’49 Longhorns: Unlikely champs almost didn’t get their chance

 

By Gaylon Krizak

Ten games into the 1949 baseball season, it was clear to at least one observer that Bibb Falk’s latest edition of the Texas Longhorns just didn’t measure up to its predecessors.

Granted, the bar the ’49 Longhorns faced was as high as the fence that sat atop the limestone hill that stretched across the outfield at Clark Field, Texas’ baseball home since 1928. The Steers, as the Longhorns frequently were referred to in print in those days, were going for their sixth consecutive Southwest Conference championship and their 28th in the 35-year history of the SWC.

This also was the third year of the NCAA baseball tournament, and the Texas team of 1949 appeared to have some unfinished business to attend to. With two-sport superstar Bobby Layne leading the way on the mound as a junior, the 1947 Longhorns had reached the Western Division final in Denver before losing, in what then was a single-elimination format, an 8-7 decision to eventual national champion California.

The following year, chiefly citing summer job commitments and the monthlong delay between the end of the regular season and the start of the NCAA tourney, Texas coach Bibb Falk opted to skip the tournament.

To get their own chance, the 1949 Longhorns first would have to win the SWC, since no more than one team from each conference qualified for the eight-team field (plus any teams in district playoffs needed to determine some of the participants in the tournament). And 10 games into the season, with conference play set to begin, Texas was not performing up to Texas’ standards.

As a team, the Longhorns were batting .228, including an anemic .181 against left-handers, with a staff ERA of 3.87. In the three previous years immediately following World War II, Texas had not lost more than four games in a season and had dropped just two in the entire 1948 campaign. Through 10 games, the ’49 Longhorns were 6-4, including three losses in four tries against minor-league professional teams.

The low point, arguably, came March 23 as Texas was going for a three-game sweep of Ohio State. Instead, Buckeyes lefty Dick Hess limited the Longhorns to two singles in nine innings, giving Ohio State a 5-1 victory that ended Texas’ 36-game winning streak at Clark Field against collegiate competition that dated back to 1946.

So – fittingly, perhaps – in the April Fools’ Day edition of the Austin American, staff writer Seale Doss offered this blunt assessment of the team:

“Shy at the plate, this ’49 club had been laughed off as Bibb Falk’s poorest team in years …”

Ironically, the past tense proved more prophetic than the dire pronouncement that contained it.

In hindsight, the first of the University of Texas’ 54 NCAA team championships, six of which have come in baseball, was accomplished by a team most like two that followed in its wake: the 1969 football and 1983 baseball squads. All three were great teams in their own right, but all three to this day still get unfavorably compared to their immediate, non-champion predecessors.

The ’69 football team was 11-0 and beat Arkansas and Notre Dame in two of the most memorable games in UT history. Yet many – including some players who were on both teams – claim that, by the end of the season, the 9-1-1 team in 1968 was better, its loss and tie coming in the first two games of the season while the newly created Wishbone offense was still having its kinks worked out on the fly.

The ’83 baseball team, meanwhile, won a school-record 66 games and featured a pitching staff that may have been the best in NCAA history; led by Roger Clemens, Calvin Schiraldi, Mike Capel and Kirk Killingsworth, Texas led the nation with a 2.72 ERA. All four were on the ’82 staff as well, with only Schiraldi having a markedly better season in ’83, and they led the Longhorns to (and this is no typo) a 57-4 record going into the College World Series. The Longhorns then won their first two CWS games before falling to eventual champ Miami and runner-up Wichita State.

As mentioned earlier, Falk chose not to enter the 1948 Longhorns in the tournament at all. As Weldon Hart of the Austin Statesman explained just after the ’48 season ended, there were “too many factors competing against the Longhorns.”

“The playoffs come along a month after the Southwest Conference season was over. Meanwhile the Texas team would have been disbanded for final examinations and a visit home, reassembled for only a few days of practice at best – and without several of their best players.

“Shortstop Chick Zomlefer probably will have signed a professional contract … and Pitcher Bobby Layne will be attending summer school at Texas Tech. Several players plan to go to summer school here. Others will want to report to summer jobs.

“As Coach Falk noted, it would not be possible for Texas to field the same team that won the conference championship. To do any less, he feels, would not reflect deserved credit on the University and the conference.”

