Death, Taxes, and Fans

Nothing has changed in the history of Longhorn sports between “passionate” fans and the coaches since the early years of Longhorn sports history.  In 1894 Coach Wentworth with a 6-1 record, 1908 Coach Metzenthis with a 11-5-1 record, and 1915 Coach Allerdice with a 33-7 record, all resign because of what they consider as the "super critical nature of the Texas fans." 

The University even passed a resolution to try and stop these unruly Longhorn fans in 1915.

In 1950 Coach Cherry decides to resign 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." Author and former Longhorn football player R.E. Peppy Blount says in his book titled Mamas, don’t let your babies grow to play Football that it was frustrating to him when Cherry quit. Blount said“The overzealous ex-student and super fan is the anathema of every college football coach.”

Billy Disch once said of the fans and media " The 'hot air' league, in session during the Summer months has done its share of (projecting) winning intercollegiate championships for Texas. The state papers have been full of 'wonderful prospects,' etc., and it is these false assertions (from media and social media) that have impressed themselves upon the mind of the public which should be disspelled."

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." 

In 1959 with the team 8-0 the San Antonio Express stated that Royal benched Lackey for quarreling with him at half time . Royal denies it to the critical fans and in frustration says “ After winning eight straight, suddenly the players are out of shape, there’s dissension in the club, and we are under clad.”

Royal expressed his own opinion of Longhorn fans when he said "Everyone graduates with a coaching degree."  In 1971 Coach Royal Says Of The Longhorn Fans " We're Beginning To Develop Some Difficult Fans. They Don't Understand There's No Such Person As King Kong And That When You Start Thinking There Is, You Can Get Ready To Wipe Your Bloody Nose." Royal thought the media could be the worse fans, but he understood their role so he said “Keep ‘em sullen but not defiant”.

Aker’s had the funniest remark about critical Longhorn fans when he said "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.

Fans are even critical of players off the field. In a great game for Harley Sewell 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 more contemporary times many fans have crossed the line at the expense of acceptable norms of behavior and common sense. In 2004 after losing to OU (again) a growing number of Texas fans thought Coach Brown should be to replaced even though he had a .800 conference winning percentage over seven seasons!!! In 2004 many fans called him Coach February (letter of intent signing month) which implied he was a great recruiter but not a great football coach. Mack won the national championship the next year.

And then there is Coach Strong

I know I am swimming up stream with this comment, but  logic states that if  fans public support helps recruiting then a fans public criticism hurts recruiting.

Since 2009 Longhorn fans have used social media to vent their frustration about the direction of the Longhorn football program. Unfortunately, the internet does not screen content for intelligence so there are some Longhorn fans who know  just enough about sports  to make themselves dangerous to the Longhorn Nation and the recruiting process.  The internet has given them more power and influence then they deserve.

Fans who are sane in the light of day morph into dark souls when sitting in their office or closet in front of a keyboard. I have blocked three special friends who are caring and compassionate in person, but who write the vilest comments on line.

 Many great high school athletes read the fan sites and to some degree use the sites to narrow their list of Universities to visit.  In addition, many Coaches from competing universities also capture the worst of the worst comments from Longhorn fan sites and use as bulletin board material to recruit for their university.  

During Coach Strong’s tenure mean spirited fan remarks reached a new high. Coach Strong had to deal with this fan revolt partly caused by Mack Brown’s mediocre record and poor recruiting the last 3 years as head coach . Strong was finally fired for many reasons one of which is that the Longhorn fans expectations conflicted with the realities surrounding the football program he inherited. 

Fans are going to do what they want to do, but I believe that many Longhorn fans don’t understand the significance of their predatory comments on the internet. If they did know, then many would would at least tone down their comments. Longhorn fans need to understand that spreading venom about Texas never helps and always hurts the Longhorn Nation. In effect their comments are recruiting tools for our Big 12 competitors-not for Texas. It is time for more fans to understand that like it or not they are now part of the Longhorn recruiting staff.

Please read the link below.

