The Gridiron Legends program honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the game of football in the state of Texas, either at the high school, collegiate or professional level.
The 2018 Gridiron Legends class will be introduced on-field Saturday, September 1st at the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff featuring the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Ole Miss Rebels.
Deemed to have had one of the most advanced offensive minds in football, notable head coach Emory Bellard was selected by the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association to receive this Gridiron Legend honor. The Luling, Texas native is credited for inventing the Wishbone Offense, regarded as the most dynamic and groundbreaking offensive schemes in college football during the 1970s and 1980s. Bellard was a running back at the University of Texas his freshman year, but broke his leg the next season. Due to his injury and the return of players from World War II, he transferred to Southwest Texas State, which is now Texas State University. His tenure of 21 seasons as a head coach started at Ingleside High School in Ingleside, Texas, where he coached from 1952 to 1954. Bellard then moved on to Breckenridge High School, a powerhouse in the state in the second-highest UIL classification. During his time there from 1955 to 1959, he led the team to two state championships (1958, 1959). Bellard won another state championship in 1966 during his tenure at San Angelo Central High School, which spanned from 1960 to 1966. After an impressive high school coaching career, he made the jump to the collegiate level where he also succeeded. Bellard was hired as linebackers coach for the University of Texas in 1967. From 1968 to 1971, Bellard was their offensive coordinator, and during this time established and applied the wishbone formation. This system, also known as the triple-option, helped the Longhorns win 30 games in a row and a national championship in 1969. Other teams, such as powerhouses Alabama and Oklahoma, began adopting the wishbone offense. From 1969 to 1979, seven national championships were won or shared by teams that implemented this scheme. Bellard left the Longhorns to become Texas A&M’s head coach from 1972 to 1978. He led the Aggies to a 48-27 record during his tenure, which included three top-15 finishes and three consecutive bowl games. He resigned midway through the 1978 season and then became the head coach at Mississippi State in 1979, where he stayed until 1985. Bellard led the Bulldogs to a record of 79-85 and they twice finished in the top 20 in the polls. After his time at Mississippi State, he returned to the high school level, where he coached Spring Westfield High School from 1988 to 1993, making his overall high school coaching record 177-59-9. Bellard passed away on February 10, 2011 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He is survived by his wife, Susan, and his son, Bob, who coaches high school football in Texas. His family will receive the honor in his name.
Four-time All-Pro and three-time Super Bowl Champion Cliff Branch spent 14 seasons in the NFL, all with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. The former Worthing High School standout graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1972, where he set the NCAA FBS record for kickoffs returned for touchdowns with eight. During his time at Colorado, Branch also set school and NCAA Championship records in track, specifically the NCAA 100-meter record with a time of 10.0 seconds. The Raiders selected the Houston native in the fourth round of the 1972 NFL Draft with the 98th overall pick. During his tenure, Branch caught three passes for 20 yards in Super Bowl XI, five passes for 62 yards and two touchdowns in Super Bowl XV and six passes for 94 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl XVIII. In four consecutive seasons (1974-1977), the former wide receiver was voted a First-Team All-Pro by the Associated Press and named to four consecutive Pro Bowls. In 1974, Branch led the league in receiving yards (1,092) and receiving touchdowns (13). During the 1983 season, he set the Raiders franchise record for the longest touchdown reception with a 99-yard score. Branch’s career in the NFL ended after the 1985 season, but he subsequently played for the Los Angeles Cobras of the AFL in 1988. Branch was the only wide receiver to be on the roster of all three Super Bowl-winning Raiders teams and was named to the PFRA Hall of Very Good Class of 2011. The two-time Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist’s NFL career boasts 501 receptions, 8,685 receiving yards and 67 touchdowns.