A shame, since the 1948 team may well have been the best of the 25 he coached at Texas. Zomlefer, a three-time All-SWC shortstop, signed with the Baltimore Orioles – then the main farm club for the Cleveland Indians – nine days after the season ended. Layne, better known as a Hall of Fame quarterback, finished his career unbeaten in SWC games; like Zomlefer, he was a unanimous all-conference pick. The Longhorns went 18-1 against collegiate competition, losing 8-7 midseason at Baylor, and 20-2 overall.

As the 1949 Longhorns began to hit their stride, winning their first seven conference games as part of an overall 10-game streak, Falk again was forced to confront the possibility of a decision on the NCAA tournament. And, once again, as he spelled out in an April 19 piece by Austin American sports editor Jack Gallagher, Falk leaned hard toward sitting it out:

“Every year around this time I hear talk of the NCAA baseball tourney. But I don’t want any part of it.

“Look at it this way: It means a layover of over five weeks for us. It means additional expense and practically no return. It means delaying the start of professional careers for many players on the club. …

“We tried using a patched-up team at Denver two years ago and it was no go. We were out of shape; hadn’t played together in over a month.

“Bobby Layne had not pitched a ball for 30 days. He wasn’t in any kind of shape to pitch in the intercollegiate championships.

“This NCAA baseball championship is a fine thing for the Eastern and Western schools. They finish their school year about a month after us, and can move into the playoffs without sitting around for five weeks like we have to do. It’s a good thing for them, this tournament, but I wish they would keep it to themselves instead of trying to put pressure on me to get my team into it every year.”

A 10-4 rout of Baylor seemed to awaken the slumbering Texas bats. Including that 12-hit outburst, the Longhorns batted at a .318 clip and averaged 8.6 runs per game – and also won three consecutive shutouts – in their 7-0 run to open SWC play. A 14-4 pounding of Texas A&M delayed a day by rain gave Texas a three-game lead over A&M and SMU … but also, because of weather issues as well as a two-game series with Valparaiso that was on the UT schedule but not Valpo’s, turned out to be the Longhorns’ only game in a 15-day stretch.

Apparently rusty after the long layoff and playing an inspired Baylor team still hanging on in the conference race, Texas traveled to Waco and suffered 11-5 and 3-2 defeats that cut the Longhorns’ league lead to 1½ games over the Bears and Aggies with six left to play. Wins in their next four games sent Texas to College Station needing one victory in the two-game series to wrap up the SWC title; two A&M wins plus two more over last-place Rice the following week would send the trophy to Aggieland.

The Aggies kept things interesting in the opener when ace Bobby Fretz limited the Longhorns to a single run on five hits and, for good measure, hit a three-run homer in A&M’s 6-1 victory. But Texas still had its ace to play, and Murray Wall came through. He tossed a two-hitter for his eighth win in SWC play – and his third of the week – complimented by Frank Kana’s home run in a four-run seventh inning as the Steers turned the tables and wrapped up the title with a 6-1 victory of their own.

Which, had Falk had his way, would have been the end of the 1949 story. But the NCAA alleviated at least one of his postseason concerns when the District 6 committee extended its tournament invitation and told the Longhorns that they would not have to play a qualifying district playoff; instead, Texas would host one of four best-of-3 regional series for the right to take part in the third College World Series, to be held for the first (and as it turned out, last) time in Wichita. Falk put the invitation to a team vote and reluctantly accepted their decision to participate.

(As Paul Tracy of the Statesman pointed out, there may have been another reason for Falk’s curmudgeonly stance: “Another minor consideration is the fact that the Texas coach does not draw a salary after May 31. His services in postseason playoffs are definitely beyond the call of duty.”)

In any event, the Longhorns hosted Oklahoma A&M (now State), which eliminated Kansas in a three-game District 5 playoff, in the Region C series 35 days after beating Texas A&M. The Cowboys made the Longhorns work to win the opener, but Texas scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Al Joe Hunt in a 3-2 victory. The Longhorns then breezed to a 7-3 win the following afternoon and, as Wall proclaimed in the dressing room afterward, “Wichita, here we come!”

Five days later, Texas took the field against St. John’s in the opening game of a newly instituted four-team double-elimination tournament and rolled 7-1. Wall tossed an eight-hitter, and star first baseman Tom Hamilton belted two home runs for the Longhorns. The train kept rolling the next night as Texas crushed Wake Forest 8-1 behind left-hander Charley Gorin’s complete game on the mound and an offense that churned out 15 hits, including Ed Kneuper’s homer.

