Johnny “Lam” Jones #26
4 years ago Lam Jones was at my home , and he shared some special moments in his life. You may think he is proudest of his Olympic gold medal, or being the first NFL draft choice to get a $1,000,000 bonus, or his many great moments as a Longhorn football player and track star, or the many great friends who love him, and you would be right. But on this day at my home 4 years ago, his fondest memory was of high school track team in Lampasas. He brought a video that he produced to celebrate his high school track team , and we watched it. After watching the video, he was so proud of his accomplishment he said this video “"Help me Turn Memories into Blessing's"
Over the years I have kept a site dedicated to Johnny “Lam” Jones , his friends, his faith, and his struggles. This page is the updated version. Billy Dale
3/13/2019 Raymond Clayborn called me and said he visited Johnny Lam Jones early this week. He is now in hospice and the diagnosis is not good. Pastor Herkie Walls has asked for prayers for Johnny “Lam” Jones.
March 15, 2019
Johnny “Lam” Jones, one of the greatest athletes ever to grace the 40 Acres, passed away this morning after defying the doctors’ prognosis for almost 15 years. Diagnosed with stage-four multiple myeloma in 2005, he was given little chance of survival, but like the champion he was, he emerged from this ordeal a better man, determined to spend every minute of his remaining years serving others.
We have established a “Johnny ‘Lam’ Jones Memorial Fund” to help Johnny’s family cover funeral and burial expenses. Details for donating to this fund are at the bottom of this letter.
He went on to earn an Olympic gold medal. He led the 1977, 1978, and 1979 Longhorns in receptions. As a freshman at Texas, he won the 100 meters with a hand-timed 9.85 seconds. He was a first-round draft choice of the New York Jets, and his $ 2.1 million contract was the first in the NFL worth over a million dollars.
Then, he crashed and burned, due to injuries and drug and alcohol abuse.
In 1990, he got sober and dedicated his time and his money to helping kids avoid the problems he had encountered with drugs and alcohol.
This kind, gentle soul inspired us and gave us thrills; he filled us with pride. We applauded him when he was riding high and was famous. It’s now time to repay him and to honor his contributions to us, to The University, to athletics, and to the youth of Texas.
Please consider donating to the Johnny “Lam” Jones Memorial Fund, which will cover his funeral and burial expenses. You can send donations to:
Johnny “Lam” Jones Memorial Fund
3112 Windsor Road
Austin, Texas 78703
Thank you for honoring this legend and our friend.
Lawrence Sampleton Alfred Jackson
Randy McEachern Steve Massey
Donnie Little Raymond Clayborn
Lam Jones, at 5 feet 11 and 190 pounds, was a wide receiver in his last three years as a Longhorn, 1977-79, and an All-American in his senior year. He scored eight touchdowns of 45 yards or more at Texas and was chosen the team’s most valuable player in 1978.
Article from the UT Athletic Department and Ricky Brown
As track & field events began at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Legendary Longhorn Sports Information Director Bill Little shared a story on one of the Longhorns' most famous two-sport athletes, Johnny "Lam" Jones. Arguably the fastest man in football, Johnny began his legend when he came from behind to win the Class AAA Mile Relay at the UIL Championships in Memorial Stadium. But it would be his performance in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, as a sprinter in the 100 meters and a Gold Medal winner as a member of Team USA's 400-meter relay team, that would cement his fame. Here, in his own words from the book "What It Means To Be A Longhorn," as told to Little and Jenna McEachern," is Johnny's story. "What It Means To Be A Longhorn" is published by Triumph Books, and is available online and at most book stores.
JOHNNY "LAM" JONES (in his own words) Before I came to Texas, I'd qualified for the Olympic team, gone to the Olympic trials, gone to Montreal for the Olympics and won a gold medal. It was pretty much like a haze for an eighteen-year old kid to be going through. It was a blur for me, but someone else may have handled it a lot better. Once you decide where you're going to school, even if you're still in high school, people view you as being part of that new family. Even though I was at Lampasas running in the Olympics, I was representing The University of Texas. At the state track meet we won the state AAA championship for Lampasas High, but a part of me was still representing The University of Texas. I've been very fortunate in sports; I don't have a single most memorable moment. I have been real blessed that I've had a number of moments. People ask me, "Hey, what was it like to win a gold medal in the Olympics?" They look at me like I'm crazy when I say, "It's almost as exciting as running in the state meet in Texas." Winning our team championship was probably my most special moment. It wasn't the race, the mile relay, that made it so special, but that winning the state championship was our goal. People talk about "The Race," but the special part about that was that a lot of people were involved. We were in that position all the time; we were behind like that every week, but that's the way we ran. Those guys didn't have to run as fast as I did, they just had to run as fast as they could. As long as everybody did his best, we'd have a chance to win. All those people saw it at the state meet, but that's what we did every week. Lampasas High had the track records posted on a banner in the gym. I had the record for the 440 and for the 220, so I'd been pestering the coach to let me run the 100. I wanted that record, too. He got tired of me pestering him, so on Wednesday before the Brownwood track meet he let me run the 100, a practice race. He marked off a hundred yards on the old dirt track, and I ran the race. He had a little smile on his face as he looked at his clock, but he wouldn't let me see the time. He said, "Don't worry about it. You
