The Texas football program dates back to 1893. Each day, we look at a little piece of Longhorn history. We’re starting by looking at each Longhorn football season.
After Clyde Littlefield stepped down as the head coach of the Longhorns following a 44-18-6 record, but also after the program’s first losing season ever in 1933, Texas turned to a former player with ties to college football’s best program, Notre Dame.
Jack Chevigny was one of the nation’s most famous college football stars. He played for Knute Rockne at Notre Dame and scored the winning touchdown in the famous “win one for the Gipper” game against Army. Chevigny, an Indiana native, left Notre Dame following Rockne’s sudden death in a plane crash and became the coach of the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals).
He was not good in the NFL, going 2-6-2 in 1932. So he left and came to Austin.
Yes, back in the day St. Edward’s University had a football program. St. Edward’s was the sister school of Notre Dame, so it made sense that Chevigny would leave the Great Lakes for Austin. He became popular at St. Edward’s, as he displayed the same personality attributes as Rockne and had a good relationship with the local media. When Littlefield left, Chevigny was an easy hire for the Longhorns.
He also had talent leftover from Littlefield. Texas went 7-2-1 his first season, a terrific turnaround. But most famous of the 1934 games came, ironically, against Notre Dame.
Texas beat Notre Dame 7-6 in one of the most important and famous wins in Longhorn history. The victory of that generation’s “Alabama,” put the University of Texas on the college football map.
Beating Notre Dame on the road is probably the most significant win the Longhorns had in 41 years as a program, but they also beat Texas Tech on the road and Oklahoma in Dallas. Texas lost back-to-back games to Centenary and Rice and tied SMU, but Texas finished the season with wins over Baylor, TCU, Arkansas and 13-0 win over the Aggies in Austin.
Chevigny became an instant Austin celebrity. But sometimes staying atop isn’t easy.
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