The Longhorns were off Friday as Wake Forest eliminated defending champ Southern California in 12 innings, setting up, if necessary, a doubleheader Saturday for the NCAA title. Texas made the twinbill completely unnecessary, overpowering three Demon Deacons pitchers for 18 hits in a 10-3 victory. Second baseman Jim Shamblin totaled five hits (including a double and a triple) for a championship-game record that twice has been equaled but remains unsurpassed. After Wake Forest tied the score at 2-2 in the home half of the fourth, Texas broke the game open with two runs in the fifth, two more in the seventh and four in the eighth, the big blow being a three-run homer by Hamilton that wrapped up the game for Texas and the tournament’s first-ever Most Outstanding Player award for him.

Hamilton’s homer capped one of the best seasons any Longhorn has enjoyed. He batted .417 and slugged .878 – including averages of .479 and .966 in SWC play – in 1949 and finished his three-year baseball career at .347/.653. He was the All-SWC first baseman in 1948 and ’49, and joined Wall on the 1949 American Baseball Coaches Association All-America first team.

He also compiled one of the best multisport careers in University history. As a freshman, he helped lead the UT basketball team to its first Final Four; three seasons later, as a senior, Hamilton was named to the 1949-50 All-SWC first team after completing his career as the school’s first 1,000-point scorer.

Wall, meanwhile, was the Longhorns’ stopper throughout the season. He was credited with eight of Texas’ 12 SWC wins and went 11-2 overall.

Hamilton and Wall led a solid UT contingent on the All-SWC baseball team that also included Kneuper (who also was on the All-America second team), Shamblin and catcher Dan Watson. None except Wall returned for the sequel in 1950, which is another story (but a good one; promise) for another time.

So what changed this from a 6-4 team being “laughed off as Bibb Falk’s poorest team in years” to a 23-7 squad that hoisted the program’s first national championship trophy?

Start with pitching. Wall, as noted, was amazing, but far from alone. Gorin (hampered by a sore arm most of the season), Jim Ehrler and Frank Womack also contributed in key spots, and joined Wall to form one of the nation’s strongest staffs in 1950 as well.

Add a touch of Falk. Injuries – particularly a fractured left thumb suffered by Watson that kept him out of most of the pre-conference schedule – among other things kept the wily veteran coach from really settling on a lineup, but his hunches generally paid off. Specifically, Falk installed Womack, almost exclusively a relief pitcher most of the season, in the leadoff spot as an outfielder starting with the regional playoff opener with Oklahoma A&M; Womack responded by batting .458 in the postseason and .563 in the CWS, earning him a spot – along with Hamilton, Kneuper, Wall, Gorin and Watson – on the unofficial all-tournament team.

Mostly, though, it was the rugged non-conference schedule that helped forge the progressively sharp batting eyes of the Texas players. The Longhorns hit .303 in SWC games, .322 in the postseason and .351 in Wichita.

Shy at the plate no longer, the 1949 Texas Longhorns bludgeoned their way into the winner’s circle, establishing a name for themselves in a program already loaded with tradition and setting a new standard that only five subsequent teams have matched.

Freddie Edwards

Flex Edwards, linebacker on the 1963-1966 DKR Longhorn teams is experiencing dementia and in a rehab center in Bastrop.  His wife Ida says he has trouble recognizing people, but knows he would get an immediate lift hearing from any old teammates.  If you get a chance drop a card or letter to Freddie at:

Fred Edwards

Silver Pines Rehab Center in Bastrop

503 Old Austin Highway

Room 345,

Bastrop, TX 78602

 

Or you can e-mail Ida at iedwards@austin.rr.com and she can pass it on to Freddie.

 

Freddie was inducted in the Rio Grande Valley Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.  

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Bradley and Black 1968.jpg

Coach Leon Black- a visionary who created the formula for future Longhorn basketball greatness.

 

Coach Leon Black a Longhorn Sports pioneer- Blazing trails into unchartered territory. 

 

 

 

Great coaches are generally determined by either their won/loss record, successful runs at the conference championship, or national championships, but those standards tend to celebrate transitory successes and minimize a coaches long term accomplishments. Winning should never be the only ingredient necessary for greatness. Many coaches deserve to be judged by more lofty standards then a won/loss record. Coaches with poor records may have to overcome impossible obstacles to succeed. Only history can judge the full impact of a coaches accomplishments and from the prism of history Coach Black passes the test of greatness. 

