Jim was a member of the 1967 recruiting class that participated in all 30 games of the winning streak that started in 1968 and ended in the 1971 Cotton Bowl. He participated on one high school state finalist, and two national championship teams converting his leadership on the football field to winning in his professional, family, and community life. His obituary is below and his picture on the right Jim is the very first one top left. The photos on this poster were sorted alphabetically by last name.

Guest Book

"Jan, Jerry and David, Jim was a special friend to me for over 50 years. We had many great times together as engineering students and Longhorn teammates. I'll always cherish the memories of Jim and already miss him. Jim was committed to his faith and we know he is now in a better place without any physical limitations. Syd Keasler"

– Syd Keasler, Friend, Richardson, TX, Nov 10, 2018

"To all the Achilles family, especially my dear friend of over 30 years, Jan......my deepest sympathies on the loss of your brother, Dad and grandfather. He lived a wonderful life and will be in your hearts always. Pam Schneidewind"

– Pam Schneidewind, Friend, Plano, TX, Nov 09, 2018

"A great man that will be deeply missed. I will always be grateful to Jim and Jerry for welcoming me so warmly as a new member of Great Hill's CC in 1992. Jim was never without a kind word or funny story. A friendship I will cherish forever."

– Rick Toth, Friend, Austin, TX, Nov 09, 2018

"Jan, Jerry and David, our sympathies to you at this difficult time.
May God grant you peace and comfort. Many fond memories of
Jim from Balcones Little League."

– Monroe and Eleanor Krause, Pflugerville, TX, Nov 09, 2018

"Jan, so sorry to hear if Jim's passing. He was one of my favorites. I smile today remembering all the fun we had at the rodeo and in Vegas with you two. He was a great man and I fell blessed to have been part of his life and he of mine for a time. He taught me a lot and made me laugh! Hugs to you all!"

– Linda Raven Dubuisson, Friend, Blanco, TX, Nov 11, 2018

"You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I was a freshman at SBHS when we went to state and I remember what a great football player and person Jim was. Janet Edwards Landry"

– Janet Landry, Acquaintance, Houston, TX, Nov 11, 2018

Jan, I was so sorry to hear about Jim. He was truly one of the good ones. He was a person we all looked up to in college. Although our paths didn't cross at UT, I watched him play and was proud of our friendship. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers."

– Marsha Davies Parker, Friend, Houston, TX, Nov 11, 2018

"Jim was a member of the 1967 recruiting class that participated in all 30 games of the winning streak that started in 1968 and ended in the 1971 Cotton Bowl. He participated on two national championship teams and converted his Longhorn success to winning in his professional, family, and community life."

– Billy Dale, Classmate, Austin, TX, Nov 11, 2018

"So sorry for your loss. He was a great guy in football and as a person in high school"

– Catherine Bond, Friend, Waller, TX, Nov 10, 2018

Jan, this is Linda Hudson from Spring Branch High School. Jim and I were friends throughout high school and served on Student Council for our four years there. Carol Needham was my best friend and I dated Jim Dawes, a fellow member of the football team with Jim. I am so very sorry to hear about your loss. Jim was always a good friend and a good person. I pray for peace for you and yours and am truly saddened by your loss.
Best wishes,
Linda Hudson"

– LINDA HUDSON, Friend, FAYETTEVILLE, TX, Nov 11, 2018

"You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I was a freshman at SBHS when we went to state and I remember what a great football player and person Jim was. Janet Edwards Landry"

– Janet Landry, Acquaintance, Houston, TX, Nov 11, 2018

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As of 11/10/2018 TLSN now has an interactive companion site on Facebook titled “Texas Legacy Support Network group”. It is a closed group so please ask to join the site.

building bridges with address - Copy (2).jpg
 
 
 
 

THE NAVIGATION TOOL TO HISTORICAL  PAGES ON THIS WEB SITE ARE AT THE TOP OF THIS SCREEN. THE SITES ARE  "TLSN", "SPORTS", "GUEST WRITERS", "MISSIONS", "ARTICLES" , "LOST TOO SOON", AND "SENTRY".

Click on the content for other subjects denoted in red font on the panel to the left.

Glen “The Animal” Halsell

Article from the Vault 1967


Glen Halsell is one of the greatest linebackers in Longhorn football history. Halsell was only 5 feet 11 inches tall but was known as a fierce hitter and had 263 tackles in three years at Texas. Against USC Darrell Royal could not wait to turn Linebacker Glen Halsell loose so Halsell could knock some enemy heads together instead of those of his teammates at practice. A stubby 200-pounder, Halsell is in the tradition of the great Longhorn linebackers of the past. "You sort of feel 'em behind you," says Halsell. "Pat Culpepper, Timmy Doerr, Nobis, Edwards...Ever since I got here the idea kept pushing me that I was filling some mighty big shoes."

"You got to be tough," Halsell says. "I mean, really think about it. Joel Brame is my idol. Against Rice last year he got his nose laid open to the bone, but he never came out of the game. It was so bad he's going to need plastic surgery." End of Vault article.

Halsell, who comes from Odessa, Texas, has a neck that measures 17½ inches says "The hardest thing for me is playing my position," he says. "I can't go running off after the ball until I'm sure what's going to happen." Royal doesn't seem too worried about that.

Halsell was one of the tri-captains of the '69 national champions...he hit really hard and the opponents remembered him.

Royal said Glen was a rolling ball of butcher knives. He was so good at his skill set that he was the only defensive player that got away with throwing the pending game plan into the trash when he left the meeting. He told the coaches that all that information just confused him. He said my game plan is to tackle the ball carrier.

Glen has always lived a life that beats to the sound of a different drummer, but this drum beat made him into one to the best Longhorn linebackers of all time. Even though he ranks 4th behind #1 Tommy Nobis, #2 Derrick Johnson, and #3 Johnny Treadwell (Britt Hager ranks 5th), he has fallen into the Bermuda Triangle of Longhorn football history with no Longhorn honors to celebrate his accomplishments. He is not even in the High School of fame after being named to the High School All American list and leading the Permian Panthers to a state championship in 1965. Part of the reason he has been forgotten is by his own choosing. He has chosen to live a private life instead of a public life.

Most of his teammates have chosen not to follow Glen’s drummer in their life journey, and I am one of them. Regardless, our friendship has survived for 56 years. On April 3rd, 2016 on the way to Big Bend I stopped in Fort Davis for a short visit We shared a few stories and laughs and then we said goodbye with a hug that reflected our mutual respect, common bond, and shared experiences. As we parted ways my belief that life has little meaning without family and friends was re-confirmed. Horns up for Glen Halsell.

 

Don, Charlie, And Diron Talbert Are Legends In Texas Football.  Their reputation  Is So Pronounced That A Pub In Austin Had A Sign Up That Said "No Shoes, No Shirts, and No Talberts. 

 Don talbert - 1958

Don talbert - 1958

Diron Talbert- 1963

Don  Talbert (born March 1, 1939)  was an All American  for the Texas Longhorns. He played professionally for the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, and New Orleans Saints.

From a personal perspective, I have heard many  hilarious stories about these three Longhorn characters, but since  I have not received anything in writing from a teammate to confirm some of these stories  I will just state that these three brothers forever changed the "dynamics" of Texas Longhorn football. 

 Don Talbert and Joe Jamail 2015

Don Talbert and Joe Jamail 2015

 Perhaps sometime in the future some of their teammates will share some of the cleaner stories of these three great  football players. 

 

Don Talbert

In 1971 Don Talbert replaces Ralph Neely in the starting lineup, and he is part of the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl VI winning team. 

He is inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1992. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Talbert- A Portion Of An Article Found OnTexassports.Com About Charlie Talbert's Induction Into HOH Is Below.

http://www.texassports.com/news/2013/8/27/FB_0827134627.aspx

 Charlie Talbert - 1960

Charlie Talbert - 1960

Longhorn legends: Football Hall of Honor inductee Charlie Talbert

For a modest person who constantly played for the team and not for the individual accolades, Charlie Talbert was taken aback to hear about his selection into the Longhorn Hall of Honor.

"It is something that was unexpected," Talbert explained. "I expected that winning the National Championship my senior year was all the recognition I needed. It is just an honor and I am flattered to be selected into the Hall."

For his contribution to the 1963 National Championship team and his performance on the field, Talbert is one of seven former athletes that will be inducted this year into the Texas Athletics' Longhorn Hall of Honor.

"Charlie was always great, never was in trouble of any kind, and he represented us with pride,"; commented David McWilliams, Talbert's teammate on the '63 squad and a former UT head coach. "When he graduated, he continued to give back to the program."

Talbert will be joining his older brother, Don, and younger brother Diron in the Hall.

During a time where the forward pass was not often utilized, Talbert led the 1963 National Championship squad with 14 receptions for 188 yards and one touchdown. During the last regular season outing, Talbert caught three passes on the final Texas drive to help set up a score and seal the come-from-behind victory against Texas A&M.

He also played on the other side of the ball, serving as a defensive end, and intercepted a pass and scored a touchdown during his career.

"The thing I remember about Charlie was how tall and skinny he was," McWilliams recalled. "Coach put some weight on him, but the first thing you knew when you went out to practice was that he was tougher than anyone else on the field."

"During my era, you had 11 starters that had to play seven minutes straight on offense, defense, and on special teams" Charlie stated. "It was tiring and extremely tough during practice when you had to learn multiple positions."

However, Charlie Talbert was not bothered by taking on such a feat. Along with studying the playbook for football, Talbert excelled in the classroom and was selected to the Southwest Conference all-academic team during his senior year.

"Coach [Darrell] Royal didn't have to worry if Charlie was going to be around because he took care of business in the classroom and on the field" McWilliams remarked. "That was Coach Royal's number one thing - if you don't take care of your business in the classroom, he wasn't going to play you."

After finishing his football career and graduating with a business degree, Charlie Talbert enrolled in The University of Texas Law School and earned his second degree. Upon graduation, Talbert attended the naval officer's academy and joined the Navy for three years.

After parting ways with the Navy, Talbert moved to Houston and got involved with the real estate business. He has been occupied with the development of hotels in Houston and Austin since 1980.

For a grateful and proud member of the 2007 inducting class, Talbert credits all of his teammates and coaches for his selection.

"I have been away from the University of Texas for over 40 years now and I always say that my team in my era all deserve to be inducted into the Hall of Honor," Talbert said. "I was not an All-American performer and I was basically a team person, so I am extremely flattered and humbled by being selected."

A link to Charlie's memories about the 1963 National Championship team is captured in the link below

Diron Talbert Played Ball At UT And He Was Inducted Into The Longhorn Hall Of Honor In 2005

Diron+Talbert(1).jpg

Diron Talbert 1963

 Diron Talbert- Redskin

Diron Talbert- Redskin

Diron played for the Los Angeles Rams  from 1967 to 1970. In 1971 he played defensive tackle for the Washington Redskins until his retirement in 1980. It was during this period that Diroen Talbert played an interesting sometime provocative role as part of the long-standing 1970's rivalry between the Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys.

 Mike Campbell

Mike Campbell

Diron Talbert was a key member of 1972 NFC Championship team. He played for 14 NFL seasons for a total of 186 games. 

