American Football Wiki
John David Crow
Topps Football card, 1963
Personal Information
Born (1935-07-08)July 8, 1935
Marion, Louisiana
Died June 15, 2015(2015-06-15) (aged 79)
College Station, Texas
Career information
Year(s) 19581968
NFL Draft 1958 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
College Texas A&M
Professional teams
Career stats
Rushing Yards 4,963
Touchdowns 38
Stats at
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

John David Crow (born July 8, 1935, in Marion, Union Parish, Louisiana - died June 15, 2015 in College Station, Texas) was a Heisman Trophy winner and halfback from Texas A&M University in 1957. He was not one of the "Junction Boys," since he was a freshman in the 1954 season and thus ineligible to play under NCAA rules at the time, but played for Bear Bryant at Texas A&M and later played professional football for the Chicago & St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers between 1958 and 1968. Crow received the annual "Len Eshmont Award" on two occasions, 1966 and 1967. This award is voted by the players and given to the 49er who best exemplifies the “inspirational and courageous play” of Len Eshmont.

A street on the campus of Texas A&M University adjacent to Kyle Field is named after him.

Crow grew up in Springhill in northern Webster Parish near the Arkansas state line.

College career[]

In 1956, Crow was part of the first Aggie football team to beat the University of Texas at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.[1]

In the 1957 season, the Aggies won their first eight games and were ranked Number 1 in the AP Poll.[2] The team lost their last three games after uncertainty over whether their coach, Bear Bryant, would be leaving the school.[3] Although injured early in the season, Crow was able to play in 7 games in his senior season. He rushed for 562 yards on 129 carries, with 6 touchdowns. Crow also caught 2 passes and passed for 5 touchdowns. While playing on defense, he intercepted the ball 5 times.[4] Bryant told the Heisman voters that they ought "'to do away with the thing'" if they didn't vote for Crow.[3][5]

Crow was named a scholastic All-American[4] and won the Heisman on December 3, 1957,[6] defeating Iowa tackle Alex Karras.[3] Crow claims not to have understood the importance of the award until sponsors flew him and his family to New York for the presentation.[7] As of 2009, he is the only Aggie to win the Heisman, and he was the only one of Bryant's players to win.[3][8] Bryant left for Alabama shortly after Crow received the Heisman.[9]

Pro career[]

In the 1958 NFL Draft, Crow was a first–round draft pick for the Chicago Cardinals. He played 11 seasons and appeared in 4 Pro Bowls.[7][9] He later played for the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers.[7][10]

He completed more passes than any other non-quarterback in history with 33 completions, including 5 touchdowns.[11]


When his playing career ended, Crow became a coach. In 1968, he was named the offensive backfield coach under Bryant at Alabama.[4] He later worked as an assistant coach with the Cleveland Browns and the San Diego Chargers.[10]


Crow was the sixth head college football coach for the University of Louisiana at Monroe Warhawks, then known as Northeast Louisiana University, located in Monroe, Louisiana and he held that position for five seasons, from 1976 until 1980. His coaching record at University of Louisiana at Monroe was 20 wins, 34 losses, and 1 tie. As of the conclusion of the 2007 season, this ranks him fifth at University of Louisiana at Monroe in total wins and seventh at University of Louisiana at Monroe in winning percentage (0.373).[12]

Athletic director[]

Crow became the athletic director and head football coach at Northeast Louisiana University in 1975.[4] He remained there until 1981, when he left to pursue private business opportunities.[13]

In 1983, he became assistant athletic director at Texas A&M under Jackie Sherrill, who served as both athletic director and head coach of the football team. Crow handled most duties for all sports except football, which Sherrill oversaw.[13] He was promoted to athletic director at the end of the 1988 football season when Sherrill resigned in the midst of a scandal. Texas A&M President William Mobley hired R. C. Slocum, Sherrill's defensive coordinator, as the new head football coach.[14] In a press conference the day after his appointment, Crow announced that "'I want to reaffirm my commitment to full compliance with the NCAA, Southwest Conference and Texas A&M University regulations in our athletic department.'"[15]

