Texas Longhorns Legend James Street Passes

Tom Pennington

Former Longhorn great James Street has passed away suddenly from an apparent heart attack.

On September 28, 1968, Darrell Royal and the Texas Longhorns found themselves in a ditch. Having opening the season with a new formation (the Wishbone) and a disappointing 20-20 tie with Houston, the Horns were now being thrashed by an upstart Texas Tech team.

Royal had seen enough. He turned to his second string QB James "Slick" Street, grabbed him by the jersey, sent him into the game with the encouraging words, "Get in there, hell you can't do any worse."

So began a magical run of excellence for Texas football. Street couldn't save that game as Tech won 31-22, but he quickly turned around the season and the program as he and Texas went 20-0 over the next two years to send Texas to the 1969 national championship and on a 30-game winning streak.

This morning Street died suddenly from an apparent heart attack.

Street was Jack Armstrong in Burnt Orange. He was a two sport star at Texas, an outstanding pitcher who threw two no-hitters while leading the Horns to SWC titles and College World Series appearances.

He was charismatic leader who had teammates and opponents alike marveling at his ability to perform under the most intense pressure situations -- laughing every step of the way.

He was of course at the center of one of the first "Games of the Century," the 1969 Texas-Arkansas shootout.

On of my favorite stories out of that contest concerned Street and a former High School buddy, Terry Don Phillips, who played for Arkansas.

Street recalled that on the famous 4th and 3 pass to Randy Peschel that Phillips put a heavy rush on him.

"I barely got the pass off before Terry Don popped me good," said Street, "so I was laying on the ground and didn't really see the catch. I got up, put my hand out and said, 'come on Terry Don we're all they way down the other end of the field.'

Street also remembered that after the game Phillips sought him out and told him, "James, don't you guys screw this up by losing to Notre Dame."

Street is survived by his wife and four sons, one of whom - Huston a relief pitcher who helped the Longhorns to a College World Series Championship before going on to a very productive major league career.

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