Julius Whittier played at Texas from 1970-72. He was the first African-American to letter in the football program. (Photo courtesy of Texas Athletics).

BEVO BEAT Football

Black History Month at Texas: Julius Whittier

Posted February 1st, 2020

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Throughout Black History Month, the American-Statesman will take a daily look at the black athletes who have had a lasting impact in Texas’ athletic department. Today, we are writing about football player Julius Whittier.

Texas’ 1969 football team is widely known as the last national champion with an all-white roster. The next year, Whittier became the Longhorns’ first black letterman. E.A. Curry and Leon O’Neal had integrated the program ahead of Whittier, but neither of those players ever made it onto the varsity roster.

Whittier made history when he appeared in Texas’ season opener against Cal in 1970. After playing on the offensive line in 1970 and 1971, the San Antonio native spent his final year at Texas as a tight end. His 10-yard reception against Texas A&M resulted in Texas’ only touchdown catch during the 1972 season.

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With Whittier on its roster, the Longhorns won three Southwest Conference titles and the 1970 national championship. After Texas, Whittier went onto work as a senior prosecutor in Dallas County. He was inducted into the Men’s Hall of Honor at Texas in 2013.

In his later year, Whittier was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. His sister filed a federal lawsuit against the NCAA on his behalf in 2014. Whittier passed away in 2018 at the age of 68.

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