After a public row in January 1990, Crow fired long-time Aggies basketball coach Shelby Metcalf. Metcalf had coached at Texas A&M for 32 years, winning five Southwest Conference championships. The relationship between the men had often been described as bitter, and Crow cited "uncalled-for criticism" in his firing of Metcalf, who was not given the opportunity to say goodbye to his players. Crow appointed Kermit Davis to replace Metcalf.[16]

Later that year, after Arkansas left the Southwest Conference, Crow and DeLoss Dodds, the athletic director at the University of Texas, met with officials from the Pac-10 Conference about aligning with that conference. The two later canceled a similar meeting with officials from the Southeastern Conference.[17]

Crow resigned from his position as athletic director in April 1993 to invest as a limited partner in a greyhound racetrack. At the time of his resignation, the Texas A&M football program was embroiled in a scandal over students accepting money from boosters for jobs they had not performed. He was succeeded as athletic director by Wally Groff. As a result of the scandal, the Texas A&M football program was placed on five years probation and was banned from television or postseason appearances for one year.[18] He then took a job as the fundraiser for the university until 2001, when he retired.[3]


Crow was elected to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1976.[4]

In 2004, Crow was awarded the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Doak Walker Legends Award, presented annually by the SMU Athletic Forum. The award is given to former college football running backs who had excellent college careers and later became leaders in their community.[10]

Crow lived in College Station, Texas.[3]

See also[]


  1. Feigen, Jonathan (August 29, 1993), "Football '93/A state of war/UT—A&M transcends football", Houston Chronicle (Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle): Special, page 25.,, retrieved 2007-09-26 
  2. Carter, Al (March 25, 1989), "Ags rising above hardball humility", Houston Chronicle (Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle): Sports, page 1,, retrieved 2007-09-27 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Zwenerman, Brent (August 25, 2007), "College football: Heisman honed by history", San Antonio Express–News (San Antonio, Texas),, retrieved 2007-09-25 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 1957–23rd Award: John David Crow Texas A&M Back,,, retrieved 2011-05-11 
  5. "The One and Only". 
  6. "Prep basketball, NFL, college football, CCHA". 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Carter, Al (December 1, 1989), "Sports Spotlight: The Heisman race/Trophy winner's life altered/Campbell: It changes your name", Houston Chronicle (Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle): Sports, Page 1,, retrieved 2007-09-26 
  8. "People", Houston Chronicle (Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle): Sports, page 3, November 17, 1987,, retrieved 2007-09-26 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Zwerneman, Brent (August 30, 2007), "Aggies Mailbag:Crow and Law — same story, 50 years apart", San Antonio Express–News (San Antonio, Texas),, retrieved 2007-09-25 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Template:Cite press release
  11. Non-Quarterback Passing Records. Pro Football Reference. Retrieved on 2009-09-21.
  12. University of Louisiana at Monroe coaching records
  13. 13.0 13.1 Custred, Jayne (December 14, 1988), "Sherrill aftermath/Crow: Mixed feelings on Sherrill departure", Houston Chronicle (Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle): Sports, page 6,, retrieved 2007-09-26 
  14. Custred, Jayne; Farmer, Neal (December 13, 1988), "Aggie coach Sherrill quits amid scandal", Houston Chronicle (Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle): Section A, page 1,, retrieved 2007-09-26 
  15. 2 vow to revive A&M integrity, Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle, December 14, 1988, p. Section A, page 1,, retrieved 2007-09-26 
  16. Lopez, John P. (March 2, 1991), "Ex-A&M coac Metcalf adjusts to new job, life", Houston Chronicle (Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle): Sports, page 6,, retrieved 2007-09-26 
  17. "UT, Texas A&M officials cancel meeting on SEC expansion plan", Houston Chronicle (Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle): Sports, page 4, August 19, 1990,, retrieved 2007-09-26 
  18. Stickney, W.H., Jr. (January 6, 1994), "Chronology of events in Texas A&M probation", Houston Chronicle (Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle): Sports, page 2.,, retrieved 2007-09-26 

External links[]