Rooster Andrews, Longhorns Legend, Dies at 84

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Rooster Andrews, a legendary figure of the University of Texas football team, died this week at the age of 84. He was a water boy for the 1943 team when the coach put him in the game to kick an extra point.


The University of Texas at Austin has lost perhaps its most devoted sports fan and its most memorable.

William "Rooster" Andrews was short in stature but a towering personality. He died earlier this week at the age of 84.

NPR's John Burnett has this remembrance of how Andrews became a legend among the Texas Longhorns.

JOHN BURNETT: He may have been the most famous water boy in the annals of college football. During the 1943, '44 and '45 seasons, Rooster Andrews, who stood just under five feet, was sent in to the game not to offer a drink to the players from his five-gallon bucket but to drop kick the football for extra points. In other games, he even faked several kicks and passed the ball to his best friend Longhorn quarterback Bobby Layne who went on to join the NFL and make the Pro-football Hall of Fame.

Rooster Andrews acquired his name not because of a cocky attitude, he told the story of how, as a freshman, he once scrambled up a tree to seize a rooster for his buddies who needed a bird for a cockfight. He fell out of the tree and broke his arm but never turned loose of the game cock and the nickname and legend were born.

After Andrews graduated, he became a salesman for a Texas sporting goods distributor, the self-described jockstrap peddler. After two decades on the road, he was said to know just about every high school coach in the state. Later, Andrews owned a chain of sporting good stores in Austin, full of equipment emblazoned with the burnt orange logo of his beloved Texas Longhorns.

Andrews counted among his friends Presidents Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush, and was a regular confidant of legendary UT coach Darrell Royal and the current coach, Mack Brown. Brown told The Dallas Morning News a few years ago, the first phase after a loss, I always see is Rooster. He comes out to practice just to say he loves us. That's the kind of friend he is.

His funeral and the public reception for Rooster Andrews are planned in Austin on Saturday.

John Burnett, NPR News, Austin.

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