CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A former WVU five sport athlete is now a finalist to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Chuck Howley played football, track and field, gymnastics, wrestling, and he swam for the Mountaineers from 1954-1957.
Howley was the first, and will likely be the last, WVU athlete to compete in five sports.
After leaving WVU, the Chicago Bears selected Howley with the No. 11 overall pick in the 1958 NFL draft.
Then, in 1961, the brand new franchise the ‘Dallas Cowboys’ took him from the Bears.
Howley became the Cowboys regular outside linebacker for the next 12 years. He helped lead the Cowboys to Super Bowl V in 1971.
Dallas lost that game, 16-13, to the Baltimore Colts; but Howley still won the MVP award. Howley is the only player from a losing team to win the MVP award.
“He told me they thought they were kidding when they told him he won MVP,” said Chuck’s son, Scott. “He just couldn’t believe it. It was a pretty bittersweet moment because they lost the game, but he ended up getting MVP.
The camaraderie he had with his teammates really says it all,” Scott continued. “He was very close with all of his teammates, and they still keep in touch with each other to this day. It’s like we have this whole extended family.”
Scott went on to say that back then, in the NFL, they practiced on a field with a core gated tin fence around it. There wasn’t any daycare, so they’d bring the kids to practice every day, and everyone’s dads would watch each others’ kids. So his dad’s teammates truly became family.
And they’ve all been calling constantly once they heard that he was a finalist to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“It’s kind of been one of those up and down things where he’s made it on the list over the years, but has never gotten this far before,” said Scott. “So we’re very excited about it.
He’s not in great health,” Scott continued. “He’s 86, and he’s in the final stages of dementia. So it registers, but I don’t know how deeply. This has been a lifetime dream of his, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I mean it was the one thing that’s always sort of been on his bucket list, and I do think a part of him still would remember it and remember the significance of that moment. But it is hard to tell with him these days.”
Scott went on to say, if it does happen, he hopes the crew will come tell his dad in person, so it’ll fully resonate with him and he can truly realize all he’s accomplished.