Alumni Stories

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Morris Dale Hodgson

Class of 1955

By Ben Valencia
Tribune Sports News

He was an all around good guy in high school; Morris Hodgson that is. Hodgson was born and raised in DeKalb and experienced a few football accolades throughout his high school years.

Hodgson graduated from DeKalb High School in 1955. During his high school career he received honorable mention all four years for football and was football captain of the DeKalb Bears his senior year.

Hodgson was coached by Cecil Pirkey in his seventh grade year at DeKalb, then went on to East Texas State University; coming back to coach once again at DeKalb in Hodgson�s senior year of high school.

�Pirkey was the coach that motivated me to want to be in football,� Hodgson said. �He instilled the want to in me to become a coach.�

Hodgson attended college at New Mexico State University (NMSU), graduating from the college in 1962; he also coached there for six years before returning to the Texarkana area in 1968 to coach the Continental Football team the Titans. Hodgson brought nine players from New Mexico State to play on the Titan team in Texarkana from 1971 and 1972.

Hodgson�s 1960 Sun Bowl Aggies football team was recently inducted into the NMSU Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place on Feb. 14 during halftime of the NMSU men�s basketball game against Fresno State .

The 1960 Aggie football team was the only football squad in NMSU school history to go undefeated 11-0. The team capped off their season with a 20-13 win over Utah State during the 1960 Sun Bowl. The year before, the team defeated North Texas State 28-8 in the 1959 Sun Bowl.

During the 1960 period, the Aggie squad held the longest winning streak in the nation at 15 victories, also leading the nation in total offense with 419.63 yards per game and a scoring average of 37.4 points per game. The squad was also third in the nation leading in rushing yards with 263.9 rushing yards per game. Warren Woodson was head coach of the team and was named coach of the year in 1960 by the American Coaches Association. Woodson was prominent in Texarkana during his coaching career at Texarkana Junior College and Texas High. Woodson coached at both schools in 1927, winning both football championships for each school that season. He coached alone; he did not have any assistant coaches.

�I would often hear Coach Woodson on the phone talking to the Dallas Cowboy�s coach Tom Landry at the time,� Hodgson said. �He would call and ask Coach Woodson for plays.�

Woodson was famous for his book Victory Offense The Complete Football Coaching Manual. When Coach Woodson passed away in 1995, his daughter Dawn, passed the original book on to Hodgson, and today still reminds him of his dear friend Woodson.

�Dawn gave me the book because she knew that her dad would want me to have the original copy,� Hodgson said. �In the book there was a quote that Woodson had wrote in the book when he gave it to his daughter. It said; 'I tried hard to win because I knew it would mean a happier life for you. We are proud of you and we ask God to guide and protect you in paths of righteousness.�"

After so many years, 35 teammates gathered in Las Cruces , NM to accept their honors and enjoy a warm reunion.
�It was a great experience,� Hodgson said. �After all these years we�re still a team, and not a bad team at that. There were a lot of good times back then, and there was a lot of worked involved. We got to rehash all the plays and walk away without the bruises.�

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