THE NAVIGATION TOOLS TO THE CONTENT OF THE WEB SITE ARE AT THE TOP OF THIS SCREEN. THE SITES ARE "QUE" , "FANS", "TLSN", "SPORTS", "ARTICLES", "ICONIC", "MISSIONS", "LOST TOO SOON", "SENTRY", AND "DONATE".
You can view other parts of U.T. Football history by clicking on the panel to the left denoted in a red font.
Links to articles about Coach Akers are listed below
Coach Akers Said About Tradition it is " whatever makes you feel bigger than you are and faster than you are."
Coach Aker's is one of nine children and is raised without owning a t.v. or car.
Akers is recruited by Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, and Arkansas.
At 22- he is the youngest high school head coach in Texas.
Aker's hires a Hypnotherapist to help team members learn relaxation techniques. During Akers years he has some of the greatest physical players in the history of Longhorn football, but speed, strength, and size mean nothing if the players mind is not right before a game.
Jeff Ward's Comments In The Book Long Live The Longhorns Captures The Essence Of Fred Akers Coaching Style. Jeff Says That Akers Use To Say " It Is OK To Think You're Better Than The Rest Because You Are. You're Going To Play Well Because You're A Texas Longhorn." Akers Believes In Self-Motivation And Individual Responsibility. Before an OU game Akers says to the players "Only when you are relaxed completely can you make strong commitments that last." Akers went on to discuss the kind of commitments he had in mind and to express what each of his players should be thinking: "My heart will nearly burn with the pride I have being here today. When I take the field, I intend to make headgear rattle. I will be electric. Nothing can happen that I can't handle. I intend to win at any cost. My poise and concentration cannot waver." He then led the Longhorns from the hotel to the Cotton Bowl dressing room and wrote on the chalkboard "Tough times never last but tough people do."
In author and former Longhorn football player R.E. Peppy Blount book titled Momas, don’t let your babies grow to play Football Akers says “ I never allow a coach to run and rerun a mistake of a player on film ……” Coach Akers shows the “players the good and great plays that individual players make”. “I want my players to picture , and remember, the good plays they make, not the bad plays.” If the player retains the picture of the bad play, the poor performance, that’s what he’ll do the next time he’s in the same situation”. Good Coaches do not “dwell on on the weaknesses and the mistakes of a player he wishes to do better, to improve and to excel!”
Unfortunately cheating is rampant in the SWC during Akers tenure. 7 of 9 of the SWC teams are slapped with some form of NCAA sanctions.
Coach Akers (Texas) and Coach Bellard (Texas A & M) . Both assistance under DKR in the late 60’s.
A condensed bullet point history of Texas Longhorn football during the Akers years follows. Please go to the "mission " section of this website and click on "credits" to view books you can purchase from many fine book stores about Texas Longhorn football or please visit the official University of Texas Longhorn site Texassports.com for more current information.
1977- 11-1- COACH AKERS- Randy McEachern’s dream.
While UT does not acknowledge a national championship in 1977, the NCAA and several polls do recognize Texas as National Champion.
New NCAA rules are enacted. New balls had to be used on field goals, and missed field goal beyond the 20 yard line had to be returned to the original line of scrimmage. The new kicking rule dampened the "toe" battles between Texas Erxleben, Arkansas' Steve Little, and A & M's Franklin.
Akers is Coach of the Year. Brad Shearer is the Outland Trophy winner.
In 1977 the UT Austin stadium is re-dedicated for the third time to include the memory of all veterans in all wars who died fighting for the U.S.
Coach Akers decision to change the offense to a veer and I-formation converted a 5-5-1 team the year before into a 11-1 team in 1977. This offense deploys two running backs (Campbell and Ham Jones) and two wide receivers (Alfred Jackson and Lam Jones).
Texas beats OU for the first time in 5 years and Randy McEachern lives the dream he shared with his mother and father at the start of the 1977 season.
Randy McEachern's Dream
Randy McEachern's Dream
During the previous 6 years Texas record against OU was 0-5-1. In 1977 Texas finally beats the Sooners.
In the book Oklahoma vs. Texas the author Robert Heard chronicles the OU and Texas game in 1977. History will show that Randy McEachern was actually 4th team quarterback not 3rd team quarterback when he helped pull off one of the biggest momentum changing games in the history of UT football. Before the season quarterback Ted Constanzo underwent knee surgery for a racquetball injury so Akers decided to move Randy from defense to 3rd team quarterback.
