Walt Garrison

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Walt Garrison
No. 32
Position:Fullback / Running back
Personal information
Born: (1944-07-23) July 23, 1944 (age 75)
Denton, Texas
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school:Lewisville (TX)
College:Oklahoma State
NFL Draft:1966 / Round: 5 / Pick: 79
AFL draft:1966 / Round: 17 / Pick: 151
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:119
Starts:72
Touchdowns:39
Total Yards:5,680
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Walter Benton "Walt" Garrison (born July 23, 1944) is a former American football fullback in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys. He was selected in the fifth round of the 1966 NFL Draft (79th overall). He played college football at Oklahoma State University.

Early years[edit]

Born in Denton, Texas, Garrison attended nearby Lewisville High School. He played as a linebacker in football. He also played basketball and baseball.[1]

Garrison accepted a football scholarship from Oklahoma State University, with the intention of playing defense as a linebacker. In 1963, even though he didn't play the position in high school, Phil Cutchin became the new head coach and moved him to running back in the spring. He was a backup player, finishing his sophomore season with 387 rushing yards, only 12 yards behind the team's leader George Thomas Jr. He also tied for 10th in the Big Eight Conference in rushing yards.

As a junior in 1964, he led the Big Eight Conference in rushing with 730 yards, ahead of Jim Grisham and Gale Sayers. He also had 5 rushing touchdowns and 83 receiving yards.

Garrison completed his senior season with 924 rushing yards, 107 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. He ranked second in rushing yards in the Big Eight Conference behind Charlie Brown. He had 121 rushing yards against the undefeated University of Nebraska. He rushed for 173 yards against Kansas State University. He helped the Cowboys' to their first win over Oklahoma in 20 years. His post-season highlights included appearances in the East–West Shrine Game in San Francisco, the Senior Bowl (voted the Outstanding Back of the North team), the Coaches All-America Game in Atlanta and the College All-Star Game against the Green Bay Packers in August 1966.

In 1993, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.[2] In 2000, he was inducted into the Oklahoma State Athletics Hall of Honor.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Garrison was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round (79th overall) of the 1966 NFL Draft. He was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 17th round (151st overall) of the 1966 AFL Draft. In his first 2 seasons, he was mainly used as a kickoff returner.

In 1968, he tallied 45 carries for 271 yards and 5 touchdowns as a backup player. In 1969, he took over at fullback after the retirement of Don Perkins, posting a career-high 818 rushing yards, while scoring 2 touchdowns and forming one of the league's best running back duos with Calvin Hill.

In 1970, with the arrival of rookie Duane Thomas, he tallied 126 carries for 507 yards and 3 touchdowns. His style of play and perceived ability to play hurt brought him recognition in Cowboys lore, which included playing the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers with a cracked collarbone and a serious ankle injury, but still managing to record 17 carries for 71 yards, 3 receptions for 51 yards and one touchdown.[4] It was reported in the media, that the trainers needed 36 yards of tape to get him ready to play in Super Bowl V.

During Dallas' championship season of 1971, he showed his pass-catching skills, leading the team with 40 receptions. That year, the Cowboys rode their three running backs all the way to a Super Bowl VI victory.[5]

In 1972, Garrison was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated for its pro football preview issue; the photo was from Super Bowl VI in January.[6] During the season, he suffered a 16-stitch cut in one of his fingers while doing his favorite hobby (whittling). He was named to the Pro Bowl, after registering 784 yards and 7 touchdowns, even though he was a part of a three-headed rushing attack. He played in the Pro Bowl a few days after suffering a gash in his face while steer wrestling.

In 1973, he suffered pinched nerves in his neck during training camp and had headaches so severe that he couldn't sleep. Robert Newhouse was promoted as the starting fullback, performing well enough that it was the sixth game of the season before Garrison could get his starting position back. He still had 105 carries for 440 yards (second on the team) and was third in receiving with 26 receptions. He missed the season finale with a cracked collarbone, but was back in the lineup the next week in the playoffs.

A "real" cowboy, he spent time on the professional rodeo circuit during the football off-seasons. His signing bonus with the Cowboys in 1966 included a horse trailer. In June 1975, Garrison made an appearance at the College National Rodeo Finals in Bozeman, Montana; a knee injury he sustained in an exhibition steer wrestling accident ended his pro football career.[7] He retired in August 1975, and was replaced in the starting lineup with Newhouse.[8]

Garrison played in the NFL for nine seasons (missing only 7 games), all of them with the Cowboys. He finished his career with 3,886 yards rushing and 1,794 yards receiving. Garrison retired as the third leading rusher and fourth leading receiver in team history.

One of the more humorous sports quotes was attributed to Cowboy quarterback Don Meredith speaking about Garrison's dependability, "If it was third down, and you needed four yards, if you'd get the ball to Walt Garrison, he'd get you five. And if it was third down and you needed twenty yards, if you'd get the ball to Walt Garrison, by God, he'd get you five."

Garrison was named to the Dallas Cowboys' 25th anniversary team and was also inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.[9]

Personal life[edit]

He was a long-time spokesman for Skoal smokeless tobacco, and is the current television spokesman for Bill Utter Ford near Denton, Texas. In 1988, he published his biography "Once a Cowboy" with writer John Tullius.[10] The title is a reference not only to his rodeo cowboy career, but also to his career with the Dallas Cowboys, and his college career with the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Garrison served military duty in New Jersey and Fort Lewis. He established the Walt Garrison Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and currently resides in Argyle, Texas.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "LISD Profile: Lewisville High School Alum Walt Garrison". Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  2. ^ "Class of 1993 Inductees". Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  3. ^ Gill, Jerry (September 4, 2010). "Oral History Interview with Walt Garrison". O-STATE Stories.
  4. ^ Eatman, Nick (May 16, 2013). "Can RB Randle Display Necessary, Expected Toughness?". DallasCowboys.com. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  5. ^ PR Dir. Curt Mosher, ed. (1974). Dallas Cowboys Media Guide. Dallas, TX: Dallas Cowboys Football Club. p. 20.
  6. ^ "Dallas scrambles to stay on top". Sports Illustrated. September 18, 1972. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  7. ^ "Dallas back gets bum steer". St. Petersburg Independent. Florida. Associated Press. June 20, 1975. p. 2C. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  8. ^ "Walt Garrison retires". Nashua Telegraph. New Hampshire. Associated Press. August 16, 1975. p. 14. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  9. ^ Werner, John (January 24, 2013). "TEXAS SPORTS HALL OF FAME: WALT GARRISON (True Cowboy, hat and all)". WacoTrib.com. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  10. ^ Garrison, Walt; Tullius, John. "Once a Cowboy". WorldCat. Retrieved 4 September 2015.

External links[edit]