Texas Unveils Statue of Julius Whittier, Longhorns' 1st Black Football Letterman

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2020

A Texas football helmet is seen during the team's spring football game, Saturday, March 30, 2013, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

The University of Texas unveiled a statue honoring trailblazing football player Julius Whittier on its campus Friday:

Whittier's statue stands outside the Frank Denius Family University of Texas Athletics Hall of Fame, which officially opened last year in the north end zone of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.

Whittier is among the most significant figures in the history of Longhorns football, as he was the first Black athlete to letter in football and receive a scholarship at the school.

After Texas fielded the last all-white national championship team in college football history in 1969, Whittier made his debut for the team in 1970.

During his three seasons at Texas, Whittier played both guard and tight end, and he helped lead the Longhorns to their second consecutive national title in 1970.

After that national championship victory in 1970, the Longhorns would not win another national title for 35 years when Vince Young, a Black quarterback, led them past USC in the National Championship Game.

In addition to the national title, Whittier's Longhorns teams won three Southwest Conference titles and went 20-1 in conference play during his tenure.

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Whittier graduated from the University of Texas' law school in 1980 and went on to forge a lengthy career as a criminal prosecutor for the Dallas County district attorney's office.

Thanks to the fact that he broke the color barrier within the University of Texas' football program and excelled on the field as well, Whittier was inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 2013.

Whittier was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease in 2012. He died at the age of 68 in 2018.