A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 14, 2010
“There are only two sports in Texas—football and spring football (practice)”

Texans love football. The saying goes that there are only two sports in Texas—football and spring football (practice).

University of Texas sports information director Jones Ramsey (1921-2004) made this famous quip supposedly in 1971 (according to a 1983 story below); the Jones Ramsey quip is cited in print in April 1972. Sometimes the statement refers to state of Texas and sometimes it’s limited to the University of Texas. Other states and colleges have also used the phrase.

A third sport was added to the phrase by 1973: “As they say in Texas, there are only three sports: football, spring football and recruiting.”


27 December 1948, Trenton (NJ) Evening News, “Sports Whirl,” pg. 16, col. 1:
Ray Eliot, the Illinois grid coach, may be right in defining basketball as “a non-contact sport which occupies time between football and Spring football”—but gosh, how much time it occupies!

2 April 1965, Dallas (TX) Morning News, sec. 2, pg. 2:
A STANDARD jest around the UT athletic department is that Nobis’ favorite sports are, in order, football and spring football.
(Tom Nobis, the University of Texas’ All-American guard—ed.)

Google News Archive
20 April 1972, Miami (FL) News, John Crittenden column, pg. D1, col. 1:
Texas PR man Jones Ramsey says the Longhorns have only two major sports—football and spring football.

22 April 1972, El Paso (TX) Herald-Post, “As I Was Saying...” by Bob Ingram, pg. 2C, col. 2:
Jones Ramsey, sports information director of Texas, says this Austin school has only two major sports—football and spring football.

Google News Archive
21 January 1973, Tri City Herald (Richland, WA), “Coaches’ Corner” by George H. Raveling, pg. 23, col. 1:
Jones Ramsey, Texas sports information director, describing the well-rounded athletic program at his school, “The University of Texas has only two major sports, football and spring football.”

Sports Illustrated
April 23, 1973
Scorecard
Edited by Robert H. Boyle
(...)
As they say in Texas, there are only three sports: football, spring football and recruiting.

Google Books
The College Game
By Malcolm Emmons
Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill
1974
Pg. 170:
Basketball coaches in Texas bemoan a situation in which “there are only two sports in Texas — football and spring football practice.”

17 September 1978, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Forget talk; Sooners still play football” by Steve Pate, pg. 33:
IT HAS BEEN fondly stated by Texans that there exist only two sports in the Lone Star State—football and spring football. That’s not really true. But here in Oklahoma, that’s dead solid perfectly correct.

Sports Illustrated
October 16, 1978
Scorecard
Edited by Sarah Pileggi
(...)
It has been said that there are three seasons in Texas—football, spring football and recruiting.

Google Books
29 May 1983, Victoria (TX) Advocate, pg. 6B, col. 5:
Ramsey Farewell
Creates Big Void

An AP Sports Analysis
By DENNE H. FREEMAN
AP Sports Writer
The “world’s tallest fat man” hangs his bocket up Aug. 31 and Southwest Conference sports won’t be the same without him around.

After 30 years as sports information director at Texas A&M University and the University of Texas, Jones Ramsey retires to the easy living in Ponca City, Okla.

Bill Little, an assitant sports information director at Texas since 1968, will replace Ramsey.

Writers, broadcasters, and associates will miss Ramsey’s pressbox efficiency and zinging one-liners which made him a Hall of Famer in his class.

Of course, some of his quips got him into hot water, but that was Ramsey. Any man who could quit smoking (July 4, 1961) and drinking (July 23, 1976) cold turkey deserved a few fumbles.

Ramsey’s line in 1971 that there are only two sports at Texas, “football and spring football” caused him everlasting grief.

“It was at a drinking session and I just threw it out and somebody used it,” Ramsey said. “I shouldn’t have said it. Darrell Royal chewed me out good.

“It was a bad thing for a public relations guy to say. It sure lasted a long time. Sports Illustrated has run it six times down through the years. Time Magazine had it last week.”

Google Books
Sportswit
By Lee Green
New York, NY: Harper & Row
1984
Pg. 120:
JONES RAMSEY Texas University publicist:
“There are only two sports at Texas — football and spring football.”

Google Books
Texas Thunder:
My eleven years with the Dallas Cowboys

By Harvey Martin
New York, NY: Rawson Associates
1986
Pg. 12:
Only two sports exist in Texas, the saying goes — football and spring football.

20 July 2004, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “Jones Ramsey 1921-2004” by Randy Riggs:
Jones Ramsey, a college sports publicist for coaching legends Darrell Royal and Paul “Bear” Bryant who once semi-jokingly declared that the only sports in Texas were “football and spring football,” died Monday. He was 83.

Ramsey, the University of Texas’ sports information director from 1960 until his retirement in 1982, died at North Austin Medical Center.

Google Books
The University of Texas Trivia Book
By Margaret Catherine Berry and DeLoss Dodds
Athens, GA: Hill Street Press
2005
Pg. 104:
There are only two sports at UT: football and spring football.—Jones Ramsey, sports information director

Dallas (TX) Observer - Sportatorium
Super Bowl XLV: Century in the Making
By Richie Whitt
Tue., Jan. 12 2010 @ 12:00PM
In Texas, the old saying goes, there exist only two sports: Football. And spring football.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, January 14, 2010 • Permalink