LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech Athletics mourns the death of College Football Hall of Famer and Ring of Honor member E.J. Holub, who passed away Saturday at the age of 81.
“There are few players throughout history with the talent of an E.J. Holub,” Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt said. “He was the first College Football Hall of Famer in our history and will forever be remembered for his ability to impact the game on both sides of the ball. Most importantly, he was a dedicated Red Raider throughout his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”
Nicknamed “The Beast” throughout his playing career at both Lubbock High School and Texas Tech, Holub was a two-way player under head coach DeWitt Weaver from 1958-60 when the Red Raiders were transitioning from the Border Conference to the Southwest Conference.
Holub garnered first team All-America accolades at center in both 1959 and 1960, becoming the first Red Raider in school history to earn the honor twice in a career. In fact, his career consisted of several firsts as he was Tech’s first consensus All-American as a senior in 1960 as well as the school’s first selection to the All-SWC team that same year.
Holub finished 10th in the Heisman Trophy voting as a senior, capping a memorable collegiate career that led to his induction in the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame in 1986. He was previously enshrined in the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 1977 and later joined the charter class into the Ring of Honor in 2012.
“When you think of the prestige of what it means to be in the Ring of Honor, you quickly think of E.J. Holub,” said former Texas Tech quarterback Rodney Allison, now the executive director of the Double T Varsity Club. “E.J. will be missed by many, and we join the hundreds of others in mourning his passing.”
Holub went on to be selected sixth overall by the Dallas Texans in the 1961 AFL Draft and in the second round of the NFL Draft that same year by the Dallas Cowboys. He later signed with the Texans, beginning a successful 10-year professional career that included a pair of Super Bowl appearances.
Holub played two seasons for the Texans before the organization transitioned to Kansas City and became the Chiefs ahead of the 1963 season. The Chiefs later went on to play in Super Bowl I in 1967 where Holub, playing as a linebacker, fell to another eventual Texas Tech Ring of Honor member in Donny Anderson and the Green Bay Packers.
Various knee injuries throughout his career forced Holub, a five-time AFL All-Star, to return to the offensive side of the ball late in his career as the Chiefs’ center and deep snapper. He capped his career in 1970 by helping lead the Chiefs to Super Bowl IV where Kansas City prevailed this time, topping the Minnesota Vikings, 23-7.
To this date, Holub remains the only player in history to start two Super Bowls at two different positions. He retired from football following one final knee injury early in training camp in 1971.
Following his playing career, Holub gave back to his alma mater by helping raise funds for student-athlete scholarships as a member of the Red Raider Club. Holub remained close to the football program, too, as he is famously remembered for an inspiring halftime speech during the 1999 season finale against Oklahoma.
The Red Raiders charged out of the Jones AT&T Stadium locker room following Holub’s speech to rally for a 38-28 victory over the Sooners in the final game under head coach Spike Dykes. Holub helped carry Dykes off the field that day, a lasting image that remains one of the most iconic scenes in school history.
Funeral processions are pending at this time.