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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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John David Crow statue relocates to Kyle Field vicinity

John+David+Crow+and+Johnny+Manziel+are+A%26amp%3BMs+only+Heisman+winners.
Photo by Tim Lai

John David Crow and Johnny Manziel are A&M’s only Heisman winners.

To kick off the gameday weekend, A&M will honor John David Crow by revealing his statue at its new home on the northwest corner of Kyle Field. 

Crow was the first and only Heisman winner produced by A&M until Johnny Manziel lifted the trophy in 2012.

The relocation is intended to allow more visitors and fans to view the statue. At Crow’s memorial service, Chairman of the Board of Regents Phil Adams said the statue has rekindled the spotlight on Crow and his contributions to Texas A&M.

“In 2010, we dedicated a statue recognizing John David’s athletic accomplishments,” Adams said. “A beautiful bronze sculpture that was a gift from former Regent Board Chairman Erle Nye and his wife Alice. It currently sits outside the Bright Football Complex as we all know, but very soon, this magnificent statue will be moved to a more prominent location as part of our Kyle Field redevelopment.”

Crow dealt with two of the best coaches in Aggie football history. He played under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and became the athletic director the day R.C. Slocum was hired as head coach. Crow and Slocum shared a close friendship during their time together. 

 “I always knew he had my back, and I always knew I could get honest input from him,” Slocum said at a ceremony held to celebrate Crow’s life in June. “Sometimes, being a head coach is a lonely job. Having someone you can talk to and trust is really important — John David was that person for me.”

Crow served as assistant athletic director for A&M from 1983 to 1988 and head athletic director from 1988 to 1993. In 1984, Crow hired Lynn Hickey to become the head women’s basketball coach and assistant athletic director for women’s athletics at Texas A&M. “He was significant because he was a selfless leader,” Hickey said. “He had vision, and he put the cause of Texas A&M ahead of his personal need for acclaim. John David was the epitome of a sports star at every level he played, but rather than just living off that fame, he transitioned those skills into his role as a service leader for Texas A&M.”

Crow was a member of the first Aggie football team to defeat the University of Texas at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium in 1956 — the same year the Aggies won the Southwest Conference for the first time in 15 years. Crow ran for 562 yards, threw five touchdown passes and also made five interceptions while playing on defense that season. The season led to one of college football’s most famous quotes from Bear Bryant, who said if Crow wasn’t given the Heisman, “They ought to do away with the thing.” Crow was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1976. 

After college, Crow was drafted second overall in the 1958 NFL Draft. He played for the then Chicago Cardinals from 1958 to 1964 and for the San Francisco 49ers from 1965 to 1968. Crow continued his great performances in the NFL rushing for 4,963 yards and scoring 38 touchdowns in his career. He was selected to four Pro Bowls and coached for a season as the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers in 1974. Despite all the accolades, people who knew him talk about how he never let the fame get to his head and lived life on the principles he was raised on.

“I often referred to him as man’s man, and where I come from that means something,” Slocum said. “When I think of John David, I think of four traits that come to mind real quickly — his honesty, his toughness, his humility and his loyalty.”

Slocum said Crow valued being an Aggie and was fiercely loyal to A&M.

 “This was his school,” Slocum said. “The quickest way to get him riled up was to say anything negative about Texas A&M. He was committed, and he did anything and everything he could to help the school during his adult life. Wherever he went, he brought positive recognition to Texas A&M, and there was never any doubt about his loyalty to the school.”

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