Tex Schramm Passes Away

Tex Schramm, the first team executive elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and founder of the classic phrase, "America's Team," died Tuesday at his Dallas home. The former Cowboys president and general manager was 83.

Tex Schramm, an icon in not only the National Football League, but the sports world in general, passed away Tuesday at his Dallas home.

He was 83 years old.

To say that Schramm built the Dallas Cowboys would be a bit of an understatement. He was actually hired before the city of Dallas was officially given an NFL franchise.

His first move was one of his best- the hiring of Tom Landry as the head coach. The relationship would last over 20 seasons producing 20 straight winning seasons, 18 playoff appearances, 13 division titles, 5 Super Bowl appearances and two championships.

Schramm worked for the Los Angeles Rams from 1947-56, before moving on to CBS-TV Sports in 1957. While there, he directed the first televised broadcast of the Winter Olympics and hired Pat Summerall to broadcast Giants football games.

Upon joining the Cowboys at the age of 39, Schramm began a whole host of changes to promote what became known as "America's Team."

He took risks in the draft, moved a game that would be played annually on Thanksgiving Day, and formed the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders out of an elite group of dancers before any other team had thought to do so.

He was always a step ahead of the game.

It was Schramm who drafted Hershel Walker out of the USFL, and it was also Schramm who put radios in the helmet of the modern day NFL quarterback. He was also one of the most instrumental figures in the NFL-AFL merger in 1966.

Schramm, who founded the exclusive "Ring of Honor" was too be honored this season by being inducted into the club itself. The Cowboys are still planning on honoring him by doing just that during the 2003 season.

"This organization and its fans will forever be the beneficiaries of Tex Schramm's spirit and vision, his passion and creativity," owner Jerry Jones told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram on Tuesday.

Schramm was also successful off the field with his family. He was married to his wife Marty for over 60 years before she passed away last December.

He's survived by daughter Christi Wilkinson and son-in-law Bill Wilkinson of San Antonio, daughter Kandy Court, and son-in-law Greg, and six grandchildren.

A private funeral will be held Friday, followed by a public memorial service at 2 p.m. at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas.

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