 

 

 

 

Diron's College Prioirties

Diron Talbert was very close to Defensive coordinators Coach Campbell's family. Close enough for Mrs. Campbell to call Diron and tell him that her son (Mike) was having an appendicitis attack and to take him from Moore-Hill Hall to the Health Center. 

Unfortunately, on the way to the Health Center a good looking girl gets Diron's attention and Diron ask Mike to get out of the car. Mike had to walk the last part of the trip to the Health Center. I am not sure Mrs. Campbell ever knew this story. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE CLEBURNE BOYS aRE THE pROTOTYPICAL dKR LONGHORN RECRUITS. 

 

Most Of The Players Royal Recruits In The 1960'S are Of Similar Build And Character To The Cleburne Boys. Tim Doerr, David McWilliams, And Pat Culpepper Represent All The Qualities That DKR wants from a Football Player.  All are Under 200 Pounds, Instinctive Players, And Motivated To Win. All Three know How To Out Play And Out Wit Their Opponents.

 Pat Culpepper

Pat Culpepper

 David McWilliams

David McWilliams

 Tim Doerr

Tim Doerr

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George Brucks

Some of the East Coast sports writers thought the Royal's players were"slow guys with skinny legs and big butts." But One of the Navy players in 1963 knew better.  The Navy player, who played professionally, said competing against Jack Lambert in the NFL was easier than playing against Texas players.  He said "the guy in my nightmare is George Brucks from Hondo, Texas "who weighed under 200 pounds but "he took my head off  All day long.". 

George is #66 in the 2 pictures below.

 Brucks #66

Brucks #66

 brucks (8).jpg

brucks (8).jpg

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Garry Brown

 Garry Brown

Garry Brown

I have no pictures of Garry to share.

There are many football team members who receive very little recognition during their 4 years at Texas . These team members only participate in practice and Spring Training with no playing time on Saturday. While Coach Royal was tough on his players, he also had tremendous respect for team members who competed hard at practice. 

Garry Brown was that kind of teammate.  

He did not play much as a Longhorn, but his patience and perseverance was rewarded by Royal in the final conference game in 1964 against Texas A & M. With 2 1/2 minutes to play and the Texas victory secure, Royal told Garry Brown to go in on defense. On A & M's next three plays Garry had one tackle and two assist.  Then with 30 seconds to play Royal put Garry in the game on offense, and Garry caught a 19 yard pass followed by a 10 yard TD catch as the clock ran out.  

Garry said "I was in a form of shock. My teammates were more excited than me. They were in unbridled joy. It is and was a great memory." 

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hAPPY fELLER

 

http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football-news/4302749-darrell-royal-dead-1969-texas-longhorns-happy-feller-game-of-the-century

 

Happy Feller, the kicker who booted the last point in the Longhorns’ 15-14 win against Arkansas in the 1969 game dubbed “The Game of the Century,” said Royal kept the players on their toes back in the day. H

HAPPY FELLER WAS AN ALL AMERICAN IN 1970.

Happy (5) ) and Ronnie Ehrig behind Happy

Happy talking about playing for Coach Royal. 

“He was one of these types from that particular era that tried to keep an arm’s length between himself and the players,” Feller told Sporting News on Wednesday. “He was the type that if you had a couple of bad series, he was not opposed to pulling you out and putting in the next guy.”

 

"When you came in the locker room, you had to turn to the left to go to the lockers and right there on the wall was the depth chart. Everybody was on one of those little hooks. You looked at it every day. Royal was the type that if you didn’t hustle in practice, the next day you’d go into the locker room and you were No. 2 or No. 3 and somebody else was No. 1.

"I think that’s an important lesson for kids today. It’s not only important during the game in how you perform, but also that you better be at your best at practice and hustle because if you’re going to loaf around out there, then when you come into the locker room the next day, you’re not going to be in that No. 1 slot. That’s the way he was. That was always his philosophy.

"The guys that really administered a lot of the discipline were all of his assistants. The last thing you wanted was a page to your room or somebody to tell you that Royal wants to see you in his office. That was the fear of God.

"One time I got that page. There was a little restaurant in Austin called English’s. They were having some kind of special one weekend. It was a roundup in the spring when all the different fraternities had different events going on. They wanted me to come down to be in an ad for this food special. They had food on the table and a pitcher of beer on the table. I didn’t think anything of it when they took these pictures. Sure enough I get a phone call from Royal’s secretary: Coach wants to see me in his office. He had that picture in the paper and asked, 'What is this? Why in the world would you be in this ad with a pitcher of beer and a mug of beer on the table?' I was so embarrassed. Those were the kinds of things he really watched for. Needless to say, I never made that mistake again.

                       

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Jim Hudson

 Jim Hudson

Jim Hudson

                                                    

From Wikipedia 

Jim Hudson played at various times wide receiver, running back, defensive back and quarterback at Texas and also returned punts. He began at Texas in 1961, and in 1962, his first year on the varsity, he played wingback and defensive back.

The following year, he played defense on the team that won the 1963 National Championship. That season he led the team in interceptions and recorded 5 tackles in the 1964 Cotton Bowl win over #2 Navy.

At the start of the 1964 season, Hudson was moved to quarterback, but he was injured before the season started and replaced by Marvin Kristynik. Hudson's one and only start at quarterback came in the 2nd week against Texas Tech. He was injured on the first scoring play at the end of the first quarter and replaced by Kristynik for good. He saw little play for the rest of the season, until the 1965 Orange Bowl against #1 and National Champion Alabama. Kristynik struggled early, and Hudson was put in after a penalty turned a punt into a first down. He hit George Sauer for a 69-yard touchdown pass and helped lead Texas to victory. In the process, he attracted the attention of Jets scouts who had come to watch Crimson Tide quarterback Joe Namath.

 

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John Treadwell

  Article About John Treadwell By Pat Culpepper

Article About John Treadwell By Pat Culpepper

 

 

 

The Comments Below Are From Pat Culpepper's Articles In Inside Texas. I Have Added Photos To His Comments  So The Readers Can Associate Pat's Story And The Subject Matter. 

"Let’s kick their ass.” Those were the words Johnny Treadwell spoke to me before kickoff of Longhorn games from 1961-1962. We were on either side of Eldon Moritz in 1961 and Toby Crosby in 1962. So when No. 60 Treadwell would look across at me and give me his short to the point battle motto for games against Oklahoma, Arkansas, Rice, A&M, and our bowl games, I was ready.

When I told that to my wife, who did not know me during my football days at Texas, she said, “Did y’all really talk like that?”

My answer, “To Johnny, football was war.” He was the number “60” at Texas before Tommy Nobis, before Britt Hager. Perhaps Texas fans don’t remember those days anymore or perhaps don’t care but Treadwell’s story is worth remembering. He played at a time when the Longhorns came of age in the Southwest Conference. Darrell Royal had yet to win a bowl game at Texas. Johnny was born and raised in Austin, played High School Football at Austin High but in his senior year he broke his arm early in the season and was overlooked by recruiters except for West Point, who were attracted to his grade point average and recommendations by his high school coaches.

The fact is, it was a Temple DL coach that told Mike Campbell, who was the Texas defensive coordinator for Royal’s 20 years as head coach. “The best lineman in our district is the Treadwell boy at Austin High.” Campbell sat in the Austin High School fieldhouse and watched Treadwell on preseason scrimmage films and the couple of games he played. Those were the days of 50+ plus on football scholarships and Campbell made him an offer.

He was an end on the freshman team at Texas but had, “Hammer-Hands” as his teammates called him. That ended when he was shifted to offensive guard and also played linebacker on the 1960 varsity team. The most he weighed at Texas was 205 but he had the ability to make smashing collisions when he tackled. As a guard, he used his quickness to beat defensive players to the punch. In 1961 he began to call the signals in the defensive huddle and would add his remarks that set the stage for big plays. Those were the days when memorial stadium only sat 64,350 and Darrell Royal’s first sell out came on a hot night when the No. 1 Longhorns faced Frank Broyles’ Arkansas Razorbacks who were ranked No. 7 in the nation and were also undefeated. The year was 1962. There were no more tickets and some Arkansas fans cut through the fence in the back of the south end zone and got on the track around the playing field. National media were there from Wednesday all the way up to the game, interviewing players at lunch at Moore Hill Hall and then attending practices. In those days Texas was only allowed national television for the Oklahoma, A&M, and bowl game so people to this day remember the Kern Tipps broadcast that night or treasure the fact they were in attendance.

 Johnny Treadwell - Professional

Johnny Treadwell - Professional

 

In many ways, the 1961 season had set the stage for such a game. The 5-0 Longhorns had been the nation’s No. 1 team often beating Rice 34-7 in Austin and then held off an SMU team on the goal line just before halftime with their old Rose Bowl team standing in the end zone yelling encouragement. Treadwell and the other Texas linebacker stacked SMU’s fullback on fourth down one yard shy of the goal line. James Saxton raced 80-yards on a counter trap play to ignite a 27-0 Texas victory in the 2nd half. Baylor was crushed 33-7 in Austin. TCU upset Texas 6-0 to knock Texas out of the top ranking but the Longhorns rebounded at College Station putting a 25-0 whipping on the Aggies and that brought on the Cotton Bowl and the Ole’ Miss Rebels under Coach Johnny Vaught. Only a 10-7 loss to LSU separated Vaught’s team from an undefeated season and Royal while head coach at Mississippi State and then at Texas had never beaten the Rebels much less won a bowl game as a coach. Period.

Radio Interview with Pat Culpepper after Coach Royal passed away is below.

https://youtu.be/GGUD2mKPY8s

In sunny, 41-degree weather in Dallas, Texas intercepted five Ole’ Miss passes, one on which “Hammer Hands” Treadwell slugged the ball high in the air that cornerback Jerry Cook picked off killing the Rebels possible fame winning drive. Texas won 12-7 and thus the Longhorns, who ended the 1961 season as the Nation’s number 3 team, entered the 1962 season as the number one team, which set up the huge game with Arkansas on that humid night. Arkansas was averaging 34 points a game, which was unheard of in 1962. The stage was set in Austin with both teams 4-0. At the end of the third quarter with the Razorbacks holding a 3-0 lead, they reached the Texas 5-yard line where the intense Treadwell said these words in the defensive huddle, “We’ve got them where we want them. They have run out of room. They can’t throw a long pass. They have got to come at us. Ready… Break!”

Two plays later the Razorback fullback trued the counter on the Longhorn line and was met by Treadwell and his fellow linebacker and the ball came out, tumbling into the end zone which Joe Dixon recovered in a mad scramble.

Johnny+Treadwell(1).jpg

The Hit

Treadwell #60 Culpepper #31

As if that wasn’t enough, Texas fumbled the ball at its 22-yard line and Arkansas drove to the 12 and on fourth down. QB Billy Moore tried a sneak at the Texas right side only to be hit squarely in the chest for no gain by Treadwell. The game ended with a 90-yard drive by Texas with Treadwell at guard on 20 plays with a Longhorn touchdown for a 7-3 win.

Following that season, Treadwell was named to the All-American team and got to meet President John F. Kennedy at the Army-Navy game on his way to New York to receive his award on the Ed Sullivan’s TV show. After graduating from Texas, Johnny got an agricultural degree from Texas A&M and became a Vet in Austin.

