From the coach of the WWF Funking Dojo
The Brass Rail???
We had finished out last game of the season with a victory. Coach Joe Kerbel walked into the dressing room and congratulated us. Then he said, "I have an announcement to make. "We have been offered the opportunity to play in the Sun Bowl in El Paso Texas. I will leave the decision to you." and he turned and left the room. By any measure, I thought this team would love to come back one more time. We had won all but two of our games and brought great pride to the area with victories over national powers, Texas Tech, Arizona State, Bowling Green of Ohio, and New Mexico State. To my shock, some of the players did not want to continue the season and return to practice under coach Joe Kerbel. Our coach was a former marine captain and assistant coach at Oklahoma under Bud Wilkenson. No doubt, he was tough on his boys, but the reward was the best team in many a year at West Texas State University and probably the best team ever. We talked it over, and decided to take up the offer by a vote of two to one. I couldn't believe anybody on that team would not want to continue playing football but under Joe Kerbel it was tough enough that some didn't. I was thrilled, We were going to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.
Fellows, "It is a shame when you put yourselves into a position so that you are like a bug under someone's thumb and all they have to do is squeeze. That is the position you guys are in and there is nothing you can do about it. At risk is three and a half years of work toward your education and it can all go right out the window. Paige Carruth, Dean of men at West Texas State University was the man talking and listening were myself along with six other seniors who were facing expulsion from the university.
Paige Carruth went on, "I want you to know just because our team needs you to win the Sun Bowl, there will be no uprising on this campus. Right now your college career is hanging by a thread. You are all in that position where all I have to do is squeeze, and there is nothing you can do.
I listened, I believed what he said, and I was sorry, but there was no way this town was going to stand for seven seniors being kicked out of school, insuring that West Texas State University's would lose the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.
It was only two nights earlier that we were having a ball. Seven seniors from the West Texas State University football team were out on the town in Amarillo, Texas celebrating our recent invitation to play in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas against Ohio, University.
We were all at a place I had never heard of before and never returned after, "The Brass Rail." Were we drunk? We were drunker than fish swimming in a keg of beer. I remember our Quarterback, Corky Dawson on one side and me on the other lifting up our All American halfback and leading scorer in the nation, Jerry Don Logan and introducing him to everyone in the bar. He was so drunk we had to carry him up to the stage. Were we loud? If standing on the tables singing the West Texas Fight song is loud, we were loud.
All of a sudden the place was full of police. They were telling us to quiet things down and everything was cool. Then one of the police officers looked at our big tackle, Bob Petriech and said, "Your one of them, "damn Yankees," ain't you." It pissed me off. I swore and made a move at him and in a second fifteen officers had us handcuffed and off to jail.
It was our fault and we were out of line. As we entered the jail house I asked for my one phone call. I had seen that on TV. You always get one phone call, right? I knew all I had to do was reach my father, Dory Funk Sr.. He played cards and drank with the Chief of Police, Willy Alexander over at the Amarillo Club below the Vaughn Building. "No phone calls tonight," was the answer I got. Fortunately a friend at the bar got a call to my father and within a few hours we were released.
I will never forget the headlines in the Amarillo Globe News the next day. "Seven Seniors Celebrating Bowl Bid Jailed."
Being kicked out of college wasn't my only problem. I was currently doing my semester of student teaching at Tascosa High School in Amarillo. I was the assistant coach of the amateur wrestling team working under James Kyle. I showed up the next day and was told I would have to meet with the school principle, Bulldog, Howard Lynch. That meeting was much like the one with Paige Carruth. I ate humble pie and hoped I could continue student teaching. Principle Lynch was the hardest to talk to. He put me on his probation and with my promise to stay out of trouble let me return to teaching the class.
During a break, I remember Bill Boles one of my outstanding student wrestlers asking me, "Coach Funk, How does it feel to be in jail?" I felt about six inches tall.
January 1st, 1963, West Texas State University comes from behind to win the Sun Bowl in El Paso Texas and cap off the most memorable season in the history of the school with a 15 to 14 victory. All seven seniors were instrumental in the victory.
Thursday January 2, 1963, Upon returning to Amarillo on a chartered TWA Super Constellation at the airport, I signed a contract with Stanley Blackburn on the landing gear of the airplane to enter the world of professional wrestling.
January 18, 1963, I have my first professional wrestling match:
Dory Funk Jr. vs Jack Dalton (Don Fargo)
Handcuffed to Jack Dalton's partner, Jim Dalton is West Texas State Football All American, Jerry Don Logan.
The winner in eleven minutes with a leg scissors and pin fall is Dory Funk Jr.
In attendance is the entire West Texas State University Football Team and the entire Tascosa High School Wrestling Team.
As I left the ring and walked the aisle to the dressing room I shook hands with as many as I could. I will never forget as I came down the aisle, there was Tascosa High School Principle, Howard Lynch. He said congratulations Dory, I'm proud of you. The very next person I saw was West Texas State University Dean of Men Paige Carruth. He said congratulations Dory on your first win in wrestling, and Thanks to all of you boys for the win in El Paso at the Sun Bowl.
"You and this team will be remembered for a long time."
West Texas State University Football Team - On the
left, Dick Lowry, Bill Lorance, Jim Cunningham.
On the right, Franklin Thrasher, John Varnelle, and Doc Rowell. In the ring on my left, Jerry Don Logan, All American and leading scorer in the nation. "Lets get it on, Fargo."
What a great place to be.
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