Freddie Joe Steinmark

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Freddie Joe Steinmark
Texas Longhorns
Position Safety
Career history
High school Wheat Ridge High School
Personal information
Born: (1949-01-27)January 27, 1949
Denver, Colorado
Died: June 6, 1971(1971-06-06) (aged 22)
Houston, Texas
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight 165 lb (75 kg)
Career highlights and awards
  • National Champion (1969)

Freddie Steinmark (January 27, 1949 – June 6, 1971) was an American college football player. He played at the position of safety for the University of Texas Longhorns.[1]

Freddie Joe Steinmark was one of few football players who loved everything about the game. Football was in his heart and soul. Freddie led his high school team to remarkable victories that reclaimed the spirits of people in his small town in Colorado. Freddie, however, was concerned that he had not received a Division I scholarship offer yet. He had unlimited potential and anyone could see that, but the fact of the matter was that Freddie was just too small. His dream school, Notre Dame, rejected him for that very reason. Although it was disappointing, Freddie never let the anxiety of the future get to him. All his life he worked hard and maintained determination and he was not going to let obstacles steer him from his morals. Freddie’s chance finally arrived when Coats reached out to Mike Campbell, the defensive coordinator for the University of Texas. Campbell was interested in Freddie and his two hundred pound teammate, Bobby Mitchell. UT was not only interested in Freddie because of his outstanding records, but also because he was a scholar. Freddie had always taken his studies seriously and that impressed many observers. Freddie signed to UT along with Bobby. At the same time the Cincinnati Reds expressed interest in Freddie playing for them. His heart was set on Texas football, so he never seriously considered the offer. When Freddie got to UT he had a curious mind about the school’s history and read what he could. His father had taught him to be an active learner rather than an observer and Freddie took that lesson to heart. He thrived on this relationship between the world and himself, a relationship that Freddie applied to many aspects of his life. Freddie’s personality was another trademark characteristic that he possessed. Besides all of his talent on the field and in the classroom, Freddie was a genuinely good person. He was confident, but never arrogant and he was very polite.[2]

When football season was over Freddie would play baseball to stay in shape and because he had a passion for that game as well. He said the smoothness of the sport was a nice contrast to the roughness of football. The University of Texas was one of few schools at the time that encouraged their athletes to participate in more than one sport. This was an aspect of UT life that Freddie admired. At UT with him was Linda, Freddie’s high school sweetheart. To his parents disapproval Freddie and Linda embarked on the new college journey together. Fred was worried that Linda might distract Freddie from his studies and from the game, but that did not prove to be a problem. They both maintained high academic standings and Freddie hardly disappointed on the field.

Football career[edit]

Steinmark was a member of the 1969 Texas Longhorns football team, who won a national championship.

Two days after his performance on a painful left leg against the 1969 Arkansas Razorbacks football team in the "Game of the Century", played on December 6, 1969 and won by Texas, 15–14, x-rays revealed a bone tumor just above his left knee. A biopsy confirmed the tumor was malignant osteogenic sarcoma, and he was treated at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. On December 12, 1969 his leg was amputated at the hip.[3]

Twenty days later, he stood on the sideline with his team as Texas defeated Notre Dame in the 1970 Cotton Bowl Classic on New Year's Day. Steinmark's fight against cancer inspired the United States Congress to write the National Cancer Act of 1971 and President Richard Nixon to sign it into law, thus beginning the "War on Cancer".[citation needed]


In 1971, with the help of Dallas Times Herald sports editor Blackie Sherrod, Steinmark wrote and published his autobiography I Play to Win.[4] The book was published posthumously, almost 3 months after Steinmark's death. Steinmark is the subject of the 2015 movie My All American, and a coinciding biography Freddie Steinmark: Faith, Family, Football, published by the University of Texas Press (September 1, 2015).[5] Steinmark died on June 6, 1971 at the University of Texas M. D. A -k


In a pregame ceremony prior to UT's game with the University of Miami on September 23, 1972, the scoreboard at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium was dedicated to Freddie Steinmark. The current version of the Freddie Steinmark scoreboard, nicknamed Godzillatron, stands forty-seven-feet high.[6]

On November 7, 2015, the UT Longhorns rededicated the scoreboard to Steinmark in a ceremony attended by the Steinmark family and many previous Longhorn players.[7] The Longhorns wore throwback uniforms similar to those worn by the 1969 squad for their game against the Kansas Jayhawks, removing the "Texas" wordmark from the front of the jerseys, the TV numerals from the shoulder pads, and names from the back.[8] The helmets featured the decal for college football's centennial, which was celebrated in 1969.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yousse, Bower; Cryan, Thomas J. (1 September 2015). Freddie Steinmark: Faith, Family, Football. University of Texas Press. 
  2. ^ Freddie Steinmark: Faith, Family, Football University of Texas Press ISBN 978-1-4773-0821-9
  3. ^ Eldon S. Branda, "STEINMARK, FREDDIE JOE," Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 19, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  4. ^ Little Brown & Company (September 1971) ISBN 978-0316812504.
  5. ^ Yousse, Bower and Cryan, Thomas J. Freddie Steinmark: Faith, Family, Football University of Texas Press ISBN 978-1-4773-0821-9.
  6. ^, Freddie Steinmark Scoreboard [1].
  7. ^ "Texas Longhorns football re-dedicates Freddie Steinmark Scoreboard". 8 November 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Texas dons throwback uniforms

External links[edit]