“A month before the OU game, Randy told his parents about “ his crazy dream”. Randy says “ I dreamt the quarterback got hurt, and we were behind and I went in and won the game.” Robert Heard continues his story. He says that Randy’s parents were listening to the OU game and when McBath went down his mother and father looked at each other. “When Aune went down” Randy’s father got a sheet of paper and wrote in big letters “Randy’s dream”. When the Horns won the game Randy’s father took that piece of paper and completed the sentence “Randy’s dream comes true.”
In another game earlier in the season Jon Aune's pass to Jackson for 88 yards breaks the record set by Bobby Layne to Canady in the 1946 Cotton Bowl.
This game helped change the recruiting trajectory of Texas football for many years. OU now had more competition for Texas athletes.
The most amazing thing about this game is that Texas lost their first two quarterbacks; only crossed the 40 once : only converted 1 of 12 on third downs; and only had 9 first downs in the game. Randy's dream continued the whole year. Randy took the Horns to the Cotton Bowl to play once defeated Notre Dame. The Horns were undefeated and #1 team in the nation. The game was a nightmare of turnovers for the Horns and without injured middle Linebacke Lance Taylor Notre Dame ran over the Horns , but that is a story to be shared on another occasion.
This game changed the trajectory of Texas football for many years. The most amazing thing about this game is that Texas lost their first two quarterbacks; only crossed the 40 once : only converted only 1 of 12 on third down; and Texas only had 9 first downs in the game. Randy's dream continued the whole year. Randy took the Horns to the Cotton Bowl to play once defeated Notre Dame. The Horns were undefeated and #1 in the nation. The game was a nightmare of turnovers for the Horns and without injured middle Linebacker Lance Taylor Notre Dame ran over the Horns , but that is story to be shared on another occasion.
McBath and Aune were lost for the season.
Final ranking 4th nationally
Earl Campbell and Ham Jones are the top running back duo in Longhorn football history. It is a total injustice that Ham Jones never receives all-conference recognition.
Texas has 6 turnovers in the first half against Notre Dame and loses the Cotton Bowl 38-10.
Randy McEachern holds the season record as quarterback for average gain per attempt (10.2) and career ( 8.5)
12 Members Of This Team Are All Conference, 18 Play In The NFL, 6 Are All Americans, And 3 Win National Player Of The Year Awards.
Russell Erxleben holds the record for longest field goal (67 yards); most 50 yard plus field goals in a season (11); and highest punting average for a season (46.6).
Since Barry Switzer and Akers played and coached together, a sports writer asked if they are friends. Coach Akers says "We were fairly good friends, but he's not in my will or anything like that." Switzer responds " That's o.k. .. I don't plan on him dying any time soon."
Before the 1977 season starts Fred Akers thinks 1977 will be a rebuilding year.
Akers implements the new veer offense that has some of the qualities of the I- formation in order to feature Earl Campbell's talents. Coach Akers makes all the right decisions. This team produces the Heisman and Outland Trophy winners, Coach of the Year, SWC Championship, and a 11-1 record.
Because Of Earl Campbell A New Stat Was Added Called The "YAC" (Yards After Contact).
State of Texas football players represent 45% of the roster of the American Football Conference in 1977.
Three quarterbacks compete for the starting job- Mark McBath, Ted Constanzo, and Jon Aune . All three are great quarterbacks but injuries would impact their playing time at Texas.
Alfred Jackson breaks a 30 year old record with 1,409 career yards
The 1977 football team also has Johnny "Lam" Jones- a Olympic gold medalist and the temporary moniker as the fastest man in the world. Even though the electronic clock at the 1977 Texas Relays malfunctioned, and his time was disqualified as a world record, He is timed at 9.85 in the 100 meters. A world record. In the next three years he leads the team in receiving, and he is the first ever NFL draftee to receive a million dollar signing bonus.
Steve McMichael replaces Erxleben in the TCU game and kicks a field goal and two extra points.
Earl Campbell says that Rick Ingraham " is the toughest man I know."
Unfortunately, 6 turnovers in the Cotton Bowl and key injuries thru out the season cost this team a National Championship.
History should be very kind to this team. It is one of the most talented teams in the History of UT football.
1978 9-3 Turnovers hurt this great team but still #9 in the nation.
