Of all the legends to play high school football in East Texas, from Earl Campbell, to Rodney Thomas, to David Overstreet, to Don Meredith and so many others, Ken Houston seems to one who is often overlooked.

It's funny, because he's always in the conversation for what he did after high school -- when he became one of the greatest defensive backs in NFL history.

The combination of Houston is now 67 and his high school, Lufkin Dunbar, closed after integration make up good reason why many East Texans don't know who he is.

But, to the hardcore East Texas high school football fans (and especially those in Lufkin, Texas, the name Ken Houston will never be forgotten.

Where He Came From

Ken Houston was born in 1944 in Lufkin, marking him first in a long line of football legends to come from the city. But, he was the star of Lufkin Dunbar High School, which closed in 1970 after it merged with Lufkin High following integration. Houston was fast, but quicker, a big hitter and an incredible athlete who should have gotten the attention of colleges over the country, but that wasn't the case.

After High School

Prairie View A&M was the only school to offer Houston a scholarship. Amazingly enough, the 6-foot-3, 197-pound star started out playing center before moving to linebacker. He was named an All-American in the SWAC. He went on to get drafted by the Houston Oilers of the AFL in 1967 and played for two years in the AFL before it merged with the NFL. He stayed with Houston until 1972, and played the last eight seasons with the Washington Redskins.

In 1971 he had five returned touchdowns, a record that would stand until 2006 when the Chicago Bears' Devin Hester scored six.

Houston played in 10 Pro Bowls, was named to the NFL's 1970s All-Decade Team, the NFL's All-Time 75th Anniversary Team and in 1999, Sporting News named him one of the 100 greatest players in NFL history.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.


Houston, ironically, lives in Houston, where he has served as a guidance counselor for Houston Independent School District. He is 67 years old.