Football

Texas History: Notable 'senior day' performances from Longhorn greats

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Posted March 1st, 2018

On Tuesday the Texas women’s basketball team celebrated senior night and honored several players and two who have undoubtedly become some of the best in program history. Brooke McCarty and Ariel Atkins are All-American caliber players and will likely be all-conference performers this season. A third senior, Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau, has started just about every game she was healthy for this season.

Caron-Goudreau didn’t play against Oklahoma on Tuesday, but McCarty and Atkins combined for 32 points, 10 assists and 13 rebounds in a 79-66 win.

On the men’s side this weekend, there are three senior walk-ons — Isaiah Hobbs, Joe Schwartz and Ryan McClurg — who will get honored.

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So what are some notable “senior day” performances? Let’s take a look.

Football

Texas’ quarterback Colt McCoy celebrates senior night with a convincing 51-20 victory over Kansas to win the Big 12 South title and become the all-time most winningest QB in NCAA history with 43 victories over his yet unfinished career. McCoy took time from his victory lap around the stadium to bang Big Bertha and fire Smokey the cannon. (Ralph Barrera/ American-Statesman)

Tommy Nobis: The star linebacker from San Antonio was one of Darrell Royal’s first legendary players. He helped Texas win a national title in 1963. But his senior season, when Texas started the year ranked No. 2, was a disaster. And so was his senior day experience. TCU beat Texas 25-10 in the home finale on Nov. 13, 1965. Nobis ended his college career on a high note, though. Texas beat Texas A&M in College Station 21-17 on Thanksgiving a few weeks later.

Earl Campbell: The Tyler Rose rushed for 181 yards and a touchdown against Baylor in his final college game on the 40 Acres as Texas won 29-7 on Nov. 19, 1977. He would win the Heisman Trophy the next month and be taken No. 1, like Nobis, in the NFL Draft. He is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Ricky Williams: The greatest senior day performance in Texas history? Williams’ final home game was against No. 6-ranked Texas A&M on Nov. 27, 1998. During the game he broke the all-time NCAA career rushing record and finished with 259 yards rushing, a touchdown and five catches for 36 yards. Also notably, Texas rallied to win 26-24 to cap off coach Mack Brown’s first season. He won the Heisman the following month.

MORE: PHOTOS FROM THE ARCHIVES: Ricky Williams breaks NCAA rushing record in win over Texas A&M in 1998

Colt McCoy:  The most prolific passer in Texas history threw for 396 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-20 blowout of Kansas on Nov. 21, 2009. Texas would go on to play for a national title later that season and McCoy was a Heisman Trophy finalist.

Men’s basketball

University of Texas senior basketball players Justin Mason, Dexter Pittman and Damion James are honored before the start of their game against Oklahoma on March 1, 2010. (Patrick Meredith/for American-Statesman)

Travis Mays: One of the greatest Texas players ever, Mays was a two-time Southwest Conference Player of the Year. His final home game actually came in the middle of the month on Feb. 14, 1990 because Texas ended the regular season with four straight road games. We couldn’t find box score from this game, but Texas did pull off the win over the Mustangs 79-68. Mays is now the women’s basketball coach at SMU.

A.J. Abrams: On March 2, 2009 Abrams scored 14 points as Texas demolished Baylor 73-57 at home. Abrams moved to seventh place on the all-time steals list in the game, passing Roderick Anderson and Joey Wright. It was the 89th time in his career he scored in double-figures.

Damion James: Playing rival Oklahoma on March 1, 2010, James scored 24 points to help boost a struggling team’s NCAA chances.

Women’s basketball

Clarissa Davis photo on May 6, 1999. (David Kennedy/ American-Statesman)

Clarissa Davis: One of the greatest athletes to play at Texas, the two-time Naismith winner, national champion and All-American from San Antonio — who is also an Olympian and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame member — had an interesting final season. Technically, her final home game was on Feb. 24, 1989 against TCU, a 100-62 victory. But that season Austin hosted the NCAA Regional, so her final game in the Erwin Center was a 79-71 loss to Maryland in the Elite Eight. Davis averaged 30.9 points per game a game.

In her home final game, Davis scored 16 points and became the all-time leading SWC scorer with 1,813 points. The mayor of Austin, Lee Cooke, declared Feb. 24 “Clarissa Davis Day.” True story.

Edwina Brown: A local product from nearby Lockhart High School, Brown was the Wade Trophy winner in 2000 and averaged 21.2 points per game her senior season before winning the 2000 WNBA Rookie of the Year Award. It was a rare senior day loss for the Longhorns, who fell to No. 11-ranked Iowa State 79-66 at home. Brown wasn’t the reason. She had 15 points and 10 rebounds — her ninth double-double of the season.

Brown is an assistant coach for TCU’s women’s team nowadays.

Baseball

Bobby Layne: So we don’t leave out one of the most successful programs in the department, that just happens to be in a sport that sees the fewest “star seniors” of all, we’ll include Bobby Layne for Texas baseball. He was a two-sport star for Texas who played baseball in the 1944, 1946, 1947 and 1948 seasons. He has the most conference wins of any pitcher in Texas baseball history with 28, which doubles as the most SWC wins by one pitcher in that league’s history. He was an All-SWC player every year. In 1946 and 1947 he threw the programs first two no-hitters.

He went 9-0 his senior season as Texas won the SWC, but Texas opted not to go to the NCAA tournament because, according to one account, too many of the players had family and job obligations to compete in the tournament.

The final home game of the 1948 season, where Texas went 20-2 overall, was on March 15, a 3-2 win over Texas A&M (maybe Layne pitched, but we could not find an account from the game).

Layne, obviously, is best known for football, where he is one of three Texas Longhorns inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a standout career with the Detroit Lions.

Softball

Cat Osterman reacts after beating Oklahoma State 3-0 on Sunday, April 30, 2006. (Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman)

Cat Osterman: The college softball legend struck out 17 batters against Oklahoma State on April 30, 2006 and improved to 32-1 in her final regular season outing, giving up one hit. She would play five more games in Austin that season, all postseason games, as she led the Longhorns to Women’s College World Series.

For more softball senior day moments, click here. 

University of Texas middle blocker Dawn Davenport spikes a kill over San Diego State’s Kim Washington during the teams’ match in the Whataburger Invitational on November 26, 1988. (Lynne Dobson/American-Statesman)

Volleyball

Dawn Davenport: The 1988 National Player of the Year, Davenport led the Longhorns to the National Championship in 1988. Her final regular season game was a 3-2 win over No. 15 San Diego State on Nov. 26 during the Whataburger Thanksgiving Invitational. She would play three more games in Austin during the NCAA Tournament. Her final non-regular season game on campus was on Nov. 16, 1988 in a 3-0 win over Texas A&M.

Destinee Hooker: The 2009 Big 12 Player of the Year led Texas to the national title game after sweeping Kansas on Nov. 28, 2009 as the future Olympian had 14 kills in the match.

Haley Eckerman: She was a first-team All-American in 2012 and 2013 and the 2013 Volleyball Magazine Player of the Year. In 2014 she won Big 12 Player of the Year for the third-year in a row– one of the few athletes in Texas history to accomplish that feat. She recorded 19 kills in her final home game against Florida on Nov. 29, 2014. But the Longhorns, who reached the Final Four that season, lost to Florida 3-2 at Gregory Gym on senior night.

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