Members of the Austin College 1981 NAIA National Championship football team came to campus in September 2011 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the team’s historic season, capturing the only national title in Kangaroo athletics. The football program reached new heights in 1981 when, after trailing Concordia University of Minnesota 24-21, the Kangaroos managed to tie the score for a share of the NAIA title and a lifetime of bragging rights on an 11-1-1 season.
Some of the facts—like All-American Gene Branum’s 57-yard field goal that tied the game—need no elaboration, but between the team’s induction in to the College’s Athletic Hall of Honor at the Legends celebration in July and the recognition day in September, plenty of stories were told and retold of larger-than-life memories for this groups of champions.
Members of the 1981 team attending the Kangaroos’ opening game and serving as honorary coaches were, left to right, Sam Boatman, All-American Rory Dukes, Bill Magers, Russ Roden, David Adams, TIAA Defensive Player of the Year and defensive back Chris Luper, Rex Baker, David Simmons, Don Parnell, Jim Curry, All-American Ed Holt, Tim Kay, John Henderson, Greg Cason, Mark Richards, All-American quarterback and TIAA Offensive Player of the Year Larry Shillings, David Norman, and All-American Stuart Oliphint.
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