Those spring days when I would ride in his Jeep in the countryside and talk about what we wanted to accomplish in the fall were priceless. He had a great smile and loved to laugh. He married Peggy, a beautiful woman and they made a great team in his vetenarian business. It was Peggy that attended Johnny so beautifully when dementia began to take over. The action photograph of Treadwell and the Texas defense knocking out the football on that goal line play versus Arkansas use to be in the defensive room of the Longhorns and was the only action photograph Darrell Royal had on his wall during his last days at the Baton Creek assisted living facility.

His teammates called him “chopper” for the way he got to the job alone and I was proud to call him “Johnny.” I miss him already.

Johnny Treadwell9.jpg

Chopper

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Tommy Nobis said it best, “The real number 60 was Johnny Treadwell.” God Bless his passion, his courage, and his friendship.

Tommy+Nobis+1962.jpg

Tommy Nobis honors Johnny Treadwell

He was the best because he gave it all he had. What more can any person do? That passion rubbed off on those who played around him. There was no “faking it”. It was real and made us winners while we were at Texas.

It will take such passion and effort by future Texas players to return the Longhorns to football prominence. Johnny Treadwell helped ignite such effort and dedication in the early 60’s and it brought about Conference Championships and National Championships in 1963 and 1969.

Hook’em,

Pat Culpepper

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 Greg Lott and Farrah Fawcett Texas Longhorns

Greg Lott and Farrah Fawcett Texas Longhorns

  Greg Lott

Greg Lott

 

 

Article About Greg Lott And Farrah Fawcett By Pat Culpepper

 Farrah and Greg the "hippie movement begins

Farrah and Greg the "hippie movement begins

 In later years

In later years

The Comments Below Are part of the story From Pat Culpepper's Article In Inside Texas. Visit Inside Texas to see the whole story.  I Have Added Photos To His Comments  So The Readers Can Associate Pat's Story And The Subject Matter. 

 

 

Pat Culpepper says about recruiting Greg lott as a Longhorn assistant coach

 

Greg Lott had Hollywood looks and what was important to me, outstanding speed! His career at Texas was highlighted by brilliant interception returns in big games. He also played kick returner with some success. I was long gone from the University of Texas when Danny and Greg played but I tried to keep up with them as best I could. I must admit that during my playing days in Austin I often picked out future "dates” from the University of Texas yearbook. Those were the days…, and it wasn’t until my senior year that I settled down my dating activity to just one girl. No, it wasn’t what you think; they were movie dates, dancing dates or double dates with my teammates to events in Austin’s downtown or one of those great Mexican restaurants. I was not ever in the class of Greg Lott. His girlfriend was none other than what would later become Hollywood blonde bombshell Farrah Faucett!

 Greg as a player

Greg as a player

According to Greg they were more than serious, (whatever that meant) and they should have been married, but Greg stayed in Texas and Farrah went to Hollywood. She became famous with a beautiful striking face that featured piercing green eyes framed by flowing blonde hair. Her fabulous figure in a bathing suit adorned many a teenaged boys room and a few older "boys” as well.

 

 

 

Farrah died of cancer in 2009 at the age of 62, even more beautiful than she was  at 22, at least from her heart. For so many she left money and art treasures which she had earned and collected. Gregg told me that he began to see Farrah again in 1998 and they had a close relationship between where he lived in Austin and her home in Hollywood. It became a tabloid topic because she had split with actor Ryan O’Neal.

 Greg Lott and Ryan O'Neal

Greg Lott and Ryan O'Neal

I have found out through friends that Greg went through a difficult time in his life in the ‘70s and early ‘80s,  lowlighted by two drug convictions. Hollywood looks do have their drawbacks I suppose. Farrah left Greg $100K in her will and absolutely nothing to O’Neal. Her other notable possessions she left to the University of Texas which included two famous portraits of her by Andy Warhol. They were done in 1980 in Warhol’s silk screen pop-art style which featured her bight green eyes and red, red lips. One of the portraits is involved in a case in the Los Angeles Superior Court. The problem is O’Neal claimed that Farrah gave it to him, but University of Texas attorneys claim Fawcett got the portrait back in 1998 (when she got back with Gregg) and kept it at her Malibu home until her death.

O’Neal and Fawcett had split up in February of 1997 when she found him in bed with another woman. According to O’Neal he gave the portrait back to Fawcett because his new girlfriend told him that the picture made her, "uncomfortable”. The value of the portrait is said to be estimated at $12 million, although it is insured for $600K. O’Neal claims that it is his, but there were two of these portraits and Fawcett’s will which insured both drawings only mentions that she was giving them to the University of Texas’ Art Department. In fact, it was Gregg Lott that brought attention to the fact that one of them was missing in the first place. The trial took place in Los Angeles and perhaps predictably Ryan O’Neal was awarded the portrait, even though Farrah had made no indication in her will that O’Neal would get anything. So a drama of sorts ends in court, but the true love story here told to me by Greg Lott was about the "time” that he and Farrah got to spend together before she passed away.

Greg+Lott+8.jpg

Greg 1965 and 2014

 Handsome Greg

Handsome Greg

 Greg Lott

Greg Lott

They enjoyed their time at U.T. and many years later there was still a spark that was alive and well. I recruited Lott to U.T., Lott falls in love with a campus sorority beauty who turns out to be a future star in Hollywood on Charlie’s Angels and a pin-up queen in the 1970s-‘80s. I’m proud of my "boy” Greg, he was faithful to the end of Farrah’s life and he always yells, "Coach Pat” when he sees me. And in her defense, Farrah did remember her school and wanted to give them her most treasured possessions and left my recruit a parting gift of lots of money…you never know.

 

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 Duke Carlisle And The Baylor Game

Duke Carlisle And The Baylor Game

 

 The Interception That Helped Save The National Championship Year.

 

Duke says

It was a surprise to be in the game at that point because we had the substitution rule[s] [which] were evolving so you couldn't substitute an entire team at anytime. But we were able to switch certain players when we were on offense and when we were on defense. So I always went out of the game when we switched to defense. And we fumbled the ball near Baylor's goal line towards the end of the game and I started to leave and they motioned me back. So that was the only defense that I played that year - it was the end of the Baylor game.

http://www.texassports.com/news/2013/8/29/FB_0829134208.aspx?path=football

People say,"Why was that?" And the first thing that comes to mind was that I played safety for the prior two years, so from that standpoint maybe that would make sense. That was our eighth game of the year, and Jim Hudson who had played safety, had had a great game that day and a great season leading up to it. So it is still to this day not totally explainable, and [defensive coordinator] Coach [Mike] Campbell made that decision. I don't know exactly what he was thinking, but I was in there for Baylor's last drive. They were close enough to our goal line that we didn't have as much field behind us to defend, so that was one of the things that made it possible to get to the ball. It was exciting - obviously an exciting play and the timing made it more memorable because it is at the end of a game that was a one-touchdown game. I have tried to remind people that when we talk about it - and not trying to be overly modest - but it was an incredible achievement that our defense held that offense scoreless that entire day and that was one of the most high powered offenses in the nation that year and they had not been able to get a point against us. So I have tried to keep that one play from obscuring the fact that that was a great game by our defense.

      

It Was An Unusual Situation When You Think About It, And I Wonder If Coach Campbell Didn't Sometimes Think To Himself After That If The Guy Had Caught The Ball, People Would've Said, "What On Earth Were You Thinking That You Had That Great Safety That You Took Out Of There" If They [Had] Completed The Touchdown. So It Was Not An Easy Thing To Figure But It Worked Out Well And, Yeah, Jim Would've Made The Play And Has Told Me Many Times That He Would've Made The Play. 

 

 The best game in the history of Texas High School football follows

The best game in the history of Texas High School football follows

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Linus Baer

Posted: Sunday, May 1, 2016 12:01 am

CHAD CONINE Guest columnist

On Nov. 29, 1963, San Antonio Brackenridge faced off against San Antonio Robert E. Lee. The nation was still in shocked disbelief over the assassination of President John F. Kennedy a week earlier. In Texas, the unthinkable horror knocked us off our feet, because it took place on our watch in Dallas. The high school football playoffs were set to begin, but football coaches, players and fans wondered whether it was permissible to return to sport.

In San Antonio, the defending state champion Brackenridge Eagles drew the Lee Volunteers in the opening round. It was too good a game for fans to pass up, and so the people of San Antonio gave themselves permission to care about football, at least for a night.

The game sold 22,000 in-demand tickets as hundreds stood in line in the cold November rain, even all night some nights, during the week leading up to the Friday-night contest. Many more who failed to obtain a ticket watched the television broadcast on WOAI. Former players recall it as the first bi-district football game ever televised in the state.

I spoke with Linus Baer, one of the key players in the unfolding drama, in his San Antonio office in early February 2015. Before we met, Baer mailed me a copy of a documentary titled simply “The Game,” produced by Gary DeLaune, a Texas Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster.

In it, DeLaune unpacks all the elements that made this game special, using interviews with Baer, Brackenridge’s Warren McVea and other members of both teams.

But I still wanted to know more about the environment in the wake of a national tragedy. Having covered high school sports in the uncertain days following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, I wanted to see whether there were parallels. It seems there was the same sense of not knowing exactly how to move on.

Baer said no one wanted to play football a week earlier, on the day of the JFK assassination. He recalled how the teams walked through a ball game on a surreal evening. But a week later, football was something people needed to hold close.

“The Lee-Brack game served as a release, an outlet for people to go to the game or watch it on TV and enjoy it,” Baer said. “Get their mind off the Kennedy assassination, give them something else to think about. I think it did that. I think that’s one of the reasons people remember it so well.”

The Lee-Brackenridge game still resonates with football fans because of a rich collection of ingredients, both between the lines and outside them.

Brackenridge had won the state championship in the state’s largest classification in 1962, defeating Borger, 30–26, in the Class 4A title game. The Eagles entered the postseason in 1963 with an 8–2 record, but with a reputation to match that of any undefeated squad. Lee boasted a 10–0 regular season, but approached the game more like an underdog.

Both teams came in with tricks up their sleeves. Brackenridge shifted star running back McVea to quarterback in order to multiply his number of touches. But Lee’s philosophy not to punt and to employ only onside kicks was the slightly more dramatic strategy.

Each of those measures influenced the game from its early stages. As I watched the grainy black-and-white film of the contest, it’s easy to see why The Game electrifies football fans.

Though the documentary includes almost the entire game, it still plays like a highlight reel. Before the dust cleared and a winner was declared, the combatants would be smiling at each other on the field, shaking their heads in disbelief at how much fun they were having. They were playing football, but they were also bringing about cultural change.

In 1963, Brackenridge was made up of mostly African-American players and a few Hispanic players, while Lee was all white. Texas was still years away from full-scale integration, and in researching this book, I heard stories of racial hostility at ball games from much later in the tumultuous 1960s.

The Lee-Brack game had it where it mattered most. The storyline was uplifting when people needed it, but the play between the lines made it legendary, and the jaw-dropping action began with the opening series.

Lee marched for a touchdown on its game-opening possession, then recovered its first onside kick attempt. Baer scored to cap the second drive, giving the Volunteers a 14–0 lead before McVea or any of the Brackenridge offensive players had touched the ball.

