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Many people think the Wishbone started in 1968, but the origin of the option offense was conceived in 1954 from the genius mind of Coach Bellard and implemented in various forms in his early years as a high school coach.
In the book The Die Hard's Fan's Guide to Longhorn Football Emory Bellard receives the accolades he deserves as the "Father of the Wishbone" .
If not the best offensive formation of all time, it is close. Oklahoma, Texas, and Alabama won national championships with the wishbone, and Nebraska, UCLA, Air Force, Texas A & M, and Arkansas used either the original or a derivation of the Wishbone to re-invigorate their offense.
Interesting quotes about Coach Bellard and the Wishbone.
Mickey Herskowitz initially named the new offense the “pullying bone” and it was then shortened to the “Wishbone:”
Hugo Kugiya from the Seattle Times said that “the wishbone did so much for the well being of so many Texans, Emory Bellard might as well have invented the light bulb or the telephone”
Dave Barron from the Houston Chronicle said on August 23rd, 1993 that “Listening to Emory Bellard lecture on the wishbone- or on any aspect of Texas football, for that matter- is about as close as anyone can get.... to Moses in coaching shorts.
Emory Bellard plays for Coach Dana X. Bible at U.T. in 1945. After a successful career as a high school coach he returns to Texas in 1967 as an assistant Coach and develops the Wishbone for Coach Royal.
The testing of the option offense is perfected by Andy White and then presented to Coach Royal. DKR approves the offense, and the rest is football history.
Coach Bellard understands that the new Wishbone option offense can not succeed in a vacuum. He knows the Wishbone's success requires a strict discipline of practice, more practice, repetition, and more repetition.
In the book Wishbone Wisdom the author, Al Picket, says that Emory Bellard believes that the greatest coaches come from the high school ranks. Pro’s have many ways to access talent, and colleges can recruit athletes to fit their system, but high school coaches must develop strategies to use the talent pool that is available and consequently have to adjust and “stress the points that will help different high school kids get better. ”
Coach Bellard died on Feb. 10, 2011, at age 83 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), but his contributions to Longhorn traditions remains a portal to the past that continues to remind Longhorn fans that heritage shapes the present and empowers the future. Coach Bellard is a bridge builder connecting the past with the present and the future.
Emory Bellard contributions to Longhorn traditions remains a portal to the past that reminds Longhorn fans that heritage shapes the present and empowers the future.