ESPN is about to start on one of those stupid SportsCenter promotion things that has helped to make SportsCenter virtually impossible to watch. But over here at Ballz, we like stupid things - I'm sure that many of you think anything I write is stupid and virtually impossible to read anyway. So I've decided to rip-off ESPN's idea, which frankly I hear done on sports talk radio all of the time anyway, so...
What ESPN is going to do is come up with is a Mt. Rushmore of Sports for each of the 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. So I've decided to put together my own Mt. Rushmore of Texas Sports. The criteria are as follows: the person has to have been born in Texas; if possible, the person needs to have played college sports in this state; the person needs to have played professional sports in this state and/or the person needs to have coached college or pro sports in Texas.
The Mt. Rushmore of Texas Sports:
1. Earl Campbell. The Tyler Rose was, duh, born in Tyler, Texas. He won the Heisman Trophy while playing college football for the University of Texas, and then he went on to become one of the greatest running backs in NFL history while spending the majority of his career with the Houston Oilers.
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2. Nolan Ryan. Nolan Ryan was born in Refugio, Texas and moved to Alvin, Texas at a very early age. He was signed by the New York Mets where he played in 1966 and from 1968-1971. He then spent the 1972-1979 seasons with the California Angels before he would return to Texas to finish out his career, playing for the Houston Astros from 1980-1988 and the Texas Rangers from 1989-1993. He retired as the major league baseball record holder with 5714 strikeouts and the all-time mark of seven no-hitters. He's currently the president of the Texas Rangers.
3. Guy V. Lewis. Lewis was born in Arp, Texas. He attended the University of Houston where he played on the basketball team, graduating in 1947. He joined the coaching staff as an assistant in 1953, then became the Cougars' head coach in 1956, a job he held until retiring in 1986. Lewis was one of the first coaches at a major Southern university to actively recruit African-Americans. He coached the Coogs to 27 straight winning seasons, and he went to five Final Fours. He was responsible for developing three of the greatest basketball players of all time, Elvin Hayes, Clyde Drexler, and Hakeem Olajuwon. And Lewis was the mastermind behind the 1968 matchup between the Coogs and the UCLA Bruins that was played before a national TV audience in the Astrodome and that helped launched college basketball into the stratosphere.
4. Tom Landry. Tom Landry was born in Mission, Texas, played college football for the University of Texas, and was an all-pro cornerback for the New York Giants. He became the Giants defensive coordinator in 1956 and developed the 4-3 defense. He was then named to be the first coach of the Dallas Cowboys, a job he held from 1960-1989. With the Cowboys, he developed the Flex Defense and was also hailed as an offensive mastermind. The Cowboys had 20 consecutive winning seasons under Landry, they went to five Super Bowls, and won two. Landry left the Cowboys with a record of 270-178-6. The 270 wins are the third most in NFL history.
I'm sure that there are a whole bunch of worthy candidates that I've forgotten. You know the criteria that I used, so if you've got some better options, let's see them.