But the Eagles were wise to Lee’s strategy after that, recovering every onside kick attempt the rest of the way. Down 14–0, the Eagles recovered the second one and went to work digging out of a hole.

McVea’s first run of the game at once justified both teams’ strategy and showed that the early two-touchdown lead wasn’t safe. McVea scrambled around the left side of his offensive line and then darted down the sideline for a fifty-four-yard touchdown.

Lee called timeout the first time the Volunteers saw McVea step in at quarterback, but the powwow didn’t do much good. “It was a great call for Coach (Weldon) Forren to do that,” Baer said. “To get (McVea’s) hands on the ball every play was genius, because he could do things with the football that I’d never seen anybody do before.”

McVea’s high school career made him a sought-after football recruit who received dozens of college scholarship offers. He went on to the University of Houston, where he was the Cougars’ first African-American player.

 

Former San Antonio high school football standouts Warren McVea (left) and Linus Baer met with members of the media during a sports luncheon in San Antonio in 2007. San Antonio Express-News file photo

Viewed retrospectively, it’s no wonder that Forren put the ball in McVea’s hands on every offensive play on that cold night at Alamo Stadium.

McVea told me that Forren pulled him aside during the week leading up to the game and said the only chance the Eagles had was to move him to quarterback. McVea, of course, was on board. Brackenridge simplified its game plan to accommodate the change in strategy.

“I only had about four or five plays,” McVea said. “That’s all we did. We ran Floyd Boone off tackle, Floyd Boone around the end, Floyd Boone up the middle, and then me around the end. That’s all we had.”

It looked for a moment in the second half as if that would be all the Eagles needed to advance, despite the fact that Lee had taken a 34–19 lead to intermission.

Brackenridge recovered Lee’s onside kick to start the second half and began taking control of the scoreboard. McVea scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, helping the Eagles win the third quarter 14–7, marking the first period of the game in which Brackenridge gained an edge.

The Eagles went to the fourth quarter trailing 41–33, but holding the momentum.

With 74 points on the board going into the final period, the early 1960s contest became the kind of evenly matched offensive slugfest that delights fans. It not only resonated, but also grew like a big fish story.

“If everybody was at that game that said they were at the game, there was like 100,000 people there,” Baer said. “Everybody you talked to was at the game or knew somebody who was at the game and always wanted to talk about it. And it was always called ‘The Game.’ ”

The players were loving it, too.

“After the game got going, what’s so amazing about that football game is all the guys on both teams started having fun,” McVea said. “While we were out there playing, me and Linus were just laughing and saying this is like a track meet.”

The Eagles needed a stop to start the fourth quarter in order to pull even with Lee. But Brackenridge made the most crucial tactical mistake up to that point by putting the ball in Baer’s hands in the open field.

Baer rushed for 150 yards in the contest and caught two passes for 95 more yards. He finished with four rushing or receiving touchdowns, but his biggest play came on the rare occasion that either team opted to kick deep.

He hauled in the kickoff in the first minute of the fourth quarter and found a seam up the left hash mark. Baer and McVea had formed a relationship during track season, and Baer knew that the one player capable of catching him once he cranked up his engine was McVea.

Only McVea, who kicked the ball deep and served as the last line of defense, was wearing human ankle cuffs.

“(A Lee blocker) fell down and crawled over there so I wouldn’t see him,” McVea recounted. “He had a leg lock, and I couldn’t get him loose. I looked down, and the guy had his legs around me in a leg lock. I was like, ‘What is going on here, man?’ And Linus ran it back for a touchdown.

“I had a chance to get him, and the referee let it go.”

The black-and-white film from DeLaune’s documentary confirms McVea’s story, though the film is a little too grainy to identify the Lee player.

Baer’s kick-return touchdown boosted Lee’s lead to 47–33, with more than 11 minutes remaining. Brackenridge wasn’t finished, though.

McVea, perhaps still riled up from being held, answered with a 46-yard touchdown run. On the point-after attempt, he grabbed the ball on a fake kick, scrambled to his left and threw back across the field to complete the two-point conversion pass, cutting Lee’s lead to 47–41.

Then came the Eagles’ big break as they turned the tables by recovering an onside kick.

On the ensuing drive, McVea handed to Boone, who gained a pair of key first downs, setting up McVea’s five-yard touchdown run, which tied it. McVea kicked the extra point to put Brackenridge ahead, and for the first time it appeared as if the defending state champions might survive the battle.

McVea scored the go-ahead touchdown with more than six minutes left. If the game had been played in the early 21st century, with both defenses exhausted and quick-strike offenses sensing blood in the water, six minutes would be a virtual eternity.

But this was 1960s football, heavy on the run, so the last half of the fourth quarter represented the final gasp of a fantastic game.

Brackenridge came close to stopping Lee when the Eagles forced the Volunteers into a third-and-seven from the Brackenridge 28-yard line. But Lee quarterback Gary Kemph dropped back, pumped once, and then threaded a pass to Eddie Markette over the middle for a 16-yard gain to the Eagles’ 12-yard line.

From there, the Volunteers plodded forward until fullback Larry Townsend plunged into the end zone from one yard out. A successful two-point conversion put Lee ahead, 55-48, with a little more than 30 seconds left.

Though only a few ticks remained, Lee definitely didn’t want McVea touching the ball too many times.

“It seemed like a whole quarter was left, to me,” Baer said. “I did all the kicking. I lined up, and I was going to kick it opposite where McVea was. He lined up in the middle, so I kind of angled over this way, and he moves over this way. Then I line up over there, and he moves over that way. And I just said, ‘Ah, hell, I’ll just kick it.’

“I kick to this guy and he laterals it back, and now I’ve got to catch (McVea).”

The Eagles did corral McVea on the kickoff. Then on the final play, from his own 43-yard line, McVea scrambled to his right, looking for the kind of hole that had been there so often that night. McVea finished with 215 rushing yards and six touchdowns, but he couldn’t get away on his last carry.

Lee tackled McVea and grasped a 55–48 win.

The Volunteers prevailed from the underdog role, but on this night there was no room for chest pounding. The nation had lost its leader a week earlier and perhaps more meaningfully in the context of the game, a white school and a predominantly black school from San Antonio had won each other’s respect through a thrilling football game.

The two principal players had formed a relationship going into the contest, but it was strengthened after the memorable night. They roomed together the next summer at the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Game.

Baer, who went on to play college football at the University of Texas, graduated from high school having formed an unusually tight bond with an athlete from another school.

“We played basketball against each other, ran track against each other,” Baer said. “He’d call me up and ask me to go to parties. We were good friends and had a lot of respect for each other.”

San Antonio has long since had the reputation as a culturally and ethnically diverse city. An attempt to explain the reasons and roots of that distinction would fill up another book. But the players involved in the classic football clash of Nov. 29, 1963, credit that experience with playing a huge role in the city’s evolution.

“What really, I think, happened is it drew the communities closer together,” McVea said. “Robert E. Lee was kind of like the mother ship in all that stuff. They didn’t have any black players. The thing that really stood out is how the guys on the other team, how they treated us. They treated us with a lot of respect.”

Excerpted from “The Republic of Football: Legends of the Texas High School Game,” © 2016 by Chad Conine. The book will be released in September by the University of Texas Press.

 

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1969 - Player Interviews Comer Is Hilarious

http://www.texasarchive.org/library/index.php?title=Interviews_With_1969_Longhorn_Players_And_Coaches

 

Royal was passionate about  giving back as confirmed by a sign that he hung in the Texas football Locker room in the 60's that said:

"WHAT I GAVE I KEPT. " 

 "WHAT I KEPT I LOST." 

Royal’s locker sign is the  code for compassion and donors know that  "What I gave I kept."   

Horns up to the tax-exempt organizations that “are leaving something behind” for those in need formed by Brian Robison, Tommy Nobis (deceased), Cole Pittman (deceased), Johnnie Johnson, Tina Bonci (deceased), Sam and Emmanuel Acho, and Charlie Cravens.   Just click on Johnnie Johnson’s photo below to preview the former Longhorns who are “giving back” the blessings they have received.

The Texas Legacy Support Network web page is a historical site that is free, educational, and Insightful. TLSN has built a bridge to the past to remind all Longhorns that sports heritage shapes the present and inspires the future. Everyone involved with the UT Athletic department thru the last 120 plus years is instrumental in making the Longhorn brand the most recognized name in NCAA sports history and no one involved should be forgotten or left behind. Qualifying Horns that were part of the U.T. Athletic Department deserve an equity stake in our great university and should have a safety net available when necessary.

The inspiration for the TLSN (Texas Legacy Support Network) mission started informally in 2004 when some Legacy Longhorn student athletes assisted  former letter winners who needed temporary financial support. The money donated was used to help one teammate rebuild his home destroyed by fire, another teammate recover from damages caused by a hurricane, and several teammates defray substantial medical expenses not covered by insurance.

In 2015 three Longhorn lettermen -Benny Pace, Jim Kay, and Billy Dale- joined forces to create a tax exempt charitable foundation to enable TLSN to raise funds from tax deductible contributions and to use those funds to provide  financial assistance to qualifying  former  student athletes , trainers, managers, coaches , and their immediate families. 

TLSN received notice of its tax exempt 501 (c) (3) status on September 12, 2017.


 Jackie Campbell, a Longhorn volleyball player from the 80's is the first qualifying person to receive assistance from TLSN. Her son, Yanaq, was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2017.  Jackie needed temporary financial help so she reached out to UT’s Longhorn Foundation for help. Jill Sterkel notified TLSN of her situation and the TLSN completed all the due diligence to raise money for her . From January 2018 thru June 2018 TLSN raised $15,000 to help Jackie defray expenses such as groceries, house payment, gas, utilities, and telephone expenses   Her son is recovery and  has been released from medical supervision. A message from Yanaq to all of us who helped his family pay for for 6 months is below.

 

 

TLSN wants to continue to fulfill Coach Royal's message that hung in the locker room.  As the title to Sean Rowe’s song says , TLSN wants “to leave something behind.” Sean says “ I can get thru the wall if you give me a door So I can leave something behind."

 

The donate button below is only for tax exempt donations to TLSN. An organization that helps qualifying former Longhorn student athletes, former managers, trainers, and their immediate families.
Donate

If you want to send a check please make out the check to "TLSN" and send to 

CFO- Jim Kay - P.O. Box 983-  Burnet, TX - 78611-0983

 

 

 



06.22.2013 | Football

Bill Little commentary: The quiet man

When it came to describing Bill Wyman, Darrell Royal would call him the best center he ever coached.

The part of Bill Little’s article concerning Bill  Wyman is quoted below. The pictures were added by Billy Dale to add depth to Bill’s article.

              

         

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and there is one photo of former Longhorn Bill Wyman that shows just that.

Shot in the bench area of a Texas football game in the season of 1973, the picture by the acclaimed sports photographer, the late Linda Kaye, shows the rugged face of an embattled center, his long hair dripping in sweat plastered across his forehead.

That will always be the lasting image of the man who was the lynchpin of the offensive line during part of one of the greatest eras of Texas Longhorns football.

