What It Means to be a Longhorn: Noble Doss

8/27/2012


In 1938, Mr. Bible was in his second year as the Texas coach...HIs first season, they hadn't been very good, but he had such a reputation, and The University was such an important place, that a whole bunch of us committed to come to school. There were 125 of us who were part of that 1938 freshman class...A scholarship meant $40 a month, but it was the first year in the new Hill Hall dorm, and the players had to pay the univeristy $30 a month for room and board. The University held out $7.50 a month to pay tuition, leaving us $2.50 a month spending money. 

Mr. Bible was strict--very strict. He didn't allow any funny business, but he was the greatest teacher I ever knew. He taught us so much more than just football, and as we began playing as sophomores in 1939, things began to change for Texas football...Mr. Bible was a tough coach, and he was a great motivator. Before our Texas A&M game in 1940, he brought out a poem called "It Can Be Done." The Aggies were defending national champions, and they were headed for the Rose Bowl if they won. They were undefeated in 19 games. But we had never lost to them in Memorial Stadium. I'll never forget that poem: "Somebody said that it couldn't be done, but he with a chuckle replied that 'maybe it couldnt' but he would be one who wouldn't say so till he tried...." Mr. Bible thought if we could surprise them early, we would have a chance. He had put in a special play for that game...We held that 7-0 lead the whole game. I was lucky enough to come up with three interceptions and they never scored. 

Our senior year, in 1941, we were really good. Things were really rolling. We had a big write-up in Life magazine, were unbeaten through our first six games, and were averaging almost 40 points a game. I will never forget our Baylor game in Waco because we lost a chance at a national championship when I dropped a pass. We had a 7-0 lead, and I ran a down and out--the same play that had worked against Texas A&M. I was open at the goal line, and the ball just went right through my arms. It would have been a 45-yard scoring pass, and we would have gone ahead 14-0. Instead, Baylor scored in the last seconds to tie the game 7-7. I have thought about that play every day of my life since. It was the national championship, and I dropped it....

Being a Longhorn has been my life. So many of my friends came from those days at Texas, and I have been fortunate to live most of my life in Austin, where The University of Texas has meant everything to me.
Mr. Bible was everything I ever wanted in a coach. I can still see him standing in front of a chalk board, pointing with an old pool cue to plays, over and over again. He gave us a foundation in discipline and responsibility. We got a great education and a lifetime of memories. 

Noble Doss, wingback 1939-1941, still shares the Texas record for interceptions in a career and in a single season more than 70 years after he set them in 1941. He was long remembered for his famous "impossible catch", an over-the-shoulder reception that set up the only touchdown in Texas' 7-0 upset of previously unbeaten A&M in 1940. He is a member of the Longhorn Hall of Honor.