So much for speculation about what convoluted methodology Texas Tech's cabal of anointers might use to select the first class of the football Ring of Honor. Rather than agonize over The Greatest versus The Founding Fathers, The Best Red Raiders versus those who starred in professional football, the committee and Athletic Director took the easy route: they simply selected the only three players to have had their jerseys retired.
Fortunately, this approach produced three fully deserving entrants for the first class. E. J. Holub, Dave Parks and Donny Anderson really are three of the very best to play the game at Texas Tech. They also, coincidentally, played their high school football in west Texas, and were clustered at Tech in the brief span of 1958 through 1965.
Holub, who lettered at Tech from 1958 through 1960, attended Lubbock High, a Billy Joe Tolliver throw from the Texas Tech campus. Parks, who starred as a Red Raider from 1961 through 1963, marauded across the prepster gridirons of Abilene. And Anderson, whose dates are 1963 through 1965, wowed the locals in the small Panhandle town of Stinnett.
In some sense it is fitting that three west Texans who worked their magic for Tech precisely when the school was entering the college football big time of the Southwest Conference, constitute the inaugural class of the Ring of Honor.
It is also worth noting that Parks, Holub and Anderson left deep footprints in the NFL as well as Texas Tech. Parks, who was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1964 draft, remains the only Red Raider to be taken with the first selection of the draft. The vast majority of football programs cannot claim the distinction of having a player taken number one overall. Parks went on to a solid 10-year NFL career.
Holub was practically as successful in the professional ranks as he was at Tech. He earned AFL All Star status in 1961, 1962, 1964 1965 and 1966, and is a member of the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Honor. He is also the only player to start two separate Super Bowls at two different positions. One can only imagine the skill required to start at positions as different as center and linebacker at football's highest level.
Donny Anderson extended the legacy he created at Texas Tech to the Green Bay Packers under legendary coach Vince Lombardi. Anderson, who is one of 147 players enshrined in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, gained 5,800 total yards for the Pack and averaged 39.6 yards per punt. Like E. J. Holub, Anderson was truly a do-it-all performer, albeit as a skill position player rather than a lineman/linebacker.
With the induction of Holub, Anderson and Parks, Texas Tech's Ring of Honor is off to an excellent start. But for this institution to maintain its merit, it must remain extremely exclusive. As noted above, Texas Tech has retired only three jerseys. When considering future inductees for the Ring of Honor, a similar spirit of exclusivity should govern the process. Holub, Anderson and Parks have set the bar very high. Let it not slip in the future.