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Steve Worster, 2-Time All-American FB at Texas, Dies at Age 73

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIAugust 15, 2022

AP Photo

Two-time All-American fullback and two-time national champion Steve Worster, who served as the bedrock and inspiration for head coach Darrell Royal's wishbone offense at the University of Texas, died Saturday at the age of 73.

Worster's alma mater announced his passing Sunday.

"Steve was the toughest football player I have ever seen," Longhorn teammate and College Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bob McKay said. "He hit or was hit on every down and never backed down or slowed up."

Worster amassed 2,353 yards and 36 touchdowns during his collegiate career. His Texas teams also won three Southwest Conference titles. Worster had 898 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in 1970, when he finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy race.

The bruising fullback affectionally known as "Woo Woo" arguably had his best game at the 1970 Cotton Bowl, when he amassed 155 yards in a 21-17 win over Notre Dame.

The wishbone led to tremendous success thanks in part to Worster, who received much praise from Royal in a 1969 Sports Illustrated piece, as relayed by ESPN's Dave Wilson.

"In the formation, there were three running backs with Worster, the fullback, lined up directly behind the quarterback," Wilson wrote.

"Two running backs were positioned farther back, on either side of the fullback, in a Y, or wishbone shape. Royal acknowledged Worster's abilities when Duffy Daugherty, the Michigan State coach, called to ask for pointers on the new scheme."

"You don't want my offense," Royal said.

"You want my fullback, and he's got two more years with me... He's the kind of kid who just goes out and causes wrecks, straightens his headgear and walks back to the huddle quietly."

Texas ended up going 30-2-1 in Worster's three seasons. The 1969 team notably went 11-0 and took down No. 2 Arkansas 15-14 in the "Game of the Century."

Prior to his Longhorn tenure, Worster starred at Bridge City High School in Texas. He was named a high school All-American en route to gaining 2,210 rushing yards for the 1966 Class 3-A state football champions.

"There's never been a more celebrated high school athlete that produced to the level of his high school hype," teammate and fellow Texas Athletics Hall of Honor member Bill Zapalac said, per Wilson.

The Los Angeles Rams selected Worster in the fourth round of the 1971 NFL draft. He eventually played one year as a professional for the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats in that same year. Per Wilson, Worster said he had lost interest in football and simply wanted to make a good living and raise a family.

Following his death, he also received praise for who he was off the field, including this note from sportswriter Ken Rodriguez.

Ken Rodriguez @krodwriter

Steve Worster was my first sports hero interview. Cheered him on my black and white TV as an elementary school kid, then got to interview him as a reporter for <a href="https://twitter.com/thedailytexan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@thedailytexan</a> in the fall of 1980. Gracious. Kind. He did not disappoint. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Grateful?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Grateful</a> <a href="https://t.co/tVW2o4GmYZ">https://t.co/tVW2o4GmYZ</a>

Worster is survived by a son and daughter.

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