5A state semifinals where he threw for 400 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown in a hard-fought loss to Austin Westlake. Young was named Parade’s and Student Sports’ National Player of the Year after compiling 3,819 yards and 59 touchdowns as a senior. He was named the 2001 Texas 5A Offensive Player of the Year, was designated as The Sporting News’s top high school prospect and was awarded the Pete Dawkins Trophy in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Young attended the University of Texas and played quarterback under Head Coach Mack Brown. As a redshirt freshman, he earned snaps halfway through the season after initially being second on the depth chart. As a redshirt sophomore, Young started every game and led the Longhorns to an 11-1 record and the school’s first-ever appearance in the Rose Bowl, in which they defeated Michigan. As a redshirt junior in 2005, Young led the Longhorns to an 11-0 regular season record, a Big 12 championship and a national championship. Young led the Longhorns to defeat the favored USC Trojans in the 2006 Rose Bowl, in which he accounted for 467 of total offense and three rushing touchdowns. He finished the season with 3,036 yards passing and 1,050 yards rushing, earning him the Davey O’Brien Award as well as All-American honors. Young finished his career at Texas with a 30-2 record as a starter and a .938 winning percentage as a starting quarterback, which ranks sixth best in Division I history. During his career at Texas, Young passed for 6,040 yards (No. 5 in Texas history) and 44 touchdowns (No. 4 in Texas history) while rushing for 3,127 yards (No. 1 on the school’s all-time QB rushing list/No. 7 on Texas’ all-time list) and 37 touchdowns. He was also No. 10 on ESPN/IBM’s list of the greatest college football players ever. Young entered the 2006 NFL Draft and was selected third overall by the Tennessee Titans. As a rookie, he set the former record for rushing yards by a rookie quarterback with 552. After a plethora of come-from-behind victories throughout the 2006 season, Young won the Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and replaced Philip Rivers in the 2007 Pro Bowl. In 2007, Young passed for 2,459 yards with nine touchdowns and rushed for 395 yards with three touchdowns, leading the Titans team to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth. The following year, Young suffered a knee injury and later assumed the backup role to Kerry Collins for the remainder of the 2008 season. After not starting for the first six games of the 2009 season, Young won eight of his 10 starts in fourth season in the league. The Titans began the year 0-6 and became the first team in NFL history to win five straight after losing their first six games. Young finished third in the bidding for NFL Comeback Player of the Year and was announced as the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year. Young appeared in his second Pro Bowl after taking a roster spot from an injured Philip Rivers yet again. After leading the Titans to a 4-5 record in nine of their first 10 games in 2010, Young suffered a thumb injury and played his last snap for the organization. He was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 and started three games. Young spent the final years of his NFL career with brief stints for the Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns. Young re-enrolled at Texas for the 2008 spring semester, and in 2013, he graduated with a degree in youth and community studies. He continues to live in Houston’s Hiram Clarke neighborhood. [Photo courtesy the Tennessee Titans.]
Steve Worster was born in Wyoming, but his family settled in Orange County, Texas, when he was a young boy. He attended Bridge City High School in Bridge City, Texas, where he played fullback on the football team and catcher in baseball. He earned All-District honors all four years, All-State honors for three years, and accumulated 5,422 yards during his high school career, including 38 100-yard games, which is second in Texas prep history. Worster led his high school team to a 13-1 season and the Class 3A state football championship in 1966, rushing for 2,210 yards and being named a High School All-American. He was later inducted into the Texas High School Hall of Fame. Worster accepted a scholarship to play football at the University of Texas under head coach Darrell Royal. As a halfback, he became the cornerstone of Royal’s legendary wishbone formation. Nicknamed “Big Woo”, Worster ran for 2,353 with 36 touchdowns at Texas. He was a part of three Southwest Conference titles and two national championships. He was a two-time All-American and three-time All-Southwest Conference selection, and he finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1970. Worster has also been inducted into the Texas Longhorn Hall of Fame and the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. Worster was selected by the Los Angeles Rams as the 12th pick in the fourth round of the 1971 NFL Draft, but he did not play in the league. Worster spent one year in the Canadian Football League with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats prior to pursuing a career in sales. He has two children, Scott and Erin, as well as four grandchildren: Evan, Morgan, Noah and Lukas.
Jerry Ball hails from Beaumont, Texas and attended Hebert High School, then after integration graduated from West Brook High School, where he was a two-way football star as a fullback on offense and defensive end and linebacker on defense. He rushed for 1,000 yards as a senior and helped lead his team to the 1982 5A State Championship. Ball was a first-team all-state selection on defense while earning All-District honors at three positions. He played college football at Southern Methodist University (SMU), where he switched to nose tackle, became a four-year letter-winner and ranks fourth on the school’s all-time sack list. Ball was a four-year starter, three-time first-team All-SWC and two-time finalist for the Lombardi and Outland Trophies. Ball was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the third round of the 1987 NFL Draft. After an outstanding first year in the league, Ball posted 68 tackles and 18.5 sacks in his second season, including the one and only safety in the 10-year career of legendary running back, Eric Dickerson. He played in the NFL for 13 seasons, amassing 32.5 sacks, most of which came during his time as a nose tackle for the Lions. Ball spent his entire career being double-teamed and often triple-teamed by opposing teams due to his dominant presence on the defensive line. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 1989, 1990 and 1991. In 1991, Ball was injured by a “chop block,” which was, at that time, legal. As a result, the NFL instituted the “Jerry Ball Rule,” which outlawed blocks of that type. Ball remained on the injured list through the end of that season and into 1992 as well. The following year, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns, and then to the Oakland Raiders. From 1997 to 1999, he played for the Minnesota Vikings. He anchored the 1998 Vikings defense when he re-emerged as a leader and dominant force on the Vikings’ record-setting team that finished with a 15-1 record. Ball has three daughters and now has his own Detroit-based clothing company licensed by the NFL, called Ice Box Sportswear. [Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions.]
Dick Olin, the patriarch of 7-on-7 football in Texas, was the head coach for Clinton High School in Clinton, Iowa, for 12 seasons (1971-1982), the longest tenure in school history. He led Clinton to its first state championship in 1975. Later, Olin went on to take the head coaching job at Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown, Texas, for 17 seasons (1992-2008). At Lee, Olin had a successful run in which he posted a 106-78 total record with 11 playoff appearances and helped produce star quarterback talents like Jermain Alfred, Ell Roberson, Clint Stoerner, Brian Johnson and his stepson, Drew Tate. After his time at Lee High School, Olin accepted a position as head coach and athletic director for Lewisville High School in Lewisville, Texas. After three years of leading the athletic programs at Lewisville, he moved on to accept the role as offensive coordinator at Stephen F. Austin College in 2012. Olin is one of the founders of the state 7-on-7 summer football tournament and is a co-creator of the Bayou Bowl, the annual all-star game that airs on ABC13.
Wade Phillips was born in Orange, Texas, and is the son of former NFL coach Bum Phillips. He attended Port Neches-Groves High School in Port Neches, Texas, and went on to play football at the University of Houston. As a Houston Cougar, Phillips was a three-year starter at linebacker from 1966-68, when he set a former school record for career assisted tackles (228). He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant to Bill Yeoman at the University of Houston in 1969. The next year, he took a job as defensive coordinator at the former Lutcher Stark High School in Orange. In 1973, Phillips took a job coaching under his father as the linebackers coach at Oklahoma State. He later coached the defensive line at Kansas under head coach Bud Moore in 1975. The next year, Phillips made the leap to coaching in the NFL, where he started as a linebackers coach for the Houston Oilers under his father, the head coach, before transitioning to coaching the defensive line from 1977 to 1980. Wade Phillips remained on his father Bum’s staff as the two of them left for the New Orleans Saints. Wade stepped in to be the interim head coach of the Saints after Bud stepped down in 1985. He spent the next three years as the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, where he oversaw defensive end Reggie White record 21 sacks in just 12 games in 1987. The Eagles went on to win the NFC East championship in 1988 under his guidance. Phillips then spent four seasons as defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos, where he helped the team reach Super Bowl XXIV. He earned his first official NFL head coaching gig for the Broncos in 1993, but was let go after the 1994 season. Phillips spent the next two seasons as defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills before stepping in to fill Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy’s shoes after his retirement. In 1998, Phillips was named the new Bills head coach. From 1998-2000, Phillips kept Buffalo in the playoff hunt and enjoyed a mostly successful coaching tenure. The team parted ways with him after the 2000 season, and he landed on his feet as the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in 2002. In 2003, Phillips served a brief stint as the interim head coach of the Falcons prior to his move to the San Diego Chargers. He served as defensive coordinator for the Chargers for three seasons prior to accepting the head coaching job for the Dallas Cowboys in 2007. Chosen by Jerry Jones over candidates like Norv Turner, Ron Rivera and Jason Garrett, Phillips led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record in his first season at the helm. After a 9-7 season in 2008, Phillips and the Cowboys bounced back to a division crown and an 11-5 record in 2009. Prior to the season, Phillips took over defensive coordinator duties in addition to his role as head coach. He earned his first playoff victory with a win over the Eagles, ending Dallas’ 12-year playoff win drought. After a disappointing start to the 2010 campaign, Phillips and the Cowboys parted ways, leading him to accept the defensive coordinator position with the Houston Texans in 2011. He earned recognition as the PFWA Assistant Coach of the Year after the Texans defense finished second in the NFL with 285.7 yards allowed per game. Phillips installed a 3-4 scheme that yielded the third-largest single-year improvement since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, reversing a unit that gave up 379.6 yards per game and ranked 31st in the NFL in 2010. The Texans’ head coach at the time, Gary Kubiak, collapsed in the middle of a game in November 2013, and Phillips had to step in as the interim coach for the squad. A month later, Kubiak and the Texans parted ways, opening the door for Phillips serve as interim head coach once again. In 2015, Phillips joined Kubiak’s staff with Broncos as the defensive coordinator. In his second stint in Denver, Phillips replaced his predecessor’s complex wait-and-react scheme with a simple style of going after the ball, making Denver the top-ranked defense that season. He helped the team to a 12-4 record and the number one seed in the AFC despite the team’s offensive troubles. The 2015 Broncos, anchored by Phillips’ dominant defense, went on to defeat the Carolina Panthers, who had the league’s top-ranked offense, in Super Bowl 50. After a successful run in Denver, he left to become the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. In Super Bowl LIII, Phillips’ defense was credited with keeping the New England Patriots and Tom Brady out of the end zone until the fourth quarter. Phillips finished his tenure with the Rams after a 9-7 campaign in 2019. In total, Phillips posted an 83-69 record, including regular season and playoffs, throughout his career as a head coach. Known as one of the game’s best defensive coordinators, various players under Phillips’ scheme have won Defensive Player of the Year honors, including Reggie White, Bryce Paup, Bruce Smith, J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald. Others have won Defensive Rookie of the Year, including Mike Croel and Shawne Merriman. Phillips and his wife, Laurie, met in 1964 at Port Neches-Groves High School, where he was the quarterback of the football team and she was the head cheerleader. They have a daughter, Tracy, and a son, Wes. [Photo courtesy of Houston Texans.]
Dennis Gentry is a Lubbock, Texas native who went on to garner 2,230 rushing yards, 382 receiving yards and 309 kick return yards as a multi-position athlete for the Baylor Bears from 1977 to 1981. As a junior in 1980, along with fellow Class of 2021 Gridiron Legend Mike Singletary, Gentry notched 1,003 total yards from scrimmage as a major contributor to the backfield that blazed the way to Baylor’s first 10-win season in program history and its sixth conference title. After appearing in 45 games for the Baylor Bears in four seasons, Gentry was selected by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 1982 NFL Draft. He spent the entirety of his 11-year NFL career with the Bears and was a part of the 1985 Bears squad that went on to trounce the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX (46-10) and earned the reputation as one of the most dominant football teams of all time. Gentry finished his NFL career with 171 receptions for 2,076 yards and seven touchdowns. He also rushed for 764 yards and five touchdowns. However, his most notable role on the team was as a kick returner. He ranks second in career kick return yards for the Bears behind Devin Hester with 4,353 yards and is tied for the team’s all-time total kick returns with 192. In 1986, Gentry led the NFL with a 28.8-yards-per-return average. After retiring from football as a player, Gentry later served as the running backs coach for the XFL’s Chicago Enforcers in 2001 before the league closed operations. In their lone season, the Enforcers bounced back from an 0-4 start to win five of their last six regular season games and fell to the Los Angeles Xtreme in the semifinals of the XFL playoffs.
