Heisman winner dies: John David Crow Dies

Published: June 19, 2015

Heisman winner dies: John David Crow Dies, Texas A&M’s first Heisman Trophy winner, John David Crow, has died at the age of 79, his family has confirmed. The cause of his death on Wednesday night has not been released.

Crow had lived in College Station after he retired from A&M’s athletics administration in 2001. According to A&M, “John David Crow passed away peacefully surrounded by his wife, Carolyn, and family. Services are pending and the family requests privacy at this time.”

Crow, who grew up in Springhill, La., won the Heisman in 1957 after his A&M coach at the time, Paul “Bear” Bryant, infamously said, “They ought to do away with the thing” if Heisman electors didn’t vote the young man he’d dubbed “Ol’ Crow” as the winner.

Crow, a thick-thighed and thunderous running back, was A&M’s lone Heisman winner until quarterback Johnny Manziel won the 2012 Heisman, and the two became quick friends. Despite Bryant’s multiple national championships later on at Alabama, Crow remained the fabled coach’s lone Heisman winner.

A two-way player for the Aggies, Crow rushed for 562 yards as a senior to go with five interceptions. He was a first-round NFL draft selection of the Chicago Cardinals in 1958, and a four-time Pro Bowler at the game’s highest level.

“John David has only a burning desire to win,” Bryant told reporters after Crow was named an All-American in 1957.

As a junior in 1956, Crow helped lead the Aggies to their first Southwest Conference title since 1941. He served as A&M’s athletic director from 1989-93 and as A&M’s associate athletic director from 1983-89. Crow would have turned 80 on July 8.

“Coming back to A&M and eventually serving as athletic director – that’s the ultimate for any athlete who played at a college,” Crow once said. “Hopefully, I’ll always be a part of Texas A&M. I’ve been fortunate to have never really had to divorce myself from football.”

John and Carolyn had three children: John David Jr., Annalisa and Jeannie. John Jr. died in a car accident in September 1994.

“I pray for every person who’s lost a child,” Crow once recalled. “Because we know how hard it is.”

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