More Miracle MemoriesAug. 27, 2004
The Texas game in 1974. I was sitting about midway up in Section JJ. The stadium was pretty well packed because we were playing Texas, and there were a lot of their fans sitting around us, including four guys two rows behind us. On the row right behind us were several kids about 11 or 12 years of age. All during the first half of the game when Texas was building their 24-7 lead, those Texas fans two rows behind us were yelling yeah, yeah, yeah (pronounced yea-uh) as obnoxiously as they could.
When the second half started, and Baylor had about four players block a Texas punt, the kids started yelling yeah, yeah, yeah. Baylor could do nothing wrong in that second half, and those kids kept yelling yeah, yeah, yeah. By the end of the third quarter, I looked around and those Texas fans were gone!
It was absolutely wonderful!
Tolbert Newman, BBA '64
My dad, Jack Bond, who was chairman of the Baylor chemistry department for a number of years, and I attended the Texas game at Baylor Stadium that year. We had been going to Baylor football games all of my life, including his attending my year on the Baylor freshman team in 1965. So we were used to going and watching a lot of valiant efforts by the Bears end in defeat, particularly at the hands of the Longhorns. When the score got very upside-down at halftime that year, we decided to go on back to the house and listen to the remainder on the radio. No sooner had we gotten to the car than we heard a huge roar from the crowd early in the third quarter. And by the time we got to Valley Mills Drive on our way back to Fort Faculty, there was another roar. On the drive home, we listened to the Bears come back and overtake Texas. After all those years of attending the games and after actually being in the stadium that day, we listened to the Bears turning-point victory that led them to the Cotton Bowl from our living room on Harrington Drive.
Thomas Bond Jr., BA '69
We were about halfway to the game when my wife (Patricia Berryhill Hassell '69) realized that she had left her coat. It was too late to go back. My uncle, J.B. Cotten (attended Baylor), my dad, Brit Hassell, and I shared our coats and blankets with Patricia as we could, but we were at the end of an entrance out of which blew super cold air for the entire game. It was so cold. After the '80 season, we remembered our coats and got a bad sunburn during the game.
Alton Hassell, BS '69
I had just graduated from Baylor in May of 1974 with a degree in sociology. I lived in Dallas and was employed as a social worker. My friends, both the recent Baylor graduates and some still in school in Waco, were ecstatic about the upcoming Cotton Bowl game against Penn State. My roommate and I had a small, two-bedroom apartment close to downtown Dallas. Several of us (the "committee," I believe we called ourselves) planned a huge party in MY apartment for New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, 1974.The party's title -- Midnight at the Oasis -- also the title of a song popular at that time. Arrangements and assignments were made, and everyone dutifully brought food, drink, decorations, etc. As New Year's Eve progressed, the crowd grew larger and larger. It seemed that word had spread about some "generic Baylor get-together," and the Bears came! I remember that within the next couple of days, a neighbor there in the apartments that I had never met, knocked on my door and said, "I just wanted to meet the person(s) responsible for such a great party!" She had been part of the festivities without having been invited or knowing the purpose. She mentioned that several other neighbors wandered in and out throughout the evening, thinking that they would not be noticed. And they weren't!
Anyway, I remember sleeping on the floor at the foot of my bed that night while three fellow Bears slept in my small double bed. It hardly mattered since no one turned out the lights before 3 or 4 a.m. It was even more of a challenge taking a shower before the Cotton Bowl, with 10 to12 people all competing for one bathroom The bottom line is that even though Baylor was defeated by Penn State on Jan.1, 1975, all of us had a WONDERFUL time that some of us are still talking about 30 years later.
Jim McLean, BA '74
For Baylor to go to the Cotton Bowl, UT had to beat A&M in the annual Thanksgiving Day game. We had a game-watching party at the Hobbit, as we called the house shared by a group of Kappa girls. In order to attend, you had to dress in burnt orange and white. It felt so wrong to root for UT, but on that one occasion, we did in fact root for the TSips, and they did beat A&M, and we were joyous over the outcome.
Bob Bass, BA '73, JD '76
My first memory of Miracle on the Brazos was in the summer. I was at the stadium watching the Bears practice. I later sent a note to a friend and mentioned that I had been watching the "1974 SWC Champs" practice. I did not know on that sunny afternoon what the season would bring. Another fond memory I have is watching the Bears score the first touchdown against Texas, then falling behind at the half. A blocked punt changed the outcome of the game and, as they say, "the rest is history."