Keith Kilgore is a native of Houston and a graduate of Waltrip High School. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Abilene Christian University. Kilgore began his teaching and coaching career at Bellaire High School and, after serving his country in the U.S. Army, he returned to coach at Houston Lee High School and then at Hastings High School in Alief, Texas. He entered athletic administration as an assistant director in Alief and then moved to Fort Bend ISD (FBISD) as the director of athletics in 1992, where he spent the remaining 21 years of his career. Under his leadership in FBISD, there were 17 state championships and three national championships crowned along with numerous titles in various individual sports. Kilgore has been honored by the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association as a “Distinguished Service Award” recipient, inducted into the Texas High School Athletic Directors Hall of Honor, the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Honor and named the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrator Association’s Award of Merit. He has served on the board of directors of the Touchdown Club of Houston for 27 years and was president of the organization from 2016-2017. Kilgore has chaired the prestigious High School Awards Dinner since joining the board of directors for the Touchdown Club of Houston. He and his wife Sherry have been married for 47 years. They have two sons (Kerry and Kory) and 2 grandsons (Grant and Rhett).
Mike Singletary was born as the youngest of 10 children in his family in Houston. He attended Evan E. Worthing High School where he established himself as a dominant force on the gridiron. In ninth grade, Singletary was an all-state guard and linebacker and went on to earn a football scholarship to play at Baylor University. As a linebacker for the Baylor Bears, Singletary earned All-America honors in his junior (1979) and senior (1980) seasons, when he averaged 15 tackles per game and set a team record with 232 tackles in 1978, including 35 in a game against the Houston Cougars. During his senior year in 1980, along with fellow Class of 2021 Gridiron Legend Dennis Gentry, Baylor won 10 games for the first time in school history. Singletary was the only college junior to be selected to the All-Southwest Conference Team of the 1970s. He is a two-time recipient of the Davey O’Brien Memorial Trophy, which at the time was given to the most outstanding player in the southwestern United States before it became the quarterback-centric award that it is today. Singletary notched 97 tackles as a freshman, 232 (a school record) as a sophomore, 188 as a junior and 145 as a senior. His total of 662 tackles set a program record for most career tackles. He earned All-Southwest Conference honors three times and All-America honors twice. Singletary went on to be a second-round draft pick for the Chicago Bears in the 1981 NFL Draft, the 38th player selected overall. He stepped into his role as a starter in the Bears lineup in the seventh game of his rookie season. In his third game as a starter, Singletary recorded a memorable defensive performance with 10 tackles and a forced fumble against the Kansas City Chiefs. A near unanimous all-rookie selection, he went on to start 172 games for the Bears during his 12-year career, the second-most in club history. Singletary finished each of his last 11 seasons as the Bears’ first- or second-leading tackler. He finished his career with 1,488 career tackles, including 885 solo tackles, seven interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries. Selected to play in a team record 10 Pro Bowls, Singletary was All-Pro eight times and All-NFC every year from 1983 until 1991. The NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and 1988, Singletary was the cornerstone of the Bears’ innovative 46-defense. In 1985, he led a Bears’ defense that was ranked first in the league and allowed fewer than 11 points per game. The team went 15-1 and dominated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. The Bears held the Patriots to a record low seven rushing yards, and Singletary contributed with two fumble recoveries. In 2003, Singletary began his coaching career as the linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens. Following the 2004 season, the San Francisco 49ers hired Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to be their head coach, and Singletary left the Ravens to serve under Nolan as the 49ers’ assistant head coach and linebackers coach. He became the interim head coach of the 49ers after Nolan was fired in October 2008. After a 2-5 start, Singletary was able to lead the team to finish the season 5-4 under his leadership for a final record of 7-9. In December 2008, Singletary earned the long-term head coaching position and signed a four-year contract. After a strong 3-1 start to the 2009 season, the Singletary-led 49ers failed to reach the playoffs but finished with an 8-8 record, the team’s first non-losing season since 2002. The 2009 49ers produced five Pro Bowlers under Singletary’s leadership. After a disappointing 2010 campaign, the 49ers parted ways with Coach Singletary. He landed on his feet the following season after agreeing to join the Minnesota Vikings as the linebackers coach/assistant to the head coach. After being out of the league for two years, Singletary returned to the league as an advisor for the Los Angeles Rams’ defense. Since then, Singletary has had brief stints as head coach of the Alliance of American Football’s Memphis Express and Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, Texas. Singletary and his wife, Kim, have seven children.
R.C. Slocum was born and raised in Orange, Texas, and graduated from West Orange-Stark High School in 1963. He attended McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La., where he earned a B.S. in physical education in 1967 and his M.S. in educational administration in 1968. He also played tight end for McNeese State’s football team for three seasons. Slocum began his coaching career as a football coach at Lake Charles High School in 1968. In 1970, he became a graduate assistant at Kansas State University under head coach Vance Gibson, also coaching the offensive linemen on the freshman team. In 1971, he was named head freshman coach. In 1972, Slocum was hired as receivers coach under Emory Bellard at Texas A&M. A year later he became the defensive ends coach, and in 1976, he became the linebackers coach. After a coaching change in 1978, he was named the new defensive coordinator for Texas A&M in 1979. Slocum left to serve as the defensive coordinator for the University of Southern California under John Robinson in 1981. He returned to Texas A&M in 1982 as defensive coordinator under Jackie Sherrill. In 1985, Slocum was elevated to assistant head coach. At last, in December 1988, Slocum replaced Sherrill to earn his first role as a long-term head coach. During his 14 years as head coach, he led the Aggies to a record of 123-47-2, making him the winningest coach in program history. Slocum never had a losing season and won four conference championships, including the Big 12 title in 1998 and two Big 12 South division crowns in 1997 and 1998. He reached 100 wins faster than any other active head coach and has the best winning percentage in Southwest Conference (SWC) history. Under his tenure, Slocum helped make Texas A&M’s Kyle Field one of the hardest places to play in the nation, losing just 12 home games in 14 years. Texas A&M owned the longest active home winning streak in the nation for much of 1994 and 1995. The Aggies lost just four times at Kyle Field throughout the 1990s. Slocum earned SWC Coach of the Year honors three times during his time as head coach. His “Wrecking Crew” defense led the SWC in four statistical categories from 1991 through 1993 and led the nation in total defense in 1991. Over 50 Aggies were drafted into the NFL that served under Slocum during his time as head coach. After 14 years as head coach, Slocum parted ways with Texas A&M in 2002. He immediately took a position as special adviser to Texas A&M President Robert Gates. In May 2012, Slocum was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. In April 2019, he was named interim athletic director for Texas A&M. Slocum is married to the former Nel Jennings. Slocum has two sons, Shawn and John Harvey, and both are Aggie graduates.
Seven-time Pro Bowl and nine-time All-Pro punter Shane Lechler hails from East Bernard, Texas, and began his athletic career at East Bernard High School where he was a standout in football, basketball, baseball and golf. On the gridiron, Lechler played quarterback, punter and placekicker as he led East Bernard to the state quarterfinals his senior year. He finished his season having completed 87 of 101 (86.1%) of his passes and threw for 1,640 yards and 11 touchdowns. Throughout high school he averaged 41.6 yards per punt with a long of 85 yards. Lechler went on to play football for Texas A&M and proved himself to be a versatile athlete, earning snaps at punter, placekicker, holder for short field goals and PATs, and was the emergency quarterback. Due to his contributions in many different facets of the game, Aggie Head Coach R.C. Slocum called Lechler “the team’s most valuable player.” Lechler earned Freshman All-America honors in 1996 with a punting average of 42.7 yards and broke the Aggie single-season record for average yards per punt with 47.0 as a sophomore. He holds the NCAA record for career punt average with 44.7 yards per punt. Lechler finished his career at Texas A&M with three first-team All-Big 12 selections and an iconic NFL future still ahead of him. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the fifth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, where he played for 13 seasons and set various NFL and Raiders records. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and was named an All-Pro in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. During his time with the Raiders, he was a three-time NFL punting yards leader (2003, 2008 and 2009) and he is the owner of the NFL record for best career gross punting average (47.6). Lechler also has the five best single-season punting averages in Raiders history, including a career-best 51.1 in 2009, which is the second-highest single season average in NFL history. He had at least one punt of 50 yards or more in 33 consecutive games from Week 13 of 2003 through Week 14 of 2005, the longest streak since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970. Lechler appeared in 158 regular season contests for the Raiders and seven playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXVII. On March 13, 2013, Lechler signed a three-year deal with the Houston Texans, where he finished his career after five seasons. In 2013, Lechler recorded 88 punts for 4,189 yards for a 47.6 average, and in Week 10 he became just the sixth player in NFL history to reach the 50,000 punting yards mark. He maintained excellent punting yard averages throughout the rest of his career and once again led the league in punting yards with 4,507 in 2017. Lechler retired in the spring of 2019 after sitting out the 2018 season as a free agent. In December 2019, Lechler became the first Texans player to be named to the NFL 100 All-Time team. He is married to the former Erin Gibson, who was an All-American volleyball player at Texas A&M.
Emmitt Thomas is an Angleton, Texas native who played just one season of high school football before attending Bishop College in Dallas. His baseball coach suggested he try out for the football team, and he emerged as a skilled wide receiver and occasional quarterback. Hailing from a small historically Black college, Thomas went undrafted in the 1966 NFL Draft but later proved to be one of the best undrafted free agents in league history. The Kansas City Chiefs signed him out of college and initially had him practicing as a wide receiver. He wound up playing cornerback, and in 1968, Thomas earned American Football League (AFL) All-Star honors. In 1969, Thomas led the AFL with nine interceptions, which he returned for 146 yards and a touchdown, helping his team win the AFL Championship and the fourth and final AFL-NFL World Championship Game. The next year, the NFL and AFL merged, and Thomas notched 12 interceptions in 1974, leading the league yet again. He also led the league with 214 interception return yards and two return touchdowns off interceptions. Thomas retired as a player after 13 seasons with the Chiefs and finished with 58 interceptions, which he returned for 937 yards and five touchdowns. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro. Thomas was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008. Following his 181-game playing career, Thomas began a career in coaching. After two seasons in the college ranks, he moved to the NFL in 1981 where he began a long run as an assistant coach with various teams. He was hired by the St. Louis Cardinals as a receivers coach and spent four seasons with the team. He joined the coaching staff of the Washington Redskins in 1986 in the same role and was made secondary coach a year later. Thomas spent eight seasons with the Redskins before taking a job as the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive coordinator. He worked under head coach Ray Rhodes and followed Rhodes when he became head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1999, assuming the same position. In Green Bay, alongside Rhodes and Offensive Coordinator Sherman Lewis, Thomas formed the first trio of African Americans to serve in the top three coaching slots of an NFL team (head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator). Thomas served as defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings before joining the staff of the Atlanta Falcons in 2002 as the senior defensive assistant coach and secondary coach. Thomas was named interim head coach of the Falcons in December 2007 and was tasked with leading the team through the rest of the season. In 2010, Thomas accepted the position of defensive backs coach for the Chiefs, where he coached through 2018. Smith married his wife Jacqueline Heafley in 1983, and they remained married until her passing in 2017. He has a son and daughter and now lives in Las Vegas, Nev. doing various coaching duties.
