100 Things Longhorns Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

100 Things Longhorns Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

by Jenna Hays McEachern


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With trivia boxes, pep talks, records, and Longhorn lore, this lively, detailed book explores the personalities, events, and facts every Texas fan should know. It contains crucial information such as important dates, player nicknames, memorable moments, and outstanding achievements by singular players. This guide to all things Longhorns covers the team's first live mascot, the season they broke the NCAA record for points scored, and the player that caught every single touchdown pass thrown in the 1972 season.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781600781087
Publisher: Triumph Books
Publication date: 07/15/2008
Series: 100 Things...Fans Should Know Series
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jenna McEachern has been a freelance writer and editor for 30 years. She formerly worked for the University of Texas Sports Information Department, served as an editor in the Oral History Department of the LBJ Library, and was a senior editor for the Presidential Election Study Series Snapshots of the 1988 Presidential Campaign. She is the editor of One Heartbeat: A Philosophy of Teamwork, Life, and Leadership and One Heartbeat II: The Road to the National Championship. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Read an Excerpt

100 Things Longhorns Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

By Jenna Hays McEachern

Triumph Books

Copyright © 2014 Jenna Hays McEachern
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60078-978-6


Legislated to Be Great

The University of Texas was legislated to be great.

As any Texan worth his Charlie Dunn boots will tell you, Texas is the only state in this country that was ever its own sovereign nation. And when the Texians drafted their Declaration of Independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836, high on their list of grievances was the failure of the Mexican government to "... establish any public system of education...."

After Texas won its independence, education was a top priority to the founders of the Republic ... or so they said, again and again, yet it took Texas 44 years before they managed to open The University of Texas.

In 1838, President of the Republic Mirabeau Lamar urged Congress to establish a system of education, saying, "Cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy," a quote The University later borrowed for its motto. The 1839 Congress of the Republic set aside 50 leagues of land to be used for a university and another public college.

Then, in a foreshadowing of the habits of future Texas legislators, nothing happened. For 29 more years.

After Texas became a state in 1845, the legislature allocated more land — some for railroads — and $100,000 in bonds, but with Texas' entry into the Civil War, those plans were shelved and the funds were spent.

The Constitution of 1866 ordered the rapid establishment of a university. Evidently, "rapid" had a different meaning in the 19th century.

Finally, the Constitution of 1876, under which the state of Texas still operates, directed the Legislature to "establish ... and provide for the maintenance, support, and direction of a University of the first class ... styled 'The University of Texas.'"

All true orange-bloods have committed that phrase to memory and taken it to heart.

This Constitution gave Texas an additional million acres of public land for the endowment and support of The University. It also made the Agricultural and Mechanical College, established in 1871, a branch of The University of Texas. Most Longhorns have that part memorized, too.

By 1881, towns around the state were lobbying to be the home of the new university. The location would be determined by a vote of the people, and the campaigning turned decidedly negative.

One Waco newspaper wrote, "Waco is free from distracting scenes and corrupting influences and feverish excitement of the political capital, with its multitudinous temptations to lure the young into the paths of vice." Well, yeah. What more could you want in a college town?

The Tyler Courier warned of "drunken legislators, Mexican fandangos, and the Austin mosquitoes...."

Austin was ultimately selected as the site for The University, and in his last message on education to the state legislature, Governor O.M. Roberts declared, "Therefore, I repeat that it cannot be that the people of this state will allow The University of Texas to be anything below first class, as required by the Constitution. Let The University and its branches be more amply endowed, organized, and put in full operation as a first class University ... then, after a time, future generations will proudly point to The University of Texas as the brightest jewel of our greatness as a people and State."

And so it shall remain.


Worship at the Shrine of "Santa Rita"

Don't visit the Santa Rita rig on a game day. The oil-drilling rig sits at the corner of San Jacinto and Martin Luther King Boulevard, a main gateway to Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium. It's crowded and noisy and busy, not an appropriate atmosphere in which to soak in the magnitude of the rig's impact. It would be like trying to pray in the Alamo Shrine while surrounded by rowdy tourists who don't have enough reverence or sense to remove their gimme caps.

It's easy to ignore the primitive structure with its oil-soaked timbers and to overlook the plaques that bear its condensed history. On game day, not many of the orange-clad revelers streaming toward the stadium will take time to stop, put down their beer cans, and pay attention.

