Jacksonville ISD honors its former pro athletes


JACKSONVILLE, Texas (KETK) – The Jacksonville Education Foundation held its 8th annual “Evening with Our Stars” on Monday, honoring former pro athletes and coaches who all started their careers in the Tomato Capital of the World.

This year’s event included 11 former NFL players, one MLB player, and two NFL coaches.

Coach John Paul Young and Coach Bum Phillips coached the Fightin’ Indians in the Tomato Bowl in the early 1960’s and went on to have illustrious careers on the college level and in the NFL. Coach Young and his wife, Delores, currently reside back in Jacksonville. After leaving the Indians, Young coached for SMU and Texas A&M before beginning his 22 year-long Pro Football career.

He joined Bum with the Houston Oilers organization and also coached the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Denver Broncos. The late Bum Phillips is the legendary NFL coach with the famous cowboy hat and Jacksonville is so proud to boast of the season he coached in the Tomato Bowl. His son, Wade, now an NFL coach himself, went to school in JISD, and has mentioned his fond memories of the Tomato Bowl many times during his career.

Bum’s wife, Debbie, his three daughters, and his sister will attend in Bum’s honor, and to honor their close family friend, John Paul Young.

The players being honored include graduates from both JHS and Fred Douglass High School. In 1955, Burr Davis graduated from Jacksonville High School, played in college and then professionally for the Canadian Blue Bombers.

That started a string of graduates from Jacksonville having successful careers in the National Football League. Included in the elite group of players named to a final roster on a team are Pete Lammons, JHS Class of 61 who played for the New York Jets in Super-bowl III; Billy Newsome, Fred Douglass Class of ’66 who also sports a Super-bowl ring for the Baltimore Colts; Marshall Johnson, JHS Class of 1971, Baltimore Colts; Jerry Aldridge, JHS Class of 1975, San Francisco 49ers; James Noble, JHS Class of 1982, Washington Redskins; Ray Ethridge, JHS Class of ’87, San Diego Chargers; Toby Gowin, JHS Class of 1993, Dallas Cowboys; Josh McCown, JHS Class of 1998, New York Jets; Kevin Aldridge, JHS Class of 1998, Tennessee Titans; Luke McCown, JHS Class of 2000, New Orleans Saints; and Micah Hoffpauir, JHS Class of 1998 who played Major League Baseball for the Chicago Cubs.

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