UFL Championship MVP Chase Clement spent three seasons in the UFL and had two separate stints in the CFL after a record-setting career at Rice University. The former quarterback holds the NCAA FBS record, along with former Rice wide receiver Jarrett Dillard, for career touchdowns between a quarterback-receiver tandem (51). The San Antonio native broke Conference USA Conference passing records, and in 2007, he earned second-team All-Conference USA honors. In his first-team all-conference senior season, Clement lead the Owls to a win in the 2008 Texas Bowl, where he was named MVP, and earned the C-USA MVP honors. The Rice University all-time passing leader is ranked second behind Case Keenum on the C-USA lists for career touchdowns and touchdown passes. Clement completed his college career with 125 career touchdowns, and his 99 passing touchdowns tied former Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart on the NCAA career touchdown passes list. While a prospect for the 2009 NFL Draft, he went undrafted and was signed by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL in June 2009 and retired after one preseason practice. The Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL later signed Clement in 2010, and he stayed with them until 2012. During his time there, he led the team to the UFL title in 2010 and was named the championship game MVP. Clement signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL in April 2013 and was later released the following June. During his post-collegiate career, he has worked out with several NFL teams including the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys.
Former first-round draft pick and wide receiver Lawrence “Larry” Elkins’ professional career spanned five years after a highly accomplished tenure at Baylor University. The three-sport All-State player at Brownwood High School turned down an offer from the University of Texas to attend Baylor, where he set several receiving records that still stand. Elkins was a two-time consensus All-American at Baylor – the first two-time consensus pick in the university’s history. One of the best receivers in Baylor’s history, he caught 144 passes for 2,094 yards and scored a school-record 19 touchdowns. Some of Elkins’ accolades include MVP honors at the 1965 Hula Bowl and being named to the Look Magazine All-American team. The records he set include ranking third in all-time career receptions and career receiving yards, Baylor’s single-game record for receptions (12) and the NCAA single-season record in 1963 with 70 catches. Elkins was a first-round pick in the 1965 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers as well as a first-round pick in the AFL Draft by the Houston Oilers the same year. After signing with the Oilers, a knee injury in an exhibition game in his rookie season kept Elkins off the active roster until 1966. Following his time with the Oilers, he joined the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he broke his collarbone in a preseason game in 1969 after earning a starting job with the team. Elkins’ football career has been recognized and honored by many, which is evident by his induction into the Baylor Athletic Hall of Fame (1976), the College Football Hall of Fame (1994) and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame (2009). His life post-football managed to be as interesting as his time in football. From 1971 to 1978, Elkins worked for Brown and Root Inc., now known as KBR, Inc., in the United States and Europe. From 1979 to 1982, he worked with offshore drilling companies in the Gulf of Mexico and Africa. In the early 1980s, Elkins chauffeured Academy Award-winning actor Robert Duvall around Texas as he studied Texas accents for the film Tender Mercies and television miniseries Lonesome Dove. He later spent more than 12 years as a consultant for Ministry of Water in Saudi Arabia, where he was involved in the management of 26 desalination plants and several pumping stations and pipelines along the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.
Two-time Super Bowl Champion Casey Hampton spent 12 seasons in the NFL, all with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The former nose tackle got his start at Galveston Ball High School, where he was a two-sport All-American in football and track. Hampton was twice named the District Defensive Player of the Year and was a Texas Class 5A All-State First-Team selection. His high school jersey number (No. 63) was retired at a parade and dinner in April 2009, and he is the only football player in Galveston Ball’s history to receive this honor. Hampton went on to have an impressive collegiate career at the University of Texas, where he started in 37 consecutive games for the Longhorns from 1997 to 2000. During his time at UT, he became the first defensive lineman to lead the team in tackles in two consecutive seasons (1999-2000). Hampton recorded 329 career tackles, which placed him 11th on the school’s all-time list. The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by the Conference Coaches (2000) was also a two-time consensus All-American and a two-time first-team All-Big 12 Conference selection. Hampton was a first-round pick, 19th overall, in the 2001 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played in all 48 games in his first three seasons and took a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2003. A knee injury six games into the 2004 season kept him out for the remainder of the season, but he came back to win Super Bowl XL and XLIII with the Steelers. During Super Bowl XL, Hampton sacked Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, sealing the game for Pittsburgh. During his professional career, the five-time All Pro played in 173 games with 374 combined tackles, 9.0 sacks, three passes defensed, four forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles. In commemoration of the Steelers’ founding in 1933, the franchise’s top 33 players were selected by fan voting to the Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time Team. Hampton was named to the group as a part of the franchise’s 75th season celebration in 2007.
