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 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.

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. 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!”

Aker's Also Hires A Hypnotherapist To Help Team Members Learn Relaxation Techniques.

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 for more current information.   

1977- 11-1- COACH AKERS

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. 

Texas has 6 turnovers in the first half against Notre Dame and loses the Cotton Bowl 38-10.

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 Akeres starts his tenure in the Fast Lane 11-1 and a chance for the National Championship



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. 




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).




Coach Akers Said About Tradition it is " whatever makes you feel bigger than you are and faster than you are."

While UT does not acknowledge a national championship in 1977, the NCAA and several polls do recognize Texas as a National Champion. 



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).


Heisman winner Earl Campbell and Outland trophy winner Brad Shearer

Heisman winner Earl Campbell and Outland trophy winner Brad Shearer

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. 

Jon Aune's  pass to Jackson for 88 yards breaks the record set by Bobby Layne to Canady in the 1946 Cotton Bowl. 

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

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

Doug Shankle holds the career record with 325 solo tackles.


Kenneth Sims holds the career record for forced fumbles (15).
















"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. 




19799-3 The year of the foot

Final ranking 12th nationally

John "Goodfoot" Goodson a walk on  has 4 field goals in two separate games.

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). 


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. 


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. 

 1980- 7-5


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.  


The Oklahoma victory is costly with 7 starters hurt. 

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

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.

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 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.  

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)

Brewer breaks thumb before Sun Bowl game and Todd Dodge replaces him

Texas gets probation without sanctions for buying Marcus Dupree's new boots and for the players selling complimentary  tickets.

Bryan Millard labels the Texas-SMU game as competition "between a couple of jailbirds." 

Texas beats Arkansas for the 48th time in 64 seasons.

Texas loses to North Carolina in the Sun Bowl.   

1983- 11-1

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).



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."

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 wore opponents into submission.

Jeff Leiding has 93 tackles on the season, 74 solo, with a sack and 10 quarterback hits, earning consensus All-America honors, along with Jerry Gray and Mossy Cade.


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


Team is undefeated going into the Cotton Bowl game against Georgia.




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.   

Todd Dodge was the starting quarterback but hyperextends 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. 

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 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).

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 .     



In 1894 Coach Wentworth with a 6-1 record, 1908 Coach Metzenthis with a 11-5-1 record, and in 1915 Coach Allerdice with a 33-7 record, all resign because of what they consider as the "super critical nature of the Texas fans."  In 1950 Coach Cherry resigns after compiling a 32-10 record at Texas because he receives letters and phone calls from the fans that are alarming. One letter says "Boy you're on the spot.  If you don't win you'd better not come home." In his exit statement he said " While much is made of the fact that most coaches are paid more than college presidents, the financial rewards are an insufficient attraction when the hazards are all considered." "I'm going into the oil business which is simpler than football coaching. You dig a hole , and oil comes out or it doesn't." Royal expressed his own opinion of Longhorn fans when he said "Everyone graduates with a coaching degree." After Harley Sewell had a great game in the 1953 Cotton Bowl a fan complains to J.T. King that he saw Sewell dipping snuff. King said to the fan "If you'll find out what brand Harley is dipping, I'll recommend it to the whole damn team." 

In September 1956 The Ranger paper states that "Texas fans in both basketball and football are considered rude, ruthless, and unforgiving." The article goes on to say "although the alumni have many ways of reaching a football game, they usually ride the coaches." 

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.  

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 played for the national championship .  In addition, he has 3 other teams that 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.🤘🏈