Kathelee C. Staley, BS '75
I was 13 years old when Baylor and Texas played that memorable game. My family always went to that game every year, whether in Austin or Waco. Growing up just a few miles from Austin meant having a lot of Texas fans as friends and family, despite my dad being a Baylor alum. My loyalty was to Baylor, having bled green and gold since I could remember. This meant getting teased a lot about Baylor's losing ways over the several years before that.
I remember Alcy Jackson scoring the first touchdown for the Bears, giving me hope that this year would be different, but Texas then pounced on us. They scored often in the first and second quarters, and the half ended with the Bears down 24-7. This prompted my mom's usual statement that if it didn't get better when the second half started, we should leave and beat the traffic. Being the eternal optimist made me tell her that things would get better, but I knew history and had to be realistic.
When the second half started, there was electricity in the air. When we held Texas and blocked their punt, I knew that things indeed were different this year. The comeback began, and we were excitedly incredulous. That afternoon, all was right with the world. We didn't want to leave. Everyone wanted that afternoon to last forever. Still to this day, Neal Jeffrey and company are heroes of mine, but the greatest of those heroes is the architect of that and many other wins, Grant Teaff.
Benton Eskew, BBA '84, JD '86
The attorney for my company was the ultimate UT fan and had already reserved his Cotton Bowl tickets by early November of 1974. I ran into him at halftime under the stands that rainy November afternoon of the UT game. With Texas comfortably in the lead he had decided to return to Dallas. I told him that I was going to stick around a little longer because you could never tell what might happen. He smiled and shook his head at the "crazy Baylor fan." The next week, I received a call of congratulations -- and his Cotton Bowl tickets!
Don A. Kimball, BBA '63
The Waco Trib proclaiming the SWC Championship is one of the half-dozen newspapers I have saved. My marriage, kids' births and 9/11 are the others.
Brent Perry, BA '86
I was in South Korea with Gil Stricklin on a mission trip and to visit a missionary hospital where I had worked as a BSU summer missionary in 1960. I made elaborate plans to leave the group early, fly 24 hours and somehow get from Dallas to Waco in time for the Texas game. My loving wife thought I was crazy to miss an extra day in Tokyo to go to a silly football game. I stayed and have never quite forgiven her.
Pat Beckham, BA '57, MD '61
For me, there will never be another 1974. As a junior at Baylor in 1963, I sat in Memorial Stadium in Austin fully expecting the Bears to break the long championship drought. My heart was broken with the 7-0 loss to the eventual national champions.
In 1974 the drought was broken. At Homecoming early in that season, the Bears lost to the Aggies 20-0 in front of one of the largest crowds ever at Baylor Stadium. It seemed like it was going to be just another season of disappointment, but then that all changed on Nov. 9 on a wet, cold day in Waco.
My young family and I had driven 210 miles, leaving home at 7:30 a.m., just hoping to see a good game by the Bears. We sat in the stadium parking lot an hour and a half before the start of the game eating a box of Church's chicken and watching my small sons play touch football as people slowly arrived for the game.
The game unfolded in the first half just as most people had expected, with Texas taking a big lead. Baylor had managed one big score on a long pass but was being hard-pressed to stop the relentless option of Texas. At halftime, my 6-year-old son asked me if we were going to lose. I say yes. He learned that day that there were times when his daddy could be wrong. My wife wanted to leave at halftime. I said, well, let's see how it goes for a little while. Thank goodness we stayed.
In the middle of the second half the most delicious single lay of Baylor football history occurred when the Bears ran over Earl Campbell in the Texas backfield and blocked their punt! Suddenly and unexpectedly it all began to change as the Bears took possession of the ball, moved downfield and scored. Then they recovered a fumble and scored again and then again! We upset Texas and it was wonderful. I hugged people that day I have not seen since, fully enjoying every moment.
Fortunately, I was able to see the rest of the Bears games that season. I saw the exciting game with Texas Tech, then SMU in the Cotton Bowl, then the Rice game on a very cold day, then the cotton Bowl game against Penn State. I remember Texas s coring twice in the first 14 seconds of their game against the Aggies to clinch the Cotton Bowl berth for the Bears. It was a magical season. Thanks Bears. Thanks Coach Teaff.
John Kothmann, BA '65
My wife and I attended the game. There was a rabid TU fan sitting behind us. She was very vocal, shouting "You have to use two hands, Baylor." As the game progressed, she got more and more quite and left before the end of the game.