A native of Willis, TX, quarterback Michael Bishop led Kansas State to their first No. 1 ranking in school history as a senior in 1998. Bishop initially attended Blinn Junior College in Brenham, TX, where he led the Buccaneers to two undefeated seasons and two NJCAA National Championships his freshman and sophomore year before joining Head Coach Bill Snyder – the only Division I school to offer him an opportunity to play quarterback – at Kansas State. Bishop led the Wildcats to consecutive 11-win seasons in 1997 and 1998. As a junior, Bishop threw for 1,557 yards and 13 touchdowns while also rushing for 556 yards and nine touchdowns, leading the team to an 11-1 record and a win in the Fiesta Bowl. He concluded his junior season as a second-team All-Big 12 Conference voted by the league’s coaches and Big 12 Newcomer of the Year by the Associated Press. As a senior, Bishop helped the Wildcats to an 11-0 record, throwing for 2,844 yards, 23 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He rushed for 748 yards on 177 carries, scoring 14 touchdowns. The Wildcats won the Big 12 North title and lost in double overtime to No. 10 Texas A&M team. After starting in all 25 games during his two season at Kansas State, he received 792 votes in the 1998 Heisman Trophy voting, including 41 first place votes, but finished second to Ricky Williams. He finished his Wildcat career fourth on the all-time passing list with 4,401 yards and broke Chad May’s career record with 36 touchdown passes despite playing only two seasons. After his senior season, Bishop was voted a consensus All-American and All-Big 12 Conference selection and was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. Bishop was drafted by the New England Patriots in the seventh round of the 1999 NFL Draft and later played for the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe in 2001. Bishop also played stints in the Arena Football League and Canadian Football League. He has since been inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, K-State Athletics Hall of Fame and most recently was nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame. Bishop is now a high school football coach in Texas.
Brian Bosworth, nicknamed “The Boz,” was a two-time consensus All-American and led Oklahoma to the National Championship in 1985. In addition to winning a National Championship, Bosworth is the only player in history to have won the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding linebacker, two consecutive times and finished his college career with 413 tackles in three seasons. Bosworth starred at Irving MacArthur High School in the Dallas area prior to his time at OU and was named to the UIL’s All-Century Defensive Team in 2009. Upon retiring from professional football, Bosworth entered the film industry and has appeared in numerous movies including “Stone Cold” and “The Longest Yard.” Bosworth was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
Legendary Texas football coach, Oscar Cripps, is one of the most storied high school football coaches in Texas history. A member of the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association Hall of Honor, Cripps spent the majority of his career as the head coach at Stratford High School. In his 26 years as head coach of the Spartans, Cripps led the team to 163 wins, two state final appearances, seven district titles, eight playoff seasons and a victorious State Championship in 1978. The Texas High School Football Coaches Hall of Honor member coached many greats, including former New England Patriots running back and Pro Bowl selection, Craig James.
Former Texas A&M Aggie and standout NFL defensive end, Jacob Green, is one of the most storied players in Texas football history. Born in Pasadena, TX, Green joined the Aggies in 1977 under Head Coach Emory Bellard followed by Head Coach Tom Wilson. The two-time All-American left Texas A&M in 1979 after finishing his career with 37 quarterback sacks and 12 forced fumbles, a record that still holds today. Green’s success on the football field continued after the Seattle Seahawks drafted him in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft. The 10th overall pick went on to play defensive end for the Seahawks for 12 seasons, earning All-Pro Honors in both 1983 and 1984. During his time in Seattle, Green was a two-time Pro Bowl selection who accounted for 12 or more sacks in a single season six times in his NFL career. After accumulating 116 sacks in 12 seasons for the Seahawks, the team inducted Green into the Ring of Honor, a group of 11 members recognized for their contributions to the team. Along with his Ring of Honor induction in 1995, Green was added to the Texas A&M Letterman’s Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame in 2014. Most recently, Green earned his place in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2016. Green now serves as vice president of major gifts and endowments for the 12th Man Foundation, which funds scholarships, programs and facilities in support of Texas A&M athletics.