Billy Dale

4:32pm Sep 9

https://www.burntorangenation.com/2018/9/9/17837990/fire-tom-herman-texas-longhorns-cesspool-chill-out

Tom Herman deserves a chance to build the Texas program

 

There are all types of Longhorn fans . 

 

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May the Horns be with You

 

 

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Fair weather fans that leave when the team loses;

“Donor” fans who rightfully expect a return on their investment"  

 

 

 

 

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Faux fans who are the lowest form of Longhorn support

Critical fans who pretend to know what they are talking about but have no clue

Longhorn Internet fans who know just enough about football to make themselves dangerous to the Longhorn Nation

 

 

loyal fans who possess a equity stake in the Longhorn nation. Most Longhorn fans fall into this category

loyal fans who possess a equity stake in the Longhorn nation. Most Longhorn fans fall into this category

 

and then there is Wesley Allen type of fan

Wesley was the quintessential fan -passionate, pure, sincere, unwavering,  uncomplicated, and indefatigable. Wesley earned his friendships with Longhorn Head Coaches, team members past and present, UT administrators, and 1000’s of others.

                                                                           

 

His friends knew the purity of his heart, and they admired his glowing, eternal, and contagious spirit.  Wesley passed away in 2017 . Rita Bigley Knight-Shaw. said "my prayers are that his passing was peaceful for his fight has been so great.....what a young man of strength he was......all young men should be like him.....love you forever ."

 

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Wesley you are missed.

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Wesley- Keep the sky in the morning and evening burnt orange for us.

 

 

 

 

Statistically the 1914 football team and basketball team still lead in many Longhorn Sports history categories

Brought to you by the Stark Center

 

Mickey Moss is a successful coach and administrator who received a master's degree from the University of Texas at Austin in athletic administration with emphasis in exercise physiology. Walk-ons should heed his advice “goals are good but without a system of practiced habits in place, goals alone will not lead to success”.

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In late February of 2019 I contacted Rick Allen, and asked him about the origin of the college football term “walk-on” and the origin of the  term “preferred walk-on” . His comments follow:

 Hi Billy, 

 The NCAA has allowed walk-ons since the organization began.  We know this because there aren't, and never have been, enough scholarships for every member of every team at each university.  

 The term "preferred" walk-on is a term made up by the college coaches and only means whatever that coaching staff wants it to mean.  You won't find the term "preferred walk-on" in the NCAA rules or terminology.  

“They (a walkon) will always be needed because they give coaches plenty of bodies to practice with, and plenty of scout-team players to simulate other team's offense, defense, and sets".

At one school, 'preferred' might mean you have a guaranteed spot for a year, but at another it might mean that while you don't have to go through an open tryout, there's still no roster guarantee.

Another distinction is that Division I walk-ons deemed to have been recruited who then want to transfer to another Division I school must sit out a year, just like scholarship players.

 Rick

 Rick Allen
Founder - Informed Athlete

Office:  913-766-1235
www.informedathlete.com
rick@informedathlete.com
"Making Sense of the Complex NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA Rules"

- 25+ years NCAA Rules Expertise, including Director of Compliance at 2 major DI schools

- Member and Former President of the National Association for Athletic Compliance

- Conducts compliance reviews and audits for NCAA schools throughout the US

- Has consulted with NAIA schools transitioning to NCAA DII membership

- Parent of a former DI and II baseball player

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Reggie White from the Philadelphia Eagles once said always dream big and reach for the stars because even if you miss you will still be among the stars. To reach the stars a walk-on should set a goal of starting not just making the team. Gary Brackett says “ we can only rise to the level of our expectations”.

It is important to have love ones who believe in you. That catalyst will eventually be the key to believing in yourself. At some point a walk-on must understand that attitude can be more important than skills. A walk-on who can master his attitude will understand that failure is a learning experience and a path to success. Failure is the beginning not the ending of a quest.

Walk-ons should also understand that when opportunity knocks , it may be a subtle moment instead of blaring horns. So prepare yourself for the opportunity of winning as a walk-on by listening with your heart-not your head. Do NOT depend on anyone but yourself to seize the moment when it arrives and know that if you do not seize it immediately someone else will.


