Wilbur Evans CBAA
Classic MemoriesHometown: Little River, Texas CBAA Executive Director:1970-1978 CBAA Information Director:1961-63, 1966-69
As one of the Cotton Bowl's famed "Rover Boys," Wilbur Evans commanded a presence over college football in the 1970s that opened doors everywhere he went. The most notable door Evans pried open was in South Bend when he and travel partner Field Scovell persuaded Notre Dame to break a self-imposed 45-year ban on post-season play. The Irish accepted the invitation and the dream matchup of Notre Dame vs. Texas in the 1970 Cotton Bowl became a football classic. It was quite a beginning for Evans who had been appointed as the bowl's first full-time executive director just months before. During his watch, the Cotton Bowl Classic staged three national championship games – 1970, 1971 and 1978. Evans’ eye for detail set the standard for all to follow in the bowl industry.
Kris Haines ND
Classic MemoriesHt. 6-0 Wt. 181 Class: Junior/Senior Position: Split End Hometown: Sidney, Ohio 1978 Classic: Notre Dame 38, Texas 10 1979 Classic: Notre Dame 35, Houston 34
Statistics1978 Receiving: 2 receptions, 29 yards, 0 TDs 1979 Receiving: 4 receptions, 31 yards, 1 TD, 1 Two-Point Conversion
The name Kris Haines warms the hearts of Notre Dame fans all over the world thanks to his miracle catch against Houston in the 1979 Classic. Haines and his Irish teammates braved the ice and the cold to rally Notre Dame from a 22-point deficit in the game’s final eight minutes. Down the stretch, Haines grabbed a two-point conversion pass that brought the Irish within six points of the Cougars with 4:15 left to play. Minutes later, Haines stepped forward again to become Notre Dame’s man of the hour. Irish quarterback Joe Montana connected with his standout receiver on an eight-yard touchdown pass just as time expired. Haines made a diving catch in the corner of the end zone to tie the score at 34-34. The ensuing PAT added an exclamation point to an amazing 35-34 come-from-behind Irish victory.
Phil Harris UT
Classic MemoriesHt. 6-0 Wt. 190 Class: Sophomore Position: Wingback Hometown: San Antonio, Texas 1964 Classic:Texas 28, Navy 6
StatisticsRushing: 2 attempts, 5 yards, 0 TD Receiving: 3 receptions, 157 yards, 2 TDs
Phil Harris played football like a math major...he knew how to compile big numbers. In the 1964 Classic, the Texas sophomore wingback shredded No. 2 Navy with a record shattering performance by catching three passes for 157 yards. He averaged 52.3 yards a catch and established an NCAA bowl record that has endured for 46 years. The game was just six plays old when Harris caught Navy by surprise. He hauled in a throwback pass from quarterback Duke Carlisle then raced 58 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Harris' second score came on a tipped pass that he promptly turned into a 63-yard touchdown play for Texas. Harris may have been the youngest man on the field that day, but he played like a veteran in helping the Longhorns secure their first national title.
Warren Lyles UA
Classic MemoriesHt. 6-2 Wt. 253 Class: Junior/Senior Position: Middle Guard Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama 1981 Classic: Alabama 30, Baylor 2 1982 Classic: Texas 14, Alabama 12
Statistics1981 Defensive Statistics: 8 tackles, 5 unassisted 1982 Defensive Statistics: 8 assisted tackles 1981 Tackles For Loss: 5 tackles for -26 yards 1982 Tackles For Loss: 1 tackle for -1 yard
Alabama middle guard Warren Lyles saved his best effort of the season for the 1981 Cotton Bowl Classic. His coach, the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant, sensed that Lyles would be the target of Baylor's point of attack. Minutes before kickoff in the Bama locker room, Bryant challenged his defenders to make a statement against the Bears. Obviously, his words touched a nerve because Lyles responded with a tremendous performance. He recorded eight tackles for the Crimson Tide, five of them were unassisted and resulted in 26 yards in losses. The Alabama defense totally disrupted the Baylor game plan, limiting the Bears to 158 yards in total offense, 54 yards rushing and forced seven turnovers. Lyles lived up to his coach's pregame challenge and helped lead the Crimson Tide to a compelling 30-2 victory.
Joe Montana ND
Classic MemoriesHt. 6-2 Wt. 191 Class: Junior/Senior Position: Quarterback Hometown: Monongahela, Pennsylvania 1978 Classic: Notre Dame 38, Texas 10 1979 Classic: Notre Dame 35, Houston 34
Statistics1978 Rushing: 1 attempt, 3 yards 1978 Passing: 10-25-1, 111 yards, 1 TD 1979 Rushing: 7 attempts, 26 yards, 2 TDs 1979 Passing: 13-34-4, 163 yards, 1 TD 1979 Two-Point Conversions: 2 (2-of-3 pass attempts)
Notre Dame's "Comeback Kid" proved he had the stuff that legends are made of with two incredible Cotton Bowl Classic performances. In 1978, Joe Montana led the Irish to a stunning 38-10 upset of top-ranked Texas, a win that vaulted Notre Dame from fifth in the regular-season rankings to the national championship. A year later, facing miserable weather conditions and needing a dose of chicken noodle soup at halftime to erase a below-normal body temperature, Montana guided the Irish to an incredible finish against Houston. In the last eight minutes of the fourth quarter, he chipped away at what appeared to be an insurmountable 22-point deficit. The game clincher was an eight-yard scoring pass to split end Kris Haines as the clock hit 0:00. The ensuing PAT on the game’s final play gave the Irish an amazing 35-34 victory.
Coach Jackie Sherrill
Classic MemoriesHometown: Duncan, Oklahoma Classic Coaching Record: 2-2-0 1986 Classic: Texas A&M 36, Auburn 16 1987 Classic: Ohio State 28, Texas A&M 12 1988 Classic: Texas A&M 35, Notre Dame 10 1999 Classic: Texas 38, Mississippi State 11
Jackie Sherrill was a player’s coach. He knew exactly how to motivate them to reach a higher level come game day. A tireless worker, Sherrill constantly searched for new ideas to get his teams ready to play. In 1999, Sherrill joined an elite brotherhood of coaches when he guided Mississippi State to the Classic. In the process, he became the third of only four coaches to lead two different institutions to the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. In the 1980s, after an 18-year absence, he led Texas A&M to three consecutive appearances in the Classic. The highlight was a memorable 36-16 victory over Auburn in the Cotton Bowl’s 50th anniversary game in 1986. Sherrill taught his players to have high expectations, always be prepared, play together as one, and most of all, how to win.