Tom Landry

Dallas Cowboys Coach Tom Landry

Before the Dallas Cowboys

Born on September 11, 1924, Tom Landry was one of the most respected coaches ever in the National Football League. He was born in Mission, TX and played football during his high school career at Mission High School. He was a quarterback and led his high school team, during his senior year, to a 12-0 season. The football stadium at his high school is now named Tom Landry Stadium.

Landry attended college at the University of Texas in Austin, where he studied industrial engineering. After only his first semester, he served in the United States Army Air Corps to fight in World War II.

After finishing his tours of duty, he returned to University of Texas in 1946, where he played on the football team, as a defensive back and fullback.

Landry began his professional football career playing for the New York Yankees (AAFC during the 1940’s), and later moved to the New York Giants in 1950. He played football through the 1955 season, but the final two years of his career, he was considered a player and an assistant coach.

Dallas Cowboys Career

After beginning his coaching career with the Giants as a defensive coordinator, he became the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 1960. He was the Cowboys first coach and remained with the team for an impressive 29 seasons.

His first season with the Dallas Cowboys was a tough one. With a record of 0-11-1 and five or less wins over the next four seasons, the team got off to a rough start. However, then owner Clint Murchinson, believed in Landry and the Dallas Cowboys and signed the coach for another ten years.

In 1965 they increased their record to 50 percent and the next year they had a total of ten wins, which enabled them to make it to the championship.

Landry led his team to five Super Bowls and won 2 of those championship games. For 20 consecutive years, Landry and his Dallas Cowboys experienced winning seasons.

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Where is He Now

Tom Landry passed away on February 12, 2000. He was married to his wife, Alicia Wiggs for 51 years and had two daughters and a son.

Landry was a humble and quiet man. He was religious and would sometimes come to games right from Bible study. He did not like the nickname, “America’s Team”, to describe the Dallas Cowboys, and did not get caught up in the hype that often surrounded his team.

Fun Facts

• Coached with the Giants alongside Vince Lombardi
• Selected to the Pro Bowl in 1954
• Coach of the Year by the AP in 1966
• Part of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor
• NFC Championship five times
• Overall record 270-178-6

Without Tom Landry, the Dallas Cowboys would not have become the team they are today. His vision, commitment, and innovation advanced the team and the entire sport. Still today, you can find the popular 4-3 defense that he developed. Both on and off the field, he was a man that earned the respect of those that surrounded him.