Akers signs 8 of the top 22 recruits from the state of Texas. Donnie Little, Lawrence Sampleton, Make Baab, Joe Shearin, Kenneth Sims , Doug Shankle, and Adrian Price were part of the 1978 recruiting class. Rodney Tate becomes only the th Oklahoman to letter at UT since 1893.
Donnie Little challenges Randy McEachern for the starting quarterback job.
After Texas lost to Oklahoma Coach Lou Holtz Arkansas Razorbacks were up next. Holtz says “ The only people who think Texas doesn’t have a great football team are the ones who don’t have to play them.” Arkansas lost 28-21.
SWC sold broadcasting rights to the Mutual Network in an effort to help the weaker schools. Arkansas was upset with this decision because they already has a lucrative radio network contract broadcasting Arkansas games.
Top Song 1978
Final ranking 9th nationally
Donnie Little (a freshman) shows promise as a quarterback against Oklahoma and replaces Randy McEachern in the SMU game
Donnie Little is the first black starting quarterback at Texas
He started 20 games over three seasons for a 25-11 record. Before his senior season Little asked to be switched to split end to better enhance his chances of getting drafted by the NFL. He caught a team-high 18 passes in '81 but wasn't drafted.
Doug Shankle holds the career record with 325 solo tackles.
Kenneth Sims holds the career record for forced fumbles (15).
Rodney Tate becomes only the 7th Oklahoma high school player to sign with Texas in 87 years.
"Lam", "Ham", And "Jam" Jones Have Over 200 Yards Rushing To Help Beat Maryland 42-0. As of 2018 Texas has never had another shutout in a bowl game
Largest crowd in the history of the state of Texas is on hand in Austin for the Houston game
Mark McBath starts against Texas A & M.
Russell Erxleben sets two school records by kicking 4 field goals in a game and surpassing Earl Campbell with career points.
Lam Jones, Erxleben, Johnson and McMichael make All SWC and Johnson is a unanimous All-American.
1979- 9-3 The year of the foot
Coach Mike Campbell from the DKR era says “If you gave me the 1961 offense and this years defense,(1979), I’d play anybody. CBS Pat Summerall said “Texas has without a doubt the quickest big defense I’ve ever seen in college football.”
Final ranking 12th nationally
John "Goodfoot" Goodson a walk on has 4 field goals in two separate games.
For the 21st time since the Texas and OU tradition began , Texas and Oklahoma are undefeated and untied when they meet in the Cotton Bowl. Texas won 12 of those games and OU won 8. Longhorns defeat OU limiting the powerful OU offense to 158 total yards. The 1978 Heisman trophy winner Billy Simms has his 13 consecutive games over 100 yards broken by the Horns. Kirk Bohls says of the OU game it is “the biggest 9 point rout in college football history.” Texas wins 16-7.
Ham Jones ties a school record of 4 touchdowns in a game.
For The First And Only Time In The NFL Draft 3 Horns Are Taken In The First Round- Johnny Jones, Johnnie Johnson, And Derrick Hatchett.
Johnnie Johnson Is All SWC Three Times, All American Twice, First Round Draft Choice Of The LA Rams, And NFL Rookie Of The Year. He also holds The Season Longhorn Record For Punt Returns (41) And Career record for punt returns (114).
Texas beats 4 of 5 undefeated teams
Donnie Little, Rodney Tate, and Ham Jones all suffer serious injuries.
This team has 8 players make SWC with Steve McMichael as an all American.
Texas loses 14-7 to Washington in the Sun Bowl.
8 horns - Lam Jones, Sampleton, Hubert, McMichael, Johnson, Churchman, Hatchett and Shankel make the All SWC team. Johnson and McMichael are consensus All-Americans.
1980- 7-5 Coach Akers- after this season a bumper sticker emerges that reads: IT'S NOW OR NEVER, FREDDIE. For his part, Akers says “that ever since he arrived in 1977 there have been "rumors that I was going to LSU, to Notre Dame, to the New York Giants, to Florida. After this season it is said that I was just going."
Texas opens the season with Arkansas on Labor Day in order to accomodate a national audience on ABC. Donnie Little has one of his best games and uses some deception on his teammates to convert a 3rd and 13 into a first down. Little called a sweep left in the huddle, but ran a bootleg right fooling both the Razorbacks and Horns. Donnie Little sets a new school record against Rice throwing for 306 yards. Doug Shankle has 16 tackles in the Rice game.
The Oklahoma victory is costly with 7 starters hurt.