Houston Texans seven-time Pro Bowl and four time All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson started his career off at Miami Senior High School, where he lettered in football, track and basketball. He was named an All-America selection in his senior year where he caught 31 passes for 908 yards and 15 touchdowns. In his three seasons at the University of Miami, Johnson ended up ranking fifth on the school’s all-time receiving yards list after producing 92 receptions for 1,831 yards and 20 touchdowns. He became the second player in Hurricane history to crack the single-season 1,000-yard receiving barrier in his junior year. As a sophomore, he earned multiple honors and helped Miami win its first national title in 10 years, catching 37 passes for 682 yards and a college career best of 10 touchdowns. In the 2002 Rose Bowl, Andre Johnson was named the Co-Player of the Game when he caught seven passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns. The Houston Texans drafted Johnson as the third overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he started all 16 games and recorded at least one catch in each game. Throughout his 12 seasons with the Texans, Johnson became the team’s all-time leading receiver with 1,012 receptions for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns. He ranks ninth on the all-time receptions list and 12th in yards receiving. He is one of three players in modern NFL history to lead the league in receiving in back-to-back years. Johnson averaged an NFL all-time 6.0 receptions per game in his career and 80.5 yards receiving per game ranks second in NFL history. With a list of accolades under his belt, Johnson made seven trips to the Pro Bowl. He is a four-time Houston Texans team MVP, and holds the franchise record for the most starts and games played with 169. Johnson became the second-fastest player to reach 1,000 catches in NFL history, doing so in his 168th career game. He also holds the NFL record with 21 career games with 10 or more receptions and 100 or more yards receiving. Johnson set a standard for the Texans, making numerous records for the young team. In 2017, Andre Johnson made his official retirement and later in that year he became the first-ever inductee into the Texans Ring of Honor. Currently, Andre Johnson acts as the Special Advisor to the Head Coach for the Houston Texans.
Former Rice University All-American, wide receiver Jarett Dillard hails from San Antonio, Texas. There he played at Sam Houston High School as a three-year letterman and starter for the Hurricanes. He was a two-time all-district selection at wide receiver, and added all-area to his honors as a senior. Along with football, Dillard also competed for the Sam Houston basketball and track team. He helped the Hurricanes to the 2003 Class 4A state tournament in basketball, and competed in the 2003 Regional Track Meet in both hurdles events. After being accepted into Rice University and taking a redshirt his freshman year, Dillard came out strong, starting in eight games in his first season. For the next three years, Jarett Dillard re-wrote the Rice record book for wide receivers, passing a number of recognizable candidates to become a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award in 2006. In that same year, Dillard became the first Owl since Charles Torrello in 1997 to be named first-team All-America selection by ESPN.com. He earned second-team status by The Walter Camp Foundation, Associated Press, The Sporting News and SI.com. Dillard broke the NCAA record for consecutive games in a season with 13 games, sharing the mark with Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald. Jarett Dillard was named the 2007 Consensus C-USA pick and was honorable mention All-America by Sports Illustrated after leading the Owls with 79 catches for 1,057 yards and 14 touchdowns. He led the C-USA receivers with his 14 touchdowns, along with his average of 7.5 catches per conference game. In 2008, Dillard became Rice’s first Football Writers All-America selection since Buddy Dial in 1958. He also earned All-America mention from CBSSports.com. He became a three-time, first-team consensus All C-USA selection, the first Owl to be a consensus pick for conference honors for three consecutive seasons. Dillard led the NCAA with 19 touchdown catches and became the first receiver in NCAA history to have two, 19-touchdown reception seasons. He became the 10th receiver in NCAA history to top 4,000 yards receiving after his 88-yard effort versus Marshall. In his entire career at Rice, he earned five NCAA receiving records including; most career touchdowns (59), most career touchdowns by a passing duo with quarterback Chase Clement (50). Most career games with a touchdown catch (37), most games with a touchdown catch in a season (13 in 2006), and combined with Clement to earn the Walter Camp foundation National Offensive Players of the Week and C-USA offensive honors. Dillard wrapped up his collegiate career by becoming the 2008 Texas Bowl Champions as Rice defeated Western Michigan in his final game with the Owls.
Dillard was drafted by Jacksonville in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL draft where he spent three seasons with the Jaguars. The accolades didn’t stop when his playing days ended. In 2012, he was a recipient of the Ed Block Courage award. Dillard currently practices law in the state of Texas and is a longtime Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl volunteer.
Former athletic director for the University of Texas for 32 years, DeLoss Dodds is one of the most accomplished college sports executives in the country, with an athletic career spanning five decades. The Longhorns claimed 14 national titles under his tenure, including the 2005 National Championship in Football. Dodds’ career started after he graduated from Kansas State University in 1959 with a degree in physical education. After spending time in graduate school and in the Army, he became the head track and field coach at K-State in 1963, where he served in that position for 14 years. After guiding the Wildcats to six Big Eight titles and all of his accomplishments with the team, Dodds was inducted into the Drake Relays Coaches Hall of Fame in 1989, the Kansas State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 and the U.S. Track Coaches Hall of Fame in 2006. DeLoss Dodds began his career in sports administration by turning a struggling “in-the-red” athletics department into a money-maker in three years as the director of athletics at Kansas State. Prior to UT, he acted as an assistant commissioner to the Big Eight Conference for two years. In 1981, Dodds was hired by the University of Texas to become the school’s sixth athletic director. In his career, he took another struggling program and revived it, overseeing the department’s budget and helping change the face of Texas athletics. He guided the creation of The Longhorn Foundation in 1986, which raised funds invested in student-athlete scholarships, academic services, sports medicine, facilities and other resources directed at student-athlete development. During his tenure, the Longhorns Athletics program enjoyed some of its most dynamic times. From the fall of 1981 to September 2013, the longhorns claimed 14 National Championships and 108 conference (Southwest and Big 12) titles in nine different sports. With Dodds’ vision for the program, Texas became a national name. The Longhorn’s football run to the BCS National Championship during the 2005 season highlighted one of the most successful periods in UT Athletics history. That fourth title underscored a decade of achievements with at least 10 other victories in nine consecutive seasons. In 2006, Dodds was awarded with the National Football Foundation and the John L. Toner Award for demonstrating his superior administrative abilities. The following year, he was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. DeLoss Dodds was honored as the 2011 Athletic Director of the Year at the Sports Business Awards. In October of 2013, Dodds announced his retirement as the Texas Men’s athletic director, and the following month all the way up to the present day, DeLoss Dodds has served as special assistant to the UT President.
University of Houston All-American quarterback David Klingler was at the controls during the Cougars’ record-setting run-n-shoot days of the early 90s. His career started here in Houston at Stratford High School where he shined on the field. His performance at Stratford earned him multiple scholarship opportunities Stanford and Pitt for basketball, while Kansas and Ball State wanted him for both basketball and football. Klingler instead decided to stay close to home and attended the University of Houston on a football scholarship. In the beginning, he studied the nuances of the Cougars run-and-shoot play style while being a back up to 1989 Heisman winner, Andre Ware. During his college career, Klingler made a strong impact on the Cougars from 1988-91, bringing a lot of attraction to the school. In the 1990 season, a lot of weight was put on his shoulders after Andre Ware and then Head Coach Jack Pardee left for the NFL, putting Klingler onto the front line. To the surprise of many, Klingler did better than anticipated, breaking or tying numerous passing records in his tenure. Completing 726 of his 1,262 passes for 9,430 yards and 91 touchdowns, posting multiple school records and even more NCAA records. David Klingler set an impressive 48 NCAA records in his two starting seasons with the Cougars. One of those honors being the NCAA record for touchdown passes in a season with 54 touchdowns in 1990. This record stood unbreakable for 16 years until it was broken in 2006 in the Hawaii Bowl. The 1990 season continued to be outstanding for the quarterback, as Klingler led the Cougars to be ranked No. 3 in college football, the programs highest ever ranking. He racked up multiple awards that season as the winner of the 1990 Sammy Baugh Trophy, and the Southwest Conference Player of the Year. Klingler made a valiant push to win the Heisman Trophy and came out as a finalist. A stand out for the University of Houston, David still ranks in the top ten for career touchdown passes and yards, and currently ranks among All-Time passing leaders at the University of Houston. After his career with the Cougars, David Klingler went on to be drafted as the sixth overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1992 NFL Draft.
Former offensive lineman Richmond Webb had an outstanding career at both the collegiate and professional level. Originally, out of Dallas, Webb was a star at Roosevelt High School. He played alongside future NFL players, LB Aaron Wallace and WR Kevin Williams. Initially recruited as a defensive end, Richmond Webb switched over to the offensive side of the ball and became a dominant player at Texas A&M University. During his time as an Aggie, the All-American offensive lineman was a force on the field. He helped the Aggies win two Southwest Conference Championships and was All-SWC in 1989. Webb also received the Aggie Heart Award in the same year. His 13-year NFL career started when the Miami Dolphins selected him as the ninth overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft. Webb took charge right out the gate, being named NFL Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News in his first season. He also made the Pro-Bowl in his rookie season, which was his first of many. In fact, Webb was invited to seven consecutive Pro-Bowls from 1990 to 1996. A four-time AP All-Pro, Richmond Webb set a team record for 118 consecutive starts and helped the Dolphins make the playoffs in eight of his 11 seasons with the team. He was a key blocker and pass protector for Hall of Fame quarterback, Dan Marino from 1990-99. The success of that 1990 season, led the Dolphins to become the All-Decade Team for that year. After his lengthy tenure with the Dolphins, Webb continued to be a key contributor on the field for the Cincinnati Bengals during the final years of his career. In his time there, the Bengals’ offensive line allowed the fourth-fewest sacks in team history and had the second-best individual rushing performance. Richmond Webb concluded his NFL career by retiring as a Dolphin in 2005. Soon after, Webb was added to the Dolphins Honor Roll in 2006 along with former S Dick Anderson. In 2007, Richmond Webb was inducted into the Texas A&M Hall of Fame and currently ranks no. 16 on the list of the All-Time Greatest Aggies.
Legendary Head Football coach and Athletic Coordinator, Ray Seals has spent nearly the last 50 years as a dominant figure in Houston ISD Athletics. The 10-time HISD Coach of the Year garners an iconic coaching career and has been recognized on the high school, college and professional level. Seals got his start in HISD in 1972 after he was hired as an assistant at Sam Houston. After a few stops at Sterling Aviation High School, Milby High School and James Madison High School, he received his first head-coaching job in 1983 at Milby before taking over the head coaching position at Madison in 1988. For over the next 23 years, Ray Seals built a dynasty at Madison High School, compiling a 212-96 record, along with 21 playoff appearances. As a result of his success on the field, the Prairie View A&M graduate was eventually inducted into several Halls of Honor. These included ones from the Texas High School Coaches Association, the Greater Houston Football Coaches association and HISD. A well-respected figure in football, over 200 of Seals’ players have been awarded scholarships to play at the collegiate level. Another handful more went on to play in the NFL. A few of those notable names spawn under Seals’ coaching include former Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young and former Detroit Lions fullback Moran Norris. In 2008, Ray Seals was selected as the NFL High School Coach of the Year. A few years later, Seals was named the inaugural Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year after being nominated by the Houston Texans. In 2011, Ray Seals decided to call an end to his iconic 46-year career. His record at Madison ended at 182-82-1.
University of Houston All-American and Hall of Honor running back Alois Blackwell started his football career at Cuero High School in Cuero, Texas. With a record setting career at Houston, he ranks ninth in career rushing yards with 2,467 and 10th for a single season with 1,169 yards. Blackwell earned the starting running back position his redshirt sophomore year when he registered 934 rushing yards, eight touchdowns and three consecutive 100-yard rushing games. Blackwell contributed to the team’s achievement of a Southwest Conference co-championship as well as a national ranking of fourth, the highest in school history. In the 1977 Cotton Bowl, he rushed for 149 yards and scored two touchdowns for the Cougars. Blackwell was named the 1977 Cotton Bowl’s Most Valuable Player after his performance in the 30-21 victory over the Maryland Terrapins. That year he was also honored with the Houston Sportswriter’s Player of the Year. In 1978, the All-American was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys where he played two seasons. He then returned to his alma mater and served as an academic counselor for the football team for six years as well as an assistant athletic director of marketing and promotions for one year. Blackwell continued his career as an athletic director for Texas Southern University from 2001 to 2008. During Blackwell’s time with the Tigers, the program won seven Southwestern Athletic Conference championships, including a men’s basketball title in 2003. He also contributed to the opening of the Academic Enhancement Center for Student-Athletes in 2005. Blackwell now serves as the Principal and Senior Consultant at Athletic Shift Consulting’s for the past ten years.
