|Thomas Allen "Tommy" Spinks|
October 29, 1948|
Shreveport, Caddo Parish
|Died||August 26, 2007
|Religion||United Methodist Church|
|Spouse(s)||Barbara Lindsay Spinks (married 1966-his death)|
Kimberly Spinks Burleson
Thomas Allen Spinks, known as Tommy Spinks (October 29, 1948–August 26, 2007), was an American football wide receiver for the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs who played from 1966 to 1969. A native of Shreveport, Spinks and Larry C. Brewer, who came to Tech from Minden High School, were the players who received the passes from the legendary Tech quarterback Terry Bradshaw, also a Shreveport native who went on to play successfully for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Spinks set two records in the 1968 Grantland Rice Bowl, when he caught 12 passes for 167 yards. After his Tech career, Spinks was selected in the 1970 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and played professionally during the early 1970s. However, he is not included on the Vikings' web site listing of past players. Spinks was inducted into the Louisiana Tech University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988.
Spinks was the son of Methodist minister Otis Spinks (1900–1987) and Grace Spinks (1915–2003), who were living in Ruston, the location of Louisiana Tech, at the time of their deaths. The senior Spinkses are interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park off U.S. Highway 80 West in Ruston. Spinks graduated in 1966 from Woodlawn High School in Shreveport, where he also played football with Bradshaw and under the assistant coach A. L. Williams. It was often said that Bradshaw threw the passes that only Spinks could catch.
Spinks was diagnosed with cancer in May 2007 and died three months later at his home in Arlington. A memorial service was held on September 4, 2007 at his home church, St. Barnabas United Methodist Church in Arlington. Survivors included his wife of forty years, the former Barbara Lindsay — the couple married out of high school; four children, Kimberly Spinks Burleson and husband, Michael, of Arlington, Terri Spinks Netterville and husband, Kevin, of Shreveport, Jason Wesley Spinks of Arlington, and Lindsay Spinks Shepherd and husband, Chad, also of Arlington; two sisters, Peggy Spinks Hughes and husband, Ed, of Longview, Texas, and Betty Carol Spinks Bales and husband, Joey, of West Monroe, Louisiana, and eleven grandchildren.
Spinks' obituary makes no mention of his football career. Mike Morgan (born ca. 1950) of Shreveport, himself a high school football player, recalled Spinks this way:
"Every person in their formative years, needs a good solid role model. Someone they can look up to, someone who does all the right things -- Tommy was that person to me. He was a hard worker, the last to leave the practice field. Smart, friendly, sincere and truly liked and admired by everyone who met him. There was something about him that made you want to be around him and be his friend, a quality few of us have but wished we did."
- Forest Lawm Memorial Park records, Ruston, Louisiana
Louisiana Tech Lagniappe, 1970, pp. 388–395
"Tech Gridders Feted", Ruston Daily Leader, January 21, 1970
"Brewer obtained by Atlanta; Spinks to Minnesota", Ruston Daily Leader, January 29, 1970