Aug 15, 2013 | 4847 views | 1 1 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print



Former College and NFL players Dat Nguyen and Bob Lilly Headline Class


HOUSTON – The Texas Bowl Committee has selected the 2013 class of Gridiron Legends presented by Wrangler Jeans and Cavender’s Boot City, the Bowl announced today. All five men will be honored at a special halftime ceremony during the Texans vs. Dolphins game at Reliant Stadium on Aug. 17.


The class of 2013 is headlined by former Texas A&M great Dat Nguyen and NFL legend Bob Lilly. Nguyen is a former All-American and Lilly is an 11-time NFL Pro Bowler. Former AFL star Abner Haynes and 2-time Super Bowl champ Donny Anderson help round out the class, while legendary Judson High School head coach DW Rutledge represents the Texas high school community.


The Gridiron Legends presented by Wrangler Jeans and Cavender’s Boot City are all individuals who made a significant contribution to the game of football in the state of Texas, either at the high school, collegiate or professional level.


“We could not be more proud to announce the 2013 Gridiron Legends,” said Houston Texans President Jamey Rootes. “The 2013 inductees are some of the greatest to have ever participated in our sport in the state of Texas, and we offer our most sincere congratulations to each of them for this honor.”


Legendary player and coach, Dat Nguyen, was born at a refugee center in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas after his family left South Vietnam during the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. Nguyen lived most of his childhood in Rockport, Texas where we attended Rockport-Fulton High School playing linebacker and handling punting duties. Nguyen decided to continue his career in College Station playing for the Texas A&M Aggies. As a freshman at Texas A&M, he was named the Southwestern Conference Defensive Newcomer of the Year and earned first-team All-Big 12 honors three consecutive times between 1996 and 1998. In 1997, Nguyen was named the Aggies’ MVP and was awarded the Lombardi Award, the Jack Lambert Award, the Chuck Bednarik Award, was a unanimous All-American, and was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year all during his 1998 senior season. Nguyen became the first Vietnamese-American to play in the NFL when the Dallas Cowboys drafted him in 1999. During his seven seasons playing in the NFL, Nguyen was a part of the All-Rookie Special Teams Team in 1999 and All-Pro Team in 2003. Nguyen is a member of the 2005 Big 12 10th Anniversary Team and the 2010 AP All-Time Big 12 Team. Making his coaching debut with the Cowboys as an Assistant Linebackers Coach and Defensive Quality Control Coach in 2007, Nguyen returned to his alma mater, Texas A&M University after coaching for three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Dat Nguyen coached under Mike Sherman for two seasons as the Aggies’ Inside Linebackers Coach. Currently, Nguyen lives in San Antonio and co-hosts for ESPN Radio.


Bob Lilly played his entire high school, college, and professional careers in the state of Texas. Born in Throckmorton, Texas, he attended Throckmorton High School. Upon graduation, Lilly continued playing football at Texas Christian University where he was honored as a two-time All-Southwestern Conference pick. Chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys in 1961, Bob Lilly played 14 seasons with the Cowboys and during that time was an 11x Pro Bowl selection, 7x First-team All-Pro selection, 2x Second-team All-Pro selection, 8x All-Conference selection, and a 2x Second-team All-Conference selection. A 1971 Super Bowl champion and Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor inductee, Bob Lilly is also a member of the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and the NFL 1960s & 1970s All-Decade Team. Lilly is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.


Abner Haynes was born in Denton, Texas and graduated from Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas.  After graduating, Haynes continued playing football at North Texas State University where he and his teammate, Leon King, introduced integrated college football to Texas in 1956. Haynes made his debut in the American Football League in 1960 with the Dallas Texans and was named the AFL Rookie of the Year, the AP AFL MVP, and the UPI AFL MVP all during his first season. Abner Haynes played eight seasons in the American Football League, with the Dallas Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets before retiring. Between the years of 1960 and 1964, Haynes was a 4x AFL All-Star selection, a 3x TSN All-AFL selection, and 4x All-Pro selection. He is now a part of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame, and North Texas Hall of Fame. Abner Haynes was named to the AFL’s All-Time Second Team.


Texas born and raised, Donny Anderson graduated from Stinnett High School in 1961. After high school Anderson continued play football at Texas Tech University where he earned the nickname, “Golden Palomino.” While at Texas Tech, Anderson was a 2x All American and 3x All Southwestern Conference pick. In 1965, Anderson was named The Sporting News National Co-Player of the Year and the winner of the Southwestern Conference Sportsmanship Award. Anderson was chosen 7th pick overall by the Green Bay Packers and signed the most lucrative contract ever offered to an NFL rookie to date. During his six seasons with the Packers, Anderson won two Super Bowl Championships and was a 2x Green Bay Packer MVP. Donny finished his career playing three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before retiring.  Donny Anderson is a member of the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame, the Texas Tech Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame, and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.


A Houston native, DW Rutledge, played high school football at Sam Houston High School in Houston, Texas and continued his career at as linebacker at Texas Lutheran University. While playing at TLU, Rutledge captained the 1974 NAIA National Championship team and was a Kodak All-American. Rutledge is one of the most successful coaches associated with Texas high school football history, winning four state championships at Judson High School in Converse, TX. The school eventually renamed its football stadium in Rutledge’s honor of his success. Rutledge is a member of the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame, the Texas High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame. Rutledge co-authored the book Coaching to Change Lives, and is currently the Executive Director of the Texas High School Coaches Association.


The 2013 Texas Bowl will feature teams from the Big 12 and Big Ten conferences and will kick off at 5:00 p.m. CST Friday, Dec. 27 and will be televised nationally on ESPN. The Texas Bowl holds the fifth choice among non-BCS bowls in each conference.


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Fred Goodwin
August 17, 2013
"Bob Lilly played his entire high school, college, and professional careers in the state of Texas."

That's not correct. Lilly moved to Oregon for his senior year of high school. He was All-State in football and basketball at Pendleton HS.