SMU beats the horns. It was their first victory over Texas in 14 years. Texas has a total of 14 turnovers in two games.
Texas players are "suspected" of selling complimentary tickets.
For the first and only time in the NFL draft 3 Horns are taken in the first round- Johnny Jones, Johnnie Johnson, and Derrick Hatchett
Doug Dawson, who says, "We like to blow people off the ball and outmuscle them." Known as a WORKAHOLIC, he quietly did his job. "The idea is to dominate your man all afternoon and feel good about yourself."
A summary of the Sooner Nation football programs copyrighted in 1980 by Robert Heard is not flattering. The author of OU vs. Texas states “ If the OU program since WWII teaches anything, it is OU’s formula for success of “cheat, spy, scalp, hire, lie, … screw, and deny” works. OU actually took pride in the number of national championships the Sooners won while on probation. Even Abe Lemons understood there was an upside to probation. He said “If you get on probation at least you oughta get a 7 footer out of it.” That is to say-OU even on probation did recruit some illegal symbolic 7 footers to to help the Sooners win games. Robert Heard says “ football has given Oklahomans what they asked of it-national recognition and respect. The respect referred to here is not that of admiration, however. It is the respect an outlaw gunfighter commands. Or a mad dog or a rattlesnake. “ I
Abe Lemons from Oklahoma City University files complaints against OU suggestion NCAA rule infractions. The Sooner nation was upset, but Lemmons said “was I the only one to report them?” “There is no one thing that triggers an investigation. It’s a series of things over a series of years.” Abe Lemmons and DKR finally got the SWC to use a polygraph test to question coaches concerning recruiting violations.
1981 10-1-1 Ranked 2nd nationally
Kenneth Sims the All American and Lombardi award winner was basketball coach Abe Lemmons bodyguard when Texas played A & M. Kenneth Sims was Texas 23rd consensus All American and a first round draft pick. During the SMU game Dickerson says "Sims tossed me around like I was a baby."
SMU is punished by the NCAA with a death penalty infractions in recruiting athletes.
Texas beats OU and is promoted to the top of the polls
Arkansas is unranked and beats #1 Texas 42-11
McIvor is the starting quarterback and Donnie Little moves to split end. McIvor has a golden arm who can throw the ball 83 yards.
McIvor gets hurt in the Houston game ,but Brewer, a walk-on, continues to lead the Horns to victory. Robert Brewer wins the starting quarterback position and the the MVP of the Cotton Bowl. Texas finishes #2 in the nation
Texas beats Alabama in the Cotton bowl 14-12 with Robert Brewer leading the way.
Final ranking 2nd nationally
While U.T. does not acknowledge a National Championship in 1981, the NCAA and several polls do recognize Texas as a National Champion.
1982 9-3 The year of the pass
This team is tied with the 1954 team with 27 fumble recoveries for the season.
Texas gets probation without sanctions for buying Marcus Dupree's new boots and for the players selling complimentary tickets, and for a ticket-scalping infraction
involving wide receiver Johnny "Lam" Jones.
Bryan Millard labels the Texas-SMU game as competition "between a couple of jailbirds."
Texas plays SMU without Texas graduates Ham, Jam, or Lam on offense and loses to SMU on a quirky play. A ball intended for SMU’s Bobby Leach was thrown right to Jitter Fields. Leach says "I thought he had the ball and was going the other way”. “Jitter apparently thought the same thing," but instead the ball bounces off of Jitter’s shoulder pads and right into Leach hands and Bobby Leach makes a touchdown.
Texas beats Arkansas for the 48th time in 64 seasons.
Final ranking 17th nationally
A conservative offense throws the long passes. Brewer breaks fours school records.
Kiki DeAyala holds the season record for most tackles for a loss (33);most sacks in a season (22.5); most sacks in a career (40.5);most quarterback pressures for a season (56); most quarterback pressure for a career (117).
Herkie Walls holds the Longhorn season record for highest average yards per reception (28.1 ) and career (25.8)
First-string Quarterback Robert Brewer breaks his thumb during a passing drill just before Texas meets North Carolina in the Sun Bowl. His replacement is Todd Dodge who has thrown only 20 times all year. Texas loses to North Carolina in the Sun Bowl. "We couldn't bust a grape in that game," says Davis.
1983- 11-1 Texas had gone bowling all six years under Akers, but its inability to win the Southwest Conference title just once caused some fans to brand him Not Ready Freddie.
