ACU sophomore sprinter Bobby Morrow makes his claim as the “World's Fastest Man” by winning the 100 meters at the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. Morrow, who cruises home in 10.5 seconds, goes on to win gold in the 200 meters (20.6) and as the anchor on the U.S. 4x100 relay team (world-record 39.5). In January 1957, Morrow was named Sports Illustrated's "Sportsman of the Year" for 1956 over New York Yankees centerfielder Mickey Mantle, World Series hero Don Larsen, Notre Dame halfback Paul Hornung, and pro football MVP Frank Gifford of the New York Giants. The next year, Morrow was named the winner of the Sullivan Award, recognizing him as the top amateur athlete in the United States.
Former Wildcat all-America running back Wilbert Montgomery receives the highest honor of his career when he is inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. Montgomery is in the first college division class to be inducted into the Hall, and he goes in with NFL Hall of Fame players Walter Payton and Terry Bradshaw. In his four-year Wildcat career, Montgomery set college division records for career touchdowns (70) and touchdowns in a regular season (31 in 1973). He set the ACU career record for points scored with 422, and he led the Wildcats to the 1973 NAIA Division I national championship.
ACU's 19-year-old quartermiler Earl Young wins a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rome as part of the U.S. 4x400 relay team. He contributes a lap of 45.6 on a team that runs 3:02.2 for a world record. Young, who was on three world-record relay teams and also ran a world-record time of 55.5 in the indoor 500 yards, was named the outstanding athlete at the 1961 Texas Relays in Austin.
Billy Olson wins the NAIA national indoor championship in the pole vault with a world indoor record vault of 18-10. The win is the seventh of his eight straight pole vault titles and one of 11 indoor world records Olson set during his career. His win at the outdoor national championship meet led ACU to the team title. During the 1980s, Olson and Soviet vaulter Sergei Bubka swapped the world indoor record back and forth, making Olson a household name in track and field.
On a day that was supposed to be a celebration of Wilbert Montgomery becoming college football's all-time leading touchdown king, a little-known Swedish kicker steals the spotlight. Ove Johansson, who had never played football until he tried out for the 1976 ACU football team, kicks a world-record 69-yard field goal on the final play of the first half in Abilene Christian's 17-0 Homecoming win over East Texas State. That same day, Montgomery scores his 67th touchdown, breaking the old record of 66 set by Walter Payton of Jackson State.
ACU and West Texas A&M square off in a second-round NCAA Division II playoff game at Shotwell Stadium that became the greatest offensive performance in NCAA and Lone Star Conference history. The Wildcats and Buffs combine to set 44 NCAA, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division II playoff, conference and school records in the Wildcats' amazing 93-68 win over the Buffs. A crowd of 11,797 sees ACU total a school-record 810 yards of offense and score touchdowns on 13 of 15 possessions. Senior running back Bernard Scott rushes for 292 yards and six touchdowns and catches passes for another 61 yards and one TD. His seven touchdowns and 42 points are NCAA playoff-game, LSC and ACU single-game records. Quarterback Billy Malone completes 16 of 25 passes for 383 yards and six touchdowns and Johnny Knox catches five passes for 125 yards. West Texas A&M?s 68 points are the result of 721 yards of offense: 595 yards of passing and seven TDs for quarterback Keith Null (NCAA playoff, LSC and WTAM single-game records) and 14 catches for 323 yards and five TDs for wide receiver Charly Martin. Coverage of the game is featured on cnnsi.com, espn.com, ESPN and newspapers around the world.
In the final game of her brilliant four-year career, Jennifer (Clarkson) Frazier scores 31 points to lead ACU to an 83-65 win over Delta State in the third-place game at the NCAA Division II national tournament in Fargo, N.D. Clarkson - a two-time NCAA Division II Player of the Year and the university's second-leading scorer with 2,463 points - scored in double figures in her last 105 straight games. During the 1995-96 season, she led the Wildcats to a 31-2 record, a No. 1 national ranking and their only Elite Eight appearance. A two-time first team all-America, Clarkson won the Honda Award as the College Female Athlete of the Year in 1996, and she was an academic all-America as a senior.
Abilene Christian's championship legacy is born at McMurry's Indian Stadium as the Wildcats of head coach Oliver Jackson claim the university's first national title with a win at the NAIA national track and field meet. ACU dominates the competition with 74 points to 45 for runner-up San Diego State, 34 for South Dakota and 25 for Howard Payne. Wildcat winners in front of 3,500 fans include Paul Faulkner in the pole vault (13-6), George Adrian in the 440 (47.8), Burl McCoy in the 440 hurdles (55.6), and the mile relay team (3:17.3), which laps one team in the championship race. ACU has since gone on to win 52 more national track and field championships.
Perhaps the most celebrated football team in ACU history completes its magical 11-0 season with a 13-7 win over Gustavus Adolphus in the Refrigerator Bowl in Evansville, Ind. “The Singing Christians” of head coach Garvin Beauchamp are the only team in the United States this season to finish unbeaten and untied, and it is still the only Wildcat football team to accomplish the feat. Future ACU head coaches Les Wheeler, Wally Bullington and Ted Sitton star on the team that also features Alton Green, E.J. "Tiny" Moore, Bill Ayres, Ray Hansen, Don Smith, Jerry Mullins, Stanley Staples, Harry House, Pete Ragus, Bob Bailey and Bailey Woods.
John Ray Godfrey opens Moody Coliseum in style as he scores 41 points in ACU's thrilling 96-93 overtime win over Arkansas State, giving the Wildcats their third Southland Conference title. A near-capacity crowd of 4,100 fans watch as Godfrey pours in what was, at the time, the second-highest single-game point total in ACU basketball history. Godfrey is 17 of 24 from the floor and 7 of 12 from the free throw line in the days before the 3-point line. Godfrey - No. 11 on ACU's all-time scoring list with 1,467 points - is still the only Wildcat to earn first team NCAA all-America honors.