Here come the Texans

The history behind our football team

Tarleton State University’s football team has always played a vital role in the campus environment. Although documents show that Tarleton organized a team as long ago as 1904, game logs for games are documented beginning in 1915.

When it first started participating in college sports, Tarleton was once known as John Tarleton College. In 1906, the school changed to a junior college and in 1917, it joined the Texas A&M University System. The college started a four-year competition in 1961, and in 1973, it changed its name to Tarleton State University.

Following World War I, Tarleton had great achievements on the football field, going 52-16-6 in eight years while being managed by William J. Wisdom. During Wisdom’s time as head coach in 1925, Tarleton had an 8-0-1 record and defeated its competitors with a score of 276 to 25. In 1935, the players had a 9-2 record, losing the final two games despite beating eight of its first nine opposing teams and beating them 235 to 6.

For the first two years of World War II, the college decided against having a football team, and from 1944 to 1945, they mainly went up against military and academy teams. Following this time, Tarleton fielded what many regarded as its strongest team and achieved a 7-3 record in 1950. Including quarterback Pence Dacus, rushing leader Marvin Brown, and receiver Jack Jones, seven members of that team are in the Hall of Fame.

With a team that also consists of players in the Hall of Fame, Tarleton achieved a 7-3 record in 1966. In the Aztec Bowl, they defeated a team of Mexico All-Stars. Randy Winkler, a defensive tackle, eventually played as a professional.  Jesse Dee McMahon, Tarleton’s talented quarterback who made catches for Pat Ballow, Harlan Wunsch, and Jody Worsham between 1966 and 1968, thrilled the crowd.

This team has only had successful seasons and in the spring of 2020, Tarleton became a Division 1 school. With the help of some wonderful coaches, like Coach Todd Whitten, the Texans made it to 2022 with an overall of 5-5. 

The Texans are heading toward the end of the 2022 season with just one game remaining against Houston Baptist University. Come out and support our proud football team at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Memorial Stadium.