Our oldest son got married in Mart Dec. 26, 1974, so we had relatives from Pennsylvania as houseguests. We took them all to the Cotton Bowl. They, of course, rooted for Penn State and flew back on the plane that the governor of Pennsylvania rode on.
The most memorable thing afterwards was the talk of Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach, at the BU football banquet. He was so gracious in victory and praised Grant Teaff and the Baylor football team, and made me a fan of his to this day.
Harry W. Slade, MD, FACS (1946)
Baylor University College of Medicine
Since all three of my older siblings, all girls, were Baylor grads, I'd been a Baylor fan from the age of 6. I'm talking SWC Game of the Week on the radio with Kern Tips broadcasting. Yep, a hopeless die-hard Bear! With three sisters and three brothers-in-law, all BU grads, it was predestined I, too, would study at Baylor and marry a Baylor girl! After graduation in '68, the only dental school for me was, you guessed it, Baylor. With the Vietnam War going on, I opted to join the Army Dental Corps and was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany. E-mail was nonexistent and phone calls to the U.S. were prohibitive in cost. So, to learn the Baylor football scores, I would listen on Sundays to the American Forces network radio broadcast as they read through literally a couple of hundred scores. Each Sunday during the '74 season, I'd be glued to my radio and once I'd heard the score, I'd scream out in delight, followed immediately by the sickening thought that maybe I'd misheard it or the DJ had erred. Monday morning, I couldn't wait to get to work and get a copy of the Stars and Stripes to double-check the score. The week we beat Texas there was even an article about the game ... pretty amazing with the limited space they had.
Since we lived off base, we had no American TV, but they aired only the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl on American Forces TV. I was able to listen to the game (live) on the radio. Obviously, I was saddened at the outcome, but thrilled that my Bears had finally picked cotton! Our Volvo was quite possibly the only one in Germany with a Baylor/SWC Champs '74 bumper sticker proudly displayed on the rear window!
Jim Morton, BA '68
I have a fond story about the 1974 Baylor/Texas football game. During the first half, most of the fans were complaining about the beating that we were taking in the football game. At the half, many of the fans were seen leaving the game. I jumped up and made this statement: "Now that all of these unbelievers are leaving, maybe we can win this game." Many of the disgruntled fans gave me some annoying stares. During the great comeback in the fourth quarter, I saw many of the disgruntled fans returning to their seats. The moral of the story is: "Never give up."
Dick Couey, BA '63
I was a member of the freshman class of 1974. During our first pep rally, held in the Union Bowl during the BSU "Pre-school retreat" before classes had even begun, Coach Teaff told our class that he would take us to the Cotton Bowl before we graduated from Baylor. While we could hardly contain our newfound college spirit under our green and gold beanies, we had a hard time taking such an outlandish statement very seriously. You see, Baylor had been in the cellar of the SWC for so many seasons, talk of going to the Cotton Bowl seemed almost silly. We passed it off as a valiant attempt by the young motivational coach to boost the morale of his players. Then, before we had even started studying for fall semester finals, Coach Teaff delivered on that unbelievable promise. You could truthfully say that the freshman class of 1974 was in a wonderful state of shock!
I was so caught up in the school spirit that engulfed the Baylor campus that fall that I somehow conjured up the nerve to run for Yell Leader in the spring of 1975. More miraculously, I was somehow elected by the student body and had the privilege of helping to "fling the green and gold afar" for the next two years. I cannot adequately describe how much joy I have received in my life as a result of being part of the Baylor "experience" during the mid-1970s. The Miracle on the Brazos has, without a doubt, had a profound impact on the rest of my life.
Bob Barkley, BBA '78, JD '80
Baylor Yell Leader 1975-76
Head Yell Leader 1976-77
President, Baylor Law School Alumni Association, 2003
I'll tell you what I remember. I was a senior in high school and had already been accepted to Baylor along with one other friend. All our other high school "friends" seemed to be
attending either Texas or Texas A&M. They wore lots of orange and white or maroon and white, but wearing anything with a BU logo to high school had long been thought of as something you did only when being punished by your parents - it had such a "loser" stigma associated with it. After beating Texas that glorious Saturday, my friend and I both wore BU shirts to school the next Monday, and pretty much every day it seemed that fall. We were so proud to be future Baylor Bears wearing the green and gold. Sadly, my daughter is now in third grade - all her friends love wearing maroon and white or orange and white. Is history repeating itself ? Thank heavens, she is in a school that requires school uniforms!
