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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggie legend John David Crow dies at 79

Texas A&M athletics

John David Crow played for Paul “Bear” Bryant at Texas A&M, becoming the Aggies’ first Heisman Trophy winner in 1957. Crow died on Wednesday night. He was 79. He played 11 years in the NFL and was Texas A&M’s athletic director in 1988, replacing Jackie Sherrill.

The Texas A&M community lost a family member, icon and legend in every sense of the word. John David Crow, A&M’s first Heisman winner and only winner until Johnny Manziel in 2012, died surrounded by family around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday evening at age 79.
He was a member of the team when Paul Bear Bryant coached at A&M, and had an 11-year career in the NFL highlighted by earning a trip to four Pro Bowls.
In his time at A&M, he was a member of the first Aggie football team to beat the University of Texas at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium in 1956. However, arguably his greatest achievement was winning the 1957 Heisman Trophy for the first time in A&M’s history. He was an iron man, playing both sides of the ball during the campaign, and coach Bear Bryant famously said after the 1957 season, “If Crow doesn’t win the Heisman Trophy, they ought to quit giving it.”
Crow was the only Heisman winner that Bear Bryant ever coached in his career.
As a player, Crow was elected in 1976 to the College Football Hall of Fame and life after football led to coaching for Crow. He became an assistant coach under his close friend Paul Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama, and held one head coaching job at what is now Louisiana-Monroe, eventually becoming their athletic director. He later was the assistant athletic director under Jackie Sherrill at A&M, and became the full time athletic director at A&M in 1988.
In a press release, former football head coach R.C. Slocum said he admired Crow.
“John David Crow and I became AD and head coach on the same day back in 1988. He was always supportive of me and our entire athletics program,” Slocum said in the release. “He was a ‘Man’s Man’ in every way. He was a great man, devoted husband, father, grandfather, friend and Aggie.”
A&M Head Coach Kevin Sumlin said Crow was loyal to Texas A&M and supportive of the football program. 
“[Crow] was always willing to do whatever we asked and that meant a great deal,” Sumlin said in the press release.  ”Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Carolyn and his entire family as well as our Aggie football family.”

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  • Portrait of 1957 Heisman Trophy winner Texas A&M running back John David Crow (left) and then Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, when he was a Heisman finalist on Dec. 4, 2012 at Kyle Field. Manziel joined Crow in A&M’s Heisman fraternity a few days later. Crow died on Wednesday. He was 79.

    Edward A. Ornelas / San Antonio Express-News

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