Walter William Fondren III (April 29, 1936 – January 28, 2010) was an American football player and conservation activist. He played halfback and later quarterback for the Texas Longhorns from 1955 to 1957. He could throw the running pass in the split-T option and drew comparisons to SMU's Doak Walker because of his ability to run, pass and punt the football.
Fondren was drafted 354th overall by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1958 NFL Draft, but turned down a professional football career, as he was already a millionaire-to-be with his family owning interest in Humble Oil, an oil company his grandfather, Walter Fondren, Sr., founded in 1911.
Fondren was the son of Doris Ledwidge and Walter William Fondren, Jr. and grew up with his three sisters in Houston, Texas.
After leading Lamar High School to the 1953 High School State Championship, receiving the Texas Sportswriter's "Outstanding High School Football Player of the Year" Award, Fondren graduated in 1954. In 1984 he was inducted into the Texas High School Hall of Fame. Fondren played football for The University of Texas Longhorns, where he was selected "First Team All Southwest Conference" and "All Southwest Conference Halfback" in 1955. Fondren played both offense and defense, still holding the record for most minutes played in a season. He received the "George `Hook' McCullough Football Outstanding Player" Award in 1956 and was inducted into The University of Texas Hall of Honor, in 1983. He graduated from The University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Geology.
In 1977 Fondren became the founding chairman of the Gulf Coast Conservation Association (GCCA), now the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA).
Fondren served on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council as a member from 1982 through 1992; was Council Chairman from 1989 to 1990; and also served on the Billfish Advisory Committee since 1994. He received the Harvey Weil Sportsman/Conservationist Award in 2000 and the prestigious Charles H. Lyles Award in 2001 from the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission in recognition of a lifetime of exceptional contributions on behalf of marine resources. He was inducted into the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame in 2004 and served as a trustee for many years. He served as chairman of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and was past chairman of the Gulf Coast Council's Billfish Advisory Council. In 2005, he was named one of the 50 legends of fishing by Field & Stream magazine. He was the first recipient of the CCA's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.
- "Texas Team (of Course) Has Millionaire Back". New York Times. 1957-12-31.
- "WALTER FONDREN Death Notice: WALTER FONDREN’s Obituary". Legacy.com (Houston Chronicle). 2010-01-30.
- CKWRI :: Named Endowments
|University of Texas Quarterback