Final ranking 5th nationally
The 1983 Defense Produces Impressive Numbers, Giving Up Just 9.5 Points A Game, And 212 Yards Per Contest. Opponents Convert 3rd Downs Just 29% Of The Time. The Texas Defense Has More Pass Interceptions (13) Than Touchdowns Given Up (10).
Jeff Ward holds the season field goal accuracy percentage (.938).
First Team In 40 Years To Have 4 All Americans.
UT Sets An NFL Record With 18 Draft Choices.
John Teltscik Holds The record for Single Game Average Yards Per Punt (54.8).
Fans love the Longhorn defense and ask the question: Is it that the Texas defense has no stars or are they all stars. The latter is clearly the answer. The Longhorns allowed fewer yards per game (179.8) than any other team in the nation.
While UT does not acknowledge a national championship in 1983, the NCAA and several polls do recognize Texas as a National Champion.
Probably the best defensive team in the History of Texas Football.
Lou Holtz said "In all my years of coaching this is the best defensive team (Texas) I've ever seen."
Jerry Gray and Mossy consensus All-America honors
That Texas defense takes on Leidings personality - cocky to the point of arrogance, but backing it up with a physical style of play that simply wears opponents into submission. Jeff Leiding ends the season with 93 tackles 74 solo, with a sack, and 10 quarterback hits, earning consensus All-America honors.
Jeff has a free spirit mentality, warped sense of humor, and is a risk taker extraordinaire He slashed open his leg while diving into a river that required 16 stitches to close. Using his truck he jumped a curb and crushd a park bench saying "I meant to jump the curb." "I didn't mean to hit the bench." While a potential Longhorn recruit had his nose up against a window, Leiding tapped the window and the glass shattered. The prospect became a Sooner. He even swallowed a fly as a freshman to prove ?????? However, he confesses that he does have standards and he will not swallow a cockroach.
Many factors pointed to an Auburn victory against Texas . Auburn was preseason #1 and for the game Todd Dodge, left shoulder separation, tight end (Bobby Micho, arthroscopic knee surgery), wide receiver Ronnie Mullins knee surgery, and middle linebacker Jeff Leiding minor surgery after slicing his leg were out for the game. The Auburn wishbone offense with Bo Jackson as an offensive threat never materialized. Bo carried the ball one time in the first half and only 7 times for the whole game.
Rob Moerschell got the start for the game and ran the offense efficiently, but McIvor had a 80 yard scoring pass to Kevin Epps to make the score 17-o. Akers says after the game that McIvor and Moerschell will continue to share starting duties until Todd Dodge can return.
Guard Doug Dawson, is back and Davis says "He's stronger than a garlic milkshake." James Lott who high jumped 7’4” , 4.3 4o sprinter Tony Tillman, 6’4” tailback and speedster Edwin Simmons and tailback Michael Brown add greatness to an already great team. Akers, is so proud of his fullbacks he creates a play in which he uses all 3 of them in a pet play—M*A*S*H—that operates with all three fullbacks- Simmons, Davis, and Brown. "I just get 'em together and head 'em north," he says.
When a SMU quarterback throws the ball three times in James Lott direction with no completions, Jerry Gray says to the SMU quarterback "You just threw three balls at last year's Texas high school high-jump champion."
Jerry Gray runs a 4.25 40. He is All American two years in a row, and a first round pick by the LA Rams.
Rick McIvor and Todd Dodge compete for the starting position
It is UT's centennial year of football.
Texas assistant Glen Swenson dies in a car wreck . Horns Up!!
David McWilliams is defensive coordinator
1984- 7-4-1- The Year of Longhorn costly turnovers.
Sports Illustrated says “Akers has four quarterback candidates: seniors Todd Dodge, who can pass but can't run; Rob Moerschell, a so-so thrower who lacks the speed to be a threat on the run-pass option; and Danny Akers, the coach's son, who does most things well but none superbly; and redshirt freshman Bret Stafford, who can run, pass and scramble but lacks experience.”
Todd Dodge was the starting quarterback but hyper-extends his knee one week before the OU game but still plays against the Sooners.
