Nguyen, Lilly head bowl legends class of 2013
Special to the Courier
The Texas Bowl Committee has selected the 2013 class of Gridiron Legends presented by Wrangler Jeans and Cavender's Boot City, the Bowl announced this month. All five men were honored at a special halftime ceremony during the Texans vs. Dolphins game at Reliant Stadium on Aug. 17.
The class of 2013 is headlined by former Texas A&M great Dat Nguyen and NFL legend Bob Lilly. Nguyen is a former All-American and Lilly is an 11-time NFL Pro Bowler. Former AFL star Abner Haynes and 2-time Super Bowl champ Donny Anderson help round out the class, while legendary Judson High School head coach DW Rutledge represents the Texas high school community.
"We could not be more proud to announce the 2013 Gridiron Legends," said Houston Texans President Jamey Rootes. "The 2013 inductees are some of the greatest to have ever participated in our sport in the state of Texas, and we offer our most sincere congratulations to each of them for this honor."
Legendary player and coach, Dat Nguyen, was born at a refugee center in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, after his family left South Vietnam during the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. Nguyen lived most of his childhood in Rockport where he attended Rockport -Fulton High School playing linebacker and handling punting duties.
Nguyen decided to continue his career in College Station playing for the Texas A&M Aggies. As a freshman at Texas A&M, he was named the Southwestern Conference Defensive Newcomer of the Year and earned first-team All-Big 12 honors three consecutive times between 1996 and 1998. In 1997, Nguyen was named the Aggies' MVP and was awarded the Lombardi Award, the Jack Lambert Award, the Chuck Bednarik Award, was a unanimous All-American, and was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year all during his 1998 senior season.
Nguyen became the first Vietnamese-American to play in the NFL when the Dallas Cowboys drafted him in 1999. Finishing seven seasons with the NFL, he made his coaching debut with the Cowboys as an Assistant Linebackers Coach and Defensive Quality Control Coach. In 2007, Nguyen returned to his alma mater, Texas A&M University after coaching for three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Dat Nguyen coached under Mike Sherman for two seasons as the Aggies' Inside Linebackers Coach. Currently, Nguyen lives in San Antonio and co-hosts for ESPN Radio.
Bob Lilly played his entire high school, college, and professional careers in the state of Texas. Born in Throckmorton, he attended Throckmorton High School. Upon graduation, Lilly continued playing football at Texas Christian University where he was honored as a two-time All-Southwestern Conference pick. Chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys in 1961, Lilly played 14 seasons with the Cowboys and during that time was an 11-time Pro Bowl selection, 7-time First-team All-Pro selection, 2-time Second-team All-Pro selection, 8-time All-Conference selection, and a 2-time Second-team All-Conference selection. A 1971 Super Bowl champion and Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor inductee, Bob Lilly is also a member of the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and the NFL 1960s & 1970s All-Decade Team. Lilly is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.