Brooks McGee, BBA '79
Having grown up in Alabama and having had a cousin that played for the Bears, I have been a football fan all my life. But I knew as a freshman that fall of '74 that winning football was a long way off; I chose Baylor for academic and spiritual reasons. When Baylor actually started off that season well, it was just a bonus. When the UT game rolled around, and the rain started falling, I figured my mood was soon to follow. After Baylor drew first blood, Texas roared back to take a 24-7 halftime lead. I don't know what happened at halftime, though many stories have been written. I do know it is probably the greatest comeback I have ever witnessed. The rain and cold gave me a sore throat I suffered through the rest of the semester, but I wouldn't trade those memories of inspired football for anything. Grant Teaff took a bunch of guys that were overlooked by other coaches and molded them into a team that year. I'll never forget them.
Rick Browder, BS '78
I was in Dallas in graduate school at the time and took a Texas graduate as my date to the game. We sat in my season ticket seats on the alumni side. She saw the defeat coming and became physically sick. She had a bad stomach after the game all the way back to Dallas and immediately went to her apartment and shut the door. However, I thought the game was wonderful and enjoyed every minute of it.
I was only 6 years old when the game [Texas] was played. I lived in nearby Clifton, the son of a Texas graduate. I was so brainwashed, I didn't even know where Baylor was. I may have known it was in Waco!
My parents won a trip to Aruba that fall, and I stayed with my grandmother in Hico, Texas, that week. I found out much later that my father and another UT graduate in their tour group were getting updates on the game by telephone periodically. They stopped at halftime when they assumed that the Longhorns would hold their commanding lead over the Bears. Dad was quite surprised when he read the final score in the papers the next day!
Andy Crews, BA '91
I suppose I was different from most girls growing up. I learned about football at an early age -- from my mom, Carolyn Robnett Pinckard, Class of '58. From as far back as I can remember, my mom would tune in to the Baylor football games every Saturday afternoon via radio. The '74 season was no different, except that we fielded a winning team!
We had a stereo console in our living room. Mom and I saved our living room chores for Saturday so we could be near the stereo. We would hunker down in the living room on the pretense of dusting, polishing and doing our weekend cooking (the kitchen was adjacent to the living/dining area) just so we could hear the games. In retrospect, I think we got very little done during those games!
Mom would pace the floor, screech, holler, jump up and down, and yes, even voice a questionable word or two when the situation was desperate. (Shht! was her four-letter word of choice.) Mom taught me about offense and defense, penalties and the different kinds of plays. And she did it in such a way that I could really "see" the play as Frank Fallon described it over the air. (This training paid off when I attended Baylor from 1983-87. I was the one in the stands that always understood what was going on.)
I remember Baylor players struggling with the affliction known as "fumble-i-tis," as I used to call it. And what was it with Grant Teaff always running [plays] up the middle? I
remember certain players: Neal Jeffrey and Tommy Turnipseede, for example. I even remember one certain football official whose ruling always seemed to go against the Bears: Percy Pen.
Is it any wonder I married a football official?
Debbie Pinckard Liles, BA '86
I listened to every Baylor football broadcast during the '74 football season. Each win was another "Miracle on the Brazos." I remember the "I Believe" bumper stickers, and with each win, my "belief" became stronger, and I became more hopeful. During the UT game, I paced the floors, wrung my hands and prayed A LOT! The scoreboard lights stayed on until noon the next day, showing the 34-24 win for the Bears.
I ordered tickets for the Cotton Bowl game for my three children and myself, but due to a death in the family, we were unable to go. It rained that day, which added to the disappointment of losing the game. However, it was a wonderful season, and one I'll never forget.
Carolyn Robnett Pinckard, BA '58, MSEd '61
We enjoyed serving breakfast to those who spent the night at the stadium after the game.
Bill & Lea (BA '52) Beazley
My husband, Bob ('72), my sons, Scott ('02) and Jon ('04), my sister, Karen Bockhorn (BSE '76), her husband, Don Bockhorn (BBA '76), and others in the family went to Baylor. As you can imagine, Baylor is deep in our hearts.
Our two sons, four nephews and niece have grown up hearing about the Baylor 1974 football season. Even though Scott and Jon experienced the win against UT in 1999 and the win against Colorado in 2003, they will never understand the thrilling experience of the 1974 season.
When my sister started dating Don, and we introduced him to our Baylor friends and fans, the usual reaction would be, "Are you the same player that kicked the 59-yeard field goal against SMU?" The answer was and is 'Yes." Was that luck or technique?
