A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Giving The Ultimate Honor
Young, who had his high school jersey retired at Madison, will be one of nine former athletes who will be honored. These athletes, who represent decades of excellence, come from three different sports and span a total of 60 years.
The former Longhorn athletes having their jersey’s retired are:
No. 10 Vince Young
No. 22 Bobby Layne
No. 60 Tommy Nobis.
No. 15 Slater Martin
No. 35 Kevin Durant.
No. 20 Burt Hooten
No. 21 Greg Swindell
No. 23 Brooks Kieschnick
No. 25 Scott Bryant.
“This is a good day for the Texas Longhorns and a great day for individual athletes,” Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds said. “We’re proud to do this. It’s taken us a lot of years, a lot of people and a lot of coaches and ex-coaches.”
“They came up with a great group of young men who served the university well.”
All three sports will conduct individual ceremonies during their upcoming 2008-09 seasons. The nine retired jerseys now brings the University of Texas total to 13.
The previous four former Longhorns to have their numbers retired included: football players Earl Campbell (No. 20) and Ricky Williams (No. 34), T.J. Ford (No. 11) in men’s basketball, and seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens (No. 21) in baseball.
“I’m speechless!”, Young said. “This is such an unbelievable honor, having my jersey retired along with a group of Longhorn football legends.”
“The University of Texas has been great to me. I have so many wonderful memories. This is something my family can enjoy and be proud of forever.”
Winning the Heisman Trophy was previously a prerequisite for having a football jersey retired at Texas. However, it didn’t stay on the table long when Young’s name came up.
“He had to be included,” Dodds said. “It was discussed a lot, but I don’t think you can have numbers retired and not include Vince Young in that group.”
Slater Martin, who played basketball for the Longhorns in 1947-49, remembers watching Young win the Rose Bowl and the National Championship at Texas. At age 83, he might be the oldest of the group to have his jersey retired.
But the youngest of the group will be Durant.
Durant was the first freshman to win National Player of the Year honors in 2007 while playing at the University of Texas.
“To be able to return to Austin, Texas and see my jersey hanging up in the Erwin Center, a place that I will always call home is unbelievable,” Durant stated. “I feel truly blessed!”