But this crude rig changed everything — everything — about Longhorn football, about The University of Texas, about the city of Austin, and about the state of Texas. It affected the fortunes of our education, our commerce, and our culture. It certainly changed our attitudes.

We are who we are today largely because of that simple rig.

The same Constitution of 1876 that established The University — called "the Main University" — and the agricultural and mechanical branch, A&M, gave UT the 50 leagues of land originally granted, but reneged on the gift of land intended for railroads. In exchange, legislators gave The University 1 million acres — and later another million — of wasteland in west Texas, thought to have little or no agricultural or commercial value.

Guess we fooled them.

In 1916, based on a UT geology professor's report touting potential mineral resources on the west Texas land, the Texan Oil and Land Company gathered investors to drill for oil. Drilling partner Frank Pickrell recalled later that the New York group, Catholic women who were worried about their investment, consulted their priest. He advised them to pray to Santa Rita, the patron saint of impossible causes. Santa Rita must have given the go-ahead, because on Pickrell's next New York trip, the ladies handed him their money, along with a red rose that had been blessed by the priest.

"According to their wishes, I climbed to the top of the derrick [and] scattered the rose petals over the derrick and rig," Pickrell said. The hoped-for well was christened the Santa Rita. Drilling was slow from 1921 through mid-1923.

Meanwhile, back on campus, The University languished. Texas didn't have an adequate tax base to support the growing University, and the state just wasn't dedicated to higher learning. The campus sprouted decrepit shacks and ramshackle classrooms following World War I. This "University of the first class" had become an underfunded eyesore. Nevertheless, Ashbel Smith, the president of the Board of Regents, proved to possess the gift of prophecy. When laying the cornerstone of UT's Main Building in November 1922, Smith proclaimed, "Smite the rocks with the rod of knowledge, and fountains of unstinted wealth will gush forth!"

And gush they did.

At 6:00 am on May 28, 1923, the driller's wife heard a loud hissing noise. When she looked out her door, gas and oil were shooting violently from the well, spraying a black mist for 250 yards over the land that some had called "an oilman's graveyard."

Santa Rita Number One was plugged in 1990, but adjacent lands still pump some 41 million barrels of oil each year.

The Permanent University Fund (PUF), pitifully inadequate prior to the discovery of oil, was resuscitated by the "fountains of unstinted wealth" that gushed forth. The PUF must be invested and cannot be spent. Income from the PUF makes up a large part of the Available University Fund, which is used for operating expenses and permanent improvements. As of 2013, the market value of the PUF was $14.8 billion, not including the value of the land itself.

After the discovery of oil, The University entered a phase of unbridled expansion. It started a major building program, replacing the shacks with magnificent Spanish-renaissance buildings.

So the next time you're on campus marveling at UT's top-notch facilities, take a detour by Santa Rita Rig Number One, remove your hat, and take a moment to give thanks.

Poor Relations

Like any poor relatives who come calling on their newly wealthy relations, A&M came visiting with its hand out after the Santa Rita well came in. Although the Aggies had been reluctant to recognize the constitutional provision that made A&M a branch of The University of Texas, they now came running to claim their part of the "inheritance." In 1931, the Texas legislature authorized a split in the net income from the Permanent University Fund (PUF), with two-thirds going to The University — "the Main University" — and one-third to Texas A&M.


D.X. Bible: The Answer to Prayer

The sign on the welcome-parade float summed up the hopes and the desperation of the Longhorn faithful. It read: "Bible: The Answer to Prayer."

A losing program brings out the worst in Texas fans, and by the time coach Jack Chevigny hit the road in 1936, he had alienated his team — which had grown weary of his insults and his fiery but phony pregame talks — and the fans, who just flat-out won't abide losing. He'd alienated UT power brokers, most importantly wealthy alum and longtime regent Lutcher Stark, who took umbrage at Chevigny's 6–12–1 record during his last two years at Texas.

And, as coaches have had to learn again and again throughout UT's history, to alienate the high school coaches in the state of Texas is to sign one's own death warrant.

The University needed a savior to resurrect the Texas football program, and with Stark leading the charge, it set its sights on Dana Xenophon Bible, the son of a college professor named after an ancient Greek historian. Longhorns were familiar with his work. Bible had won five Southwest Conference championships while at Texas A&M, and when he left to take the coaching job at Nebraska, the UT Athletics Council passed a resolution of regret, calling Bible "an exemplary sportsman both in victory and defeat," and crediting him for restoring civil relations between the two schools.