Wyman, who died at 61 early this week due to complications of Parkinson's disease, was a three-year letterman who earned all-Southwest Conference honors in 1972 and 1973 and was a consensus all-American in 1973.

A freshman in 1970, Wyman was part of the last group of NCAA Division I players who were eligible to play only three seasons with the varsity, and he made the most of it. By the middle of his junior season, he had become one of the best centers in Texas Longhorn football history.

But while Wyman's presence was felt throughout his career, it was his tough, rugged leadership as a captain during his tumultuous senior season of 1973.

"He never said a lot," recalls teammate Jay Arnold. "He led by example. Coaches and players alike remember [him] as the best there was."

As the center in an offense which helped fullback Roosevelt Leaks earn all-American honors and a place in College Football's National Hall of Fame, Wyman was a part of an offensive line which carried the Wishbone offense into the middle years of its success. From the season of 1968 through Wyman's senior year of 1973, Texas won six Southwest Conference championships and went to a record six straight Cotton Bowl games. The 1972 team beat Alabama in the New Year's Day game of 1973, finishing the season with a 10-1 record and a No. 3 national ranking.


When it came to describing Bill Wyman, Royal would call him the best center he ever coached, and he forever linked Wyman and his running buddy Leaks after Roosevelt's record-setting day against SMU.

"Wyman was more consistent out there Saturday than any player we had. Over a career, I don't think we've had any player who has been more consistent that Wyman. He and Leaks go together like ham and eggs," Royal said.

Following his playing career, the 6-2, 238-pound Wyman was chosen to play in both the Coaches' All-America game and the Senior Bowl. He was picked in the sixth round of the NFL draft by the New York Jets, but chose instead to return to his native Houston area roots and entered the construction business.

He battled cancer and won during the 1990s, but he couldn't defeat the ravages of Parkinson's.

Centers and other offensive linemen are hard to quantify when it comes to excellence. Running backs, receivers, quarterbacks -- and all kickers and defensive players -- have some statistics that can be pointed to.

Bill Wyman 2.jpg

Bill Wyman's legacy will be left as that of John Wayne in the movie "The Quiet Man." Folks never fooled with him. He was a tough, tough football player, but most of all he was a good man and a good friend.

And if that is how you're remembered, that's a pretty good deal.



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Alan Weddell Bio. from Wikipedia

Alan Weddell was an offensive lineman for the Texas Longhorns under Darrell Royal from 1970-1972. He was part of the 1970 national championship team. Weddell graduated in 1973 from Texas-Austin with a bachelor's degree in production engineering. He later earned a master's degree in education and administration from the University of Houston–Victoria. 

Weddell began his coaching career as junior varsity and varsity assistant at Angleton High School from 1973 to 1977. He then went on to coach at Victoria High School in Victoria, Texas for twelve years, first as an assistant, since 1982 as head coach. Weddell guided the Stingarees to a 47-32-1 record, winning district championships in 1986 and in 1989. He was twice named 26-5A Coach of the Year and won 35 of his last 40 regular season games.

 

 

In 1990, he started coaching at La Marque High School, where he turned the Cougar program into one of the perennial powerhouses in Texas high school football. From 1990 until 1997, Weddell coached the Cougars to three straight state championships (1995–97) and five consecutive appearances in the state title game. La Marque lost both the 1993 and the '94 title game against Stephenville High School, which was then coached by Art Briles.

Weddell was a six-time District Coach of the Year and a Galveston County Coach of the Year on three different occasions. Weddell compiled a 103-13 record at La Marque. Eleven coaches who worked with Weddell during his time at La Marque moved on to acquire head coaching jobs of their own and seven of them are still high school head coaches.[2]

 

College coaching

Entering the collegiate ranks in 1998, Weddell was hired by Texas A&M head coach R. C. Slocum to assist defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz as middle linebackers coach. Staying in College Station until Slocum's retirement in 2002, Weddell was a part of four bowl teams (1998 Sugar Bowl, 1999 Alamo Bowl, 2000 Independence Bowl and 2001 Galleryfurniture.com Bowl) and the 1998 Big 12 championship team.

After a short stint as defensive coordinator at Brazoswood High School in Clute, Texas, Weddell joined Art Briles' staff at the University of Houston in 2005. Originally hired as linebackers coach, Weddell was promoted to defensive coordinator in April 2006, after Ron Harris stepped down. With Weddell at the helm, the Cougar defense allowed just 21.9 points and 339.1 yards per game during the 2006 season.

After coaching staff changes when Kevin Sumlin replaced Art Briles as head coach, Weddell left Houston.

 

 

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Mike Baab - Longhorn 1978-1981

 

It was the early ’70s and he was a seventh grader living in Euless, a small town situated between Dallas and Fort Worth.

 

Football tryouts were there.  “It seemed every single boy tried out for football back then,” Baab said. “Unless you couldn’t walk or were blind, you were out there on that field.”

There were tests performed on each budding athlete. There were the typical throwing, running and tackling drills and the more intricate sessions of tire pulls and navigating through several series of ropes. Baab, who will be inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame May 7, remembers that day like it was yesterday.

“There were maybe 120 of us in the worst fitting uniforms in the world trying to learn how to play football,” he said. “I didn’t do that great, I can tell you that, because I was cut and sent home.”

But a phone call to his house soon after he turned in his uniform changed Baab’s life forever.

“The coach called and told my mom that some kid had broken his ankle or knee and asked if I would be willing to play center,” he said. “Basically, he was telling my mom that all I had to do was snap the ball. Who knew that if that didn’t happen to that poor kid, I would have never played football.”

The series of unfortunate events that led Baab to be the anchor of the offensive line proved to be that of fate. Baab racked up the awards as the center for Euless Trinity High School as a teenager, grabbing All-America and first-team all-state honors as a senior in 1977 despite playing for 4-5-1 Trinity squad. Even as a junior the year before, the Trojans enjoyed an undefeated regular season before losing to Midland Lee in the first round of the playoffs.

“We hadn’t been that good my sophomore year, so I really didn’t start getting recruited until that undefeated year and I started getting some honors and stuff like that,” Baab said. “But after that year and into my senior year, I got a letter from about every college in the United States.”

There was a college just over 200 miles south of Euless that had rarely crossed Baab’s mind. The University of Texas had a new coach in Fred Akers, a former assistant of recently retired Darrell Royal who previously served as the head coach of Wyoming.

“I will tell you the truth,” Baab said. “It was just as much Earl Campbell as it was Fred Akers that got me interested in Texas. The year before I went to Texas, Fred Akers did the smartest thing and handed the ball to Earl Campbell as much as he possibly could.

“All of a sudden, Texas exploded onto my screen,” he said. “So I decided that my parents had spent a lot of money taking care of me and feeding me that I needed to stay in Texas where they could come watch me and play in the Southwest Conference.”

Though a center by trade, Baab played guard for the Longhorns for two years before moving back to snapper. He had his best season as a senior, as Baab was voted first-team all-SWC, second-team all-American and guided his team to an upset of No. 3 Alabama in the Cotton Bowl, leading Texas to a No. 2 final ranking. The Longhorns posted a 35-12-1 mark in his four seasons in Austin.

“I think sometimes my parents had more fun those four years than I did,” Baab said. “They would come down and watch me play and we all would go eat steaks after. They were good weekends.”

Baab left the state after being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1982. He played 11 successful seasons in the NFL that included two trips to the AFC Championship Game in 1986 and 1987. After retiring in 1993, Baab served as a motivational speaker, a successful car dealership manager and is currently a personal trainer. But the native Texan looks back on his days in the Lone Star State with a sense of endearment.

“You know, I love my life because I get to help high school football players all the way up to 80-year-old ladies get better mentally and physically, so it’s rewarding,” Baab said. “But thinking back on my days in Euless, it was a town of just big, open fields that gave a small town feel right smack in the middle of DFW. I was fortunate enough to get on a great football team where everyone in the town loved and went crazy on Friday nights. How can you beat that?”

THE NAVIGATION TOOL TO THE HISTORICAL  PAGES ON THIS WEB SITE ARE AT THE TOP OF THIS SCREEN. THE SITES ARE  "TLSN", "SPORTS", "GUEST WRITERS", "MISSIONS", "ARTICLES" , "LOST TOO SOON", AND "SENTRY".

“Click on the text denoted in red font on the side bar to visit other sites in this “article” grid

Adam Ulatoski

#74 Adam Ulatoski is a Longhorn benchmark.   Adam is a team player both in sports and his professional life, but his story for the TLSN site  is more  personal. It is about a young man who is  nominated by his teammates three years in a row  as the most “Tenacious” player on the team. A moniker  earned the hard way through herniated disc, back ailments,  elbow injuries,  and knee complications.    

Adam’s last year as a Longhorn was in 2009. We met each other in 2015 over coffee. As we shared football experiences , I had this feeling there was something very special about Adam, but I could not articulate my intuition.  On June 5, 2018 Adam and I met again for breakfast, and the answer I could not articulate in 2015 was now very apparent .  Adam Ulatoski owns  a special place in the history of Longhorn football.   Including his 2005 Red shirt year Adam is one of the only players at Texas who blocked for two of the best quarterbacks in UT history -Vince Young and Colt McCoy.  He is also one of the only Longhorn players that participated in the best 5 year record every in Texas football  with a  57-8 won loss record.  In addition Adam  came closer than any Longhorn to being a part of three national championship games. One of those attempts was cut short by destiny.  In 2008 on the last play of the game (Texas Tech) ruined a Longhorn National Championship bid, but history honors Adam for two journeys to the National Championship game- As a red shirt against USC and a starter against Alabama. 

 

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COLT McCOY

The article below was written by Colt for The Players Tribune.  The full article is in the link below, and the text has been saved just in case the link is lost.  The images have been added by Billy Dale to add dimension and reference to Colts article.

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/colt-mccoy-dear-longhorns/

QUARTERBACK / WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Dear Horns,

While I was playing at Texas, I had this little tradition to get my head right before a big game.

As the team went out for the coin toss, I would find a place on the sidelines where I was alone, take a knee and for a few moments I’d just be present in my surroundings. I’d look at all the fans in the stands. I’d look at the band all dressed up and jumping around. I’d take a few moments to thank God for the opportunity in front of me. And then I’d look at my teammates, all of them standing there with this focused intensity, ready to compete. I’d take a mental picture of everything happening, and feel this tremendous sense of joy and pride to be there in that moment, as part of this thing that is so much bigger than me.

Once I took that time to acknowledge what was going on around me, my focus shifted entirely to my job and what I had to do. The noise from the crowd and the band became secondary. I didn’t get swept up in my emotions or the setting. For the next three hours, it was all about executing what I had prepared for that week – and my entire life up to that point, really.

Even though I was prepared, it was never easy. It’s been a few years since I suited up in burnt orange, but I still remember the nerves I felt leading up to the big games. I especially remember how tough it was to deal with them as a younger player, like many of you are.