Former Texas Longhorn and NFL star, Eric Metcalf, is one of the most distinguished two-sport athletes in Longhorn history. As a member of both the track and field and football teams, Metcalf broke numerous records that still stand today. A four-time All-American in track and field, Metcalf won the National Championship in the long jump in 1986 and 1988 and placed eighth in the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials. In addition to his success on the track, Metcalf was a three-time All-Southwest Conference selection, second-team All-American and winner of the Southwest Conference Player of the Year in 1987. Along with holding every running back receiving record, Metcalf remains the only player in Texas history to lead the team in all-purpose yards for four consecutive years. Metcalf’s success on the football field continued after the Cleveland Browns selected him in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft. The three-time Pro Bowl selection ranks 12th on the NFL’s All Time Kick Returns List, 13th on the All Time All-Purpose Yards List and his 12 returned kick touchdowns are tied for third-most in NFL history. During his 13 years in the NFL, Metcalf found time to create the Seatown Express Track Club to inspire athletes to pursue track and earn college scholarships through the sport. The son of former NFL running back, Terry Metcalf, is a member of the University of Texas’ Hall of Honor.
Three-time Emmy Award winner and five-time National Sportscaster of the Year, Jim Nantz, is one of the most distinguished sports commentators of all time. The University of Houston graduate has covered virtually every sport for the CBS Television Network since joining in 1985. Nantz has been the lead play-by-play voice for THE NFL ON CBS and the Network’s NFL Thursday Night Football games; the lead anchor of CBS’s golf coverage, including the PGA Tour, Masters and PGA Championship; and lead play-by-play announcer for college basketball, including the NCAA Men’s Final Four.
Overall, Jim has broadcasted six Super Bowls, even calling the most recent Super Bowl 50 in February. Jim is the youngest recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award as well as the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Media Award. In 2011, Nantz returned to his adopted hometown of Houston to team with Houston Methodist Hospital at The Texas Medical Center to create the Nantz National Alzheimer Center. The NNAC is dedicated to funding innovative diagnostic discoveries for early and accurate detection of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementing illnesses in hopes of one day finding a cure.
The proud Houston Cougar graduated with a degree in radio/television from the University of Houston in 1981, where he was recruited as a member of the golf team. In May 2001, he received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from his alma mater, becoming the first former student-athlete to ever deliver the commencement address and be bestowed an honorary degree from the university. In 2002, Jim was named to the UH Athletics Hall of Honor.
Former college standout and NFL running back Billy Sims played five seasons in the National Football League. The first overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft was selected by the Detroit Lions after a memorable career at the University of Oklahoma. During his time as a Sooner, Sims led the Big Eight in rushing and the nation in scoring for two consecutive years. The two-time consensus All-American won the prestigious Heisman Trophy as a junior in 1978 as well as the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. After rushing for 1,303 yards and 13 touchdowns during his first season with the Lions, Sims became the NFL’s AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1980. The three-time Pro Bowl selection was the Lions’ offensive MVP in 1980, 1982 and 1983 and led the Lions to two successive playoff appearances. In addition, Sims played an integral role in helping the Lions claim the NFC Central division title in 1983. The storied running back ranks second on the Lions’ all-time rushing list with 5,106 yards and 42 touchdowns. Sims was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1995. Today, the Texas-raised athlete owns and maintains his own barbeque franchise, Billy Sims Barbeque, which he launched in 2004.
NFL Hall of Famer Curley Culp played 13 years in the American Football League and National Football League with the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Oilers, and Detroit Lions. During his outstanding career, Culp played both offensive and defensive line and was elected to a Pro Bowl or AFL All-Star Game six times. The NFL legend and member of the 2013 Hall of Fame class played his college football at Arizona State University, where he also won the NCAA heavyweight wrestling championship. Culp is a member of the ASU Football Hall of Fame and was the school’s Homecoming King in 1967. During his NFL career, Culp complied 68 career sacks and was a member of the Chiefs team that won Super Bowl IV. After spending 1968-74 with the Chiefs, Culp was traded to the Oilers and spent seven years in Houston. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1975 and was the Oilers team MVP in 1977. Culp was also named to the Houston Oilers 30th Anniversary “Dream Team” as selected by vote of the Houston Oilers fans and got enshrined into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 2008. Additionally, Culp received the Bill Ennis Memorial Award [HSSA] as the Professional Athlete of the Year in 1975 and was recognized as the No. 1 Athlete of the Century for the State of Arizona by USA Today.