From number 1 in the country to losing 4 of 5 games portends the future of Texas football. Mediocrity will be part of Texas football the next 15 years. The heartbreaking lost to Georgia in the Cotton Bowl was followed by an embarrassing lost to Iowa in the Freedom Bowl. It takes Texas football players three votes to decide if they want to go to the Freedom bowl. The Horns should have stayed home. Iowa wins 55-17. Jeff Ward states "We were finished, I don't know who made us go (to the Freedom bowl) but it was a mistake, probably a huge recruiting mistake, because it was used against them for several years. "
This was not Akers led teams first time to start at the top and experience disappointment late in the season. 1977, 1979, 1980, and 1983 . The 1980 season and the 1983 were almost identical twins in how the season played out.
1984 was also unkind for many of the other football powerhouses including Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Penn State - so the Longhorns had plenty of company in disappointing fans.
The season started great. At one point the Horns were 6-0-1 with the tie against the Number 1 Sooners.
As of 2019 It Is Hard To Believe that Texas has not been Number 1 in a weekly poll since 1984. Even During The 2005 National Championship Year USC Was Number 1 team All Year Long.
William Harris holds the tight end season record for receiving yards (637) and longest reception (84 yards.
Tony Degrate Is the 1984 Lombardi Trophy Winner And He Holds The Longhorn Season Record For Most Solo Tackles (123).
Kiki DeAyala says about Tony Degrate "When he gets mad he really plays and we call him Degratest,"
John Teltscik set a single game record against Texas Tech with an average of 54.8 yards per kick on 6 punts.
The Mash Offense was introduced against Penn State. This offensive set required , as Todd Dodge said, " all beef on one side of the line". Gene Chilton , Terry Steelhammer, and Joe Monroe were the key to this offensive set.
Five players are part of a fight at a Austin night club and a cop is hit by a longhorn player.
1985 8-4 Great at Home but poor away
Jeff Ward Field Goals Win 13 Of The 32 Games During His 4 Years At Texas. Jeff Ward hits 5 field goals to help defeat # 4 Arkansas 15-13.
Eric Metcalf is a freshman. Starting fullback Ronnie Robinson is lost to an injury before the season starts. Stafford and Dodge compete for the starting quarterback job.
A Longhorn bar fight in 1984 is used as a recruiting tool against Texas. The recruiting class of 1985 has 26 signees of those 5 never letter and 6 only lettered one year. From the 1985 recruiting class there are only three All SWC players.
The bar fight in 1984 is used as a recruiting tool against Texas. The team does a commendable job this year, but recruiting is hurt. The recruiting class of 1985 has 26 signees of those 5 never letter and 6 only lettered one year. From the 1985 recruiting class there are only three All SWC players.
Eric Metcalf is a freshman.
Jeff Ward hits 5 field goals to help defeat # 4 Arkansas 15-13.
Horns lose to Air Force in the Bluebonnet bowl. Brett Stafford is the starting quarterback. Coach Akers bowl record is only 2-6. With 4 straight losses in bowl appearances and 2 - 6 over all. The fans and the UT administration are restless so Coach shakes up his staff with 5 firings. In addition, David McWilliams and John Mize resign to take over the Texas Tech football program.
1986- 5-6 Minor NCAA infractions hurt Horn recruiting for the next 15 years.
Alex Waits holds the longhorn career record for average yards per punt (45.30).
After a 18 month investigation UT is accused of violating 19 NCAA rules from 1980 - 1986 . Texas was accused of giving players small loans of $10- $50, loaning cars to players, and selling complimentary tickets. Akers said " These violations are an accumulation of small things over a long period of time that could happen almost anywhere you have a major program." 4 weeks earlier SMU received the "death penalty" from the NCAA.
25 players lose some or all of their complimentary tickets for selling them to make money.
First losing season since 1956.
21 Starters get hurt including Britt Hager
Bret Stafford records have been surpassed by Vince Young and Colt McCoy but as of 1986 Bret had the record for single season yards gained and pass completions .
All coaches must deal with internal politics, powerful Alumni, wealthy donors, and fanatical fans. Unfortunately for Coach Akers there was an unusually large number of the UT faithful that never thought Fred Akers deserved to be head coach at UT. Akers was perceived as a people person and charismatic and Akers was not. Royal had a warm personality and was down home folksy. Akers had more reserved personality that was sometimes interpreted as cold and afforgant. I knew Coach Akers and neither is true. It is just hard to replace a legend in sports. Longhorn sports is full of coaches that struggle to replace a legend.