Nebraska fans were inconsolable when Texas hired him away. UT regents voted unanimously to hire Bible and to pay him the outrageous salary of $15,000 a year to be head coach and athletics director. Some unreasonable types grumbled about Bible making almost twice what UT president H.Y. Benedict made, but the state legislature solved that problem by raising Benedict's salary to $17,500.

Texas got its money's worth. Bible brought intelligence and dignity and a studied approach to the disarray of the football program. He recognized that his first challenge was to unite all the various factions of the UT family, so he met with a group of people whose support he felt he needed. Bible opened the meeting with this warning: "Gentlemen, when we leave this room, we'll all be calling the same signals."

Bible recruited few out-of-state players. He believed Texas boys would play with more pride because they were playing for their state's University. And he worked to rebuild a relationship with the Texas high school coaches. Armed with his "Bible Plan," a five-year plan that emphasized education and revolutionized recruiting, he divided the state into regions and assigned an alum, charged with discovering and recruiting promising players, to each region. He assembled a first-rate coaching staff and hired Blair Cherry, the most successful high school coach in Texas, and Bully Gilstrap, a perennial winner at Schreiner Junior College.

The Plan didn't produce immediate results. In Bible's second year, the Horns lost their season opener for the first time in school history.

Texas had lost 10 straight going into its 1938 game against the Aggies and had been tagged "Ali Bible and the Forty Sieves." It seemed inevitable, yet unthinkable, that 1938 would be the year the Aggies would finally win at Memorial Stadium.

But the same Longhorn team that had scored in double digits on only three occasions in '37 and '38 prevailed, 7–6, and protected the Memorial Stadium tradition from the tarnish of an Aggie victory.

The Longhorns had finally righted the ship. Bible called it "the happiest day in all my years of coaching ... to me, this appears to be the beginning of happier days for Texas followers."


Ten years after inheriting an inconsistent and chaotic program, Bible had shaped the Texas football program into one of national prominence and respect, laying the foundation for the Texas football enjoyed today. The Bible Plan had worked.

Thank heaven for answered prayer.

Bible Verse

"[The coach] is likely to be a prominent figure in his community, which makes it most important that he live up to his responsibilities as a citizen. He has an obligation to himself to live cleanly, deal fairly, work faithfully at his job, uphold the traditions of clean, hard play and good sportsmanship, and keep his self-respect. He has a tremendous obligation to the game itself." — D.X. Bible, Championship Football


The Coach: Darrell Royal

It boggles the mind to consider what Darrell Royal might have achieved had he not left the game at age 52. Despite his comparatively short tenure, he's still recognized as one of the greatest coaches in the history of college football. And he was ours.

Doug Looney, former senior writer for Sports Illustrated, described Royal's legacy beautifully: "The numbers still generate gasps. Rolled into one brilliant package, Darrell Royal was Picasso and Mozart and Einstein and Rockne and Patton and Churchill and John Wayne and Thomas Jefferson; he was also Willie Nelson and a 35-foot sidehill putt for a birdie and a sunset over Maui."

You'd be hard-pressed to find a man less likely to become a true Texas hero. Royal was reared in Oklahoma, a product of the Great Depression and the dismal days of the Dust Bowl, and his youth was marred by tragedies and hardship. Like many Oklahomans, the Royals struggled to find work, and at one point his father moved them to California to chase the dream of feeding a family and getting a little ahead. After young Darrell received a letter from the high school football coach at Hollis, Oklahoma, he hitchhiked home, lived with his grandmother, and dreamed of playing for the University of Oklahoma.

He made it to OU, became an All-American quarterback in 1949, and is still considered one of the greatest all-around players Oklahoma has ever had. After spending one year each at head coaching jobs in Edmonton (with the Canadian Football League), Mississippi State, and Washington, he got the phone call he'd dreamed of receiving, from coach D.X. Bible and The University of Texas.

Royal wowed the Athletic Council with his preparation; with the help of Bible, Royal learned the name and background of each council member and what each man looked like. He was offered the job that very day.

Royal brought that same preparation, organization, and intensity to the practice fields, the training rooms, and the games. Practices were structured; there was no wasted motion, no standing around. At the blow of a whistle, players changed stations and knew exactly where to go and what to do next. Simplicity, precision, planning, discipline, ferocious play, and integrity were the hallmarks of his program, lessons he learned from Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma.

