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January 1, 2001

UT Traditions: Freddie Steinmark

Freddie Steinmark

Freddie Steinmark



The scoreboard at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium is dedicated to the memory of a little safety who played on the Longhorns' team in 1969, when Texas beat Arkansas in what was called the Game of The Century. A week after the game, Freddie was diagnosed with bone cancer, and his leg was removed at the hip. For a year and a half, until his death in June of 1971, Steinmark became a national symbol of courage as he fought the disease. Longhorn players, as they go to the field for every game, touch Steinmark's picture on the scoreboard. They do it to play with the courage he showed in the ultimate battle—the fight for life.

Freddie Steinmark Scoreboard

Freddie Steinmark2In a pre-game ceremony prior to Texas' game with Miami on September 23, 1972, the scoreboard at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium was dedicated to the memory of Freddie Steinmark.

The small (5-10, 166) but tough Steinmark, was a starting safety for the Longhorns as a sophomore and junior in 1968-69. During that time, Texas won 20 of 22 games and two SWC titles with Steinmark providing five interceptions as a sophomore and two as a junior. Steinmark, who also earned Academic all-SWC honors in 1968 and 1969, led the Longhorns in punt returns (25 for 177 yards) as a sophomore and averaged 6.1 yards on 38 punt returns for his career.

Following the final regular season game of his junior year, he became a national symbol of courage and determination as he began a year-and-a-half battle against cancer. In fact, just six days before a diagnosis of bone cancer forced the amputation of his left leg, Steinmark started and played in Texas' 15-14 win over Arkansas which clinched a national championship.

Determined to live, he astounded the doctors by appearing on crutches less than a month later at the Longhorns' Cotton Bowl game with Notre Dame. After Texas won that game 21-17, Darrell Royal and the Longhorns presented the game ball to Steinmark. Within six weeks, he walked on an artificial leg across the stage to accept his letter jacket at the Longhorn football banquet.

Steinmark continued his college education without interruption and served as a student freshman coach during the fall of 1970, his senior year.

But his battle with cancer was one that could not be won on heart alone. Despite all the doctors could do, Steinmark died on Sunday, June 6, 1971. Born January 27, 1949, in Wheatridge, Colorado, he was 22.

As Longhorn players exit the dressing room for a game, they pass by the Steinmark scoreboard and touch his picture in recognition of the courage he showed in his fight for life and facing his cancer.
 
 
 



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