 

 

 

Changing a culture from losing to winning in sports is usually a long term proposition. It requires vision, insight, perseverance, and intangibles to build or rebuild a losing program. Coach Bible in 1937 and Coach Black in 1968 share a common bond. Each of these coaches chose to build a long term foundation for a winning program instead of building a program to win a game. Coach Bible's first three year record was 8-18 and Coach Black's record was 31-41. For both coaches, the rebuilding process was slow and ugly. 

Coaches who build programs around winning the next game may show some promise in the short term but this coaching style eventually collapses under its own weight and leaves the program in worse shape. While I am a fan of Coach Abe Lemmons his focus on the individual instead of the team was a major contributor to the collapse of the Longhorn basketball program.   At the end of Coach Lemmons career the Longhorns were 14-0 when Texas lost Mike Wacker to injury. The loss of one athlete should never totally collapse any sports program, but it happened at Texas. The Longhorns ended the season at 16-11. The team was 2-11 without Wacker.

After Coach Lemmons was fired Texas spent the next 6 dark years trying to resurrect long term team goals that Coach Leon Black had implemented when he was coach.  That process was an unmitigated failure. From 1982-1988 Texas record was 77 and 98. The second lowest winning percentage in the history of Longhorn basketball.

 

 

In 1968 the Longhorns had no "tools" to recruit the great BASKETBALL athletes. 

Most of the problems surrounding the mediocre state of UT basketball in 1968 were not caused by coaching it was caused by recruiting. The Daily Texas stated that Great African American athletes rejected UT because of the Universities past racial history. Larry Robinson said in The Daily Texan that "many (African-American athletes) weren't accustomed to playing around white players and they felt there weren't enough black students......."

Rodney Page helped Coach Black recruit in a unofficial capacity in the early 70's, and Rodney confirms the concerns mentioned in The Daily Texan.    

He says " Soon thereafter in an unofficial capacity, I began assisting in recruiting African-American basketball players, particularly in the Houston area since I had graduated high school and college in Houston. I was well connected with the head coaches at Jack Yates, Phyllis Wheatley, Kashmere, and Worthing High Schools. In addition, I became an ear, mentor, and advocate for the black basketball players that were recruited to the UT basketball program. Tyrone Johnson, James Price, Phillip Davis, Ed Johnson, Ovie Dotson, Gary Goodner, and Johnny Moore were players that I offered a mentoring and understanding presence. I can honestly say that Leon Black was just as concerned about these young men as human beings as well as basketball players. Please understand the challenge of the times for all concerned. I remember sitting in Ovie Dotson’s home in San Antonio and assuring his mother that I would look out for her son as she had concerns about him attending UT. I was true to my word. A few years prior the same was true for Tyrone Johnson, a juco transfer from Tyler JC, as I sat in his home in East Austin assuring his mother that I would look out for Tyrone as she had similar concerns about him attending UT. Again, I was true to my word. Tyrone and I remained close friends until his sudden death in 2001. It’s important to understand the negative image that UT had in the African-American community at that time and the very real concerns that parents possessed. We were pioneering and blazing trails in uncharted territory for UT'.

In the 60's Texas lost many great African American athletes due to perceived racial intolerance. UT also lost recruits due to some non-racial obstacles. By the late 60's Gregory Gyms useful life was over. Because the facility was small Coach Black says UT could only offer visiting teams $1300. A laughable amount even in the 60's. No great basketball team from the East or West coast wanted to play Texas in Austin with a guarantee to lose money on the game. As a consequence,no great high school athlete wanted to attend Texas and play in a small facility that could not attract great basketball teams.

Then there was the huge mistake made by UT media to promote the Longhorns as a two sport school- Fall football and Spring football. Coach Black said “We always had that back seat,” Coach Black said. “Every time I went to recruit somebody, they had that article. And the recruit said ‘Why should I come to Texas? Here’s your SID, he’s saying there are two sports at Texas, and basketball is not one of them."

Coach Black said that The UT Administration, coaches, and donors were all aware of these recruiting and structural handicaps and for the next 10 years focused on correcting perceptions and facilities.

Coach Black leaves A legacy that is deep, wide, but unheralded. 

