Former Cowboy (Duane Thomas) turns attention to raising money to help children

Discussion in 'History Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    By Jim Crawford and Bruce Beck
    Amarillo Globe-News
    For the Children: Former West Texas State University and Dallas Cowboys running back Duane Thomas autographs a football at an Amarillo Wal-Mart store.

    Bruce Beck /

    Looking Ahead: Former West Texas State University and Dallas Cowboys running back Duane Thomas talks about raising money for Children's Miracle Network.

    Bruce Beck /
    Gone is the scary, sullen expression, the attitude, the bitterness. In its place is a warm, friendly, gregarious soul. Duane Thomas has, in a word, mellowed.
    The former West Texas State University and Dallas Cowboy star running back has been in town this week visiting various Wal-Mart stores on behalf of the Children's Miracle Network.

    Famous for his run-in over money with the Dallas Cowboys' management and coaching staff after the 1970 season during which he was named "Rookie of the Year," Thomas said most all controversy is the result of misunderstanding.

    "In those days, there were social issues. Racial issues," he said. "There was the fear people had of one another because of their internal differences. I thought it was all a bunch of malarkey, because God doesn't play favorites. It's having the tenacity to stand up for what you believe."

    End of subject.

    Wal-Mart manager trainee Mikey Perez, at the Coulter Street store, said Thomas was signing autographs for $10 each, which would go to the Children's Miracle Network. He would sign footballs, sold at Wal-Mart for $9.84, or Dallas Cowboys caps, on clearance for $7, or photos, which Thomas provided.

    "If someone (has) something at home they wanted autographed, they can bring it in and it would just be the $10 donation," he said.

    Thomas said he got involved with the Network because he was impressed with Wal-Mart's business approach.

    "I got into this back in the '90s," he said. "It was a philosophy of Sam Walton's that is demonstrating what people can do collectively. I also liked Sam Walton's spirit. I was amazed when I'd see a London Fog jacket that retailed for $150 sell for $90 at Wal-Mart. Same jacket, same material, made at the same place. I found I shared Wal-Mart's business philosophy. It's all about relationships."

    Sherri Babb, Wal-Mart event coordinator, said Wal-Mart is a big sponsor of both the Children's Miracle Network and Make-A-Wish Foundation, two charities near and dear to Thomas.

    "I noticed (Thomas) spends time with everyone who stops by," she said.
    Taking the time to talk with everyone who came by extended Thomas' day on Wednesday, Perez said.

    "He was supposed to leave at 7 p.m.," he said. "But by the time he finished talking to everyone, he didn't get out of here until 9."

    Thomas' appearance in the store on Wednesday raised about $600 for the Children's Miracle Network, manager trainee Lisa Martinez said.

    WT has changed a bunch since Thomas' days under the tutelage of legendary coach Joe Kerbel.

    "All of my memories of Coach Kerbel are fond," he said. "I can't thank him enough. He was one of the greatest persons I've ever met. I never realized how much I appreciate WT. Just being back, there's a certain spirit, a certain honesty."

    There are similarities in the new coaching regime at WT and those Thomas said he experienced during the Kerbel area. "Coach Carthel reminds me of Coach Kerbel. He's compassionate, caring. Coach Kerbel was dedicated to making WT the best football program possible. I think Coach Carthel is the same way. It's not about doing what the coach says, it's understanding what he says and then doing it."

  2. Wimbo

    Wimbo Active Member

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    Good for Duane. Using his celebrity status to raise money for a good cause is always right in my book. I think it is probably right in His book as well.

  3. Chief

    Chief "Friggin Joke Monkey"

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    Duane surfaces every few years.

    It's good to seem him looking good, sounding good and doing something to benefit others.

    Very interesting guy, to say the least.

    If you younger guys ever get a chance to watch tape of him, you'll see a natural-born ball-carrier. 6-2, 225 and moved like water in a stream.
  4. trueblue1687

    trueblue1687 Well-Known Member

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    I remember Thomas...the first #33. I think he would have definately been one of the greatest, but his attitude back then killed his career. The general concensus by his teammates was that he was a nut case. Good to see him doing something positive.

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