Coach Price replaced Coach Bible, (football)
Coach Akers replaced Coach Royal, (football)
Coach Strong replaced Coach Brown, (football)
Coach Schubert replace Coach Quick (women's swimming)
Coach McCain replaced Coach Moore (women's tennis)
Coach Sategna replaced Coach Beverly Kearney (women's track)
Coach Lovvern replaced Coach Littlefield (men's track), and
Regardless of all the undercurrents during his reign, Coach Akers does a great job as head coach of UT. He has a 86-31-2 record , two SWC titles, three top 5 national rankings, 6 teams that win 9 or more games, and 9 bowl appearances. He produces three of the best teams in College football history (1977, 1981, and 1983) and these three teams combine for a 32-3-1 record. Two of these teams play for the national championship, and 3 teams win 9 or more games. At Other Universities he would have been celebrated for these accomplishment, but not at Texas.
Coach Akers is finally ridden out of town by the amateurs and a few indiscretions in NCAA non-compliance that hurt recruiting.
Akers has some comments to make to all the fans who gave him "advice" and unsolicited comments. Akers compares a Coach to a Prostitute. He says:
"that's what coaching has in common with the world's oldest profession. It's not the long hours that get you; it's the amateur competition.
During Coach Aker's last years at Texas, he is able to maintain his "character" even though his reputation is hurt. Even after his release he maintains the high road when he says
“we did a good job of it (coaching at Texas) and we did it the right way. I don't have to apologize to anybody. I think a good program was interrupted."
The Cactus says the following about Akers as the Longhorn Coach
In 2015-2016 Coach Akers 29 years after his last day at Texas is finally recognized for his accomplishments. In 2015 He Is Inducted Into The HOH and In Feb. 2016 Coach Akers is inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Fred Akers received these honors a week after his son dies at the age of 54 Of Renal Cell Carcinoma.
Coach Akers struggle to help his son survive cancer is just another affirmation of this great mans character.
Coach Aker's contributions to Longhorn traditions remains a portal to the past that reminds Longhorn fans that heritage shapes the present and empowers the future.
Jim Deitrick￼ reflects on his memories of the Fred Akers years.
When I first joined the faculty in the summer of 1977, I had no reasonable expectations for that season with a new coach (Akers), a so so season in 1976, and lots of youth. But somehow the Horns go into the OU game undefeated. Then Texas loses its starting and back-QBs for the season in the first half. Enter Randy McEachern, a senior third teamer. Akers kept the team focused ( thanks Earl) for the game and rest of the season. The team clearly respected the coach, they never whined about bad breaks and played in the Cotton Bowl for a National Championship. Regrettably we lost to a strong ND squad.Coach Akers showed me a lot that season that proved to bear fruit in subsequent seasons. He could lead, teach, motivate, win and recruit... evidently much like Coach Royal. In the Cotton Bowl of 1984, an Akers coached team faced Georgia in the Cotton Bowl. Should Texas win, the Horns likely would be National Champs. Texas led late in the 4th quarter on a cold, windy day. Georgia could not sustain a drive against the Horns. But Texas struggled too. Then, Georgia punted and the Dawgs recovered an unfortunate fumble of the kick( ask Kirk Bohls who fumbled, he used to bring his name up frequently). I had no doubt Georgia would not score a touchdown to win. But they did, thanks to a QB run around right end. How could this happen??? Turns out the officials missed a Georgia lineman (Guy McIntyre, I believe) grabbing our defender by the ankles preventing him from protecting the hole. If the holding penalty is called, Fred has his national championship! But he never was critical of the missed call. That showed me a ton of class. I was totally impressed with his character.
Later during his tenure at Texas, I was asked by Joe Eivens , academic advisor)the help with recruiting. ( My first breakfast was with recruit Jeff Ward). Coach Akers was masterful with recruits! Eventually I was asked to be a guest Coach. What an experience! His talk (by position )pregame involved mental imagery. His words were powerful and vivid! All positive.. no negativity against the Aggies, no curse words. Stunning... . And we won! An aside, just before taking the field to start the game on a cold November day, I stopped at a urinal; then Coach Akers was beside me and told me this was a most important part of coaching. Can’t coach with a full bladder. 😜His humor was appreciated but unexpected at that moment. I loved it.
During his tenure as head coach, he was consistently classy and strong, despite the issues on his plate not of his making. I hated to see him go... and as far as I know, he still loves UT and his players! He could have been bitter, probably was...but not publicly. All class and strength in my eyes! Hook’Em, Coach.🤘🏈