As an assistant coach to Harold Bradley, Leon Black witnessed first hand the African American basketball players rebuff of UT recruiting overtures.  Twice Coach Bradley thought that he had crossed the racial barrier. James Cash was his best chance to recruit a black athlete. To show his commitment to James Cash, Bradley visited the Austin City Council and exhorted the human rights commission to show that Texas was striving to improve race relations. Bradley's attempt was commendable but unsuccessful. Cash chose TCU over Texas.

Coach Bradley also pushed hard to get Lew Alcindor, and he was so convinced that Lew would select Texas he had a preliminary press released written. Bradley was disappointed again.  With a sense of understanding Bill Little said of Coach Bradley's plight "there were legitimate concerns of how do you integrate when you've had nothing that is an example of it." 

Coach Black successfully overcame many of the the racial issues that Coach Bradley could  not. Coach Black in his early years as head coach successfully recruited seven African American basketball players to play for the Longhorns.  Coach Black's recruiting style changed the panoramic view of Longhorn men's basketball forever and Rodney Page was a major factor in the new view.  

Two of the 7 African-American recruits were Jimmy Blacklock and Johnny Robinson 

Jimmy Blacklock later becomes the coach of the Harlem Globe Trotters.

Coach Black also recruited Larry Robinson

1989 Robinson_Larry 1972 basketball.jpg

Larry Robinson Two Time MVP in the SWC

  

 

 

Larry Robinson wanted to be a Longhorn.  He said "I know I could play and race wasn't an issue."  I could acclimated myself to white society; it wasn't for me a strange thing." 

 

 

 

 

 

Coach Black's pioneering spirit and his long term vision were needed to move the Longhorn basketball to the next level. During his years as the head coach racial tensions subsided; African-American athletes and their extended families became great Longhorns; and an arena was built that proved the Longhorns were more than just a football program. Along the way Coach Black's teams won the SWC in 1972 and 1974. The 1972 team made it to the sweet 16 and there are many coaches , players, and fans that still think the 1972 team was one of the best Longhorn basketball teams of all time. Unfortunately, two of Texas best players missed the sweet 16 tournament due to injuries so we will never know how great they were.




Coach Black was an important factor in all of these changes. In a 2015 Daily Texan article Coach Black says  "look how far we've come." "We've come so far that it doesn't matter. You look for the best coach. If he's black, he's black, if he is white he is white..........................I think we've come that far."

The Longhorns could not have come "that far" without Coach Black's pioneering spirit and sense of destiny. Pioneers always set the tone and Coach Black was a tone setter. Building a winning culture requires vision , focus, and good recruiting. Coach Black combined all into a winning formula that helped Coach Abe Lemmons two years later win the NIT.

 

REMEMBERING COACH LEON BLACK BY RODNEY PAGE AUGUST 14TH 2017 

Friendly, courteous, genuine, honest, determined, truthful, concerned, cooperative and gracious are a few words that come to mind when I think of Leon Black.  I remember first meeting Leon in the fall of 1972.  I was early in my tenure of teaching Physical Instruction classes in Gregory Gym when our paths crossed.   His genuine, friendly spirit was the first thing I noticed about him.  Little did I know at our first meeting that it would be the beginning of a special mutually beneficial relationship steeped in truth, trust, and honesty.

Our early conversations frequently included basketball coaching strategy, philosophy, and teaching.  Relatively soon in our friendship, our conversations turned to the reality and necessity of recruiting African-American athletes.  His concern was not just for the necessary competitive balance, but also for the undeniable reality of the shifting racial landscape at UT.  This fact was true for all of UT athletics as the department was grappling with the reality of recruiting black athletes to maintain competitive balance with the rest of the national trend in intercollegiate athletics.  Leon was not only concerned about recruiting; he was just as concerned about providing a positive experience for the black athletes.  He was also open to understanding them as people as well as the realities they were living.  It was not as easy as some might suppose for a black athlete to step onto the UT campus at that time.  It was truly a different world and reality.  For trailblazers and pioneers, the path is seldom easy.  Yet, that is the challenge and sense of destiny and accomplishment in these opportunities.

