Gil Brandt served as the Dallas Cowboys VP of player personnel from 1960-1988. Along with coach Tom Landry and general manager Tex Schramm he helped the Cowboys get to five Super Bowls including World Championships in 1971 & 1977. He helped pioneer scouting techniques that are still used today, including computer analysis. Brandt was among the first to identify athletes from other sports -- Bob Hayes (track), Cornell Green (basketball), Toni Fritsch (soccer) -- with football potential.
As a sprinter at the University of Texas from 1952-1954, Dean Smith won seven Southwest Conference track championships. He won conference titles in the 100 and 220 and also ran on three winning 440- yard relay teams. Smith was also a halfback on the Longhorns' 1952 SWC championship football team. He won an Olympic gold medal as the first leg of the 440-yard relay team at the 1952 Olympic Games. Ironically, he is best remembered for being victimized in the controversial 100 yard dash at Helsinki.
Eddie Southern was one of the few track stars in the world who excelled in many different racing events. At the University of Texas, Southern was a member of an 880-yard relay team that set a word record at the 1957 Texas Relays. As the anchor of the mile relay team at the Kansas relays in 1958, Southern became the first person to run the quarter mile in under 45 seconds. Southern also anchored the 440-yard relay team that set two world records in four years. Ironically, the race he prized the most, the Olympic 400-yard hurdles, was the only big race he lost.
Don January won golf championships in five decades. In the 1940s he won two Dallas City Junior Championships and led Sunset High School to a state title. In the 1950s, he helped North Texas State win three consecutive NCAA championships from 1950-1952. In the 1960s, he made a hole-in-one worth $50,000 and won six more tour events, including the 1967 PGA Championship. In the 1970s, he won three more tour championships and became the oldest player in history, at the age of 46, to win the Vardon Trophy for the tour's year low-stroke average.
One of Texas Most Generous Sports Figures Born in Spur, Texas in 1927, Billy Joe "Red" McCombs has had a life-long impact on Texas and Texas sports. Originally enrolling at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, Red played football for the Pirates as a lineman and receiver. After leaving school to serve in the United States Army in 1946 and 1947, Red returned to Texas where he continued his education at the University of Texas.
Denne Freeman was the Associated Press Texas Sports Editor for 31 years. He covered the Dallas Cowboys, including all their Super Bowls; the Texas Rangers and Nolan Ryan’s heroics; and the Dallas Stars; the Dallas NBA teams; major golf events including The Masters in 1997 when Tiger won; and top college football that included the 1969 Shootout game between Texas and Arkansas. As a news reporter for UPI, Denne covered the assassination of John F Kennedy, and later, for Associated Press covered Apollo 13. During his years at the AP, he covered 1000 MLB games, 500 NBA games, and 350 NFL games.
Cliff Gustafson returned to his alma mater, the University of Texas, in 1968 as head baseball coach. In doing so, he followed in the footsteps of legendary Hall of Famers Uncle Billy Disch and Bibb Falk. Not only that, he had taken a pay cut in leaving South San Antonio High School where in 13 years his teams had won seven state championships. The Longhorns were to be ever indebted to "Coach Gus." In 1994 he posted victory No. 1,333 to become the winningest baseball coach in NCAA history. His UT teams over won 80.5
Kathy Whitworth was the first woman professional golfer to pass the $1 million mark in career earnings. She broke the million-dollar plateau in 1981 when, at the age of 41, she won her 81st tournament. Whitworth's dominance of the game cannot be fully measured by career earnings, however, since she began in the early days of the LPGA tour when purses were much smaller.
Steve Worster gained 5,422 rushing yards during his spectacular high school career at Bridge City (1964-1966). His senior season he rushed for 2,210 yards while carrying the Cardinals to the Class 3A state title. He was at his best in the 1966 state final, racking up 249 yards (a title-game record at the time) as Bridge City romped over unbeaten McKinney, 30-6. Worster, a bruising fullback, soon became the focal point of Darrell Royal's wishbone offense and earned All-America honors in 1969 & 1970.
One of the finest offensive tackles in NFL history, Rayfield Wright ruled the trenches for the Dallas Cowboys from 1967-1979. The 6'7, 250 pound "Big Cat" was selected to six consecutive Pro Bowls from 1972 to 1977 and was named All-Pro four times. He was also voted NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1972 and 1974.