My second collegiate start came when I was just a redshirt freshman playing against #1 ranked Ohio State. We’d just gone undefeated and won a national championship, and the expectations couldn’t have been any higher on myself and our team. What I remember maybe even more than the game itself was the pressure I felt beforehand. It was just nuts. In the months leading up to kickoff, that game was all people could talk about. It was brought up during every conversation I had, whether it was with a student, professor or the waiter taking my order at Trudy’s. I felt overwhelmed. I was only a 19-year-old kid from a town with a population that wasn’t big enough to fill up a single section of our stadium, but I somehow found myself in control of this thing that meant so much to so many people. I didn’t know how to deal with it.

But here’s the thing I learned eventually: The pressure doesn’t go away. It’s always there. You’re at Texas — the expectations never ease up. So what I discovered over time (and what you will as well) is that the pressure is a good thing. Eventually I learned to feed off of it. I even craved it, because it pushed me to be the best version of myself.

Now I feel for you guys as Notre Dame comes to town, because I remember how long it took for me to develop that mindset. I was lucky enough to be in school before social media blew up the way it has. I’m sure you have plenty of people telling you how great and terrible you are at all times as soon as you open your phone. Try to shut off that noise. Regardless of how much pressure you feel heading into Sunday, remember that the only thing you’re entirely in control of is your performance. I’m telling you now what it took me years to learn and accept: If you go out there and play to the very best of your ability, that’s all you can ask of yourself. And more times than not, it will be enough to win.

 

I’m entering my 7th season in the NFL, and when I look back on my college days, sometimes I think about some bad plays I made or ones I wish I could have back. But most of all, when I look back on my time as a Longhorn, what I remember most is just how fun winning was. I remember listening to Coach Brown’s postgame speech after a big victory, and then the entire team singing “Texas Fight!” together at the top of our lungs. I remember that feeling of walking to class with my teammates and having everybody we passed throw up their horns and congratulate us. I distinctly remember the pride I felt, but also the pride other people felt because of our performance. When we won, we lifted up the entire campus. And I remember wanting to have that feeling all the time. Our entire team did. I wanted to win for our school, I wanted to win for our coaches and I wanted for my teammates. That was part of what made us great.

The work to achieve that winning feeling never stopped. Every day of practice was a legit competition. We used each other’s talent as a resource to get better. I was out there trying to throw against the likes of Earl Thomas, Aaron Williams, Michael Griffin and Aaron Ross — guys who would go on not to just play in the NFL, but become very good NFL players. Practice was so difficult that the games were just fun because we finally got to unleash all that competitive energy we built up on some other team.

When we won, we lifted up the entire campus. And I remember wanting to have that feeling all the time. Our entire team did.

As time went on, we all felt like we grew together. We wanted to see each other get drafted and achieve our dreams, and we all pushed each other to get to that point. Those bonds never break. To this day, I love checking in with my old teammates and talking about old times.

We reminisce about bowl games, 45-35 and the great run in ’08-‘09 when we only lost one game. We laugh about things that happened in the locker room and in the dorms. And we thank each other, even without directly saying it, for being a vital part of the period of our lives when we became men.

Someday, many years from now, maybe you guys will get together and look back on your time at Texas. And you’ll reminisce about some disappointments from last season, when you lost some close games, but won some big ones. Then you’ll remember that season opener against Notre Dame, when you all realized just how talented you were, and showcased it in front the entire nation. You’ll look back and take pride in how you lifted Texas football out of the lean years and defined a new era of greatness. In some ways, I’m jealous of you. You have so many memories just waiting to be made.

 

I’ve gotten to know Coach Strong, and I really believe in what he’s building. He values the same things that helped Mack Brown make this program great – a strong belief in family, close relationships with his players and a deep love for this University. When I was in school, I felt so proud to play for Coach Brown, and I can see that Coach Strong has instilled a similar pride in all of you.

I like where our program is right now. I really do. I had the opportunity to work out with a few you this summer, and it made me feel even better about the team. The talent is there. I see flashes of the same greatness that I was fortunate to be around while I was on campus. Yes, people have been frustrated with the results the last couple of years — and rightly so. But if you look closely, you can see that we’re turning a corner. You have the opportunity to erase a lot of bad memories for every person who feels a little bit of pride when they see burnt orange.

You have the opportunity to erase a lot of bad memories for every person who feels a little bit of pride when they see burnt orange.

I don’t need to tell you that Notre Dame is good. You saw that last year, and I’m sure you’ve been hearing about how good they are just about every day since then.

But on Sunday, last year won’t matter. Not one lick. Your record right now is 0-0. Everything is ahead of you.

Trust that your coaches are going to have you prepared. Trust your reads and your instincts. These games are why you were recruited to play here, so don’t try to be a superhuman version of yourself. Be the player you know that you are. You made it to Texas because you’ve played very well in a lot of games throughout your lifetime. This is just another opportunity to showcase what you were born to do.

Before kickoff on Sunday, find a quiet place on the sideline. Take a knee and look around the stadium. Breathe in the air and appreciate the atmosphere. And take a moment to collect your thoughts, say a little prayer and remember how blessed you are to be playing the greatest game on earth at the greatest school on earth.

Then get on your feet, strap on your helmet and go show those boys how we play ball in Texas.

Hook’em,

Colt

 

COLT MCCOY

CONTRIBUTOR

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Michael Huff

 

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Michael Huff

 

The article below was written by Michael for The Players Tribune.  The full article is in the link below, and the text has been saved just in case the link is lost.  

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/michael-huff-texas-football/amp/

QUALITY CONTROL COACH / UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

When Texas is playing good football, it just seems like the world is a better place.

It’s hard to describe exactly. It’s almost like there’s this warm feeling all throughout campus, Austin, central Texas and the entire state. There’s a definite buzz of positivity. The grass is greener, everyone is happier and sweet tea just tastes that much sweeter.

You hear plenty of theories around the state about why the Longhorns suddenly stopped winning a few years back. It’s been analyzed and reanalyzed up and down by every person who has an opinion about football. But I think that, ultimately, none of it really matters. I’m not here to discuss what went wrong, or whether “Texas is back.”

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What I do want to talk about is what this program means to me — because it means a lot. It means just about everything.

I was fortunate to spend eight years playing defensive back in the NFL. It’s something I’m very proud of and that I’ll always be thankful for, but — and I tell this to every young man I meet who has similar ambitions — it was a job. From the moment you’re drafted to the day you retire, there is always a business element attached to playing in the league. Even though you spend your whole life dreaming of making it there, a lot of things become much more complicated once you’re in the NFL. From the outside, you only see the money, the nice houses, the flashy cars and the endorsements. But once you’re immersed in the actual pressures of the job — the injuries, the benchings, and the reality that, at any moment, your career could be over — your perspective changes just a bit. Your relationship with the game changes.

In college, things were a lot simpler. It didn’t matter whether you were a five-star blue chip, or a two-star guy like myself — everyone was treated the exact same. You slept in the same dorms, ate the same food and were held to the same standards. The coaches might have made the decisions in terms of scheme and playing time, but it was the guys you lived with — and grew up with — who you really answered to.     

When I close my eyes and think back to that time in my life, the first image that pops into my mind is the DB room. Oh man, the hours I spent in that room. I can see Quentin Jammer right there at the front, quietly watching film. When I was just a redshirt freshman, he was one of the guys I looked up to.  He was also the person I never wanted to disappoint.

Coaches at college programs get a lot of focus (and blame) from fans and the media, but what gets lost is how crucial veteran leadership is to the growth of players. Yeah, if I ever screwed up during a game, I knew Duane Akina, our DB coach we give me an earful. But during those practices and games, it was guys like Quentin I didn’t really want to let down. If I was supposed to be behind the line before we started a drill, I knew I better make sure I was behind that line or otherwise those seniors would be all over me. We all knew what we expected out of each other — and it was that standard that led to us producing the best defensive backs in the country for the better part of a decade.

When I first enrolled at Texas in 2001, I was a track guy. I liked looking pretty in my uniform and grabbing interceptions. But tackling? That wasn’t for me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was a pretty selfish, one-dimensional player.

Four years later, I was a starter on an undefeated team playing in its second consecutive Rose Bowl. The final play of my career, it was fourth-and-two with USC leading us 38-33 late in the fourth quarter. The Trojans were on our 45-yard line and we needed to prevent them from getting a first down in order to keep our national championship hopes alive. When the ball was snapped, they handed it off to LenDale White, one of the most physical running backs in the country. And with the help Brian Robison, Tim Crowder, Rod Wright and the other guys up front doing the dirty work, I got an open shot at LenDale and stopped him just short of the chains.

And I think most college football fans know what happened from there.

That was a play I couldn’t have made when I first arrived at Texas. Not just physically, but I also wouldn’t have had the aggressive attitude andinner fire to do that. That play was possible because of a lot of work that had gone on behind the scenes to mold me as a player and as a person. It was possible because of a mentality ingrained in me that we would not and could not lose.

Over time, I think that edge — that mentality — slowly left our program.

And the biggest reason why I decided to rejoin the Longhorns as a quality control coach last year was to help bring it back.

If you went back to when I was 18 and told me I would be a football coach one day, there’s no chance I would have believed you. To me football was more of a fun game than a life-long career.

But after I retired and was living in Dallas, it felt almost strange not to be involved with the game. I didn’t just miss being around football, I missed being in Austin and with the Longhorns every day. I met my wife there, and we had always dreamed of going back one day. It was Charlie Strong who first encouraged me to get involved with the program. I have him to thank for inviting me back. Then when Tom Herman took over last December, I met with him in his office and we discussed a plan for how I could best help the program. It involves a lot of different things but I was all in and now love what I’m doing.

Here’s what I can say for certain about Coach Herman: You will not find another person more focused or more dedicated to winning. He’s a really smart and detail-oriented person who probably could have found success in a number of fields, but decided to pour his talents intofootball and the young men who play it.

What I appreciate about him most is that he’s a players’ coach. I don’t mean that in the sense that he’s going to love you all the time — what he understands is that that’s not the best thing for every guy. There are a hundred different kids in this program with a hundred different personalities and needs. Tom has shown that he knows that reaching a young person requires a different approach for each kid. And he’s going to find the right buttons to push with each player and you’ll come out of his program as a better player and person than when you arrive. Now that I’m a parent myself, I really appreciate that about him and his staff.

Myself? The younger version of me needed to be pushed and yelled at a bit in order to learn. I remember when we were playing Oklahoma State early in my career, there was a receiver on their team who was talking trash. So after I broke up a pass in a physical manner, I decided to step on his back a little on my way back to the huddle. But I never made it back to the huddle — Mack Brown pulled me off the field immediately and said, in very clear terms, “If you do something like that one more time, you’ll never play here ever again.”

And that was exactly what I needed. I was involved in a lot of plays throughout my college career, but that particular play is the one that makes me feel most embarrassed because I was only thinking about myself. I was happy that I made a play, not that our team had. And that that’s the kind of mentality you can never let exist in a successful program.

As I matured into my junior, senior years I watched how the guys ahead of me operated. And gradually the coaches let me take charge and become a leader. I realize now that if I had maintained that selfish attitude when I became a starter — even if I was really good — it would have eventually been passed down to the guys below me. And that’s a problem that can’t be fixed through schemes or techniques — that’s culture.

A winning culture isn’t something that gets created overnight. It’s much easier to lose than it is to develop. Sometime in the last decade, I think Texas lost that culture of accountability. We became more scared of losing than committed to winning.

