Family Promise of Irving providing newfound hope, guidance to the less fortunate

IRVING, Texas — A few years ago, Connie Jones and her son faced arguably the most tumultuous time of their lives.

Virtually homeless with nowhere to go and no one to turn to, all Jones and her son needed was a much-needed breakthrough, some much-needed encouragement and unconditional love, some much-needed spiritual guidance and wisdom, all of which she sensed would provide her family with the sense of direction they desperately sought.

As Jones recalls, “thank God” Family Promise of Irving, Texas made a stern commitment to aid and uplift them.

From start to finish.

“Family Promise of Irving helped my son and me in so many ways,” Jones said. “God answered my desperate fear filled prayers of help with an abundance of wonderful special people…family.”

A longstanding, non-profit organization that was established in 1981 by New Jersey-based marketing executive Karen Olsen, this faith-based organization’s mission is geared largely toward assisting homeless and low-income families acquire sustainable independence.

VISIT FAMILY PROMISE OF IRVING AT: http://familypromiseirving.org/home/

Also, Family Promise acknowledges that poverty is a “multifaceted problem that requires a multifaceted response,” according to a spokesperson for the organization. Generally, Family Promise is widely known for integrating educational outreach, smart programming, effective policies, and the hands-on work of thousands of volunteers, many of whom assist in providing food, shelter, and support services for homeless families.

“We provide advice and advocacy for at-risk families to prevent their becoming homeless,” a spokesperson for the organization explained. “And we educate people about poverty and the means to combat it.”

In addition, this nationally-acclaimed organization accomplishes its mission through independent affiliates in approximately 42 U. S. states, a number that is steadily increasing. In fact, Family Promise operates primarily through various communities with the guidance of experts or, according to a spokesperson, “people who live there and know it best.”

Among the experts who have become a fixture for Family Promise is Teri Petty. Petty oversees Family Promise of Irving, Texas. Given the strides this local affiliate has made in recent years, it’s safe to assume this establishment in the outskirts of Dallas has benefited this area mightily.

Organized in May 2012, the Irving affiliate was erected, in large part because of the staggering number of children throughout the independent school district who were deemed as homeless, Petty said. According to the director, 857 children were identified as homeless in the Irving Independent School district.

“And that is only the ones of whom we know,” Petty said.

What that generally meant, Petty said, is that 857 children and their families did not have a fixed, regular, or permanent residence. “Imagine not having control of where you sleep every night,” Petty said. “Imagine what it would be like to not know if you are going to be welcome at the same place tomorrow night. Imagine the stress of living on the hospitality or lack of hospitality of friends or family.”

Since its inception nearly three years ago, Family Promise of Irving has served over 26 families, 91 people, 65 of whom were children, Petty said. As Petty acknowledges, the Irving faith community, in conjunction with the affiliate for which she directs have “opened wide their hearts” and buildings to not only provide shelter and food, but also to encourage and provide hope to families experiencing the loss of a place they once called home.

Family Promise of Irving welcomed its first family nearly one month after its inception.

GalaAs Jones recalled, the Irving affiliate not only expressed love with no restraints, but members of the organization went to great lengths to demonstrate love, routinely reminding her and her son that facing adversity and shortcomings don’t mean that life isn’t worth living.

“They started out as strangers and became my beloved family,” Jones said. “My son, who is a teenager, said that Family Promise restored his faith and hope in humanity. Indeed, they taught me that there is always love and hope even during my darkest time.”

LaTisha Jarrett, FPI’s volunteer coordinator for West Irving Church of God In Christ, works closely with Petty. Jarrett’s primary responsibilities include recruiting additional volunteers, assembling menus, shopping, and overseeing that various tasks have been implemented, among other things.

“Volunteer coordinators go through training to make sure this is a task that you want to take on,” Jarrett said. “This is all done on a voluntary basis. This is truly a passion that you must have, although it may not be your church’s host week to house the families. As a coordinator, your work is never done. There are meetings, fundraisers, and other volunteer services that are needed as well.”

By all accounts, Family Promise of Irving strives daily to achieve its longstanding mission, which is being a nation in which every family has a home, a livelihood, and the chance to build a better future together.

No one, it seems, can attest to such a life-changing encounter more than Jones and her son.

“They gave us a safe, healthy place to sleep in their churches,” Jones said. “They fed us home-cooked meals and visited with us. They helped me get a job and showed me how to keep a budget plan. They took us to the movies, to a baseball game, and many other events. They were our friends and truly cared about us. I love them all and am forever grateful for them.”

From start to finish.

