AUSTIN, Texas Latino football players from The University of Texas at Austin whose athletic accomplishments inspired journalists to make them a part of sports page history are listed in a recently published book that evolved from a trivia question.
“When I first asked my close friends how many Latinos had played professional football over the years, the responses were few. We came up with a list of only 10 players, most of them current at the time we pondered this question,” said author Mario Longoria in his preface to Athletes Remembered: Mexicano Latino Professional Football Players 1929-1970.
Longoria said the UT Austin players are an important part of the history of Latinos in football and those listed in the book include players up through the 1980s. They are:
- Francis Dominques of Kerrville played fullback and was a UT letterman in 1920-21. Dominguez scored the only touchdown that beat Texas A&M by a 7-3 score in 1920 and enabled Texas to win its first Southwest Conference title.
- Richard Ochoa of Laredo played halfback and was listed as All Southwest Conference in 1952 and Most Valuable Player of the 1953 Cotton Bowl. He was drafted by the New York Giants in 1953, but decided to instead go on to medical school.
- Rene Ramirez of Hebbronville was a halfback chosen as All Southwest Conference in 1959. He was one of the first selections of the Buffalo Bills in the American Football League expansion draft in 1960, but did not pursue a football career.
- Raul Allegre of Coahuila, Mexico, a specialty kicker, was a UT Austin letterman in 1981-82. He kicked for three National Football League teams, culminating with the New York Giants Super Bowl XXI championship.
- Robert Guevara, a defensive tackle from Marfa, was a 1971 UT letterman who participated in the 1972 Cotton Bowl.
- Rene Amaya, an offensive back from San Diego, Texas, was a 1973 UT letterman and a participant in the 1974 Cotton Bowl.
- Kiki DeAyala of Cuba and later Houston, was a linebacker and an All Southwest Conference player in 1981-82. DeAyala was drafted and played in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals and in the United States Football League with the Houston Gamblers.The book gives newspaper sports page accounts of key plays from football games that still come up in conversation at gatherings of college alumni and sports trivia enthusiasts. An example is this one from the San Antonio Express, dated Nov. 26, 1920:
“Outplayed during half of a hotly contested game and carrying the short end of a 3-0 score, the Texas Longhorns came back in the final period here today and defeated their ancient rivals, the Aggies, 7-3 in one of the greatest games ever staged on Clark Field, when Francisco Dominguez, a Kerrville lad, plunged the final four yards to the Aggie goal line.”
Longoria, who received his masters degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio, is a training specialist for an insurance company in San Antonio. He said the lack of answers to his question about Latino professional football players started his quest for a few answers, and then more and more answers, which he eventually compiled into a book. He said he hopes the book will help bring to light the accomplishments of Latino athletes.
During his spare time over a period of 14 years, Longoria’s research included digging through old newspaper clips and interviewing a multitude of journalists, coaches, players and even families of early players for lively accounts of the players and their contributions to football.
Longoria said his book ends with significant professional football events in 1970 because that year marked the end of the old era in the National Football League and the beginning of a new one, when it was consolidated with the American Football League.
Athletes Remembered is published by Bilingual Review/Press at Arizona State University in Temple, Ariz. For additional information, contact Longoria at (210) 680-2062.