Royal inherited a 1957 Longhorn team that had gone 1–9 the previous year, setting the mark for the worst record in UT history. Yet within one year, he had set the program back on course with a 6–4–1 season, a hint of the great things to come.

Texas was so dominant in the Southwest Conference during the 1960s and '70s that one clever writer noted, "Two things in life are certain ... death and Texas." In 20 seasons at Texas, Royal led the Horns to 11 SWC titles and 10 Cotton Bowl Classics, including six consecutive appearances from 1968 through 1973.

Then, of course, there were the three National Championships.


Excerpted from 100 Things Longhorns Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Jenna Hays McEachern. Copyright © 2014 Jenna Hays McEachern. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Acknowledgments xiii

1 Legislated to Be Great 1

2 Worship at the Shrine of Santa Rita 3

3 D.X. Bible: The Answer to Prayer 7

4 The Coach: Darrell Royal 10

5 The Innovator 14

6 The 800-Pound Gorilla: DeLoss Dodds 16

7 Mack Brown 18

8 We Eat Our Own 22

9 Strong Medicine 26

10 The Oblivious Pioneer: Julius Whittier 29

11 The 1963 Season 31

12 The 1964 Cotton Bowl 34

13 The 1969 Season: The Wishbone and Worster 36

14 The Big Shootout 39

15 I Play to Win 42

16 The 1970 Cotton Bowl 44

17 The 1970 Season 47

18 The 2005 Season 49

19 Frank Medina 53

20 Lutcher Stark 57

21 Chairman Frank 59

22 Bloody Mike 62

23 Earl Campbell 65

24 Ricky Williams 68

25 The Academic Heisman 72

26 Celebrate on the Drag 74

27 Vince Young 76

28 Colt McCoy 78

29 James Saxton 82

30 Roosevelt Leaks 85

31 Steve Worster 87

32 Cedric Benson 89

33 Scott Appleton 90

34 Bobby Layne 92

35 Tommy Nobis 95

36 Chris Gilbert 98

37 Kenneth Sims 99

38 Jack Cram 101

39 Nine National Champions 103

40 The Formidable Longhorn 105

41 The War Between the States 108

42 Go to OU Weekend 111

43 The Southwest Conference 115

44 The Cotton Bowl 118

45 The Tunnel 121

46 The Dear Old Texas Aggies 124

47 The Longhorn Network 127

48 The Beginning 131

49 The 1890s 133

50 Meet Me at Scholz's 136

51 Clark Field 138

52 Great Teams 1900-19 140

53 Show Band of the Southwest 142

54 The Eyes of Texas 144

55 Texas Taps 145

56 PMS 159 147

57 Bevo 149

58 The 1920s 152

59 Memorial Stadium 154

60 The Trees of Texas 158

61 Clyde Littlefield 160

62 The 1930s 162

63 The Knothole Section 164

64 Cowboys and Spurs 166

65 The 1940s (The First Half) 168

66 Traditions 171

67 The 1941 Season 173

68 The Little Rose Bowl 176

69 The 1940s (The Second Half) 177

70 Rooster Andrews, Ail-American Waterboy 179

71 The 1950s 182

72 The "T" Ring 184

73 The Longhorn Hall of Honor Banquet 186

74 Vincent R. DiNino 188

75 National Awards 192

76 Four Outta Four 194

77 The Wishbone 196

78 World's Tallest Far Man 198

79 Take a Number 200

80 The 1970s 203

81 Jerry Sisemore 206

82 The Spy Game 208

83 The 1977 Season 211

84 The 1981 Season 215

85 The 1983 Season 216

86 Celebrate Texas Independence Day 218

87 The 1990s 221

88 The Impostor 223

89 Take a Tower Tour 225

90 More Traditions 228

91 The 2000s (The First Half) 230

92 The 2008 Season 233

93 The 2009 Season 235

94 2010-13 238

95 And It's Goodbye to A&M 242

96 Take Another Number 245

97 Conference Realignment v.2.0 246

98 Nate Boyer 248

99 Things Lost 251

100 Branding the Horns 252

Trivia Answers 255

Notes 257

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100 Things Longhorns Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Their was so much that i did not know i am kind of embarest but im siiting hear reading it in school haha!!