By Lance Fleming
Release Date: October 9, 2018
The history of football at Abilene Christian University is about more than wins and losses. It’s about shaping young men into great husbands, loving fathers, and community pillars. In their days as Wildcats, the players in ACU’s football history left their mark on the program and the university. Wildcat Football is about games played, championships won, coaches who taught more than football, friendships forged, and men and women who provided the program with the resources to attain greatness. Their stories include:
■ A shy kid from Greenville, Mississippi, named Wilbert Montgomery. A notoriously slow walker but an incredibly fast runner, he left Jackson State at the altar to play for ACU—and went on to land in the College Football Hall of Fame. Often called the most defining player in the history of Wildcat football, Montgomery set the all-time record for college-level touchdowns and went on to play in the NFL, earning two Pro Bowl invitations and an appearance at the Super Bowl in 1980.
■ The undefeated 1950 Wildcats. With a perfect record and perfect pitch, they were a football team that liked singing so much they became known as the “Singing Christians” on their way to ACU’s only undefeated season. They boasted an 11–0 record, a Texas Conference championship, and players like Wally Bullington, who would go on to become Abilene Christian’s most influential head coach and athletics director.
■ The kick heard ’round the world. One partly cloudy afternoon in 1976, Abilene Christian played East Texas State and scored the longest field goal in college football history. On October 16, 1976, Ove Johansson, a little-known transfer student from Sweden, kicked the ball 69 yards to score for the Wildcats, a world record that still stands.
■ The Wildcat champions of the 1970s. In just five short years in the mid-1970s, Abilene Christian won two national championships, a pair of conference championships, three bowl games, and forty-four games overall. The Wildcats were led by All-American players and outstanding coaches on their way to one of the most exciting runs in ACU history. But there was more to those teams than what happened on the field; they managed to form an unbreakable bond that continues to this day.
These stories and more are explored feature-style in Wildcat Football. With contributions from coaches and longtime supporters of ACU Athletics, this book relives the proud history and the greatest moments of Abilene Christian University football.
Lance Fleming has served ACU Athletics for twenty-one years and is currently Associate Director of Athletics for Media Relations. An Abilene native, Fleming graduated from ACU in 1992 and was a writer for the Abilene Reporter-News and Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Lance and his wife, Jill, founded the P4X Foundation, honoring their son, Rex, who passed away in 2012 after a battle with brain cancer. Lance and Jill have been married for twenty-one years and have two other children, Ashley and Ryan.
Dimensions (inches) 7.5 x 9.5