Soon thereafter in an unofficial capacity, I began assisting in recruiting African-American basketball players, particularly in the Houston area since I had graduated high school and college in Houston.  I was well connected with the head coaches at Jack Yates, Phyllis Wheatley, Kashmere, and Worthing High Schools.  In addition, I became an ear, mentor, and advocate for the black basketball players that were recruited to the UT basketball program.  Tyrone Johnson, James Price, Phillip Davis, Ed Johnson, Ovie Dotson, Gary Goodner, and Johnny Moore were players that I offered a mentoring and understanding presence.  I can honestly say that Leon Black was just as concerned about these young men as human beings as well as basketball players.  Please understand the challenge of the times for all concerned.  I remember sitting in Ovie Dotson’s home in San Antonio and assuring his mother that I would look out for her son as she had concerns about him attending UT.  I was true to my word.   A few years prior the same was true for Tyrone Johnson, a juco transfer from Tyler JC, as I sat in his home in East Austin assuring his mother that I would look out for Tyrone as she had similar concerns about him attending UT.  Again, I was true to my word.  Tyrone and I remained close friends until his sudden death in 2001.  It’s important to understand the negative image that UT had in the African-American community at that time and the very real concerns that parents possessed.  We were pioneering and blazing trails in uncharted territory for UT.

 Through it all, Leon Black and I maintained our warm, trust-based relationship.  He allowed me great latitude in my conversations with these players, as he was aware that I understood the life language as well as the different realities they were living.   We were of one accord in working for the positive good of both the players and the basketball team.  He trusted me, which inspired the best in me and still does.  One of the things I appreciated immensely about Leon was that he was willing to enter the worlds of those who were different from him.  He was truly trying to understand and come to grips with the changing racial dynamics at UT.  His actions, even more than his words, spoke loud and clear about the genuine truth of his convictions.  I will go to my grave with memories of many deep, difficult, yet rich conversations I had with Leon and the players.

 

REMEMBERING COACH LEON BLACK BY RODNEY PAGE AUGUST 14TH 2017 (continued)

As 1973 rolled around, I became the UT Women’s Basketball coach and our mutually beneficial relationship continued and accelerated.  Wow!  To say that we were on a shoestring budget would be an understatement.  Our salvation was Leon Black.  Let’s be clear, no money or funds changed hands.  Yet, Leon Black’s generosity and benevolence were worth a shipment of gold.  Let me count the ways: Equipment, facilities, and manpower in terms of freedom to utilize his managers and trainers.   We experienced many firsts in that first year and Leon Black had a great deal to do with that.  He was so willing, so genuine, and so true.  Specifically speaking, we shared basketballs with the men’s program as we had a very limited budget.  Men and women were using the same sized basketball in the early years.  Sometimes I would trade a brand new basketball for two lightly used men’s basketballs as I was trying to increase our equipment for the women’s team.  Hustling was an everyday thing for me.  We had no training budget, but Leon was gracious enough to allow us to utilize his trainers as well as often providing tape and other training supplies and equipment from the men’s supply.  We also shared the men’s video equipment and utilized their film room.  In addition, everything related to the Gregory Gym clock was shared with us.  Last but not least, Leon offered me the use of his basketball office phone for long distance calls for recruiting purposes since we technically had no recruiting budget.

That first year Leon and I collaborated on several doubleheader basketball games with the women’s game preceding the men’s game.  Another first made possible by a willingness and generosity of spirit.  This proved to be a very successful venture and helped our women’s basketball program to be showcased in a more positive and legitimate light. It was so easy working with Leon, as we were kindred spirits in many respects.  I can only imagine how difficult our path would have been without the assistance of Leon Black.  That says something about the heart and spirit of the man. 

As I close this remembrance of Leon Black, I remain eternally grateful for his friendship and sharing heart.   I would say that Leon Black was a true friend.  He was sincere, honest and kind.  His sense of fairness, his ethics, and his Christian values were obvious as his actions spoke much louder than his words.   I firmly believe that his actions were making a statement about the way things were, and about making for a better way.  I would also say that Leon Black was a true pioneer and quiet warrior in making a huge impact in terms of the recruitment of African-American basketball players at The University of Texas. 

Rodney Page

Life Coach/Consultant

August 14, 2017

 

 

 

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The following T-Ring reflection is paraphrased from an article written by Trent Freeman for the Cactus. Trent’s entire article is below.

