May 3, 1919|
|Died||May 10, 1995
|Alma mater||Texas A&I University|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1984, 1985||San Antonio Gunslingers|
|College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1996 (profile)
Gilbert Erwin Steinke (May 3, 1919 – May 10, 1995) was a head coach of the Texas A&I University football team after having played at Texas A&I then professionally in the National Football League for the Philadelphia Eagles. Steinke was born May 3, 1919 in Brenham, Texas. He died May 10, 1995 in Austin, Texas. He is buried in Masonic Cemetery, Caldwell, Texas.
Playing and coaching career
After graduating from high school in the coastal town of Ganado, Texas, Steinke began his football career as a player at Texas A&I, where he won all-conference honors on offense and defense. Steinke played with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1945–1948 and led the NFL in punt returns with a 14.8 average in 1947. As a starting safety, he helped the Eagles win a world title in 1948. After coaching in the high school ranks and at Oklahoma State, Trinity and Texas A&M, Steinke returned to his alma mater to become the athletic director and head football coach at Texas A&I from 1954-1976. He directed the Javelinas to 39 consecutive triumphs and six NAIA football national titles, including three in a row from 1974-1976. By the end of his 23-year coaching career at A&I, he had achieved ten Lone Star Conference championship trophies and 186 wins against only 62 losses and four ties. Steinke was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1977 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996. Later he tried his hand at coaching a professional team with the United States Football League's San Antonio Gunslingers in the mid-1980s.
Role in integration
Steinke was one of the early proponents of integrating Southern football. He was well known for walking out of restaurants and motels that would not take blacks and whites, and bringing on lots of black and Hispanic players regardless of social or financial status. "We integrated football in Texas," Steinke told the Houston Chronicle in 1989. "We had Sid Blanks (later a Houston Oiler) before anyone else integrated."
One of Steinke's trademarks was that he coached from the stands to get a better view of the game, using runners to deliver plays to the team.
For more information see Sports Illustrated, Nov 17, 1975.