Comparing the 1969 Texas Football Team to Today’s

A by-the-numbers comparison of this year’s Longhorns and the storied team of 50 years ago.

Some years are just important. In American history, a few obvious examples of crucial, historic years come quickly to mind: 1776, 1865. Ask a few historians what years cause them to prick up their ears and take interest, and you’ll probably be directed to 1968.  

It was the year the Civil Rights Act was passed and the year both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated in a riotous presidential election that saw Richard Nixon as the ultimate victor. It saw an escalation in Vietnam that bred widespread civil unrest.  

The year, no doubt, represents a phase change in American society. But I’d like to make a case for the neglected 1969. If ’68 was the boiling point of a century, its successor was the moment everything spilled over.  

Take, for one small example, the moon landing. Woodstock rocked the country and the Beatles gave their final performance. In college football, it was as tumultuous a time as any, with the nation watching the deep south finally integrated, but many teams already had African-American players by this point (and much earlier). Texas was almost the last team in the country to integrate. Oh yes, and the Texas Longhorns took the national championship after besting Arkansas in the so-called “Game of the Century,” eventually beating Notre Dame to be crowned consensus champs.  

Historic Change

1969 

The last all-white national championship team. Julius Whittier, the first African-American Longhorn, was enrolled as a freshman but not eligible due to NCAA regulations at the time. 

2019

More than half of the athletes on the Longhorn football roster are African American. 


The QBs

1969: James Street

Height: 5’11”
Weight: 175 lbs.
Previous season completion percentage: 49.6 (135 attempts)

 

2019: Sam Ehlinger

Height: 6’3”
Weight: 230 lbs.
Previous season completion percentage: 64.7 (425 attempts)

 


Wins and Losses

1969 Previous Season Record

9-1-1

2019 Previous Season Record

10-4

 

Roar of the Crowd

1969

Texas Memorial Stadium (Royal was still coaching, of course.)  
Capacity: 66,397 

2019

Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
Capacity: 100,119

 


The Coach

1969: Darrell K Royal

Career recrod, 1969: 114–41–4
Years as head coach, 1969: 15 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019: Tom Herman

Career record, 2019: 39–14
Years as head coach, 2019: 4

 

 

 

 

Creature Comforts

Locker room features, 1969

Chalkboard, lockers, a visit from President Nixon 

Locker room features, 2019

Custom, lighted lockers with 43-inch TVs, ventilation to fight, well, the smell of a locker room

 

Growth Spurts

1969

Heaviest player: Defensive end Bill Atessis, 257 lbs.
Tallest players: Offensive tackle Bob McKay, defensive tackle Leo Brooks, 6’6” 

2019

Heaviest player: Offensive lineman Tope Imade, 350 lbs.
Tallest players: Tight end Jared Wiley, offensive linemen Willie Tyler, Samuel Cosmi, J.P. Urquidez, Reese Moore, 6’7” 

 
 
 

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