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55 Richard Gill


keith
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It definitely is the same player.  I assume that he was switched from running back to linebacker later in his career.  Historical note:  To raise money for the family North Texas hosted the Harlem Globetrotters for a charity game in the old pit. 

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Richard Gill was a linebacker on the varsity from Woodville.  As I recall, he died on the operating table as they were trying to keep a blood clot from reaching his heart or lungs.  The surgery took place at the old Flow Memorial Hospital on Scripture Street.  I believe that the anesthesia had something to do with making it difficult to save him.  A very tragic loss as the surgery was not presumed to be serious.

Gill was an all-MVC linebacker for two years and an outstanding player.  If I don't have my years mixed up, only sophomores, juniors and seniors played on the varsity at that time so it's possible that Richard might have played running back as a freshman and wore the number 33 because Ray Renfro's number had not been retired at that time.  I agree with drex, there has only been one Richard Gill that played at North Texas so they are the same player.

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22 hours ago, GrayEagle said:

If I don't have my years mixed up, only sophomores, juniors and seniors played on the varsity at that time...

I think that's right, @GrayEagle. 1972 was the first season that freshmen were eligible to play varsity football. After the Marshall plane crash that killed 37 players and coaches, the NCAA granted the school special permission to play freshmen in 1971. The rest of the country was permitted to do the same the following year. By then, freshmen athletes in every other sport except basketball had already been playing varsity for four years.

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Someone else brought this up a long time ago.  This is one of the saddest stories I've ever heard as it relates to our history.  Does anyone know what happened to his family?  Did his children go to college?

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18 hours ago, JesseMartin said:

Someone else brought this up a long time ago.  This is one of the saddest stories I've ever heard as it relates to our history.  Does anyone know what happened to his family?  Did his children go to college?

I was wondering the same thing. 

I went to HS with a team mate of Richard Gill. His name was Glenn Hachtel and he started at LB for North Texas. Glynn was usually very sparing in his praise for other players, but he surprised me with how much he respected Richard Gill, both as a person and as a great athlete. Glynn was certain that, had he lived, Gill was going to he a high draft choice in the NFL when he graduated.

 

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2 hours ago, greenb.o.g. said:

First time I'm trying this, so hopefully it works.

 

Denton_Record_Chronicle_Sun__Sep_12__1971_.pdf

Thank you for that.   I feel a bit closer to the university and saddened at the loss of someone so young with such promise, even so long ago.  What a brilliantly penned letter illustrating amazing respect for what seemed to be an incredible person.  By the end of it i almost felt as though I knew the man myself.   

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