did pretty good. Run another one." He made me wait while he marked off the track again. He stepped it off all over again. I didn't think about what he was doing at the time, but he was double-checking the distance. So I ran another one. This time he had a bigger smile on his face, but he still wouldn't let me see my time. On Saturday, Coach said, "I'll let you run the 100, but you still have to run your other races." So, that day I ran the 440, the 220, the mile relay, and in the 100 I ran a 9.2 in the finals. That's what I had run that day on the high school track. So that was the beginning of "The Race." When I came into Coach's office that next Monday, he had newspapers spread out all over his desk. The papers used to publish all the best times across the state. He had figured out that if he took me out of the quarter and if Mike Perkins, our other quarter-miler, could make it to state, and if I won the 100 and 200 and we could win the mile relay, and if we picked up some points with the long jump or with Perkins, then we could win the state meet by two or four points. The state championship came down to that last race. It was between us and two other teams, and whoever won the mile relay was going to win the state meet. That special moment wasn't about me. The joy came from us winning. I had gone to state my junior year by myself and had won state in the quarter. It wasn't as much fun; it wasn't half the joy of those other guys getting to come along. As a player in high school, you felt so honored that Coach Royal would even consider you to play at his school. You might be thinking about going to some other school, but when you found out that UT wanted you, it was a done deal. That's how it was for me, anyway. Texas recruited me as a running back. I came through with Coach Royal's last class; then he retired and Coach Akers switched offenses. With Earl back there we didn't throw the ball that much. But when we did throw it, we were pretty good at it. I might have gotten closer to my coaches had I done things differently, had I not been so dysfunctional in some areas. I didn't take advantage of having someone older to help guide me and keep me on the right path. When I think of how I spent my time and how disorganized I was, I see that I didn't allow myself the opportunity to develop special relationships with coaches. There were guys who were more mature than I was who were close to their coaches. It was like having a homing beacon, somebody to keep you close to the ground. And back then, my feet were planted firmly in mid-air. But when you're a Longhorn, you're part of a special family, a special group. You get the feeling that other people feel it's special, too. They might be an alum of another school, but deep down inside they wish they could say there were a Longhorn. Some might admit it and some might not, but it's like if they went somewhere else, they settled. Some people will tell me, "I went to such and such school, but I wish I could have gone to UT." This school impacts your life because you're placed in an environment where you always want to do your best. That's the kind of people you're around at Texas. It helps guide you and mold you and puts you in a conscious awareness about what The University is about, the pride and the traditions. I wouldn't change anything, not for a minute, not for a second. A person couldn't ask for a better roller coaster ride than what I've been on--still standing and fortunate to be able to sit here and talk about it. You know that poem "Footprints in the Sand?" I'm the reason they wrote that…I'm the one He's been carrying all this time
Johnny Lam Jones “"Help Turn Memories into Blessing's" “God Blessing me so much I feel like I'm Cheating!!!
09/09/2018 Johnny talking about his mother “Your prayers have been greatly appreciated. Mom's been having a tough time the last few months, but God has been with her thru it all”.
“She gets to pull in for a pit stop and get a pace maker this afternoon so she can get back in that race called life. Thank you God for your blessings”. Johnny
On 12/19/2016 Johnny had a cancer relapse and is now undergoing Chemo treatments. Please keep him in your prayers!!! Because of my Shortcomings and Defects in Character I wasn't ready for the Platform God Blessed me with in my youth. God knows what we need to experience in Life to grow closer to him.
“Thank you God for the Growing Pains, your Grace and Mercy. After getting hooked on alcohol and drugs and destroying my sports career my best friend Gary Milligan let me move in with him after I completed Drug Rehab. Thanks for Always being there for me my brother from another Mother.”
2015- “ God blessed me with two places to call home. I was born in Lawton, Ok. and grew up in a military neighborhood called Ranch Oaks. These are my friends and classmates at Bishop Elementary. All of the black kids in the school were from our neighborhood. Even though we went to small country school, our Sports teams looked like Grambling University when we took the field. When we were younger we played more street football, for example go to the red VW and run a hook, or go to green pickup and run a hook and go. We were very season conscious, we played football in football season, we played basketball in basketball season and baseball and track when it was time. We were doing all of these pick up games on our on, and we were still in elementary school! This is how we learned about winning and losing in sports! When I moved to texas back then they didn't start tackle football until the seventh grade in Lampasas, Texas. We started playing organized football in the 4th grade at Bishop! So you might say I had a head start in sports thanks to Ranch Oaks, Bishop, Coach Jackson, Coach Carter, Sammy, Coach Foster.
Having two hometowns also gives you twice the amount of friends and best friends! I really believe I have more best friends than the average five people! The love between best friends is not measured by how often you talk or see each other, it's just something you know and feel. Hey I know someone has a team picture from Bishop”.
