James Street had a heart attack and that’s the only thing that ever beat him. His enthusiasm, his smile, and his love for his sons overacame all obstacles. His teammates loved his spirit and gathered around him like the huddles he commanded during the 1968-69 seasons.
When we had lunch with coach (Darrell) Royal, James would always sit next to coach and get him to smile. He was like Royal – not tall, not blessed with all the talent – but overcame anything. Royal had to be the dustbowl and lack of love from anyone except grandma Harmon in Hollis, OK. Street’s home was in Longview, TX and his father thought he should make it in baseball. If Emory Bellard had not been invited on Royal’s staff and come up with the Wishbone, Street might not have ever gotten under center. Gone are the days of the huddle for many teams, and Street was the master of leadership skills. He had energy, guts, and was a fighter. The play-calls for the Wishbone were simple. “Liz (rip) 22 dive, on two.” Not near the complexity of today’s sideline, signal-waving coaches, shouting directions to the QB in shotgun. This allowed Street to call out his teammates. “McCoy (Bob), get your block,” was the kind of stuff Street would instruct. We will all miss him and can’t forget his plays in Fayetteville in the “big shootout” that gave the Longhorns a chance at the National Championship. Everybody that loved football was watching as Street brought the ‘Horns back against all odds, with his passing, running, and leadership. His name is on the DKR-Memorial Stadium as it should be, next to Bobby Layne, Vince Young, and Colt McCoy. I will miss him. Thanks, James. For what you gave all of us who played at Texas. On another note, Earl Campbell was quoted as saying Texas should let Mack Brown go. He’s wrong at this point in time. Brown is no Lane Kiffin. He deals with the media and Texas fans in a first-class fashion and makes the athletic department very proud. Kiffin was a self-centered, boring, and arrogant butthole, as for his relations with the USC fan base and the media. Brown has taken Texas to the very top of the college football mountain twice during his stay at UT. He’s an excellent recruiter and intense competitor. Don’t give up on the Longhorns in 2013. Coach Brown is doing all that he can to inject leadership into the defense and win the Big-12, which is up for the taking after West Virginia upset favorite Oklahoma State on Saturday. We don’t need a coaching change. The Aggies ran off and left Baylor, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and Kansas State, praying that Texas and Oklahoma would stay in the Big-12. UT stayed when they could’ve left. Kevin Sumlin is lucky – he’s a good coach who didn’t recruit Johnny Manziel or Mike Evans. Let’s see what he does when Manziel leaves College Station. Mack Brown is doing all he can to keep the Longhorns in the fight for the Big-12 Championship. Campbell was out of line, in my opinion. It’s not the time to bitch, it’s time to stick together and fight for the ‘Horns – like Street did against Arkansas and Notre Dame in 1969. Hook’Em, Pat
Pat Culpepper played for The University from 1960-62 and graduated from UT with a B.A. degree with honors in history. He coached college football for 12 years as an assistant at Texas, Colorado, Tulane, Baylor and Memphis State and was head coach at Northern Illinois from 1976-79. He also spent 16 years as a high school coach in Texas at Midland, Lufkin, Galveston Ball, Westfield and his hometown of Cleburne. He was selected to the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1991. His commentary appears regularly in the Inside Texas magazine and at InsideTexas.com.