On this day in 1999, Sealy recognized the accomplishments of the man who ran through town, through the cities of Dallas and Los Angeles and right to Canton’s national football hall of fame.
Eric Dickerson, the 1978 graduate of Sealy High School, returned to his high school field Sept. 10, 19 years ago to see his Tigers square off against the Waller Bulldogs in the second week of the season.
The prior month, a bust of his head was unveiled at the 1999 enshrinement ceremony in Canton, Ohio along with the likes of Lawrence Taylor, Ozzie Newsome, Tom Mack, and Billy Shaw. It was on this day that he got the opportunity to rekindle his appreciation for the small town that made him who he is.
The town was able to give a little back to him as well and the Sealy Chamber of Commerce showed a token of their appreciation by hosting a luncheon at the Legion Hall. During the ceremony, Mayor Betty Reinbeck presented the documentation making that day Eric Dickerson Day in the city as well as provided Dickerson with a key to the city.
Later on at night, during the halftime break of the football game, Austin County Judge Carolyn Bilski supplied documentation to recognize Eric Dickerson Day in the entirety of Austin County.
It was also during that service that a sign was unveiled next to the concession stand at the football stadium, then known as Tiger Stadium with T.J. Mills still holding head coaching duties, making it known that this is the home of a hall of famer.
He mentioned to reporters after the halftime celebration that the day as a whole was a very special one, specifically because it was coming from an impactful group of people.
“It means a lot because it comes from my hometown,” Dickerson said in Billy Drago’s article in the Sealy News. “I grew up right here and played junior high and high school football, so from that aspect, it means even more. It’s on the level with the induction to the football hall of fame because it’s from the people that are from my town that actually know me.”
Those people who did know him remembered him bringing the first state championship back to Sealy in 1978. He was also named a High School All-American in his final year before heading to Southern Methodist University to be a part of the backfield tandem now known as the Pony Express.
He piled up 4,450 yards and 47 touchdowns splitting time but finished third in the Heisman Trophy race his senior year when the Mustangs finished 11-0-1 and 2nd in the final AP Poll.
He was drafted first overall to the Los Angeles Rams and immediately rewrote the record books, setting new highs in rushing attempts (390), yards (1,808) and touchdowns (18) for a rookie. The performance was decent enough to be named All-Pro, Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and a Pro Bowl nod.
By the time he was done with the League, his 13,259 yards on the ground were good enough for the second-most at the time.