Lucie Ludvigova mental toughness helped her reach the Longhorns by a circuitous route. In her early years she was barred from playing in U.S. tournaments by the Czech government, but she still managed to receive a world ranking as 28th in the juniors bracket. In 1991 she won the Czech National Indoor Championship. A year later she was playing at Midland Junior College and won the flight II national championship. She then transferred to Grand Canyon University in New Mexico where she won the division II national championship. Her success peaked the interest of the UT Tennis coach Jeff Moore and a year later she joined the Longhorn team. Moore said Lucie “competes at another level mentally.” Just three months after joining the Longhorns Lucie Ludvigova grabbed the nation’s #1 ranking in women’s collegiate tennis. Coach Moore said “ Lucie could be the best player in Lady Longhorn tennis history.” Her goal was to help the Horns win the national championship. She was successful in 1995. In addition she was a ITA singles All American 1994 and 1995, Conference Player of the year in 1993, and All Conference in singles and doubles in 1993 and singles in 1994.

Below is her acceptance speech as a 2016 HOH inductee.

https://youtu.be/ICBo84RCZV0

 

Terry “Teapot” Collins 1967

I am not sure if the early Teapots  were  "short and stout" ,but I do know that by 1966 stature was the primary qualifier for wearing the  lid.  It was a harmless varsity hazing tradition  that required the freshman designated teapot to sing the teapot song before dinner each night at the dining hall at Moore Hill.  It was a tradition that brought a lot of smiles to many faces except maybe the designated teapot .  


TLSN tax exempt mission is to offer temporary financial assistance to former qualifying Longhorn student athletes , trainers, managers, coaches, and their immediate families. Last year TLSN raised $15,000 to help a former Longhorn volleyball player whose son had Leukemia. Recently Syd Keasler, Scott Palmer, and Billy Dale visited Terry Collins at his home to complete a due diligence process required by both TLSN and UT compliance.











Terry“Teapot” Collins Chronology

Chronology of Events

  • Even though in April of 2018 Cancer had not been diagnosed, Terry no longer has enough energy to perform his job and is laid off.

  • July 5th, 2018 Deb Collins sends me an email about her husband.   Deb says " Billy Dale Terry goes in for his first radiation treatment, July 5th 6 weeks of it 5 days a week. Please keep Praying.............. DEB " Doctors will pull all of his teeth.  

  • December 2018 - Terry’s Neck cancer is in remission, and Terry can no longer feels the growth in his neck.

  • January 2019- Terry’s health and energy return. He is now trying to dig his family out of a financial hole. Terry emails me and ask if TLSN can help.

  • 01-15-2019 Scott Palmer, Syd Keasler, and Billy Dale meet with Terry in his home. He shares his story and his financials so we can determine how best to help him.

  • 01-16-2019- Billy Dale completes the UT compliance forms requesting authorization to distribute funds to help Terry.

  • 01-18-2019- UT compliance approves TLSN request to distribute funds to Terry Collins. Please see below.

  • 01-31-2019- GREAT NEWS! Terry had cat scan and the results show the cancer is still in remission.


    Good morning Billy,

     I attached the approved financial support request form for Mr. Collins.  As you know, to comply with NCAA bylaws, we will need all receipts to document expenses incurred and the total amount received once TLSN has fulfilled its commitment to Mr. Collins.

     If you need any other information from our office in order to begin providing financial support please let me know.  We are thinking of Mr. Collins and very much hope that he will make a full recovery in 2019.

     Thanks,

    Aubrey

     Aubrey D. Brick | Assistant Coordinator, Risk Management and Compliance Services | The University of Texas

    Office 512-471-5420 | Fax 512-232-4361 | NEZ 7.814 | aubrey.brick@athletics.utexas.edu

    Mailing Address: PO Box 7399, Austin, TX 78713 | Overnight/Delivery Address: 403 DeLoss Dodds Way, RMRZ B.206, Austin, TX 78712

    Twitter: @TexasCompliance | Texas Compliance on TexasSports.com

     

     Winning with Integrity ™

    You can donate online by clicking the donate button below, or by check made out to TLSN and mailed to CFO Jim Kay at P.O. Box 983

    Burnet, TX 78611-0983

    Recent events for Terry

TLSN - Support For Terry Collins  December 2018

Water     88.00 -  Atmos Energy   40.00 -  Charter Communications  171.00 - TXU  Gas   31.00 -    

Rent     850.00 - Groceries      105.00 - Total $1285.00

TLSN - Support For Terry Collins January 2019

Water 88.49 -  Atmos Energy  $  60.00 - Charter Communications  171.67 -  car repair  1,140.00 -  Rent    850.00  

gas 28.00 -  Insurance    $  188.00  Total for check   2,526.16


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01/30/2019 - If you want to call him, Terry’s phone number is 817-367-9053

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