For more information about Family Promise of Irving or to make a donation, write or call: Family Promise of Irving
P.O. Box 177516
Irving, TX 75017-7516
teri.petty@familypromiseirving.org
Teri Petty, Director
972-313-1500

DreColumnAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Throwback Thursday: Grizz don’t bluff

GrizzamaniaOur Memphis Grizzlies are no strangers to the squared circle.  Being known for arguably the best game operations crew in the NBA, they know all about the rich history of Memphis Wrestling.  Don’t believe me?  Show up on Saturday night (Jan. 31st) and see for yourself.

Memphis Grizzlies present Wrestling Night at FedExForum with the first 3,000 fans receiving their very own World Grizzlyweight Championship belt.  If you want to know just how sweet they really are, just ask The King.

Rumors have been circulating for weeks on what the Grizzlies have planned.  Not only have we heard that there will be a wrestling match, but legendary Memphis Wrestling broadcast team Lance Russell & Dave Brown will be there to call the action.  If that wasn’t enough, The King hinted at an appearance by 16-time World Heavyweight Champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

No official word or confirmation has come from the Grizzlies, but I know one person in particular who is fired up – GRIZZ!

What better way to get ready for the big game… and big match then to take a look back at some of my favorite antics from Grizz  himself?

Last season, Grizz paid tribute to several of his favorite professional wrestlers.  He impersonated The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan & even the Ultimate Warrior.  But none were more memorable than this week’s clip!

Memphis Grizzlies vs OKC Thunder tips off at 7:00PM CST inside FedExForum this Saturday night (Jan. 31st).  For more on ticket information, click here.

 

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.

SEE ALSO:

VIDEO: Memphis ‘Fairgrounds Forum’ In Its Entirety

Members of the community gathered Wednesday night at Circuit Playhouse in Midtown to talk about the proposed plans for the Memphis Fairgrounds and the future of the Mid-South Coliseum.

WATCH:

(Video by Valibus)

SEE ALSO: 

Randolph on Conley for All-Star appearance: ‘I want the young fella to get in there’

DALLAS — No one, it seems, is more impressed with Mike Conley’s body of work this season than Zach Randolph.

The Memphis Grizzlies power forward, in fact, has been complimentary of Conley’s display since the early stages of the season.

Tuesday night was no exception.

BOLD PREDICTION --- Following the shorthanded Grizzlies’ decisive 109-90 win against the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night in American Airlines Center, Grizzlies star Zach Randolph hinted that he anticipates point guard Mike Conley to be named to the All-Star team, a milestone he’s been seeking for some time. (LM Otero, Getty Images)

BOLD PREDICTION — Following the shorthanded Grizzlies’ decisive 109-90 win against the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night in American Airlines Center, Grizzlies star Zach Randolph hinted that he anticipates
point guard Mike Conley to be named to the All-Star team, a milestone he’s been seeking for some time. (LM Otero, Getty Images)

Following the shorthanded Grizzlies’ decisive 109-90 win against the Dallas Mavericks in American Airlines Center in which the team was without Conley, Randolph hinted that he anticipates the Grizzlies’ starting point guard to achieve a milestone he’s been seeking for some time.

“It’s big when you can play like that without your All-Star point guard,” Randolph told reporters after posting a game-high 22 points on 10 of 15 shooting and 10 rebounds against Dallas.

While Randolph doesn’t shy away from the notion that he would like to see Conley, his teammate of six years, earn his first All-Star appearance of his career, the seven-year veteran won’t know for certain until Thursday when the East and West reserves are announced.

Just as it has been in recent years, making the All-Star team undoubtedly will be monumental for Conley, in large part because the Western Conference is loaded with a slew of All-Star-caliber point guards such as Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook, among others — all of whom have played in the NBA’s annual midseason showcase.

The 64th annual All-Star Game is February 15 in Madison Square Garden.

While many media pundits believed Conley should have been named to the All-Star team last year, the 27-year-old Fayetteville, Arkansas native certainly has made a strong case to earn a spot for the West this season.

At 33-12, the Grizzlies currently own the NBA’s third-best record and are second in the Western Conference standings behind Golden State. Add to the fact that Conley, Memphis’ second-leading scorer, has been as assertive on both ends of the floor as he’s ever been since he entered the NBA ranks, and it’s no wonder many believe this year could very well be his to crash the All-Star party along with fellow Grizzlies teammate Marc Gasol.

A 7-foot-1 Spaniard, Gasol will be making his second All-Star appearance and his first as a starter.

“You know, it’ll be nice if it happens,” said Randolph, when asked if making his third All-Star appearance was one of his personal goals in this, his 13th season. “I said the other day in Memphis I prefer it be Mike Conley. He deserves it. You know, I’ve been there before. So it’ll be nice if someone else from our team makes it and hopefully it’s him.”

CASE CLOSED? While many media pundits believed Conley should have been named to the All-Star team last year, the 27-year-old Fayetteville, Arkansas native certainly has made a strong case to earn spot for the West this season.