Former first round NFL draft pick and running back Norman “Norm” Bulaich is a Galveston native and attended La Marque High School in La Marque, Texas. His professional career spanned 10 years after an exceptionally successful career at Texas Christian University. The fullback played in 30 games during his time at TCU and ran for 1,045 total rushing yards on 214 attempts. During the 1968 season, Bulaich attained the 10th most rushing yards in the Southwest Conference history after a season total of 503 yards. His success at TCU led him to be drafted early in the 1970 NFL Draft. He was picked in the first round and 18th overall by the Baltimore Colts. In his first season in the NFL, Bulaich started all 12 games with the Colts and had 139 rushing attempts for 426 yards. To finish off the season for the rookie, the Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V. Bulaich was the second leading rusher in the game for the Colts with 28 yards on 18 carries. He was selected in 1971 Pro Bowl after a remarkable 152 rushing attempts for 741 yards, 25 receptions for 229 yards and 10 touchdowns during his second season. After his time with the Colts, Bulaich spent two seasons with the Eagles and then five seasons with the Dolphins. During his entire NFL career, Bulaich acquired 3,362 yards on 814 carries for 30 touchdowns. The recognition for his success continued in 2012 when Bulaich was ranked 100th in the Miami Dolphins All-Time Top 100 Players. He now lives in Hurst, Texas with his wife and family.
Three-time NFL All-Pro selection and New England Patriots Hall of Fame member, Raymond Clayborn, spent 15 seasons in the NFL. The Fort Worth Trimble Tech High School native featured as a running back and defensive back for the Bulldogs growing up. He then continued his football career at the University of Texas, where his success earned him an All-American cornerback selection. Clayborn came in as a wide receiver but was used as a running back for the Longhorns his first two seasons where he ran for 529 yards on 83 attempts. In 1976, he mainly played as a defensive back and had 35 punt returns for 335 yards and one touchdown, averaging 9.6 yards per return. Clayborn also had 10 kick returns for 156 yards, averaging 15.6 yards. These grand numbers are what earned the Longhorn the All-American accolade his senior season. In 1977, the Fort Worth native was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, 16th overall by New England. During his time with the Patriots, Clayborn played in all 16 games in nine of his 13 seasons and played in 14 in two other seasons. In his first three seasons, Clayborn returned 57 kicks for 1,538 yards, averaging 27.0 yards per run and returned three for touchdowns. The cornerback acquired 36 interceptions during his 13 seasons with the Patriots, which was the franchise record for many years until it was tied in 2004. From the 36 interceptions, the cornerback attained 555 yards, 85 yards being his longest run and scored one touchdown. During Clayborn’s 1983 season, he acquired more than 63 tackles, 10 assists and 25 pass deflections earning him his first Pro-Bowl selection. One of his most memorable games was the 1985 AFC Championship against Miami when he led the defense in shutting down the impressive Miami offense and snapped the Patriots 18-game losing streak down in Miami. This key win sent New England to the Super Bowl two weeks later, and this earned Clayborn his second Pro Bowl honor. His third Pro Bowl season in 1986 was due to his 41 tackles, seven assists, eight pass deflections and three interceptions. Last year, Clayborn was inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame receiving 40 percent of the votes, the top vote-getter. He resides in Katy, Texas.
At St. Pius X High School in Houston, Texas, Gary Kubiak held the then state-record in passing yards with 6,190. Nicknamed “Koob”, the quarterback led the team to three consecutive state championships. His accomplishments, not only as a quarterback but as an athlete, named him to the all-state football, basketball, baseball and track teams twice. The 1978 St. Pius X High School graduate’s success continued to be recognized over 20 years later when he was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in 1999. The Houston native did not travel far as he attended Texas A&M to continue his academics and football career. During his time as an Aggie, Kubiak completed 314 passes on 595 attempts for 4,078 yards and 31 touchdowns. In 1982, the quarterback was named first-team all-conference and led the Southwest Conference in passing yards (1,948) and touchdown passes (19). Kubiak was also given the Aggie Heart Award, which is based not only on production but the courage and determination the athlete possesses. After his impressive career as an Aggie, the quarterback was drafted in the eighth round of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. Kubiak played for the Broncos for nine seasons where he completed 173 passes on 298 attempts for 1,920 yards. The quarterback threw 14 touchdowns and rushed for two himself. As Kubiak’s family continued to grow, the NFL quarterback retired and began coaching. His coaching career started at his alma mater where he served as A&M’s running backs coach during the 1992 and ’93 seasons. He then continued to the San Francisco 49ers as a quarterbacks coach where he connected with Steve Young and helped coach him to an MVP season. The 49ers continued to the Super Bowl and beat the San Diego Chargers, 49-26. After his successful season with the 49ers, the Broncos hired Kubiak as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, where he would be working with former teammate, John Elway. The reunion between the once back-up quarterback and current quarterback became quite the duo, and the Broncos went on to win a pair of Super Bowl titles in 1997 and ’98. Kubiak spent 11 seasons with the Broncos before becoming the head coach of the Texans after the 2005 season. He led the newly founded team to back-to-back AFC South titles in 2011 and ’12. Kubiak spent time with the Baltimore Ravens as an offensive coordinator in 2014, then returned to the Broncos where he contributed to a 12-4 season, AFC West title and his fourth Super Bowl victory. In 2017, Kubiak stepped away from coaching and currently serves as a senior personnel adviser for the Broncos.
Greater Houston High School Coaches Association honoree Barton Massey had a successful career in multiple sports as a player as well as a coach. Massey received All-District, All-Regional, All-State and Parade All-American accolades during his football career at Austin Bowie High School, where he played in two bowl games, the Greenbelt Bowl and the Oil Bowl. The star football player was also an All-District and First-Team All-State basketball player all while participating in baseball and track. Massey continued his football career at Texas Tech and was a four-year starter for the Red Raiders. During his collegiate career, the All-American Center played in the 1952 Sun Bowl, where he contributed to the team’s victory against College of Pacific. Then in 1954, Massey helped lead the team to success in the Gator Bowl against Auburn University. During the seasons the Red Raiders did not qualify for a bowl game, Massey played on the basketball team. He even played in the 1956 NCAA basketball tournament in Kansas City. In 1956, Massey’s senior year, the center was named to the Honorable Mention All-American list and was later drafted by the Green Bay Packers. After his athletic career ended, Massey remained involved within the sports world. The Texas Tech alumni helped coach the Red Raider’s football team for one year, then returned home and was the assistant football and basketball coach as well as the head baseball coach at Bowie High School from 1958 to 1959. Massey was promoted to head football coach from 1960-1964. Continuing his coaching career, he spent time at Bryan High School as a football and baseball coach, as well as Aldine High School where he coached football. After many years of coaching, Massey became the Director of the Texas High School Coaches Association from 1973 to 1975. The former Red Raider was named a Texas Tech 50-Yard Line Hall of Honor member and was elected to the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association Ronnie Bell Hall of Honor in 2008. Massey spent time as the Executive Principal at Conroe High School and retired in 1996. He later retired as a Consultant to Conroe Independent School District in 2002. Massey currently resides in Panorama Village, Texas.
Texas Tech Alum Wes Welker may not have started in Texas, but he has returned as the Houston Texans current Offensive Assistant Coach. The Oklahoma City native had an impressive career as a quintuple threat at Heritage Hall high school. As a rusher, receiver, kick returner and kicker, the athlete had notable numbers in every category. He accumulated 3,235 rushing yards for 53 touchdowns, 174 receptions for 2,551 yards and 27 touchdowns, returned seven kicks for touchdowns, made 35 field goals, including a 57-yarder, and 165 extra points; totaling 818 points in four years. On defense, Welker totaled 581 tackles, 22 interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns. Welker’s success continued during his time at Texas Tech. The wide receiver totaled 259 receptions for 3,069 yards and 21 touchdowns. Welker also ran the ball 79 carries for 559 yards and two touchdowns. He started nearly every game as a Red Raider, left as a leading receiver in school history, was named first-team All-Big 12 in 2002 and ‘03 and was one of the top punt returners in NCAA history. In 2003, he was recognized for his talent and was honored with the Mosi Tatupu Award as the College Football Special Teams Player of the Year. Welker was signed by the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2004. In Welker’s debut as a Charger, he had four kick returns for 102 yards, all more than 20 yards. Between kick and punt returns, Welker had a combined 447 returns for 6,722 yards and one touchdown. His stats were incredible on special teams, and he also broke records as a receiver. In 2007, Welker’s first season with the Patriots, the receiver caught 112 receptions for 1,175 yards and eight touchdowns. After six seasons in New England, Welker holds the second all-time receiving record for the Patriots, having been targeted 926 times with 672 receptions. He totaled 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns and holds the fourth highest single-season reception totals in Patriots’ history. His NFL career continued when he signed with the Broncos in 2013. During his debut, Welker posted nine receptions for 67 yards and two touchdowns. In 2013, Welker caught a touchdown pass in eight of the first 10 games of the season. In week 7 in 2014 with the Broncos, Welker passed Rod Smith for the most receptions by an undrafted player in NFL history. He also caught Peyton Manning’s 508th career touchdown pass, which tied Brett Farve for the most all-time. During his 12 seasons in the NFL, Welker had three Super Bowl appearances, five consecutive NFL Pro Bowl honors and four NFL All-Pro honors. He finished with 903 receptions for 9,924 yards and 50 touchdowns.
Deemed to have had one of the most advanced offensive minds in football, notable head coach Emory Bellard was selected by the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association to receive this Gridiron Legend honor. The Luling, Texas native is credited for inventing the Wishbone Offense, regarded as the most dynamic and groundbreaking offensive schemes in college football during the 1970s and 1980s. Bellard was a running back at the University of Texas his freshman year, but broke his leg the next season. Due to his injury and the return of players from World War II, he transferred to Southwest Texas State, which is now Texas State University. His tenure of 21 seasons as a head coach started at Ingleside High School in Ingleside, Texas, where he coached from 1952 to 1954. Bellard then moved on to Breckenridge High School, a powerhouse in the state in the second-highest UIL classification. During his time there from 1955 to 1959, he led the team to two state championships (1958, 1959). Bellard won another state championship in 1966 during his tenure at San Angelo Central High School, which spanned from 1960 to 1966. After an impressive high school coaching career, he made the jump to the collegiate level where he also succeeded. Bellard was hired as linebackers coach for the University of Texas in 1967. From 1968 to 1971, Bellard was their offensive coordinator, and during this time established and applied the wishbone formation. This system, also known as the triple-option, helped the Longhorns win 30 games in a row and a national championship in 1969. Other teams, such as powerhouses Alabama and Oklahoma, began adopting the wishbone offense. From 1969 to 1979, seven national championships were won or shared by teams that implemented this scheme. Bellard left the Longhorns to become Texas A&M’s head coach from 1972 to 1978. He led the Aggies to a 48-27 record during his tenure, which included three top-15 finishes and three consecutive bowl games. He resigned midway through the 1978 season and then became the head coach at Mississippi State in 1979, where he stayed until 1985. Bellard led the Bulldogs to a record of 79-85 and they twice finished in the top 20 in the polls. After his time at Mississippi State, he returned to the high school level, where he coached Spring Westfield High School from 1988 to 1993, making his overall high school coaching record 177-59-9. Bellard passed away on February 10, 2011 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He is survived by his wife, Susan, and his son, Bob, who coaches high school football in Texas. His family will receive the honor in his name.
Four-time All-Pro and three-time Super Bowl Champion Cliff Branch spent 14 seasons in the NFL, all with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. The former Worthing High School standout graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1972, where he set the NCAA FBS record for kickoffs returned for touchdowns with eight. During his time at Colorado, Branch also set school and NCAA Championship records in track, specifically the NCAA 100-meter record with a time of 10.0 seconds. The Raiders selected the Houston native in the fourth round of the 1972 NFL Draft with the 98th overall pick. During his tenure, Branch caught three passes for 20 yards in Super Bowl XI, five passes for 62 yards and two touchdowns in Super Bowl XV and six passes for 94 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl XVIII. In four consecutive seasons (1974-1977), the former wide receiver was voted a First-Team All-Pro by the Associated Press and named to four consecutive Pro Bowls. In 1974, Branch led the league in receiving yards (1,092) and receiving touchdowns (13). During the 1983 season, he set the Raiders franchise record for the longest touchdown reception with a 99-yard score. Branch’s career in the NFL ended after the 1985 season, but he subsequently played for the Los Angeles Cobras of the AFL in 1988. Branch was the only wide receiver to be on the roster of all three Super Bowl-winning Raiders teams and was named to the PFRA Hall of Very Good Class of 2011. The two-time Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist’s NFL career boasts 501 receptions, 8,685 receiving yards and 67 touchdowns.
