Great article on Floyd Casey Stadium (Baylor Stadium to us oldies) and who played their best on its turf. One that I think should have been considered at halfback is Ronnie Bull, a native Texan from Bishop. By far the best halfback I ever had the opportunity to play with in college or the professional leagues. Ronnie could run the screen pass better than any back I have ever seen. He went on to become Rookie of the Year in 1962 for the Chicago Bears of the NFL.
Roger Goree should have been on the list - undersized for a D-1 linebacker and defensive end, no one could knock him off his feet. I will never forget him and Harold Rogers coming into the Campus Chef eating and cutting up with their friends and my dad, Frank. Mississippi Queen on the jukebox... Seems like yesterday.
I think you have to include at least one player from the '74 team which won Baylor's first SWC championship in 50 years. They weren't a team of superstars but surely Neal Jeffery, Ricky Thompson, Steve Beaird or any number of solid defensive players should be considered.
I think you should consider adding Jerry Coody, class of '54, to your lists of Baylor greats. He is a Baylor Hall of Famer. He was a two-time All-American and three time All-Southwest Conference. He played on an Orange Bowl team and also in the Hula Bowl and East-West Shrine game. He broke running records and held them until Walter Abercrombie broke them. He was famous for the butt-block, which led to facemasks being implemented by rule in the NCAA. He was drafted by the Redskins in the 8th round of the 1954 draft but played in the Canadian league instead, where his professional career was ended due to injury.
Dedicated to the team I "adopted" in the early 1950s as a small boy in elementary school. My passion for BU athletics has not diminished one iota despite the now white hair and the 70-year mark. As the old saying goes - the best is yet to come!
In those early days before Larry Isbell, Del Shofner, and Bobby Jones,
Flinging the Green and Gold afar made hardly a ripple on the Athletic Sea;
An occasional flash of brilliance, yes, but BU, though certainly not a pile of bones,
Was not regarded with much respect, and that was evident even to a child like me.
I'd live for those Sunday papers when I could find out how the Bears had done,
Feeling a sadness when they lost, and such an elation when they won;
Through junior high and high school, I watched as John Bridgers' troops fought,
Often with not much depth, and short on talent, but they gave it all they had;
Competing against loaded Longhorns and Razorbacks, a title was always sought,
But by the end of each of those seasons, the Baylor faithful were always left sad;
Then came the three Ronnie's in the backfield, the talent level on the rise,
And the Bears became a factor, sometimes capturing what's called a "moral win;"
Though they were fighting in the SWC with a short stick and little to no real size,
On occasion they would give even the likes of a USC a Joe Louis haymaker to the chin;
But my heart was broken in 1963 when Trull and Elkins nearly brought us BU heaven,
They were unbeaten in conference play and getting national attention with each win,
But they went into Austin and gave their all before falling very late, zero to seven.
Those were my college days but then I stayed with the Bears through the leanest of years,
As we got clobbered by huge scores and won maybe three games in four seasons;
The ridiculing and insults about our team would sometimes result in embarrassment and tears,
But those negative happenings came to an end in 1972, and I can remember the reasons;
Grant Teaff came to Waco and brought with him a positivity and a master plan;
I drove to Waco and watched as the powerful Longhorns with Campbell and Leaks,
Were pushed deep into the fourth quarter in a game that stamped the BU brand,
And by the magnificent season that was 1974, Coach Teaff had added a few more tweaks;
History shows that the Grant Teaff era marked the return of dignity, respect, and pride,
As the "laughing stock" Bears grew into a rugged opponent with fangs and claws that HURT,
And the Baylor University football team became known far and wide,
As a program that had picked itself up from hibernation to the highest level of alert;
What pride we had as our Bears gave an account of themselves in every game,
And opponents knew there were no more automatic wins when they took the field;
This team that had sunken so low just a short time ago did not look the same,
And now, even when pushed to the brink on the darkest day - would not yield.
As Time and Nature seem to prove, things changed once more and we again were down,
And the Bears were disrespected again and again over the fields and across the miles;
But suddenly we were awakened from our sleep when a new sheriff came to town,
He brought with him a new attitude and schemes, and the new honcho was named Art Briles;
Under Coach Briles and his capable staff, the Baby Bears grew quickly from mere cubs,
And they once again began to bite and claw and hit back and rear up with pride;
It was not long before our matchups with the powers were no longer marked with flubs,
And now growing into grizzlies, the fortunes of Baylor University football hit its stride;
So here we are again among the feared and respected college elevens,
Well on our trek, doing it the right way, to being among the nation's very best;
Our Baylor Bears can see and they know the route to college football heaven,
And with each season, they are excelling against every rugged test;
As we say goodbye to the "Case" and move on to levels previously unknown
We can look back to Bill Glass, Herby Adkins, Lawrence Elkins and Ronnie Bull,
And thank those men and so many more for laying the immeasurable foundation;
Hats off to Dave Campbell for helping to assure that our gift box is indeed full,
And we know that the opening of our new Baylor Stadium will bring joy and elation;
Let us, as devoted fans through so many of the highs and lows, happiness and tears,
Be thankful for the Lord's guidance through our suffering and small steps as beginners,
And remember our past trials, tribulations and yes, glories, over so very many years;
Let us open our eyes to a new beginning - our Baylor Bears have persevered - and they are WINNERS!!!