SI Vault
Dan Jenkins
November 11, 1963
On Friday morning, October 11, a bright, warm Texas day, Elbert Joseph Coffman woke up with a squirrel in his stomach. In his good life as a football fan there had never been a weekend quite like this one. In the next 55 hours he was going to see three college games and one pro game, and the excitement of it, the bigness of the games, made him nervous. Nervous but delighted. Football to Joe Coffman, and thousands of other Texans, is as essential as air conditioning. It is what a Texan grows up with, feeds on, worships, follows, plays and, very often, dies with. Joe Coffman, 32, married, father of two boys, businessman, University of Texas graduate, football enthusiast, was either going to live a lot this weekend or die a little.
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November 11, 1963

The Disciples Of St. Darrell On A Wild Weekend

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The game did not provide any opportunities for Joe Coffman to fight, or even to officiate or complain. Texas was better than even he had expected, and simply swept Oklahoma away, winning 28-7. Joe still managed several excuses for leaping cries of, "Hook 'em Horns," but mainly he occupied himself with pointing out to David Alter some of the more subtle, polished tactics of Darrell Royal's second-and third-teamers. Every time Oklahoma's Jim Grisham, a superb fullback from Olney, Texas, carried the ball, Joe hollered, "Get that turncoat!" And when an OU fan near him would yell encouragement to the Sooners, Joe would quietly remark to his brother-in-law, "Jimmy Jack Drunk back there thinks he's still got a chance to win."

Later, in the usual postgame playing of The Eyes of Texas by the Long-horn band down on the field, Joe stood silently proud, pleased and even touched that his team had been so great on the big day. "That song chokes me up every time," he said, forcing a grin. "Man, Dare-e-ull had 'em hot today. You know what Joe Don Looney got? Mr. Scott Appleton gave him zip. Shut him out."

Joyful cries of "Hook 'em Horns" were billowing out of the apartment in north Dallas, the good side of town, or rather, the only side, when the Coffmans, Morgans and Alters got there. Unlike the party the night before, this one was strictly for Longhorns. Platters of ham and turkey were laid out on a table. A bartender in the kitchen was mixing drinks and opening beers as fast as possible. Wives and girl friends congregated on the sofas. The men pushed into the kitchen and spilled out onto a balcony, drinks lifted, in a continuous toast to Dare-e-ull Royal and Scott Appleton and Duke Carlisle and Tommy Ford and to the memory of college days at Austin. "Hey, Cecil," called Joe. "Just got the score. Florida beat Alabama!"

Cecil slumped back in a chair, laughed heartily, and said, "All I know is, Texas is No. 1, 2, 3 and 4."

After a while, Mary Sue quietly asked Joe if, in the light of the Texas victory, he still intended to drive to Waco for the Baylor-Arkansas game.

"They're still playin', aren't they?" said Joe.

"Well, we'd better do something about dinner," said Mary Sue.

"Get after that turkey and ham," Joe nodded. "Tell you what. Make up some sandwiches and grab six or eight beers out of the icebox and we're gone."

Waco, Texas, is noted for only two things. One is that it is the home of Baylor University. The other is that Waco, from time to time, has tornadoes. From Dallas it is about one hour and 20 minutes across the flat north central Texas farmland and, since the Baylor-Arkansas game was mercifully scheduled for 8 p.m., the Coffmans and Morgans should have had plenty of time to make the kickoff. But they overstayed the Texas celebration party, and Cecil was moving along too briskly on Highway 77 when the flashing red spotlight on a Texas highway patrol car encouraged him to pull over.

"It's the fuzz," Joe said. "No bad mouth now, Cecil. Don't give him any lip. Just 'Yes sir, Officer, don't hit me no more.' or he'll take us to the Waxahachie jail and nobody'll ever hear from us again."

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