Former Rice footballer Dicky Maegle has died at 86


Rice’s Dicky Maegle, known for one of college football’s most historic plays, has passed away. He was 86 years old.

His wife, Carol, said he died at her home on Sunday. She said he fell several months ago and his health has deteriorated since then.

“He was a real prankster, but he was proud of his football history and his hotel history,” said Carol Maegle. “He was quite a gentleman. “

In the 1954 Cotton Bowl, Maegle, the Owls’ All-America running back, was in the middle of what would have been a 95-yard touchdown run when Alabama player Tommy Lewis came off the bench in the middle of pitch and threw a block at Maegle as he sped along the Crimson Tide sideline.

Game officials awarded a touchdown to Maegle, who was knocked down and gasped for the unexpected blow, and the Owls won 28-6. He scored points from 79, 95 and 34 yards and totaled 265 rushing yards in 11 carries, a Cotton Bowl record for over 40 years.

“After that happened, I said this piece was going to last quite a long time,” Maegle said in an interview with The Chronicle in 2013. “I went back and did some research, and to my knowledge, that had never happened, I knew it would be something to talk about forever.

Maegle, who played in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, was a Houston celebrity after his retirement.

In addition to football, he spent 28 years in the hospitality industry as the manager of Tidelands and Tides II hotels in the Rice / Texas Medical Center area and booked performers for the Tidelands Club, one of the top venues in city ​​entertainment from the late 1950s to the late 1950s. 1970s.

Bob Newhart recorded one of his first comedy albums in Maegle’s nightclub in the early 1960s. Maegle would have lunch with TV host Ed Sullivan every time he visited New York after the two met when Maegle was on CBS’s “Ed Sullivan Show” as a college All-American.

Maegle’s road to the bench tackle began in his hometown of Taylor. He’s always been one of the smaller guys on the soccer or basketball field, albeit one of the best.

“I always thought I was a better basketball player than a footballer,” said Maegle, whose name was spelled “Moegle” when he was in college before changing it to that. it corresponds to its pronunciation. “People say, ‘You’ve never seen yourself play,’ and I take that as a compliment.”

Baylor was one of the early favorites, and Texas asked him to continue as a freshman in anticipation of a scholarship down the line. But the last word went to Red Bale, one of Rice coach Jess Neely’s longtime assistant coaches, and he accepted a scholarship with the Owls.

The Owls were 21-10 in Maegle’s three college seasons, with a Southwestern Conference title in 1953 and a 7-3 record in 1954, when it was an All-American consensus. .

After the Cotton Bowl play, Maegle and Lewis toured New York City, appearing on NBC’s “Today” with Dave Garroway and on “Ed Sullivan Show”. The players arrived in New York City a day before Sullivan’s show to rehearse, and afterwards Sullivan told them that they had been booked to spend the night in the same room at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

“I said, ‘Mr. Sullivan, did you say a bedroom? He said yes, and I said, ‘Look, this guy just tackled me in front of 50 million people. What if he has a nightmare in the middle of the night and tries to throw me out the window? ‘

“Ed Sullivan said, ‘I understand your point of view, son,’ and said to someone, ‘Get that boy in another room on another floor. And I slept well that night.

Maegle continued in the hotel and real estate business until his retirement. Questions about the bench tackle, however, follow him to the grocery store and races around town, and the play always comes back on TV when there’s a relatively odd play in college or the NFL.

“People are still asking questions about this, and you have to let them go over it with you. You can’t be rude, ”Maegle said. “It’s part of who I am. “

Services will be on Monday at Geo. H. Lewis & Fils in Houston.

Correspondent David Barron contributed to this report.

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