UFL Championship MVP Chase Clement spent three seasons in the UFL and had two separate stints in the CFL after a record-setting career at Rice University. The former quarterback holds the NCAA FBS record, along with former Rice wide receiver Jarrett Dillard, for career touchdowns between a quarterback-receiver tandem (51). The San Antonio native broke Conference USA Conference passing records, and in 2007, he earned second-team All-Conference USA honors. In his first-team all-conference senior season, Clement lead the Owls to a win in the 2008 Texas Bowl, where he was named MVP, and earned the C-USA MVP honors. The Rice University all-time passing leader is ranked second behind Case Keenum on the C-USA lists for career touchdowns and touchdown passes. Clement completed his college career with 125 career touchdowns, and his 99 passing touchdowns tied former Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart on the NCAA career touchdown passes list. While a prospect for the 2009 NFL Draft, he went undrafted and was signed by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL in June 2009 and retired after one preseason practice. The Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL later signed Clement in 2010, and he stayed with them until 2012. During his time there, he led the team to the UFL title in 2010 and was named the championship game MVP. Clement signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL in April 2013 and was later released the following June. During his post-collegiate career, he has worked out with several NFL teams including the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys.
Former first-round draft pick and wide receiver Lawrence “Larry” Elkins’ professional career spanned five years after a highly accomplished tenure at Baylor University. The three-sport All-State player at Brownwood High School turned down an offer from the University of Texas to attend Baylor, where he set several receiving records that still stand. Elkins was a two-time consensus All-American at Baylor – the first two-time consensus pick in the university’s history. One of the best receivers in Baylor’s history, he caught 144 passes for 2,094 yards and scored a school-record 19 touchdowns. Some of Elkins’ accolades include MVP honors at the 1965 Hula Bowl and being named to the Look Magazine All-American team. The records he set include ranking third in all-time career receptions and career receiving yards, Baylor’s single-game record for receptions (12) and the NCAA single-season record in 1963 with 70 catches. Elkins was a first-round pick in the 1965 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers as well as a first-round pick in the AFL Draft by the Houston Oilers the same year. After signing with the Oilers, a knee injury in an exhibition game in his rookie season kept Elkins off the active roster until 1966. Following his time with the Oilers, he joined the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he broke his collarbone in a preseason game in 1969 after earning a starting job with the team. Elkins’ football career has been recognized and honored by many, which is evident by his induction into the Baylor Athletic Hall of Fame (1976), the College Football Hall of Fame (1994) and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame (2009). His life post-football managed to be as interesting as his time in football. From 1971 to 1978, Elkins worked for Brown and Root Inc., now known as KBR, Inc., in the United States and Europe. From 1979 to 1982, he worked with offshore drilling companies in the Gulf of Mexico and Africa. In the early 1980s, Elkins chauffeured Academy Award-winning actor Robert Duvall around Texas as he studied Texas accents for the film Tender Mercies and television miniseries Lonesome Dove. He later spent more than 12 years as a consultant for Ministry of Water in Saudi Arabia, where he was involved in the management of 26 desalination plants and several pumping stations and pipelines along the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.
Two-time Super Bowl Champion Casey Hampton spent 12 seasons in the NFL, all with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The former nose tackle got his start at Galveston Ball High School, where he was a two-sport All-American in football and track. Hampton was twice named the District Defensive Player of the Year and was a Texas Class 5A All-State First-Team selection. His high school jersey number (No. 63) was retired at a parade and dinner in April 2009, and he is the only football player in Galveston Ball’s history to receive this honor. Hampton went on to have an impressive collegiate career at the University of Texas, where he started in 37 consecutive games for the Longhorns from 1997 to 2000. During his time at UT, he became the first defensive lineman to lead the team in tackles in two consecutive seasons (1999-2000). Hampton recorded 329 career tackles, which placed him 11th on the school’s all-time list. The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by the Conference Coaches (2000) was also a two-time consensus All-American and a two-time first-team All-Big 12 Conference selection. Hampton was a first-round pick, 19th overall, in the 2001 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played in all 48 games in his first three seasons and took a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2003. A knee injury six games into the 2004 season kept him out for the remainder of the season, but he came back to win Super Bowl XL and XLIII with the Steelers. During Super Bowl XL, Hampton sacked Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, sealing the game for Pittsburgh. During his professional career, the five-time All Pro played in 173 games with 374 combined tackles, 9.0 sacks, three passes defensed, four forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles. In commemoration of the Steelers’ founding in 1933, the franchise’s top 33 players were selected by fan voting to the Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time Team. Hampton was named to the group as a part of the franchise’s 75th season celebration in 2007.
A native of Willis, TX, quarterback Michael Bishop led Kansas State to their first No. 1 ranking in school history as a senior in 1998. Bishop initially attended Blinn Junior College in Brenham, TX, where he led the Buccaneers to two undefeated seasons and two NJCAA National Championships his freshman and sophomore year before joining Head Coach Bill Snyder – the only Division I school to offer him an opportunity to play quarterback – at Kansas State. Bishop led the Wildcats to consecutive 11-win seasons in 1997 and 1998. As a junior, Bishop threw for 1,557 yards and 13 touchdowns while also rushing for 556 yards and nine touchdowns, leading the team to an 11-1 record and a win in the Fiesta Bowl. He concluded his junior season as a second-team All-Big 12 Conference voted by the league’s coaches and Big 12 Newcomer of the Year by the Associated Press. As a senior, Bishop helped the Wildcats to an 11-0 record, throwing for 2,844 yards, 23 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He rushed for 748 yards on 177 carries, scoring 14 touchdowns. The Wildcats won the Big 12 North title and lost in double overtime to No. 10 Texas A&M team. After starting in all 25 games during his two season at Kansas State, he received 792 votes in the 1998 Heisman Trophy voting, including 41 first place votes, but finished second to Ricky Williams. He finished his Wildcat career fourth on the all-time passing list with 4,401 yards and broke Chad May’s career record with 36 touchdown passes despite playing only two seasons. After his senior season, Bishop was voted a consensus All-American and All-Big 12 Conference selection and was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. Bishop was drafted by the New England Patriots in the seventh round of the 1999 NFL Draft and later played for the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe in 2001. Bishop also played stints in the Arena Football League and Canadian Football League. He has since been inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, K-State Athletics Hall of Fame and most recently was nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame. Bishop is now a high school football coach in Texas.
Brian Bosworth, nicknamed “The Boz,” was a two-time consensus All-American and led Oklahoma to the National Championship in 1985. In addition to winning a National Championship, Bosworth is the only player in history to have won the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding linebacker, two consecutive times and finished his college career with 413 tackles in three seasons. Bosworth starred at Irving MacArthur High School in the Dallas area prior to his time at OU and was named to the UIL’s All-Century Defensive Team in 2009. Upon retiring from professional football, Bosworth entered the film industry and has appeared in numerous movies including “Stone Cold” and “The Longest Yard.” Bosworth was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
Legendary Texas football coach, Oscar Cripps, is one of the most storied high school football coaches in Texas history. A member of the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association Hall of Honor, Cripps spent the majority of his career as the head coach at Stratford High School. In his 26 years as head coach of the Spartans, Cripps led the team to 163 wins, two state final appearances, seven district titles, eight playoff seasons and a victorious State Championship in 1978. The Texas High School Football Coaches Hall of Honor member coached many greats, including former New England Patriots running back and Pro Bowl selection, Craig James.
Former Texas A&M Aggie and standout NFL defensive end, Jacob Green, is one of the most storied players in Texas football history. Born in Pasadena, TX, Green joined the Aggies in 1977 under Head Coach Emory Bellard followed by Head Coach Tom Wilson. The two-time All-American left Texas A&M in 1979 after finishing his career with 37 quarterback sacks and 12 forced fumbles, a record that still holds today. Green’s success on the football field continued after the Seattle Seahawks drafted him in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft. The 10th overall pick went on to play defensive end for the Seahawks for 12 seasons, earning All-Pro Honors in both 1983 and 1984. During his time in Seattle, Green was a two-time Pro Bowl selection who accounted for 12 or more sacks in a single season six times in his NFL career. After accumulating 116 sacks in 12 seasons for the Seahawks, the team inducted Green into the Ring of Honor, a group of 11 members recognized for their contributions to the team. Along with his Ring of Honor induction in 1995, Green was added to the Texas A&M Letterman’s Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame in 2014. Most recently, Green earned his place in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2016. Green now serves as vice president of major gifts and endowments for the 12th Man Foundation, which funds scholarships, programs and facilities in support of Texas A&M athletics.
Former Texas Longhorn and NFL star, Eric Metcalf, is one of the most distinguished two-sport athletes in Longhorn history. As a member of both the track and field and football teams, Metcalf broke numerous records that still stand today. A four-time All-American in track and field, Metcalf won the National Championship in the long jump in 1986 and 1988 and placed eighth in the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials. In addition to his success on the track, Metcalf was a three-time All-Southwest Conference selection, second-team All-American and winner of the Southwest Conference Player of the Year in 1987. Along with holding every running back receiving record, Metcalf remains the only player in Texas history to lead the team in all-purpose yards for four consecutive years. Metcalf’s success on the football field continued after the Cleveland Browns selected him in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft. The three-time Pro Bowl selection ranks 12th on the NFL’s All Time Kick Returns List, 13th on the All Time All-Purpose Yards List and his 12 returned kick touchdowns are tied for third-most in NFL history. During his 13 years in the NFL, Metcalf found time to create the Seatown Express Track Club to inspire athletes to pursue track and earn college scholarships through the sport. The son of former NFL running back, Terry Metcalf, is a member of the University of Texas’ Hall of Honor.
Three-time Emmy Award winner and five-time National Sportscaster of the Year, Jim Nantz, is one of the most distinguished sports commentators of all time. The University of Houston graduate has covered virtually every sport for the CBS Television Network since joining in 1985. Nantz has been the lead play-by-play voice for THE NFL ON CBS and the Network’s NFL Thursday Night Football games; the lead anchor of CBS’s golf coverage, including the PGA Tour, Masters and PGA Championship; and lead play-by-play announcer for college basketball, including the NCAA Men’s Final Four.
Overall, Jim has broadcasted six Super Bowls, even calling the most recent Super Bowl 50 in February. Jim is the youngest recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award as well as the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Media Award. In 2011, Nantz returned to his adopted hometown of Houston to team with Houston Methodist Hospital at The Texas Medical Center to create the Nantz National Alzheimer Center. The NNAC is dedicated to funding innovative diagnostic discoveries for early and accurate detection of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementing illnesses in hopes of one day finding a cure.
The proud Houston Cougar graduated with a degree in radio/television from the University of Houston in 1981, where he was recruited as a member of the golf team. In May 2001, he received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from his alma mater, becoming the first former student-athlete to ever deliver the commencement address and be bestowed an honorary degree from the university. In 2002, Jim was named to the UH Athletics Hall of Honor.
Former college standout and NFL running back Billy Sims played five seasons in the National Football League. The first overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft was selected by the Detroit Lions after a memorable career at the University of Oklahoma. During his time as a Sooner, Sims led the Big Eight in rushing and the nation in scoring for two consecutive years. The two-time consensus All-American won the prestigious Heisman Trophy as a junior in 1978 as well as the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. After rushing for 1,303 yards and 13 touchdowns during his first season with the Lions, Sims became the NFL’s AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1980. The three-time Pro Bowl selection was the Lions’ offensive MVP in 1980, 1982 and 1983 and led the Lions to two successive playoff appearances. In addition, Sims played an integral role in helping the Lions claim the NFC Central division title in 1983. The storied running back ranks second on the Lions’ all-time rushing list with 5,106 yards and 42 touchdowns. Sims was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1995. Today, the Texas-raised athlete owns and maintains his own barbeque franchise, Billy Sims Barbeque, which he launched in 2004.
