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Trouble and Triumph Deep in the Heart of Texas Football

by John Maher with Kirk Bohls

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1991
ISBN: 0-312-06305-9
Publisher: St. Martin's

A colorful history of the Univ. of Texas Longhorns football program by Austin sportswriters Maher and Bohls, who help explain the mentality behind the unofficial team slogan, ``Be number one, or be no one.'' The Longhorns won their last national championship in 1969, crowning the glory days of coach Darrell Royal, a legendary figure who led the team to ten Cotton Bowls and never had a losing season in 20 years. Opening the 1990 season under head coach David McWilliams, following a losing 1989 campaign and scandals involving steroids, gambling, and academic snafus, there was little reason for optimism. But a convincing win against Penn State and a close loss to tough Colorado showed promise of better things. Bookend tackles Stan Thomas, 6'6'', 300 lbs., and Chuck Johnson, 6'5'', 275 lbs., brought back memories of yesteryear, when grind-it-out trench warfare was the Longhorns' strong suit. Interspersed with descriptions of the 1990 season are glances back at the Royal years and after, with profiles of athletic director DeLoss Dodds, running back Earl Campbell, ``the perma-pressed [Coach Fred] Akers era,'' and powerful ``Czar'' Frank Erwin, who was chairman of the Board of Regents in the 60's and 70's. Maher and Bohls also examine—and only occasionally soft-pedal—the issues of racism (Royal ``didn't manage to recruit a black to his football team until'' 1969), NCAA recruiting violations, and drug use and other scandals that have plagued college football in recent years. As the Longhorns progress through the 10-1, 1990 season en route to an embarrassing loss to Miami in the Cotton Bowl, there are big wins against rival Oklahoma, Arkansas, TCU, and Houston, amply detailed and analyzed by the authors, who are both fans and critics of the ``whatever it takes'' football philosophy. As much fun as a Texas barbecue, but with its serious side. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)