Before integration of Lufkin ISD in 1971, African American students attended Dunbar High School, home of the state champion Dunbar Tiger football team. The team, led by head coach Elmer G. Redd, won state championships in 1964, 1966 and 1967. Many students went on to successful football careers in college and the NFL.
On Sept. 2, Lufkin ISD will celebrate the rich history of the Dunbar Tiger football team by inviting the legendary players of the state championship teams — including Ken Houston and Joe Williams — to be honored at a Lufkin Panther football game at Abe Martin Stadium.
Houston played football professionally from 1967 until his retirement in 1979. An All-Pro defensive back, Houston was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986. Joe Williams played running back for the Dallas Cowboys when they won their first Super Bowl title in 1972.
“We are so excited to be able to represent the many grandparents, aunts and uncles of our students that wore the Dunbar colors. Tradition runs deep from Dunbar, and our athletes are very proud to honor those who laid part of the foundation that makes us who we are today,” said coach Todd Quick, athletic director.
Speaking of Dunbar colors, the Lufkin Panther football team will be wearing Dunbar uniforms provided by an anonymous donor to show respect for the team who led the way in state championships. The uniforms will be black and white with “Dunbar” proudly displayed on the front of the jersey.
“Dunbar, and all of its achievements, is a rich part of the history of Lufkin ISD. I am thrilled that we will have the opportunity to honor and remember these teams and individuals that accomplished so much,” said Hall Henderson, president of the Lufkin school board.
Johnnie Ross, president of the Dunbar Alumni Association and Dunbar High School graduate, has been instrumental in organizing the event. We also are grateful to the members of the Dunbar Alumni Association for helping locate players and provide history of Dunbar High School.
“The legacy of Lufkin Dunbar High School will last from generation to generation. Through the community, former teachers, staff and students. The bond will never be broken, and ‘Dear Old Dunbar’ will echo in our hearts forever,” Ross said.
The night will begin with a reception for the former players and the Dunbar Alumni Association in the new Panther Activity Center. Afterward, a recognition of the players will commence on John Outlaw Field, and then the team members will be seated on bleachers in the end zone for the game.
We are thrilled to welcome the players back to Lufkin and to be a part of the legacy that is Dunbar. At Lufkin ISD, we celebrate the past and look forward to the future.