In December, former University of Texas head football coach Fred Ackers died. Like most events in my sports world, I find that my experiences have historical relevance for me especially when there are opportunities to reminisce. Coach Ackers and I met only once, but it was a significant point in my sports career. Fortunately, in 1975 I had the opportunity to be recruited by a number of colleges as a quarterback. As the quarterback for Columbia Hickman High School in Columbia, Mo, I was afforded the chance to play with a number of talented teammates. We enjoyed an undefeated season my junior year and won the Missouri state football championship my senior year. As quarterback, we ran the Veer Offense which allowed the quarterback to run a version of the triple option run attack with a roll out passing option.
I was consequently recruited by the University of Wyoming along with the University of Missouri, University of Arkansas and Tulane University. The Veer was the name of a popular college offense. Despite my size, my high school coach believed that I would be more successful at quarterback and better suited to run the offense for his team. The University of Missouri had an offensive coach move on to be part of Ackers’ staff at Wyoming. So, because I was also being recruited by Missouri, the coach included me on Wyoming’s list of recruits. Ackers would serve as the head coach at Wyoming for only two years before moving to a potentially greater role as the head coach at Texas. American football has a profound history of sports icons in American culture. Fred Ackers did not impart great influence on my overall sports career, but he is noted in my memory of contributing to the start of the significant time of my enculturation experiences and interconnectedness with many coaches and teammates. It was during my college and elite football experiences that I developed several strong relationships with people who would benefit my personal and professional successes in and out of sport. I am afraid that I will see similar sports icons that I know like Fred Ackers be remembered in 2021 for their contributions to football.