That’s what Coach Herman and this staff are changing. Every message is clear, it’s about doing your job, being accountable and playing for the man next to you. I absolutely love what we’re preaching to these kids and the approach the staff takes. It reminds me so much of what Coach Brown built here in the past and in just a few months with Coach Herman, I see it developing again. The culture is changing.

Want to know the worst feeling? The complete opposite feeling of when Texas is playing good football?

Wearing an Oklahoma jersey.

Just awful. Embarrassing. Gross.

There were more times than I care to remember when I was in the NFL that I would lose a bet with a teammate over the Red River Rivalry game and be forced to wear that awful jersey. I had to wear quite a few college jerseys of teams other than Texas during my NFL career. Later on in my career, when Texas started really struggling, it always kind of served as a reminder of how the program was slipping. I remember when I was a sophomore and we only won nine games. It felt like the world was ending. Today, we don’t have a single kid on our roster who has ever won a bowl game. That’s something that seemed unimaginable to me a decade ago.

A big part of my job — the part of my job that I enjoy most — doesn’t have much to do with football. I spend a lot of time with our players just talking about life and my experiences. We’ll grab food or walk to class together and I get a sense of what their lives are like. There are a lot of things different now than when I was in college. The whole social media thing has made it pretty easy for outside influences to filter in negativity to kids who are at an age when it doesn’t take much to feel negative as it is. So that’s a different kind of challenge. But I also recognize that a lot is the same. They have the same hopes and fears as any college kid. A lot of the players occupying the DB room today remind me a lot of myself at different phases of my college career. So it’s nice to be able to offer them the advice I think I would have needed when I was their age.  

That’s all to say that, in being around these kids, I’ve seen firsthand that they’re doing the right things.  I see guys like DeShon Elliott and P.J. Locke and they’re doing the things that Quentin Jammer and Rod Babers asked of me, and that I passed down to underclassmen. As a coach, as an alum and as a mentor, that’s really nice to see.

Texas is a huge school with a lot of passionate fans, so the impulse is always going to be to react to a single result and wonder whether the program is back to where it once was. But that’s just not how it works. What we’re trying to build here — what we had here — took much longer than one game or even one season. Because there’s simply no quick fix for excellence. There’s no one game that’s going to signify that we’re back.

We took a step back in our season-opening loss to Maryland but grew from that. There are no moral victories of course, but USC was a real turning point for this young team from a maturity standpoint. Now we’ve won our first two Big 12 games and are heading into OU as a much better team.

The Sooners are a team we all have circled on our schedule. It’s the greatest rivalry in college football. The game’s played on a neutral field, crowd split right down the middle and it’s surrounded by the Texas State Fair. We even have a countdown clock in our facility that lets you know when that game is coming. It seemed so far away for so long but now it’s just hours away.

Saturday will be a great challenge as, despite the Iowa State loss, we still know Oklahoma is an amazing team. It’s an opportunity for us to compete at the highest level and to take a huge step towards getting back where Texas belongs: Among the elite of college football.

Hook ‘Em

MICHAEL HUFF / CONTRIBUTOR

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Kasey Studdard

 

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Jamaal Charles

Article in the Alcalde

BY CHRIS O'CONNELL IN FEATURESMAY | JUNE 2016SPORTS ON MAY 2, 2016 AT 8:50 AM

Charles and his daughters Mackenzie (left) and Makaila (right) dance to “Hit the Quan” in the Gymboree below their condo; Ryan Nicholson

Jamaal Charles has it all—money, accolades, a loving family—but he’s still working on immortality.

The mention of melted, yellow, non-denominational cheese in a bowl has Jamaal Charles feeling nostalgic for another time: when he had both of his original knee ligaments, when he ate whatever he wanted, when queso preceded every Tex-Mex meal. Those were the halcyon days.

We’re in Charles’ living room, in Leawood, Kansas, surrounded by his offseason distractions: a pair of DJ turntables and a pile of Playstation controllers. President Obama had just famously visited Torchy’s Tacos in Austin, and Charles is daydreaming of the liquid gold.

“I bet he tore that up,” Charles says, grinning ear-to-ear. “He’d probably like to get that shipped in. Torchy’s, when you gonna let me franchise one out here?”

But that’s all this is now: a dream. If some athletes treat their bodies like temples, on the verge of a comeback from another devastating injury, Charles has decided his is a pristine Buddhist monastery perched atop a mountain. That is to say, no more queso. He’s vegan now.

Six months ago, Charles fell as millions watched. On Oct. 11, after taking a red-zone handoff from his quarterback Alex Smith and cutting back into the Chicago Bears’ defensive line, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. It seemed to spell doom for the Chiefs’ season, their prized offensive weapon writhing in pain on the grass. Instead, a two-headed monster known as the 24-year-old running backs Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware stepped into Charles’ shoes, as Kansas City rattled off 10 straight wins to end the season and earn a spot in the AFC playoffs.

The pain and rehab, the missed playoff games, and the indignity of watching not one but two upstarts prove to be capable replacements for Charles—perhaps rendering him irrelevant—doesn’t seem to phase him on this rainy mid-March day on the Kansas side of the Kansas City suburbs. In fact, he doesn’t seem worried at all.

But the cheerful, four-time Pro-Bowl running back, who is now a revved up, rebuilt machine sitting in front of me, almost walked away from the game. Just four years earlier, he’d torn the ACL in the opposite knee. He’d had enough; he was about to turn 29—the winter of life for a running back—and that last rehab was difficult. He had to take pills to offset the pain he felt getting off the trainer’s table every day during the 2011 offseason. Charles says he was seriously considering retirement.

That seems reasonable enough. He has money: He’s earned $34,162,500 in salary from the Chiefs, according to Spotrac. Judging by the humble accommodations that have been his in-season home for the last six years, most of the eight figures he’s made hasn’t been squandered. He has a beautiful family: a wife, Whitney, whom he met after a track meet his freshman year at UT, and two daughters, Makaila, 5, and Makenzie, 4, born 11 months apart.

Standing on the precipice of either a cushy early retirement or months of rehab followed by the daily grind of punishing helmet-to-helmet hits and the risk of re-injury to his knee, Charles states that he intends to win a Super Bowl with the Chiefs and retire as one of the greatest running backs of all time. And that presupposes him beating out the youngsters to reclaim (and keep) his spot in a now-crowded backfield. In an era when NFL players are retiring early to preserve their future health, why not choose the easy way out?

“One more shot,” he says, much more seriously now, his grin fading. “When I leave I want to be known as Jamaal Charles, phenomenal football player, inspiring to kids and adults. I’m going to take advantage of this one more shot.”

His entire life, scouts have tagged Charles with the same pejoratives: undersized, limited, not particularly physical. Those words are, in the parlance of the hyper-masculine world of football, euphemistic for one word: weak.

The man facing me in his condominium, shoveling fruit salad from a Styrofoam container into his mouth, is not, in a word, weak. He stands, by my estimate, at just under 6 feet, his arms slender but sinewy under a navy blue Puma T-shirt that falls just above a shiny Louis Vuitton belt that holds up a pair of fitted, faded G-Star jeans. His trademark braids are tied in the back and fall just over his shoulders. He speaks softly, and with a distinct Gulf Coast drawl—not quite typical Texas, and with a dash of Cajun. He dots his sentences with pleasantries like “yes, sir” and “no, ma’am,” and words like “again” contain three syllables instead of two.

With the content of his speech—and his condo—Charles walks a thin line between confidence and demureness, teetering between hubristic aplomb and charming humility. His modest apartment where he typically only lives in during the NFL season is decidedly the inverse of an episode of MTV Cribs, yet there are images of Charles from all phases of his career lining every wall, and an extra one airbrushed in the lining of a navy blazer he eventually puts on. His former Longhorn teammate and roommate Quan Cosby teased him when, after he signed a $28 million contract extension in 2010, he bought a baby blue Lamborghini, to which Charles replied, “I only got one!” He says he doesn’t worry about splitting carries with West and Ware next season as long as it benefits the Chiefs, but also mentions lofty goals, like entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he retires, which will require him to shoehorn into his remaining career a couple more prolific seasons. That won’t happen if he’s in a timeshare.

Growing up in Port Arthur, Texas, Charles never anticipated reconciling this type of nuance in his life. Born two days after Christmas in 1986, he was raised by a trio of women in his mother, aunt, and grandmother. Early on, he was diagnosed with a learning disability, due to his difficulties speaking and reading.

Today, Charles lets out a knowing chuckle when he misspeaks. He’s not embarrassed or shy about the fact that, despite being a thoughtful person, the barrier between his brain and his mouth is an obstacle the former hurdler and sprinter has never completely cleared. As a child, it was obviously much worse. He was teased when he was placed in special education in elementary school. That humiliation begat glory when during a trip to the Special Olympics in middle school, he entered a couple events and returned home with a fistful of ribbons.

“I was smoking people,” Charles says. “I got to go home to my mom and tell her I won something. Finally in life I won something.” The trend would continue into high school, where Charles was a track star, winning the 5A state titles in the 110m and 300m hurdles his senior year at Port Arthur Memorial. But it was in football where he really stood out.

Bob West, who was the sports editor of The Port Arthur News from 1972 until his retirement last year, spent his earliest years on the job covering a local running back named Joe Washington. He went on to set every rushing record in the area before a stellar career at Oklahoma and a long NFL life.

“I didn’t expect to ever see a back as good as Joe Washington,” West says, “and I didn’t until Jamaal came along. It was obvious … we’ll see this guy on Sundays.” Charles broke Washington’s local rushing record and committed to UT, where again, his speed and lateral movement immediately set him apart from the competition.

Greg Davis, offensive coordinator at Texas from 1998-2010, says he only needed to watch Charles’ high school tape for a couple minutes before deciding to recruit him. When he showed up at practice in the fall of 2005, it became apparent that the true freshman would be taking handoffs from Vince Young as soon as the season began.

Two or three practices in, still in shorts, Davis says, he told his offensive staff, “We gotta get this guy ready to play. He’s too talented.”

 

 

Charles is helped off the field after tearing his ACL during the third quarter on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri; Keith Myers/TNS via ZUMA Wire

 

 

 

 

Charles showed up dauntless on the field, with fellow freshman Cosby remembering one of the first conversations with his new roommate centered around his record-breaking high school track and football career back in Port Arthur. Cosby alerted Charles that, at Texas, especially with the program at the height of its powers as it was in 2005, everybody on the field was a potential All-American.

“He never brought it up again,” Cosby says, “and he worked as hard as anybody out there.” Charles earned himself major playing time, splitting carries with Selvin Young and Ramonce Taylor as the Longhorns stunned the college football world en route to a national championship in January 2006.

 

The most difficult part of being a student-athlete at Texas, especially as a freshman, wasn’t shedding tacklers or picking up the blitz. For Charles, even conducting a simple postgame interview was frightening, and the more playing time he got, the more reporters looked for him after games. It led some, even those who knew him well, to confuse his quietness for slowness.

“I had all those gifts in me,” Charles says. “Most people never saw it.”