NFL Hall of Famer Curley Culp played 13 years in the American Football League and National Football League with the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Oilers, and Detroit Lions. During his outstanding career, Culp played both offensive and defensive line and was elected to a Pro Bowl or AFL All-Star Game six times. The NFL legend and member of the 2013 Hall of Fame class played his college football at Arizona State University, where he also won the NCAA heavyweight wrestling championship. Culp is a member of the ASU Football Hall of Fame and was the school’s Homecoming King in 1967. During his NFL career, Culp complied 68 career sacks and was a member of the Chiefs team that won Super Bowl IV. After spending 1968-74 with the Chiefs, Culp was traded to the Oilers and spent seven years in Houston. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1975 and was the Oilers team MVP in 1977. Culp was also named to the Houston Oilers 30th Anniversary “Dream Team” as selected by vote of the Houston Oilers fans and got enshrined into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 2008. Additionally, Culp received the Bill Ennis Memorial Award [HSSA] as the Professional Athlete of the Year in 1975 and was recognized as the No. 1 Athlete of the Century for the State of Arizona by USA Today.
A 14-year veteran of the Green Bay Packers from 1999 to 2012, former NFL wide receiver Donald Driver is one of the most decorated players in Packer history. He currently holds the franchise’s all-time records for most career receptions and receiving yards. The Houston native is a former Super Bowl Champion and four time NFL Pro Bowler. In high school, Driver lettered four times each in track, football, basketball and baseball at Milby High in Houston. Driver was also a Texas All-State honorable mention in Football, where he played wide receiver, defensive back, and returned kicks. After his incredible high school career, Driver enrolled at Alcorn State University in Mississippi, where he lettered in both football and track & field. He finished his college football career with 88 receptions for 1,993 yards and was a five-time “Athlete of the Year” in his conference for track and football. Although Driver was originally just a seventh round pick of the Packers in 1999, he went on to win multiple awards with them, including being named the “Walter Payton Man of the Year” in 2002 and receiving the “Ed Block Courage Award” in 2005. Since retiring, Driver has become a New York Times bestselling author and won season 14 of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars in 2012.
Former college and NFL star David Elmendorf is one of the most decorated athletes in Texas A&M history. During his storied college career, Elmendorf was named a consensus All-American in baseball and football for the Aggies and was a seven-time letterman. Elmendorf, who was also an Academic All-American in both sports, is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Texas A&M Hall of Fame, and Texas High School Football Hall of Fame. The two sport star was first drafted to play baseball by the New York Yankees in 1971, but chose to play football and was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams later that same year. Elmendorf played nine seasons in the NFL at safety, where he was a member of the Rams’ Super Bowl XIV team. He was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie Team as a rookie in 1971, earned First-Team All-NFC honors in 1974, and was Second-Team All-Pro in 1975. In his nine NFL seasons, Elmendorf played in 130 games, starting all 130, and intercepted 27 passes and recovering 10 fumbles. Elmendorf, a native of San Antonio, attended Westbury High School in Houston, where he was named All-City and All-State. He did color commentary for the Texas A&M football radio broadcast in 2007 and was named General Manager of Quail Valley Golf Course in 2008.
On the day Texas A&M’s football team arrived for Paul Bryant’s first training camp at Junction in the hot, dry summer of 1954, senior quarterback Elwood Kettler and the seven players with whom he shared a room began a card game, with the winner to be decided at the end of camp.
By the third day of workouts, Kettler was the only one left.
For being one of the handful who endured 10 days in the Texas Hill Country more than 60 years ago, and for accomplishments since then as a longtime high school and college football coach, Kettler was remembered this week, upon his death at age 85, as a leader among the team that became known as the “Junction Boys” and as a respected figure in Texas football history.
One of the most accomplished and respected sports writers in the country, John McClain has been covering the NFL for the Houston Chronicle for over 35 years. He has won numerous awards around the country for his work covering the league and is the former President of the Pro Football Writers of America. McClain, who grew up in Waco and graduated from Baylor, left the Waco Tribune-Herald to join the Houston Chronicle in October 1976 to cover the original Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association. He eventually moved to football coverage and his first Oilers’ training camp was in 1977. Now, McClain is a member of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. In 2006, he received the Dick McCann Memorial Award as the Pro Football Hall of Fame recognized him for his long and distinguished reporting on the NFL. McClain is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild with appearances in movies such as The Rookie, The Longest Yard, Invincible, The Game Plan, Secretariat, Cook County and Spring Breakers.
Charles Alexander, a two-time All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist who played at LSU from 1975-78, is regarded as one of the Southeastern Conference’s all-time great running backs.
Born and raised in Galveston, Alexander played his prep ball at Ball High School. A 2012 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, Alexander twice finished in the top-10 in Heisman voting, placing ninth as a junior and fifth as a senior. The MVP of the Southeastern Conference in 1977, Alexander set nine SEC records and tied for another. At the end of a stellar career that included a pair of All-America and All-SEC honors, his name sat atop 27 LSU records. Alexander still holds the school records for most rushes in a game (43), most yards in a season (1686) and most yards gained per game in a season (153.3).
Alexander was selected with the 12th pick in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft by Cincinnati and played in Super Bowl XVI. In addition to the College Football Hall of Fame, Alexander is a member of LSU’s Modern Day Team of the Century and both the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame. Alexander served as a development officer for LSU’s Tiger Athletic Foundation and is now a successful businessman in Houston.
A 10-year veteran of the Houston Oilers from 1975 to 1984, Robert Brazile became a Houston legend as one of the leagues’ most feared linebackers and guided the Oilers to consecutive AFC Championship games in 1978 and 1979. Following a successful career at Jackson State, Oilers’ head coach and general manager Bum Phillips selected Brazile with the sixth overall pick and quickly slotted the rookie into the outside linebacker position in the 3-4 defense.
Nicknamed ‘Dr. Doom’ by his teammates, Brazile was named the 1975 Defensive Rookie of the Year, earned Pro Bowl selections in each of his first seven years in the league and was an eight-time All-Pro.
Brazile is a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1970s after racking up 1,281 tackles in his career, the second highest in Oilers/Tennessee Titans team history. Brazile displayed a knack for getting after the quarterback, but is only credited with 11 sacks because the stat did not become official until the 1982 season. Brazile was recently inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame and is a member of the SWAC Hall of Fame and Jackson State Hall of Fame.
Following his career on the gridiron, Brazile coached a minor league football team and is currently a teacher for special needs children in Mobile, Ala.
The late James Street led the University of Texas to a perfect 11-0 season and football national championship in 1969. Street arrived at Texas as a seventh-string quarterback from Longview, Texas, and finished his college career with an unblemished 20-0 record.
Street was also a baseball standout, posting a 29-8 record pitching for Texas that included a perfect game against Texas Tech in 1970 and no-hitter against SMU in 1969. Street pioneered Texas Coach Darrell Royal and assistant Emory Bellard’s wishbone offense, which became the premiere offensive scheme in college football in the 1970s and 1980s. Some of Street’s best performances occurred on the biggest stage, including the ‘Game of the Century,’ a 15-14 come from behind victory against Arkansas in the 1969 season finale, and a 21-17 victory over Notre Dame in the 1970 Cotton Bowl played on New Year’s Day.
Street later went on to enjoy a successful career in finance and structured settlements, founding a firm in Austin that focused on working with plaintiffs in legal disputes. He received numerous awards in his profession and as a philanthropist in Austin, and in 2010 he was named a Distinguished American by the Greater Austin Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. Street was also a member of the Longhorn Hall of Honor and Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
Street is survived by his wife Janie and five sons, including current Major League pitcher and 2002 Longhorn College World Series Champion, Huston.
University of Houston legend and 1989 Heisman Trophy winner, Andre Ware, pioneered the ‘Run & Shoot’ offense en route to one of the most prolific seasons for a collegiate quarterback.
Ware was born and raised in Galveston and graduated from Dickinson High School. The signal caller became the first African-American quarterback to win college football’s most prestigious award his junior season after throwing for 4,699 yards and 44 touchdowns and setting 26 NCAA records. Ware added the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s most outstanding quarterback, and was selected with the seventh overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.
Ware was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. Ware currently resides in Houston and has been on the call for Texans’ games on radio since the team’s inaugural season of 2002 in addition to calling college football games for the ESPN family of networks.
A former player and legendary high school coach in Southeast Texas, Joe Washington Sr., spent a large portion of his coaching career at all-black high schools.
Born on June 10, 1929 in Rosenberg, Washington grew up in the town 20-plus miles from Houston. Washington did not play prep football because the black high school in Rosenberg at the time did not field a football team, but persevered first as a player and then later as a coach despite the Jim Crow Laws that made segregation law.
He enlisted in the army in 1946, where he played running back and defensive back for a racially-mixed armed forces team while stationed in Hawaii, and went on to enjoy a successful three-year career at all-black Prairie View A&M. At Prairie View, Washington met his wife Phyllis, and following graduation in 1951 would begin a coaching career that spanned 45 years.
Washington spent the first 15 years of his career at Hilliard High School in Bay City and the next 30 years at Abraham Lincoln High School in Port Arthur. Washington coached a half dozen players to the NFL, including his son Joe Jr., who went on to become a two-time All-American at Oklahoma, a 1976 first round pick of the San Diego Chargers and a Super Bowl XVII Champion with the Washington Redskins.
Texas born and raised, Donny Anderson graduated from Stinnett High School in 1961. After high school Anderson continued play football at Texas Tech University where he earned the nickname, “Golden Palomino.” While at Texas Tech, Anderson was a 2x All American and 3x All Southwestern Conference pick. In 1965, Anderson was named The Sporting News National Co-Player of the Year and the winner of the Southwestern Conference Sportsmanship Award.
Anderson was chosen 7th pick overall by the Green Bay Packers and signed the most lucrative contract ever offered to an NFL rookie to date. During his six seasons with the Packers, Anderson won two Super Bowl Championships and was a 2x Green Bay Packer MVP. Donny finished his career playing three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before retiring.
Donny Anderson is a member of the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame, the Texas Tech Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame, and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
Abner Haynes was born in Denton, Texas and graduated from Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas. After graduating, Haynes continued playing football at North Texas State University where he and his teammate, Leon King, introduced integrated college football to Texas in 1956.
Haynes made his debut in the American Football League in 1960 with the Dallas Texans and was named the AFL Rookie of the Year, the AP AFL MVP, and the UPI AFL MVP all during his first season. Abner Haynes played eight seasons in the American Football League, with the Dallas Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets before retiring.
Between the years of 1960 and 1964, Haynes was a 4x AFL All-Star selection, a 3x TSN All-AFL selection, and 4x All-Pro selection. He is now a part of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame, and North Texas Hall of Fame. Abner Haynes was named to the AFL’s All-Time Second Team.
Bob Lilly played his entire high school, college, and professional careers in the state of Texas. Born in Throckmorton, Texas, he attended Throckmorton High School. Upon graduation, Lilly continued playing football at Texas Christian University where he was honored as a two-time All-Southwestern Conference pick.
Chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys in 1961, Bob Lilly played 14 seasons with the Cowboys and during that time was an 11x Pro Bowl selection, 7x First-team All-Pro selection, 2x Second-team All-Pro selection, 8x All-Conference selection, and a 2x Second-team All-Conference selection.
A 1971 Super Bowl champion and Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor inductee, Bob Lilly is also a member of the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and the NFL 1960s & 1970s All-Decade Team. Lilly is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
Legendary player and coach, Dat Nguyen, was born at a refugee center in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas after his family left South Vietnam during the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. Nguyen lived most of his childhood in Rockport, Texas where we attended Rockport-Fulton High School playing linebacker and handling punting duties.
Nguyen decided to continue his career in College Station playing for the Texas A&M Aggies. As a freshman at Texas A&M, he was named the Southwestern Conference Defensive Newcomer of the Year and earned first-team All-Big 12 honors three consecutive times between 1996 and 1998. In 1997, Nguyen was named the Aggies’ MVP and was awarded the Lombardi Award, the Jack Lambert Award, the Chuck Bednarik Award, was a unanimous All-American, and was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year all during his 1998 senior season.
Nguyen became the first Vietnamese-American to play in the NFL when the Dallas Cowboys drafted him in 1999. During his seven seasons playing in the NFL, Nguyen was a part of the All-Rookie Special Teams Team in 1999 and All-Pro Team in 2003. Nguyen is a member of the 2005 Big 12 10th Anniversary Team and the 2010 AP All-Time Big 12 Team.
