Former Texas A&M quarterback David Walker wants to see more recognition for the Aggies’ 1976 team that finished 10-2.
Recently, the former player contacted SEC Country after a piece was published about the Aggies lettermen who planned to return for Texas A&M’s spring game Saturday. Walker, who played for Texas A&M from 1973-77, wrote a letter that details his argument for why the 1976 team deserves to be honored during an Aggies game day.
In his note, Walker wrote that the 1976 team under coach Emory Bellard “is easily in the top 4 or 5” in Texas A&M history. That year, the Aggies finished No. 7 in The Associated Press Top 25 and No. 8 in the Coaches Poll. Texas A&M beat rival Texas 27-3 in Austin and ended the season with a 37-14 victory against Florida in the Sun Bowl.
However, Houston and Texas Tech finished with 7-1 records in the Southwest Conference, slightly better than Texas A&M’s 6-2 conference mark. The Aggies lost to Houston and Texas Tech that season.
Here’s Walker’s letter to SEC Country:
That team, of which I had the honor of being a captain, is one that is easily in the top 4 or 5 to ever play at Texas A&M.
Unfortunately, the 1976 team has never been recognized by the university on game day as so many others have. This team accomplished more than any team in modern school history — yet is not included in the Aggies’ all-time greats.
Just look at the accomplishments of the 1976 team juxtaposed against decades of other Aggie teams. The 1976 team is the ONLY Aggie football team to do all the following:
- Defeat arch-rival University of Texas in Austin;
- Win its bowl game (this was back in the day when there were only 12 bowls in existence); and
- Finish in the AP and coaches top 10 final rankings
Can you imagine — in all the years and years of Aggie football — that no other Aggie team beat Texas in Austin, won its bowl game and finished in the top 10 at the end of the season? It’s mind-boggling to me not only that this is the reality of it, but that this team accomplished so much and has not been recognized for it.
The mid-70s teams, of which I am so proud to have been a part, literally put A&M on the map in the modern era, winning 36 games in four years—after decades of losing records.
That 1976 team was incredible, and if you look at the Aggies’ current home winning percentage sitting at sub-.500 vs. Power 5 teams in this century, it makes honoring the 76’ers’ accomplishments seem more important than ever to me.
I was a four-year starter and two-year team captain at A&M. When I graduated, I was the winningest quarterback in A&M school history. Forty years later, I still rank second in all-time wins at QB. I also held the single-game rushing record for A&M QBs for 35 years….until Johnny came along. 🙂
I just want this 1976 team to get its due while its members are still alive to see it.
SEC Country reached out to Texas A&M spokesman Alan Cannon, who relayed word from the school’s Lettermen’s Association that “as a policy, Texas A&M only recognizes championship teams on certain anniversary years with an on-field moment.”
The Lettermen’s Association also wrote that, in addressing the lettermen who returned for the Aggies’ spring game Saturday, “We actually welcomed back 368 former football players, managers, trainers and coaches to the Aggie Football Reunion weekend. These individuals do not indicate which teams they played on but we do have class years listed in their responses. If we sort the list by class year and count all attendees between the class years of 1972 and 1979 (which would capture all who potentially could have participated on the 1976 team) we show 42 members attending.”
An invitation for the spring game gathering was sent by email to all former football players, managers, trainers and coaches in the database for the Lettermen’s Association. No one was selectively invited to this event.
Still, Walker makes a compelling point that the 1976 team is one of the most notable in school history. He threw for 675 yards and ran for 277 yards that season.