Golden: Texas legend Michael Huff, fellow Longhorns stand tall in assistance to others
Huff, Colt McCoy, Malik Jefferson and others provided needed assistance.
- Huff, the 2005 Thorpe Award winner, provided aid to the needy in Irving, Austin and San Antonio.
- Malik Jefferson aided people in Mesquite, Dallas and Garland
- Women's basketball player bought food for people in Waco.
- The Texas basketball team has struggled at home. The Horns face Kansas Tuesday.
Michael Huff didn’t do it for the attention.
He did it because people were suffering and he had the means to help.
The horrible winter storm affected millions of Texans but brought out the best in many of our neighbors, including Huff, a member of Texas' 2005 national championship football team. The Thorpe Award winner saw stories about people holed up in their freezing homes with no power, water or food and sprang into action over the weekend, and not just in Austin.
He teamed up in the Metroplex with former UT-Arlington basketball player Marquez Haynes to provide hundreds of meals to the needy in his hometown of Irving and surrounding areas and also provided assistance here and in San Antonio.
It’s really heartwarming to see Texas exes like Huff, Colt McCoy, Quandre Diggs, Myles Turner, Malik Jefferson and many others use their platforms to help out those who were in dire need.
“I was born and raised in the Dallas/Irving area and I’m a Texas boy,” Huff told me Monday morning. “Any time I see something going wrong in any part of Texas and I can help, then it’s what I’m going to do, whether it’s financially or whatever. I’ve been blessed to be put in a position where I can help others, so it’s the right thing to do.”
Huff initially turned down interviews before agreeing to speak Monday on his charitable acts, not because he wanted any praise but because he understands that generosity is contagious. One gesture can lead to another. And another.
Diggs, a safety with the Seattle Seahawks, reached out to Huff and decided to get in the act with some former teammates. Tevin Jackson and his wife Nichole Denby-Jackson, a former Texas track All-American, own Lone Star Jacks BBQ. Through this partnership, 55 two-meat plates were distributed in Austin and Manor.
Diggs, with an assist from NFL buddies Tre Flowers, Darius Slay and Bobby Wagner, then teamed with Jay's Hibachi restaurant — managed by former Texas wideout Jacorey Warrick — to provide another 130 chicken fried rice meals to the needy.
"My girlfriend and I had power and water for all but five hours," said Diggs, who lives in Pflugerville. "We were blessed and wanted to help where we could. I didn't even call Tre, Darius or Bobby. They reached out to me because they wanted to be a part of this. It's the kind of people they are."
Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Malik Jefferson heard about a hotel in his hometown of Mesquite that was housing 140 people without power or food last Friday. He purchased and delivered sandwiches to the families, then teamed with Ram Construction to deliver 30 cases of water off the back of his truck to the hotel and some families in neighboring Garland following a food drive.
“I consider myself an active service person,” Jeffersaid. "If someone is in the need of help, I’m more than happy to do it. I love the feeling that comes from giving to others."
Texas basketball player Charli Collier actually bought 50 pizzas for folks waiting in line while the team was stuck in Waco because of the weather. That’s a college student digging deep into her pockets for the common good.
“Blessings come to you when you’re nice to people,” she told reporters Sunday. “I just want to spread that and just be nice, especially in these times."
The same can be said of longtime friend Kevin Robbins, a former American-Statesman colleague who is now teaching journalism at Texas. He joined McCoy to spearhead a drive to aid students over the last week with meals and water. They helped distribute tacos and drinks to students on campus Saturday in collaboration with the SafeHorns group and TacoDeli. Robbins also helped raise money for more than 400 students in need through the Another Day fund.
When one is blessed with the ability to provide an able hand to those in need, it makes our planet much cozier. Kudos to those who stood tall at a very scary time in our state.
Home court disadvantage: Tuesday would be a good time for the Longhorns to take the term home-court advantage to heart because the Erwin Center has been anything but this season.
Texas is 4-4 at the house and will be tested for sure with Kansas rolling into town as the owners of a five-game winning streak. Aside from a 77-74 win over Oklahoma State on Dec. 20, the Horns haven’t delivered against elite competition at the house, losing conference games to Texas Tech, Oklahoma and West Virginia by a combined five points.
It's the last home game for point guard Matt Coleman III and post Jericho Sims. A win on Senior Night would go a long way in righting things as Texas and the Big 12 still must figure out which postponed games, if any, will be rescheduled.
“We need to protect the home court,” Coleman said. “We struggle here.”
The Horns aren’t the only ones having a tough time at home. Through Saturday’s games, home teams are only 30-33 in Big 12 play, lending credence to the belief that this is the most competitive conference in the country.
Looking for wins despite the high cost: It’s about winning and if you have to dig deep into the vault to make it happen, then so be it.
According to our own Brian Davis, Texas shelled out over $34.2 million for head coach Steve Sarkisian’s guaranteed contract and another $1 million annually for offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators who are getting multi-year deals.
It’s a staggering amount but the latest sign that Texas is willing to do whatever it takes to get back to the national elite.
Will it work? Who knows? It could end up being a money-throw at a coach who may go down as an elite assistant and an above average head coach or athletic director Chris Del Conte may be prescient in his belief that Sark can accomplish great things here.
Either way, this is a strong move, similar to the one Texas A&M made two years ago when it awarded Jimbo Fisher a 10-year, $75 million guaranteed deal to leave Florida State.
People aren’t talking about Jimbo’s deal anymore but rather the fact the Aggies finished fifth in the country and came close to qualifying for the CFP.