Making his coaching debut with the Cowboys as an Assistant Linebackers Coach and Defensive Quality Control Coach in 2007, Nguyen returned to his alma mater, Texas A&M University after coaching for three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Dat Nguyen coached under Mike Sherman for two seasons as the Aggies’ Inside Linebackers Coach. Currently, Nguyen lives in San Antonio and co-hosts for ESPN Radio.
A Houston native, DW Rutledge, played high school football at Sam Houston High School in Houston, Texas and continued his career at as linebacker at Texas Lutheran University.
While playing at TLU, Rutledge captained the 1974 NAIA National Championship team and was a Kodak All-American. Rutledge is one of the most successful coaches associated with Texas high school football history, winning four state championships at Judson High School in Converse, TX. The school eventually renamed its’ football stadium in Rutledge’s honor of his success. Rutledge is a member of the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame, the Texas High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame.
Rutledge co-authored the book Coaching to Change Lives, and is currently the Executive Director of the Texas High School Coaches Association.
Ty Detmer was born in San Marcos and graduated from San Antonio Southwest High School, where he was named an All-American and was the Texas High School Player of the Year in 1986.
Detmer moved on to Brigham Young, where he became one of the greatest passers in college football history in famed head coach LaVell Edwards’ wide-open offense. In 1989, his first year as a full-time starter, Detmer led BYU to the WAC championship, throwing for 4,560 yards and 32 touchdowns in the regular season. The following year, he threw for 5,188 yards and 41 touchdowns in 12 regular season games, including a 406-yard, three-touchdown performance to defeat the reigning national champion Miami Hurricanes. He finished the year with 42 NCAA records and tied for five others. For his performance, he was named a consensus All-American and won the 1990 Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Trophy and the Davey O’Brien Award.
Legendary coach Hayden Fry spent 37 years as a head coach at Southern Methodist, North Texas and Iowa, compiling a record of 232-178-10, giving him the tenth-most wins in college football history at the time of his retirement in 1998.
Fry played collegiately at Baylor and took his first college head coaching job at Southern Methodist in 1962. Perhaps his most significant and lasting impact was his recruitment of Jerry LeVias in 1965, making LeVias the first African-American scholarship athlete in the Southwest Conference. The following year, Fry led the Mustangs to their first Southwest Conference title since 1948. Fry moved up I-35 to North Texas in 1973, where he took over a program on the brink of being abandoned and won a share of the Missouri Valley Conference championship in his first season.
Fry is best known in coaching circles for his success at Iowa, where he coached from 1979-98 and led the Hawkeyes to three Big Ten titles. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
The most successful college football coach the state of Texas has ever seen, Royal guided the University of Texas to three national championships and 12 Southwest Conference titles. His Longhorns went to 16 bowl games and recorded 10 top-10 finishes, and his 167 wins remain the most in Texas’ storied history.
Under Royal, the Longhorns revolutionized college football by debuting the “Wishbone” offensive attack, which led to 30 consecutive victories and two national titles from 1968-70. Royal retired from coaching following the 1976 but remained in Austin as the athletic director until he retired in 1980. Prior to becoming a coach, Royal was an All-America quarterback at Oklahoma under the legendary Bud Wilkinson, making him one of the very few people to have competed in the heated Texas-Oklahoma rivalry on both sides. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
With over 230 wins at the helm of Aldine High School, Bill Smith joins the Gridiron Legends as a renowned Houston-area high school coach. Smith led the Mustangs for over 29 years, winning the state and national championships in 1990 and picking up numerous accolades along the way. In 2004, Aldine renamed its stadium to honor Coach Smith for his service to the school and community.
Thomas is a Houston Native who grew up playing football in Missouri City. Thomas attended Oklahoma State University where he was selected as first team selection on the College Football All-America Team in 1985 and 1987 and also a Heisman candidate his senior year.
Drafted in the first round of the 1988 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills, Thomas was a key component in the offense that included Jim Kelly and Andre Reed, which lead the Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearances. Thomas was selected to 5 straight Pro-Bowls from 1989-1993. Thurman Thomas played in the NFL for 13 season and still hold the all-time Buffalo Bills rushing record with 11,938 yards and the team record for yards from scrimmage with 16,279 over 12 years. Thomas is also the only player in the history of the NFL to lead the league in total yards from scrimmage for four consecutive season.
Johnston becomes the first high school coach to be inducted as a Gridiron Legend.
As head coach of Katy High School, he led the Tigers to more than 200 victories and 13 district championships. Under Johnston, Katy became a powerhouse at the 5A level and capture three state titles - in 1997, 2000 and 2003. Johnston led his teams to undefeated regular seasons in 1998 and 2000, with the 2000 team finishing a perfect 16-0. Johnston was inducted into the Texas High School Coaches Hall of Honor in 2007.
Born in Tampa, Florida, McNair and his wife, Janice Suber McNair, have been residents of Houston since 1960.
McNair formed Houston NFL Holdings in 1998 with a commitment to bringing a National Football League team to Houston. On October 6, 1999, the NFL announced that the 32nd NFL franchise had been awarded to McNair, returning football to the city of Houston in 2002. As Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Texas Bowl, McNair revived Houston's collegiate bowl game on December 28, 2006. McNair selected DePelchin Children’s Center as the charity beneficiary of the bowl in 2006. DePelchin has been awarded nearly $1.4 million since 2006.
Pastorini came to Houston as the third overall pick of the 1971 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers and over the following nine seasons, he passed for 16,864 yards and 96 touchdowns. Pastorini was the quarterback during the height of the Oilers’ ‘Luv Ya Blue’ era and led Houston to the AFC Championship Game in 1978 and again in 1979. Following his playing career, Pastorini became a professional driver and won several NHRA races in the 1980s. He currently lives in Houston.
Phillips has personified football in Houston for more than three decades and spent the vast majority of his playing and coaching career in Houston and Southeast Texas.
A native of Orange, he played at Lamar and Stephen F. Austin before going into coaching. His career on the sidelines took him through the high school and college ranks before he returned to Houston as the Oilers’ defensive coordinator in 1974. He took over as head coach the following year and went on to lead the Oilers to a 59-38 record over six years, including two consecutive trips to the AFC Championship Game in 1978 and ’79. Phillips coached the New Orleans Saints from 1981-85 before retiring from coaching. His son, Wade, is one of the most successful defensive coaches in NFL history and like his father, returned to Houston this year as the Texans’ defensive coordinator.
Despite being small in stature at five-foot-nine and a mere 179 pounds, Port Arthur native Joe Washington used his remarkable speed and quickness to run for over 4,000 yards at Oklahoma, where he was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist.
He was drafted fourth overall in 1976 by the San Diego Chargers, but he had his greatest success with the Washington Redskins from 1981-84, when he gained 3,294 yards from scrimmage and scored 16 touchdowns. He was a member of the Redskins’ Super Bowl XVII-winning team and was named one of the 70 greatest Redskins of all time in 2002 in honor of the club’s 70th anniversary. Washington was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
John David Crow Sr. was an American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1957 as a halfback for the Texas A&M Aggies. After college, he played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) for the Chicago / St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers from 1958 to 1968.
After his playing career, Crow became an assistant football coach for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team of the University of Alabama, serving under coach Bear Bryant from 1969 to 1971. He moved to the NFL as an assistant with the Cleveland Browns in 1972, and then the San Diego Chargers in 1974. In December 1975, Crow was hired as head football coach and athletic director at Northeast Louisiana University—now the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He coached the football team for five seasons, from 1976 to 1980, compiling a record of 20–34–1. He remained as athletic director until 1981. Crow returned to his alma mater, Texas A&M, in 1983 as an assistant athletic director. He was promoted to athletic director in 1988 and served in that capacity until 1993.
Crow was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1976. A street on the campus of Texas A&M University adjacent to Kyle Field is named after him.
In 2009 Erle and Alice Nye commissioned a twice life size bronze statue of Crow and donated the $250,000 monument to Texas A&M University, sculpted by Steven Whyte.
Born in Corpus Christi, Berry earned a spot on the UIL All-Time Texas High School Football Team after a stellar career at Paris High in East Texas. He went on to star at Southern Methodist, where he was an All-Southwest Conference pick in 1954 and was named to SMU’s Hall of Fame earlier this year. Berry caught 631 passes for 9,275 yards and 68 touchdowns from 1955-97 for the Baltimore Colts. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973. Berry also coached the New England Patriots to their first Super Bowl appearance in 1985.
Bradley, nicknamed “Super Bill” for his ability to play seemingly every position well, quarterbacked Palestine High to the 1964 3A state championship. He played collegiately at the University of Texas, where he was a three-time letterman, moving from quarterback to defensive back, and was a team captain in 1968. Bradley was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1969 and was a three-time All-Pro selection before retiring in 1977. Bradley is a member of the Texas High School Football, University of Texas, Philadelphia Eagles and Texas Sports Halls of Fame.
Earl Campbell, a 5-11, 232-pound ball-carrying dynamo from the University of Texas, joined the Houston Oilers as the first player taken in the 1978 National Football League Draft. The first player to earn All-Southwest Conference honors four years, Campbell was a consensus All-America and the Heisman Trophy winner in 1977.
Born March 29, 1955, in Tyler, Texas, Campbell took the NFL by storm right from the very start. In 1978, he was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player, All-Pro, and Rookie of the Year. He won the league rushing championship with 1,450 yards and was named to the AFC Pro Bowl squad. It was more of the same the next two years with NFL rushing titles, MVP honors, and consensus All-Pro acclaim each season.
His finest year came in 1980, however, when he rushed for 1,934 yards, which at the time was second only to 0. J. Simpson’s 2003 yards gained in 1973. That year, he gained over 200 yards in four games. In 1981, he won his fourth straight AFC rushing title. A sensational runner, Campbell was picked for the Pro Bowl five of his first six NFL seasons.
Glenn starred in the Lone Star State for nearly his entire playing career. He was a four-year letterman at Aldine Nimitz before moving on to Navarro College, where he earned All-Conference and All-America honors as a sophomore. Glenn played his junior and senior seasons at Texas A&M, where he was a two-time All-Southwest Conference pick and a 1993 All-American. Glenn was drafted by the New York Jets with the 12th overall pick in 1994 and played there for eight seasons before joining the Houston Texans in the 2002 expansion draft. He was the first Pro Bowler in Texans history, and officially retired as a Texan on July 29, 2010. Glenn also played for the Dallas Cowboys in 2005.
A native of Temple, “Mean” Joe Greene led North Texas State to a 23-5-1 record from 1966-68 and was a consensus All-America pick in 1968. He was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984.
Greene was selected by the Steelers with the fourth overall pick in the 1969 NFL Draft and played 13 seasons as the most feared member of the famed “Steel Curtain,” winning four Super Bowls and playing in 10 Pro Bowls. He was named to the All-Pro team eight times, including five first-team nods, and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1972 and 1974. Greene was named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1994 and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1987.
McNeil attended Baylor University, where he set several reception records. He was an exciting athlete to watch during his career in the 1980s. McNeil played in the United States Football League for the Houston Gamblers from 1984–1985. Subsequently, he entered the National Football League, where he was drafted in 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft of USFL and CFL Players in the second round by the Cleveland Browns. In 1987, he was selected for the Pro Bowl. McNeil played for four seasons with Cleveland, and then played his final season for the Houston Oilers. In 1986, McNeil was the only player in the NFL to return both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown in the same season.
Moses, a Houston native, lettered for the University of Texas in 1960 and 1961. Playing both ways at the offensive and defensive end positions, Moses led the Longhorns in receptions during the 1961 season and was a consensus All-Southwest Conference pick. At the end of that year, he was selected as the Outstanding Defensive Player in the 1962 Cotton Bowl when he led a defensive effort that shut down a vaunted Ole Miss passing attack in a 12-7 victory, giving head coach Darrell Royal his first bowl win. Moses was named to the 1960’s All-Decade Team and was inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 2001. Moses was a founding member of the Texas Bowl Board of Directors.
Don Trull had a "rude awakening" when he showed up at Baylor in 1959. The all-state quarterback from Oklahoma was fourth on the depth chart on the freshman team. But from those humble beginnings, the Oklahoma City native became one of the most productive quarterbacks in college football history. A first-team All-American who was fourth in the 1963 Heisman Trophy balloting, Trull twice led the nation in passing and threw for more than 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns in his Baylor career.
