Some regions in the United States are known for producing outstanding athletes. The Beaumont-Port Arthur area in Texas has been recognized since 1971 as the Football Capital of the World.
The Honorable Mayor Ken Ritter declared that honor on the area. One of the players who grew up in the Golden Triangle is Warren Wells, the legendary wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders.
Wells lives a quiet life in the Golden Triangle. He is 67-years old. He served in the U. S. Army and he received an honorable discharge. For two consecutive years in the NFL he was recognized as an outstanding wide receiver with the Oakland Raiders.
Wells is a member of a very small group of NFL players who had their professional football career interrupted by the mandatory draft in the United States in the Sixties.
Wells lived on the second floor of Jones Hall on Texas Southern’s campus during his college days in Houston, Texas.
His college roommates were Carl Zenn, Russell Wells (his brother), Roland Francis, Herman Compton, and Evander Cade.
All of them graduated from Hebert High School in Beaumont, Texas in 1960.
Warren was skipped in school, and he ended up in the same class with his older brother Russell.
Both of them are pictured on the same page in the 1958 yearbook of Hebert High School, a copy of which is deposited in the historic Terrell Library on Pearl Street in Beaumont, Texas.
One of the mayors of Beaumont declared the Golden Triangle as the Professional Football Capital of the World.
Mayor Ken Ritter’s proclamation states, in summary, that the 16 men listed in the group of honorees at the time of the event:
1. Constituted twice the amount of any other city in the United States;
2. Have helped to make football near and dear to the hearts of millions of sports fans across this nation;
3. Have caused nationwide credit to be bestowed on their hometown;
4. Have given tremendous inspiration and hope to others;
5. And the 16 players have been recognized as a truly remarkable asset, one of which all its citizens can speak with glowing pride.
The 16 men who were honored on Sunday, the 16th day of May 1971 were:
Bubba Smith *
Jerry LeVias *
Gus Holloman *
Anthony Guillory *
Tody Smith *
Sometimes it takes hindsight to recognize the power of God, the one who has foreknowledge of the paths we all travel.
Warren Wells saw a 19-year-old college student more than 48 years ago, and that girl matured into the researcher/writer who has committed to writing his story and the story of 15 others in his social circle in the Golden Triangle.
The historical novel that will be written will be fashioned around the lives of the 16 players who were honored by Mayor Ken Ritter in 1971.
It is under the inspiration and hope that Wells imparted into the life of this writer that has given her the creative, passionate desire to tell these 16 testimonies.
Wells was instrumental in helping the brother of this writer and that act of compassion and concern will be forever appreciated.
It is hoped that others will be inspired to tell the story of many who have contributed to putting the Golden Triangle in a prestigious position in the NFL.
What these 16 professional football players contributed to the people of the Golden Triangle will be highly esteemed and remembered for generations to come.
Addenda: Letter to U. S. Congressman Ted Poe
Re: Historical Marker to Honor Sixteen NFL Players, et al
I humbly request your assistance to obtain a historical marker for 2728 Goliad Street, Beaumont, Texas 77701.
The property is being restored in honor of a man who was honored by Mayor Ken Ritter in 1971,
This site is designated as the location for a historical marker and it will mention and honor the sixteen NFL players honored by Mayor Ken Ritter.
The completion of this project will help to enhance the record of the contributions made by these sixteen men.
Thanks. An introductory article is attached:
Article illustration of Warren Wells, artist the late Bob Carroll