The movie “Rudy” is an inspirational and heart warming movie about a young man who is small and slow who walks-on at Notre Dame and in his final game experiences a moment of glory. If your only motivation to walk-on is this movie, then don’t bother. What most vicarious dreamers of glory don’t remember about the movie is the years of hard work Rudy endured to celebrate his moment.

History is replete with walk-ons who cannot adjust to the ugly side of trying to make a team as a non-scholarship player. Going to classes and staying motivated on the practice field is difficult , and most will not succeed. Making the team, even the practice squad, is difficult. According to WVU's Dorchester, about 70 walk-ons try out for their team every year and only five are invited to the practice squad.

A walk-on must understand that everyday at practice is game day for them and the only key to success is winning the game every day.

The first to quit are walk-ons who are only motivated by glory instead of the spirit of the game. Carl Vergari was a Texas walk-on his senior year who loved the spirit of the game. He said “I love the game”. “It wasn’t about playing time. I just loved being part of a team.” From my personal experience playing for the Longhorns, you can love the game and the team bond without enjoying practice. Players who love practice, running sprints, participating in agility drills, lifting weights , yelling from the coaches, and brutal contact are a little strange. Practice must be tolerated and accepted as part of the process to reach a goal. .

“You can’t put a stop watch on heart or determination” Tim Lavin

Even if a walk-on loves the game and tolerates practice, the athlete still needs some talent and luck to make the team. Coaches select the team members based on need not necessarily talent. A great walk-on running back will probably not make the team if the two deep for Texas is Ricky Williams and Priest Holmes.

Walk-on’s and their parents must also understand and accept that there is an unspoken hierarchy in selecting team members. Since Coaches are graded on the success or failure of athletes who get a “full ride”, they will focus their coaching skills on the scholarship players first. There is also an unspoken rule that if two players with equal talent walk-on and one is a “legacy” longhorn (one whose father or brother have brought honor to the Longhorn nation) he will be chosen to join the team.

Walk-ons must realize that they will be treated differently . Gary Brackett says in his book Winning that walk-0ns need to prepare to “get fewer chances and less leeway for mistakes.” Gary Brackett said “I embraced my walk-on mentality and tried to do more with less.” Tim Lavin in his book Walk-on U written in 2013 warns walk-ons to be prepared to be “ignored, valued but scorned, and encouraged but held back. “ “Walk-ons are not regular people.” He says that as walk-ons they will “experience a lifetime of emotions during just a few short years.” Tim Lavin says that Walk-ons are a victim of the system. “Internally , the coaches think differently about you, players don’t treat you equally, and you walk on eggshells with every step you take and every move you make.” Get use to being a tackling dummy and cannon fodder for the scholarship players.

Late 1950’s to 1964.

Tommy Lucas says about playing in the early 60’s “There were 96 in the team picture of my freshman year of 1959 and not all of them were scholarship players! There were no NCAA scholarship limits in those days so a college could give as many as their athletic department could afford. Most schools gave what were called a partial scholarship…. The scout team was made up mostly of these kind of players and they practiced on a different field away from the top 3 varsity teams. Of the 96 in the freshman class football picture there were only 13 of us left my senior year of 1962. Many of the 96 were either grade casualties or they transferred to another school because of not getting to play.

1967

There are two walk-on stories about the 1967 team. This was one of the first years that football scholarships were limited to 50 by the NCAA. As Tommy Lucas says about the early 1960’s “there were no scholarship limits”. The days of offering partial scholarships to many players just to keep them from playing for a competitor were gone. In 1967 the Texas freshman class had 45 signed scholarship athletes and , 13 walkon’s competing for those 5 open scholarships but only two were given - Stan Mauldin and Happy Feller. By this recruiting classes senior year, there were still 28 members of the 58 freshmen still remaining. These 28 were known as the “Worster Bunch” and these athletes won two national championships, three Conference Championships, and played in all the games of the 30 game win streak.

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1967 recruiting class

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See walk-ons on the navigation page for individual stories