Pete's Ponderings-February 9
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  02/10/2009

There is a posse riding into town this weekend for a major hoedown. The induction of the 1960 unbeaten Aggie football team into the First Community Bank Hall of Fame takes place Saturday, Feb. 14, in the Pan American Center.


Some of these Cowpokes are already in the hall as individuals but no Aggie team in any sport did what these gentlemen accomplished in 1960. There will the names that everyone knows on hand and there will be the players who weren’t as well know but blocked the defenders, made the tackles on opponents and put their blood, sweat and tears into every day of practice to earn their perfect 11-0 record.


For every Charley Johnson putting touchdowns on the scoreboard there was a J.W. Witt and a Brownie Yelvington keeping rushing linemen at bay. For every Pervis Atkins there was a Clem Mancini or Don Yanessa keeping the opponents from the same end zone that Atkins danced in. Fans heard Bob Gaiters name on the radio and read of all the points he scored for the mighty offensive machine but Carl Covington and Floyd Strickland added to the mix that led to the Sun Bowl and a victory over Utah State.


Every member of this team’s offensive backfield went on to play in the pros. Johnson, initially with the Cardinals, who roosted in St. Louis then. Bob Gaiters and the New York Giants were in the NFL title game his rookie year. Bob Jackson went to the San Diego Chargers and an AFL Championship, and Pervis Atkins started with the Rams and as running back and receiver.


Those receiving Johnson’s passes were E.A. Sims, Royce Cassell and Bob Kelley. But younguns like Dave Thompson played every play in practice hoping for a chance to do his part on the field when called upon. The coach of this Aggie super team was Warren Woodson. A man who believed in disciplined practice and execution on the field. Woodson is in the college football hall of fame and won 63 percent of his games in Las Cruces and the last two bowl games that NM State played in.


The honoring of this team is not only for those men who played, but also for those people who need to see what Aggie football can be. The link between these proud alums and what new coach DeWayne Walker is building is there. It is up to all Aggie fans to realize that a celebration of this sort can be a regular occasion if we all pull our weight on this cattle drive we call a football season. The praise for the Phil Ehly’s and Doug Veasey’s, Pete Smolanovich’s and the rest is richly deserved. As we celebrated them, let’s join with Walker in making celebrations real for the future.


‹ New Mexico State Aggie Athletics

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