A 14-year veteran of the Green Bay Packers from 1999 to 2012, former NFL wide receiver Donald Driver is one of the most decorated players in Packer history. He currently holds the franchise’s all-time records for most career receptions and receiving yards. The Houston native is a former Super Bowl Champion and four time NFL Pro Bowler. In high school, Driver lettered four times each in track, football, basketball and baseball at Milby High in Houston. Driver was also a Texas All-State honorable mention in Football, where he played wide receiver, defensive back, and returned kicks. After his incredible high school career, Driver enrolled at Alcorn State University in Mississippi, where he lettered in both football and track & field. He finished his college football career with 88 receptions for 1,993 yards and was a five-time “Athlete of the Year” in his conference for track and football. Although Driver was originally just a seventh round pick of the Packers in 1999, he went on to win multiple awards with them, including being named the “Walter Payton Man of the Year” in 2002 and receiving the “Ed Block Courage Award” in 2005. Since retiring, Driver has become a New York Times bestselling author and won season 14 of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars in 2012.
Former college and NFL star David Elmendorf is one of the most decorated athletes in Texas A&M history. During his storied college career, Elmendorf was named a consensus All-American in baseball and football for the Aggies and was a seven-time letterman. Elmendorf, who was also an Academic All-American in both sports, is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Texas A&M Hall of Fame, and Texas High School Football Hall of Fame. The two sport star was first drafted to play baseball by the New York Yankees in 1971, but chose to play football and was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams later that same year. Elmendorf played nine seasons in the NFL at safety, where he was a member of the Rams’ Super Bowl XIV team. He was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie Team as a rookie in 1971, earned First-Team All-NFC honors in 1974, and was Second-Team All-Pro in 1975. In his nine NFL seasons, Elmendorf played in 130 games, starting all 130, and intercepted 27 passes and recovering 10 fumbles. Elmendorf, a native of San Antonio, attended Westbury High School in Houston, where he was named All-City and All-State. He did color commentary for the Texas A&M football radio broadcast in 2007 and was named General Manager of Quail Valley Golf Course in 2008.
One of the most accomplished and respected sports writers in the country, John McClain has been covering the NFL for the Houston Chronicle for over 35 years. He has won numerous awards around the country for his work covering the league and is the former President of the Pro Football Writers of America. McClain, who grew up in Waco and graduated from Baylor, left the Waco Tribune-Herald to join the Houston Chronicle in October 1976 to cover the original Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association. He eventually moved to football coverage and his first Oilers’ training camp was in 1977. Now, McClain is a member of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. In 2006, he received the Dick McCann Memorial Award as the Pro Football Hall of Fame recognized him for his long and distinguished reporting on the NFL. McClain is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild with appearances in movies such as The Rookie, The Longest Yard, Invincible, The Game Plan, Secretariat, Cook County and Spring Breakers.
Charles Alexander, a two-time All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist who played at LSU from 1975-78, is regarded as one of the Southeastern Conference’s all-time great running backs.
Born and raised in Galveston, Alexander played his prep ball at Ball High School. A 2012 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, Alexander twice finished in the top-10 in Heisman voting, placing ninth as a junior and fifth as a senior. The MVP of the Southeastern Conference in 1977, Alexander set nine SEC records and tied for another. At the end of a stellar career that included a pair of All-America and All-SEC honors, his name sat atop 27 LSU records. Alexander still holds the school records for most rushes in a game (43), most yards in a season (1686) and most yards gained per game in a season (153.3).
Alexander was selected with the 12th pick in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft by Cincinnati and played in Super Bowl XVI. In addition to the College Football Hall of Fame, Alexander is a member of LSU’s Modern Day Team of the Century and both the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame. Alexander served as a development officer for LSU’s Tiger Athletic Foundation and is now a successful businessman in Houston.