After lettering in basketball, baseball, and football at TCU, Sammy Baugh was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1937. With a record-setting career as a quarterback, defensive back, and punter, Baugh was named to the inaugural class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963, the 1940s NFL All Decade Team, and the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. Baugh passed away on December 17, 2008.
After a successful career at Widener University, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson helped transform the 1970s Houston Oilers into the “Luv ya Blue” era. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection during his time with the Oilers and named to the 1980s NFL All Decade Team and the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.
A star player at San Antonio Jefferson High School and a consensus All American in 1982 for the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Rivera set a school single-season record with 105 tackles in 1982 and earned the nickname “Señor Sack.”
A halfback from Corpus Christi, Texas, Roland lettered at Missouri in 1962, 1964-66 and was an All-Big Eight Conference selection all three years. Roland was the best ofensive weapon on legendary coach Dan Devine’s powerhouse Mizzou teams of the 1960’s and he also excelled at defensive back. In 1965, Roland led the Tigers to an 8-2-1 record and a 20-18 victory over the University of Florida in the 1966 Sugar Bowl. He was named a collegiate All-American.
One could say that Roland was the catalyst for the highly successful 1962 and 1965 Tiger football teams. In 1964 Roland displayed his dangerous versatility, playing defensive back, short yardage running back and kick returner on special teams.
He was drafted in the fourth round of the National Footbal League by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1966 NFL draft, playing with the Big Red from 1966-72. He earned Rookie of the Year honors in 1966 after leading the league in punt return yardage. He finished his playing career with the New York Giants in 1973. Following his playing days, Roland coached at both the collegiate and professional levels.
Sonny attended The University of Texas on a football scholarship and graduated with a degree in law. While at The University, Sonny developed a passion for politics and served as student body Vice President. Immediately following his graduation in 1955, Sonny entered the U.S. Army. He and Joann were stationed at Fort Ord in California where Sonny coached the Fort Ord Warriors football team which won the National Services Championship. Sonny was an original founder of the Houston Touchdown Club and a past president of the Houston Texas Exes.
Currently serving as the Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association, Teaff coached Baylor University through its most successful college football era. Teaff was honored as the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year six times and named the Football writers Coach of the Year in 1974 while leading the Bears to two Southwest Conference titles and four bowl victories.
A star player at Lufkin High School and a Hall of Fame defensive tackle for the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Burley went on to play for six seasons in the Canadian Football League. As a principal and superintendant in local middle and high schools, he developed a reputation for turning around troubled schools.
After an All-America career at Texas Southern, Burrough helped transform the 1970s Houston Oilers into the “Luv ya Blue” era. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection during his time with the Oilers.
Herskowitz covered local and national sports for the Houston Chronicle and Houston Post for over 50 years. He also won many awards for his sports journalism and was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.
Moegle attended Taylor High School, where he played football and basketball. He accepted a scholarship from Rice University and attended as a 16-year-old freshman. In the 1954 Cotton Bowl Classic against Alabama, Moegle was involved in one of college football's most famous plays. With Rice leading 7–6, Moegle broke through on a sweep from Rice's five-yard line, and was running down the sideline in front of Alabama's bench on his way to a touchdown. Alabama's Tommy Lewis, without putting on his helmet, jumped off the bench and tackled Moegle. Seeing what happened, referee Cliff Shaw awarded a 95-yard touchdown on the play, and Rice went on to win the game 28–6. Moegle finished with 265 rushing yards, which was a Cotton Bowl Classic record until the 2008 game when Missouri's Tony Temple rushed for 281 yards. He finished with game records of 265 yards on 11 carries for an average of 24.1 yards per attempt and 3 touchdowns.
In 1979, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. In 1970, he was inducted into the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1980, he was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
Moegle was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round (10th overall) of the 1955 NFL Draft. He also played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys during his professional career.
During his playing days, the safety's last name was spelled "Moegle", because it was constantly mispronounced, he changed his name to "Maegle" to be more phonetically correct in 1962.
Pardee played for coach “Bear” Bryant’s famed Junction Boys at Texas A&M where he earned All-America honors. Pardee spent a great deal of his coaching career in Houston, first with the Houston Gamblers of the USFL, then at the University of Houston and ultimately with the Houston Oilers.
As head coach at Texas A&M, Sherrill started the legendary “12th Man” kickoff team and built the Aggies into a national powerhouse in the 1980s. Sherrill guided the Aggies to a 52-28-1 record and three Southwest Conference titles in seven years.
Hall of Famer Elvin Bethea played his entire professional career with the Houston Oilers, playing in 210 games at defensive end, including 135 consecutive games from 1968-77. Bethea was one of the most dominant defensive ends in football during his time and finished his career with 105 sacks. Bethea played in eight all-star games in his 16-year career, including three Pro Bowls, four AFC-NFC All-Star games and one AFL All-Star game. Bethea helped lead the Oilers to consecutive trips to the AFC Championship Game in 1978 and 1979. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
Dave Campbell is best known as the publisher of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, an annual football preview magazine which has long been considered the “bible” of football in the state. Prior to starting the magazine, Campbell was a writer and editor for the Waco Tribune-Herald. He published the first edition of Texas Football out of his kitchen in 1960. After 48 years, Campbell remains the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief to this day. He also chairs the selection committee for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
Ray Childress was a five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman for the Houston Oilers from 1985-95 before finishing his career in Dallas in 1996. He earned one Pro Bowl nod at defensive end before moving inside to tackle when the Oilers shifted to a 4-3 defense in 1990, and he proceeded to earn four more Pro Bowl trips at tackle. The Oilers made Childress the third overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M, where he had been a two-time All-American for the Aggies. Childress left Texas A&M with the school record for sacks by a non-linebacker, with 25. Today, Childress serves as chairman and CEO of Ray Childress Auto Group.
Chris Gilbert was the first player in NCAA history to gain 1,000 yards in each of the seasons for which he was eligible. Gilbert played for coach Darrell Royal’s Longhorns from 1966 through the initial year of the famed Wishbone offense in 1968. Gilbert was a three-time All-SWC back who rushed for more than 100 yards 15 times and had four 200-yard efforts. He earned team MVP honors in each of his three seasons and finished his career as the school’s and the Southwest Conference’s all-time leading rusher with 3,231 yards, which ranked third on the NCAA all-time list at the time. Following graduation, Gilbert was drafted by the New York Jets but chose to enter private business in Texas. He was elected to the National College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Mike Renfro played his entire football career within the state of Texas, from high school through the NFL. Born in Fort Worth, Renfro was a three-time All-Southwest Conference selection at wide receiver while playing at TCU. He was a fourth-round selection by the Houston Oilers in the 1978 NFL Draft and played for the Oilers from 1978-83. Renfro also played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1984-87. He finished his 10-year career with 323 catches for 4,708 yards and 28 touchdowns. Perhaps his most memorable catch was one that wasn’t—a touchdown in the 1980 AFC Championship Game vs. Pittsburgh that was ruled out of bounds despite TV evidence to the contrary.
Corby Robertson was a three-year football letterman at the University of Texas from 1966-68, earning All-American honors for both athletic and academic achievement. Robertson was an All-American linebacker in 1967 and earned All-Southwest Conference accolades in 1966. He earned a B.B.A. with honors from The University of Texas at Austin, and following graduation he went on to a highly successful career in the business world. Robertson is CEO of Quintana Minerals Corp. and Natural Resource Partners, and serves on numerous corporate Boards of Directors. Robertson was elected to the University of Texas Longhorn Hall of Honor for football in 1993 and was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2002.
Yeoman was the head coach at Houston from 1962 to 1986 and is the Cougars’ all-time winningest head coach with a record of 160-108-8. Yeoman led the Cougars to four top-10 finishes and 10 top-20 seasons in his 25 seasons. He guided the Cougars to four Southwest Conference Championships – 1976, 1978, 1979 and 1984 – and a 6-4-1 record in bowl games, including Cotton Bowl victories over Maryland in 1977 and Nebraska in 1980.
Yeoman introduced the ‘Veer’ offense to college football, and his Cougars were known for their high-powered attack. Houston led the nation in total offense for three consecutive years from 1966-68, averaging 437 yards per game in 1966, 427 in 1967 and a then-record 562 yards per game in 1968. That 1968 team also led the nation in scoring, averaging 42.5 points per game.
In 1976, Houston’s first year as a member of the Southwest Conference, Yeoman was named Texas Coach of the Year and runner-up for National Coach of the Year. Yeoman was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. He coached 46 All-Americans and 69 NFL players.
Yeoman was also a trailblazer off the field. In 1964, he broke the color barrier for major Texas football programs when he signed an African-American recruit from San Antonio named Warren McVea to a scholarship.
Roosevelt Leaks was born in Brenham, Texas, and attended Brenham High School. Leaks went on to have a successful collegiate career as a fullback at the University of Texas where he became the first African-American athlete to earn All-America and All-Conference honors for the Longhorns. Drafted in the 1974 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts, Leaks enjoyed a nine-year professional career with the Colts and Buffalo Bills. Leaks’ success was highlighted with his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in December of 2005.
Mr. Hunt spent his childhood in both Tyler and Dallas before graduating from Southern Methodist University in 1956 with a degree in Geology. He later entered the family oil business before founding the American Football League (AFL) in 1960, thus beginning his longtime association with professional football. Mr. Hunt served as the guiding figure behind the formation of both the AFL and the Dallas Texans franchise, which would later become the Kansas City Chiefs. He was the first AFL figure to be enshrined in the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1972, a remarkable feat considering he became involved in the game just 13 years earlier.
As the founder of the AFL, he helped pave the way for much of the modern growth of pro football. Possibly the greatest tribute to Mr. Hunt’s contribution to the sport was naming by the National Football League of the Lamar Hunt Trophy, which is presented annually to the champion of the American Football Conference. Mr. Hunt is also credited with coining the name “Super Bowl” for the NFL’s championship game. In 1962, his Texans won the AFL Championship with a victory over the Houston Oilers. After three years in Dallas, Mr. Hunt moved his team to Kansas City in 1963, where the organization was renamed the Chiefs. His team repeated as AFL Champions in both 1966 and 1969. The Chiefs played in the first Super Bowl against the NFL Champion Green Bay Packers. Three years later, the Chiefs claimed Kansas City’s first major sports championship by defeating the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
Along with his family, Mr. Hunt was involved in numerous philanthropic and civic efforts in Dallas, across the state of Texas and in the Kansas City community. He was also a long-time member of Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas. Lamar Hunt will be remembered as an innovator and leader by football fans across the country, but especially in Texas.
G.A. Moore graduated from Pilot Point High School in 1957, where he earned 16 letters in football, basketball, track and baseball. He was named All State in football and basketball and received a football scholarship to North Texas State University. After graduation from NTSU Moore entered into high school coaching, where over the next 42 years he amassed a 412-83-9 record. Moore is the winningest coach in Texas high school history and is second in Texas history with eight state championships.
Don Maynard was born in Crosbyton, Texas, went to Colorado City High School in Texas and attended Texas Western College where he became a two-time All-Border Conference halfback. Maynard began his Pro Football Hall of Fame career when he was drafted by the New York Giants in 1957. Over his 17-year career Maynard was named an AFL All-Star four times and accumulated a record-setting 633 career catches for 11,834 yards. At the time of his retirement, Maynard was one of only five players to record more than 50 receptions and more than 1,000 receiving yards in five different seasons.
Pro Football Hall of Famer, Kenny Houston, excelled as a free safety during his football tenure. Houston began his career at Lufkin H.S. in Lufkin, TX and then went on to play at Prairie View A&M. A 1967 NFL draft pick, Houston played for 14 years in the NFL, splitting his time between the Houston Oilers and the Washington Redskins. During his time in the NFL, Houston returned 49 interceptions for a total of 898 yards, recovered 21 fumbles, scored 12 touchdowns and was selected to 12 straight Pro Bowls.
Jerry LeVias was the first African-American scholarship athlete and football player in the Southwest Athletic Conference. Born in Beaumont, Texas, LeVias attended Hebert High School where he played quarterback until moving onto Southern Methodist University, where he became a three-time All-Conference player and a collegiate All-American. He twice led the Southwest Conference in receiving and held every career record by the end of his college career. LeVias was drafted by the Oilers in 1969 and finished his career with the San Diego Chargers. LeVias was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 and to the National College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.