AUSTIN (KXAN) — Steve Worster, a two-time All-American fullback in Darrell K Royal’s pioneering Wishbone offense for the Longhorns, died Saturday at 73 years old, the University of Texas athletic department announced.
Worster is part of the Texas Athletics Hall of Honor and a member of three organizations’ halls of fame — Texas Sports, Texas High School Football and Cotton Bowl.
Worster isn’t just a Longhorn legend, as his fame was statewide, beginning at Class 3A Bridge City near the Texas-Louisiana border. He led the Bridge City Cardinals to the 1966 state championship and was “one of the crown jewels in the Longhorns 1967 signing class,” the university said.
As the fullback in Royal’s Wishbone offense in the late 1960s, Worster’s punishing running style was perfect to wear down defenses in the triple-option set that changed college football forever. In three seasons with the Longhorns (freshmen weren’t allowed to play varsity), he ran for 2,353 yards and 36 touchdowns on 457 carries. He led the Longhorns to two national championships in 1969 and 1970 and three Southwest Conference titles as well as three consecutive trips to the Cotton Bowl.
To cap the 1970 national title year, Worster ran for 155 yards on 20 carries in a 21-17 win over Notre Dame and was named the game’s most outstanding player on offense.
“Steve was the toughest football player I have ever seen,” Bob McKay said via a UT press release. McKay was an offensive lineman and teammate of Worster’s. “He hit or was hit on every down and never backed down or slowed up.”
Bill Little, former UT sports information director, said in the release that Worster was the “Greatest of all Time,” long before the popular acronym GOAT entered the American lexicon.
“He was arguably the best that ever was in his time,” Little said. “For those who saw him play in the late 1960s as an All-American fullback at Texas, if he wasn’t the ‘best’ to play the game at Texas, no one was better.”