Last September, I went to Houston so I could go to the five football games of my nephews and niece. After one of the games, Don and his boys were kicking and punting the football. If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would have questioned the validity of what happened. I saw Don, at 50 years of age, kick a 45-yard field goal. That would be a good distance for a field goal even today.
Kathy Greer, BA '74, and Bob Dillow, BBA '72
I believe that Pat McNeill had a tackle made on him strictly because of the defensive player holding onto his jock strap that was memorialized with a picture. That was hilarious. I believe that was the Texas Tech game. The Texas game was memorable as it seemed like "business as usual" until the second half when the kick was blocked. The Oklahoma State game was memorable as it really showed that we would be a force to be reckoned with.
Although my Dad was an Aggie, and I went to UT, I was glad that Baylor broke the Texas conference win streak that year. I did not become a Longhorn until 1976. I believe that A&M could have tied Baylor for the championship that year if they had not gone to Texas and got their rear ends kicked.
I am too young to remember this since I was born in 1973; however, I have heard stories of it. As a matter of fact, my senior class used the signs for our 1990 regional playoff game against Pilot Point in Duncanville. I'll never forget how that sign looked hanging above the town where the fair & rodeo sign usually hangs -- "Last one to leave Clifton, turn out the lights."
I am not a Baylor grad, but have fond memories of the 1974 season. My wife and I moved to Waco from Ohio in January 1974 and thought buying season football tickets would be a good way to integrate into the community. My co-workers laughed at me when I told them what we'd done. However, we had the last laugh.
In 1974 we were living in the San Francisco Bay Area and were amazed and thrilled about the Baylor Bears' miracle. Deciding that we couldn't wait another 50 years, we knew we must come to the Cotton Bowl. We put our two girls, Monica (BA '89), age 8, and Camille, age 10, in the flat cargo area of our Olds station wagon with pillows, quilts and assorted Christmas presents and headed for Texas. After a three-day drive, we visited my folks in west Texas then on to Dallas. If my memory serves me correctly, we sang "That Good Old Baylor Line" for the entire trip!
Josh (BBA '54) & Virginia (BA '53, MSE '59) Beckham
No doubt, the single most memorable play of that 1974 season, and perhaps the most significant play of all of the many decades of Baylor football, occurred in the early part of the third quarter, in a steady rainfall...with Baylor trailing 24-7. With hordes of Baylor faithful having surrendered to the rain, leaving the stadium at halftime, those of us who remained witnessed the true beginning of "The Miracle on the Brazos." Having lost to the Longhorns for 18 straight seasons, and having witnessed a fairly uninspired and truly deflating first half by the Bears, those of us who "stuck it out" and believed were rewarded with the most stunning sports moment in all of my life--and I would guess in all of the lives of many in attendance that day. With one play, a block of Mike Dean's punt, the fortunes of the Bad News Bears turned immediately. I turned to my date, and now wife, Sherry, and said immediately, "We're gonna win!!" It was the most dramatic and obvious shift of momentum ever witnessed. While the block was officially credited to Johnny Greene, it was the swarm of green jerseys and gold helmets that carried the most immediate swing of momentum that eventually resulted in a stunning 34-24 victory, paving the way to the first ever Cotton Bowl. No play, no other half of football, and quite literally, no other sporting event has ever measured up.
As a member of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, and coincidentally serving as a pledge that particular fall, I had the "privilege" of putting up banners around the campus throughout that incredible season. So, it was only natural, when Baylor made it to the Cotton Bowl that we would plan to take our artistry to the Cotton Bowl and do our usual banner hanging routine. Well, with no telephone poles avaiable, the only choice, or so we thought, was the light standards at the top of the stadium. Without going into any huge detail, suffice it to say, it was not exactly the most balmy weather of the century, and the wind blowing at the top of the stadium between the light standards seemed to this then macho college sophomore to be blowing at just about hurricane force. Let's simply say that it is only by the grace of God that I lived to see the game...and the rest of my life. When we lifted the banner, air holes and all, to tie it up between two of the light standards, one of those "blue norther" gale force winds nearly took the banner, ropes and two chamberman on a trip to Kansas. Fortunately we had a tight grip on the pole and a tighter grip on our senses--now!--and elected to come down, put the banner safely on the side of the Cotton Bowl stadium wall, and enjoy not only the festive atmosphere of Baylor's first appearance in the Cotton Bowl, but life itself!!
Brent Edwards, the Baylor Network