Some still don’t. “He probably didn’t finish on the dean’s list, but in terms of football he was on the dean’s list,” Davis says when we speak on the phone. UT-Austin doesn’t have a dean’s list, but on Nov. 21, 2006, three days before Davis, Charles, and the rest of the Longhorns would lose a 12-7 game to Texas A&M, Charles beamed as he learned he was named to the Academic All-Big 12 team.

Charles walks gingerly through the third-floor hallway of his building, and at one point he almost braces himself on a slick black table. Perhaps sensing I was just behind him—that’d be the “awareness” attribute found in the Madden video games—his hand hovers over but never touches the surface. Confident as he is, only five months removed from knee surgery, that he will reclaim his starting job, lead the Chiefs to a title, and retire a Hall of Famer, the man in front of me still has a ways to go.

But then, Charles says, he’s fought through injuries his entire life: numerous ankle injuries that sidelined him at Texas, shoulder surgery during the 2010 offseason to fix problems dating back to high school, and, of course, the two rebuilt ACLs. Heading into the 2008 NFL draft after his junior season, he’d have to prove he could stay on the field.

Charles was typecast as too small to carry the ball 250 times per season, and his NFL scouting profile listed his negatives as “not a particularly physical back” and a “willing, but limited pass blocker.” Still, he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the Combine and rushed for more than 1,600 yards his junior season. As the draft began on the evening of April 26, 2008, Charles was sure he’d hear his name called early. Five times Roger Goodell said the name of an NFL team followed by the words, “running back from … “ and five times he made instant millionaires out of people not named Jamaal Charles. The last time it happened that day, part of a string of three running backs drafted in a row, the Titans passed up the chance to reunite Charles and Young in Nashville.

Surely round two would be different. He was better than most of these guys. Two teams plumbed the depths of Conference USA and the Big East, grabbing players from Tulane and Rutgers. When round three rolled around, the Lions, perhaps the worst drafting team of the aughts, whiffed on Charles for a player named Kevin Smith. The Chiefs selected Charles in the middle of the third round with the 73rd pick in the draft.

Charles cried as eight running backs had their names called before him—four of them no longer in the league—while silently locking the teams that doubted him in a vault of revenge, only to be opened once the Chiefs found them on their schedule. Oakland. Carolina. Dallas. Pittsburgh. Tennessee. Chicago. Baltimore. Detroit.

“Every team that passed me up and I play ’em, I’m like … I’m about to kill the day,” Charles says with a smirk. “I’m going to destroy them. I still hold that chip on my shoulder. What you think of me, I’m still better than any running back you have on your team.”

But the experience, Charles says, beyond motivating him, kept him humble. Realizing that most people, even some prolific football players, don’t get $600,000 signing bonuses at 21, he checked himself. “To stay joyful, to stay humble,” he says, “I sucked it up. I took that in.”

Charles spent his rookie year behind Larry Johnson before taking the All-Pro’s job in 2009, rushing for 1,120 yards on only 190 carries. His breakout season was 2010, a year in which Charles came up just 65 yards short of 2,000 total yards from scrimmage, leading the Chiefs to the playoffs and earning himself that substantial contract extension in the process. During a week-two game against the Lions in 2011, Charles tore his left ACL and missed the rest of the year. It looked like the Chiefs had made a mistake, that perhaps Charles was as incapable of staying on the field as many had suggested.

“It was a bump,” Charles says, “but I signed up for this sport.” It was actually a bump up, as the Chiefs running back returned to rush for more than 1,000 yards in each of the next three seasons, including 1,509 in 2012, his career high. In 2013, Charles scored 19 total touchdowns, gained 1,980 yards from scrimmage, and was named first team All-Pro for the second time in his career. He missed only two regular-season games out of the next 53 the Chiefs played after his first ACL surgery, coming to a halt, of course, during the Bears game in 2015.

Charles and I head over to Rye, an upscale fried chicken joint that shares a parking lot with his apartment building, for a change of scenery and a photo shoot. He wonders aloud if the biscuits and gravy are vegan before quickly snapping back to reality.

“Nah, I don’t need to eat.” Charles has a personal chef, of course, and even if the gravy is vegan, those biscuits can only help derail the comeback train.

Heads turn as Charles poses for pictures and shakes hands. As a group of polo-clad, middle-aged men walk in, most notice the only person in the building who has scored five touchdowns in an NFL game. One man in the pack simply doesn’t recognize Charles, or celebrities don’t faze him.

“You just walked past Kansas City royalty,” his friend says to him, shocked.

“I talked to DJ the other day,” Charles says, as we walk the sidewalk outside his building with his daughters. “He got paid.” He’s referring to 33-year-old fellow Longhorn and Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson, who, one year after a devastating achilles injury, had an All-Pro season in 2015. A week prior, Johnson inked a new $21 million deal to stay in Kansas City.

“Does DJ’s great comeback season inspire you … ?” Charles laughs and cuts me off. He’s already come back once; he’s confident he can do this. He’s past inspiration for 2016, looking even further ahead, even if he has mentioned multiple times that he’s looking at this one day at a time.

“It’s not even about that,” he says. “Guys are still getting paid at what, 32, 33?”

I mention Matt Forte, the Tulane running back drafted ahead of Charles in 2008, now 30, and who just signed for three years and $12 million with the Jets.

“Yeah,” Charles says, gripping his daughter’s hand. For the love of the game is a nice sentiment, and Charles’ decision to give it one more try isn’t strictly fiscally motivated. Still, he’s also repeatedly stated another purpose to me throughout the afternoon, and the reason he quit track after his sophomore season at Texas in order to focus on football: to provide for his family.

 

Carey Windler, an orthopedic surgeon who served as team doctor for Texas men’s athletics from 1986 until last year, says that 30 or 35 years ago, Charles wouldn’t even be thinking about his next contract. It’d already be over for him.

But orthopedic surgery has thankfully evolved since then. Years ago, a torn ACL was simply stitched back together; now, it’s replaced with a completely new ligament, either from elsewhere in the knee or from a cadaver, and the outpatient procedure can be completed in as little as 90 minutes. This time around Charles opted for two stem cell replacement treatments, something he didn’t do for his left knee. The rehab has changed too. No longer is the knee kept immobile for four to six weeks following surgery. Charles notes that even the rehab equipment at the Chiefs’ facilities varies greatly from what he used in 2011-12.

But the one barrier on the road back to greatness that is impossible to remove is kinesiophobia, or fear of movement. Windler says it affects all athletes returning from a major injury. The memories of the snapping ligament, the pain of recovery, and the long, arduous rehab stick with athletes when they return to the field, often hindering their ability to let loose.

“Jamaal was in great shape, and then out of the blue, something happens,” Windler says. “So they recover, but there’s this phobia of reinjury. It takes time for that to extinguish.”

Charles’ condo walls are mostly decorated with photos of his family and himself. But there’s also a signed portrait of Adrian Peterson, bearing the inscription: “Just think, we could have been in the same backfield at UT???” Peterson also tore his ACL plus his medial collateral ligament in 2011, and ended up winning the NFL MVP the following season. Peterson and Charles, who ran track against each other in high school, pushed kinesiophobia out of their minds once. Charles still has to prove he can do that again, with his first test looming in September, when the NFL regular season begins.

“There are some athletes who make us look really good, and some,” Windler says, “make us look even better.”

Two weeks before I met Charles, he found God. Again.

During Pro Bowl weekend in January, Whitney Charles heard of an event called the The Increase, held over four days in Colorado Springs, and convinced Jamaal to attend the Christian conference along with hundreds of other NFL athletes and their wives. After a long cycle of sermons, workshops, and worship, the final day was an opportunity for those who wanted to get baptized.

Charles was baptized as a child, but beyond mandatory church attendance, the whole “saved” thing didn’t mean much to him until recently. As a rookie with the Chiefs in 2008, he was enthralled by the debauched athlete’s life: namely money, jewelry, and women.

“I wanted to be called [by God] when I wanted to be called on,” Charles says.

Seated at the far end of where the baptismal was taking place, Charles wondered aloud if this was that time, even though everyone ready to take the plunge wore swimsuits while he and his wife were in the clothes they’d worn all day.

“The spirit was talking to me,” Charles says, his hand fluttering over his heart. The calling was loud and clear, and he was baptized for the second time on the spot. “I felt reborn again—I have a new body, a new mind, and a new spirit now.”

Over the last two weeks, the Playstation controllers have gathered dust and his turntables have remained unplugged. Charles opens a small brown box on his kitchen countertop, eager to see what’s under the flaps. He pulls out a stack of medium-sized religious texts, more substantial than Chick tracts but less bulky than a pile of Bibles.

“I used to play a lot of Madden online, Grand Theft Auto, get on the turntables, try to spin,” Charles says. “I stopped playing video games to read more about Jesus. I never read like that in my life.”

The first Chief to attend the conference, he has a couple teammates ready to sign up after this offseason. It’s the least Charles can do, he says, as he hopes to leave his mark off the field in the same way he has on Sunday afternoons. He wants to be an inspiration to anyone who feels lost, like he was.

“They can see a spiritual man in the locker room,” Charles says. “They don’t have to see what I saw when I came into the locker room.”

He also has come to grips with the notion that that Chiefs locker room won’t be his for long, even if he does come back strong in 2016. West and Ware were extended with identical two-year, $3.6 million contracts on Mar. 31. The cheaper, healthier, younger versions of Charles proving to be capable replacements for the veteran led to offseason speculation that the Chiefs might be better off without him at all. Even Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk said, in an interview with The Kansas City Star, “Why does Kansas City keep Jamaal Charles when you saw Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West? For what reason?”

Charles says he told Ware and West during the season that their goal is to take the starting Chiefs job from him, and that, if he was ever back on the field with them, he’d try to snatch it right back.

“It’s helping your brothers out, and they’re my brothers. But if your shoes are called for, you gotta take advantage of that time, man,” Charles says, “because you don’t know when that opportunity is going to come up again.”

And that’s been the theme of much of our interaction today: his legacy, and more specifically the unique position he’s in this offseason to decide how the world will remember Jamaal Charles. Sure, he’s concerned about how he’ll be viewed in the pantheon of great running backs. If he retired this offseason, his 5.5 yards per rush would rank No. 1 all-time for a running back since the NFL and AFL merged in 1966, better than Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, and even his old pal Peterson. Creeping into the conversation even more frequently is his desire to be remembered as an inspirational figure: to kids who are told they are too small or not smart enough, to nonbelievers, to future fathers.

“I want to break a generation of … ” Charles trails off. “I want my daughters to have a father they can look up to. I didn’t see that when I was raising up, and I always wanted that.”

Cradling Makenzie in his arms as he heads back upstairs for the night, Charles is focused on family. Tomorrow he will wake up and climb that steep mountain toward immortality again, and as painful and frustrating as it may be, he’ll do it again the next day too. He came back once before, and until proven otherwise, he says he will reach the top.

“Knowing him and his work ethic, he’ll come back just as strong,” Cosby says. “Someone out there is going to say he’s done. He’ll find that and use it. He’s different.”

Photos from top:

Photo by Ryan Nicholson

Charles is helped off the field after tearing his ACL during the third quarter on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri; Keith Myers/TNS via ZUMA Wire

Charles and his daughters Mackenzie (left) and Makaila (right) dance to “Hit the Quan” in the Gymboree below their condo; Ryan Nicholson

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Selvin Young