Nothing but Love for ya'll
2015 Dear God,
“Thank you for answering my prayers! Just celebrated ten years with stage four bone cancer thanks to you. Five years ago after being on chemo, steroids, pain meds plus a few other medications on a daily bases I said what I would consider a silly selfish prayer. I was kind of feeling a little down and I said to God, you know it sure would be nice to see that race of our State mile relay. I had heard so much about it over the years, heck I wanted to see it. I remember being nervous waiting to see the video at my friend Dave Kerr and his dad the late Dr. Kerr a wonderful man who had said to his son Dave over the years that he wanted to personally give me that tape! I will never forget the Joyful look on his face as we sat in his living room with our sons and watched it for the first time. Through all of this I was still nervous, what if we watch the race and we were only ten or twenty yards behind! I like to say that you answered my prayers with the bonus plan. You not only delivered the eight millimeter film to my door, you slowly gave me a plan of how to use it to help others! There's a song "God's been so good to me I can not tell it all." That's how I feel every day! Thank you for allowing me to be consciously aware of your presence in my life. Who else could inspire a old jock who was a P. E. major to go back to school two and a half years into battling a cancer that the average life span was two to four years at the time, and take Business Marketing classes. I used to think I was going to school to prove to myself how well I could do if I applied myself, because most of my life in school I just did enough to stay elgible in sports. Thank you for inspiring me to go back to school! Thank you for showing me how to use what I learned in the Business Marketing classes at University of Phoenix to start the "All of his Friends" a Foundation to benefit Families Battling Childhood Cancer (www.allofhisfriends)! Thank you for giving me the courage and direction to successfully complete my 501c3! Thank you most for saving the best for last, more time to work on our relationship”!
Post from Johnny Lam Jones on December 19, 2016
"Just celebrated eleven years with this cancer. It's active again, mom went with me to get my third chemotherapy treatment a couple of days ago. She laughed when I reminded her about having to take me to the emergency when I was seven because my knees would hurt so bad, but they would always stop before I could see the doctor. At first the doctor said they were just growing pains. After a few visits he told her I just needed a butt whopping LoL.
Thank you God for using me and my mother to show the power of your Mercy and Grace....."
Jones was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in 2008. Click on video link below
Below is a link to a video from 1976 celebrating Johnny Lam Jones Home Coming After Winning A Gold Medal (no sound)
Please keep Johnny "Lam" close to your heart as he continues to battle Myeloma cancer that affects bone marrow in the legs.
A Longhorn record that will never be broken
Hey Johnny I just wanted to tell you I was so sorry to hear about your mom I was in Ohio with my wife when she passed. I need to ask a Favor I don't like doing this but here it goes there was a boy badly burned around Thanksgiving here in Lampasas and they are doing a fundraiser here in town to help with his medical costs. I had and an autographed picture of you when you played for Texas and I donated it to the cause I was wondering if you could donate something also. The fundraiser is on the 6th if you can donate I can come and pick it up. I remember when you were first diagnosed they had a fundraiser for you and I won an autographed jersey of yours but I never received it though not a big deal. Craig Barker.
My heart cries with you tonight my Brother! Much love - I watched you in amazement take such good care of your Momma - Right up to the end! You are an amazing Son! Willy Boroski.
From Kirk Bohls article on “Lam” Jones written two days ago for the Austin American Statesman
Rick Ingraham is part of our Longhorn historical group who played with Earl Campbell and Johnny “Lam” Jones. His quotes in Kirk Bohls article are below.
• “He was not only a Texas hero, he was an American hero,” said former Longhorn lineman great Rick Ingraham. “I mean, he was a gold medal winner.”
• At the high school track meet when Johnny Jones made track history. Ingraham sat in the press box with about 20 of his football teammates and Longhorn recruiting coordinator Ken Dabbs that night after Royal had suggested they check out their new teammate.
• “He was the most beautiful runner I ever saw in my life,” Ingraham recalled. “Effortless. Pure speed. That race was like nothing I’d ever seen. It wasn’t like he was straining. He was like a racehorse. And he didn’t win by a neck. He won by a couple of steps.”
• “He was the most humble superstar,” Ingraham said. “He and Earl (Campbell) were in a class by themselves. Never boastful or loud.”
Coach Dabbs another member of our historical group helped steal Lam Jones from OU.
Here are Coach Dabbs quotes.
• “He was just a tremendous athlete,” recalled Dabbs, maybe the Longhorns’ best recruiter ever who helped convince Lam not to go to Oklahoma and instead come to Austin. “He played tailback and wide receiver, but track was king.”
• Dabbs hadn’t been the main recruiter on Lam. Tim Doerr was, but Royal dispatched Dabbs to Lampasas to help seal the deal.
• Johnny lived with his maternal grandparents in Lampasas although his mother worked as a deputy sheriff in Oklahoma and wanted him to become a Sooner. When Dabbs showed up at their home, he asked Mary Anderson if Johnny got his speed from her.“I could outrun anybody in Bastrop Country,” she said, barely looking up from her quilting. At some point, Dabbs informed her that his mother ran the Club Café in Freer, Texas, and mentioned that her cook, Lonnie McPhail, fried up the best chicken fried steak around. Went by Slim in those days.“That’s my brother,” Anderson gasped. The Sooners had no shot after that.
And he ran the good race.