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Heisman 1957 John David Crow
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Tough Love

1957 Heisman winner John David Crow

Texas A&M back John David Crow played for Paul Bryant in the 1950s, when the Bear personified toughness. Later in life, Bryant would say that if he had it to do over again, he would have coached differently. But Bryant never fazed Crow. When you grow up as Harry Crow's son, you don't scare easily. "People thought Coach Bryant was tough," John David Crow said. "He was not very tough compared to my dad." In 1957, Harry Crow worked as the assistant superintendent of the wood yard at the International Paper Company plant in Springhill, La. Harry and Velma Crow were a traditional couple of their time. On the day that Velma and John David drove to the wood yard, Harry did not take it well. "We got through the gate," John David Crow said. "Daddy was concerned and a little upset because she came out there and interrupted his workday." They had come with special news. John David, named for his paternal grandfather (John Sterling Crow) and his father (Harry David Crow), had won the 1957 Heisman Trophy. Harry Crow's boy was the most outstanding college football player in the nation. "I let her tell," Crow said. "I swear I saw a tear in the corner of his eye." He thinks he did, anyway. More than 50 years later, the amazement in John David Crow's voice remains. Had he ever seen his father cry? "Oh, no, no, no, no," Crow said. "Maybe I wanted to see it so bad. I want to tell you that as I remember it. I wouldn't get on the stand, put my hand on the Bible and say this is what happened. But that's the way I remember it." Harry and Velma, who had never been farther from home than San Marcos, Texas, went to New York. They toured the city. They went to Toots Shor's, the saloon where athletes and writers and everyone who was anyone in sports congregated. And they saw their son presented with the Heisman Trophy. That penetrated even the tough hide of Harry Crow.
-- Ivan Maisel


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