A 10-year veteran of the Houston Oilers from 1975 to 1984, Robert Brazile became a Houston legend as one of the leagues’ most feared linebackers and guided the Oilers to consecutive AFC Championship games in 1978 and 1979. Following a successful career at Jackson State, Oilers’ head coach and general manager Bum Phillips selected Brazile with the sixth overall pick and quickly slotted the rookie into the outside linebacker position in the 3-4 defense.
Nicknamed ‘Dr. Doom’ by his teammates, Brazile was named the 1975 Defensive Rookie of the Year, earned Pro Bowl selections in each of his first seven years in the league and was an eight-time All-Pro.
Brazile is a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1970s after racking up 1,281 tackles in his career, the second highest in Oilers/Tennessee Titans team history. Brazile displayed a knack for getting after the quarterback, but is only credited with 11 sacks because the stat did not become official until the 1982 season. Brazile was recently inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame and is a member of the SWAC Hall of Fame and Jackson State Hall of Fame.
Following his career on the gridiron, Brazile coached a minor league football team and is currently a teacher for special needs children in Mobile, Ala.
The late James Street led the University of Texas to a perfect 11-0 season and football national championship in 1969. Street arrived at Texas as a seventh-string quarterback from Longview, Texas, and finished his college career with an unblemished 20-0 record.
Street was also a baseball standout, posting a 29-8 record pitching for Texas that included a perfect game against Texas Tech in 1970 and no-hitter against SMU in 1969. Street pioneered Texas Coach Darrell Royal and assistant Emory Bellard’s wishbone offense, which became the premiere offensive scheme in college football in the 1970s and 1980s. Some of Street’s best performances occurred on the biggest stage, including the ‘Game of the Century,’ a 15-14 come from behind victory against Arkansas in the 1969 season finale, and a 21-17 victory over Notre Dame in the 1970 Cotton Bowl played on New Year’s Day.
Street later went on to enjoy a successful career in finance and structured settlements, founding a firm in Austin that focused on working with plaintiffs in legal disputes. He received numerous awards in his profession and as a philanthropist in Austin, and in 2010 he was named a Distinguished American by the Greater Austin Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. Street was also a member of the Longhorn Hall of Honor and Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
Street is survived by his wife Janie and five sons, including current Major League pitcher and 2002 Longhorn College World Series Champion, Huston.
University of Houston legend and 1989 Heisman Trophy winner, Andre Ware, pioneered the ‘Run & Shoot’ offense en route to one of the most prolific seasons for a collegiate quarterback.
Ware was born and raised in Galveston and graduated from Dickinson High School. The signal caller became the first African-American quarterback to win college football’s most prestigious award his junior season after throwing for 4,699 yards and 44 touchdowns and setting 26 NCAA records. Ware added the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s most outstanding quarterback, and was selected with the seventh overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.
Ware was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. Ware currently resides in Houston and has been on the call for Texans’ games on radio since the team’s inaugural season of 2002 in addition to calling college football games for the ESPN family of networks.
A former player and legendary high school coach in Southeast Texas, Joe Washington Sr., spent a large portion of his coaching career at all-black high schools.
Born on June 10, 1929 in Rosenberg, Washington grew up in the town 20-plus miles from Houston. Washington did not play prep football because the black high school in Rosenberg at the time did not field a football team, but persevered first as a player and then later as a coach despite the Jim Crow Laws that made segregation law.
He enlisted in the army in 1946, where he played running back and defensive back for a racially-mixed armed forces team while stationed in Hawaii, and went on to enjoy a successful three-year career at all-black Prairie View A&M. At Prairie View, Washington met his wife Phyllis, and following graduation in 1951 would begin a coaching career that spanned 45 years.
Washington spent the first 15 years of his career at Hilliard High School in Bay City and the next 30 years at Abraham Lincoln High School in Port Arthur. Washington coached a half dozen players to the NFL, including his son Joe Jr., who went on to become a two-time All-American at Oklahoma, a 1976 first round pick of the San Diego Chargers and a Super Bowl XVII Champion with the Washington Redskins.