ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL GRIDIRON LEGENDS CLASS OF 2018 ANNOUNCED
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 6, 2018
HOUSTON – The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Committee has selected the 2018 Class of Gridiron Legends, the committee announced today. The honorees will be introduced at the 2018 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff game on Sept. 1 and will be inducted into the Gridiron Legends at a special pregame ceremony during the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl game at NRG Stadium on Dec. 27.
The class of 2018 features University of Houston All-American Alois Blackwell, Super Bowl V champion and TCU legend Norm Bulaich, New England Patriots Hall of Fame member and three-time NFL All-Pro selection Raymond Clayborn, four-time Super Bowl Champion Gary Kubiak, Texas high school coaching legend Barton Massey and five-time NFL Pro Bowl and four-time NFL All-Pro honoree, Texas Tech alum Wes Welker.
The Gridiron Legends have each made a noteworthy contribution to the game of football in the state of Texas at the high school, collegiate or professional level. The 2018 class joins 71 other Gridiron Legends who have been inducted since the Bowl’s inception in 2006, including Texas greats Earl Campbell, Joe Greene, Andre Ware, Bum Phillips, Jim Nantz, John David Crow and Dave Campbell.
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 Consultings 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.
The 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl will feature teams from the Big 12 and SEC and will kick off at 8 p.m. CT on Thursday, Dec. 27. The game, which has ranked fourth in bowl game attendance in the country behind only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls since 2014, will air nationally on ESPN and ESPN Radio with a local radio broadcast on SportsRadio 610 (KILT-AM).
Tickets remain for the 2018 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff game featuring the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Ole Miss Rebels and can be purchased through the website at http://www.advocaretexaskickoff.com/tickets/.