CASE CLOSED? While many media pundits believed Conley should have been named to the All-Star team last year, the 27-year-old Fayetteville, Arkansas native certainly has made a strong case to earn spot for the West this season.

According to a four-panel of CBSSports.com writers who cover the NBA, neither listed Conley as an All-Star reserve in a story that was released Wednesday afternoon. During a preseason interview with MemphiSport, however, Conley reiterated that making his first All-Star appearance was something about which he would strive for this year and that being left off the roster “would suck.”

“Obviously, I want to make my first All-Star appearance,” Conley said.

However, whether the former Ohio State star will be shown some love Valentine’s Day weekend in the Big Apple as a member of the West roster remains a mystery.

At least until sometime Thursday.

“It’ll be nice,” Randolph said of Conley being christen an All-Star reserve. “It’s a lot of politics in the All-Star Game. But I’m not going to lose any sleep (if I don’t make it). Like I said, I want the young fella to get in there.”

Still, regardless of how things stack up when the All-Star reserves are announced, Randolph said nothing overshadows the bigger aspirations for a team that figures to be a legitimate threat to make its first NBA Finals appearances this year.

“Right now, we’re focusing on winning and that’s our big picture right now…especially mine,” Randolph said. “We’re playing good. Our team is playing good. Our bench is playing good. So that’s our main focus right now.”

Something even the team’s starting point guard would agree with as the season progresses.

All-Star appearance or not.

DrePicAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Q & A: Dallas rapper ‘Da Chosen One’ shares life, love, and music in interview with Andre Johnson

Without question, Rene Ruvalcaba loves Dallas, Texas. And, given how he’s gone about becoming a fixture in his native hometown, it’s safe to assume that Dallas loves Revalcaba. So much, in fact, that musically-inclined individuals throughout the Metroplex have embraced this young, vibrant, up-and-coming rap artist as he steadfastly continues to make a name for him in this ever-so-competitive industry. During a recent interview with longtime journalist Andre Johnson, Ruvalcaba spoke about his rise on the music circuit and his plans with his newfound craft in the foreseeable future. Here’s his interview.

ChosenANDRE: Rene, what is your age?
RENE: I am age 26 years old.
ANDRE: Tell our readers where you are originally from.
RENE: I am originally from Dallas, Texas…the Pleasant Grove area. ANDRE: Do you have any children?
RENE: Yes, man. I have one daughter.
ANDRE: Are you married or single?
RENE: I am currently engaged to be married.
ANDRE: Aside from being an up-and-coming rapper, what is your occupation?
RENE: I currently work at BMW
ANDRE: What is your involvement in the music industry?
RENE: My stage name is “Young Chosen.” My mom and friends gave that name, because they always said I was the chosen one growing up and it fits me because I’m good at what I do. Every new thing I try to do, I do it to best of my ability.
ANDRE: So I hear you are popular with the ladies.
RENE: Yeah…I’m a ladies’ man…I’m great with women (laughing).
ANDRE: Describe your work ethic?
RENE: Well, man, I work hard for what I have. Basically what I’m saying is growing up, I was the man with the money the girls, so they called me The Chosen One.
ANDRE: How have people in Texas embraced your mucic?
RENE: A lot of people feel my music because I (rap) about the struggle and I spit stories. Don’t get me wrong, I have turn-up songs as well, but a lot of people can relate to my music because of what I (rap). I really get deep into my music the way I spit music. The new trendsetter I’m going with, people love how very smart I am when dealing with music.
ANDRE: Looking ahead, why is the sky’s the limit for you?
RENE: Well, I plan on writing more songs about the struggle about society more about what’s really going on out here deep in the street. My plan is to make kids smile, make relationships better with a simple song. My plan is to touch young children by giving them a different state of mind when it comes to the streets. My plan is to make project after project that motivates society.
I would like to thank the audience, family, friends, my girl Brittany Jackson, and the supporters and listeners. Out here, I would like to let the world know that this is my first year and three months rapping in the game.

CHECK OUT DA CHOSEN ONE: http://youtu.be/FoR2c2LP4Fo

DrePicAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Playing Hurt Podcast: Big Game Edition

Super bowl picJoin MSL and HardBashin producer CJ Hurt and Sports 56 producer and WUMR Sports Desk host Drew Barrett as they take you on a sports odyssey full of twists, turns, and a good time during the Playing Hurt Podcast.

MemphiSport Live

Jerry Lawler: ‘I would be on board with any plan whatsoever to save the Coliseum’ (AUDIO)

the king msc


On Saturday,  Jerry “The King” Lawler was a guest on Memphis radio show Cerrito Live (Sports 56 WHBQ/87.7 FM). During the interview, “The King” and host Kevin Cerrito discussed a variety of different topics including the future of the Mid-South Coliseum.

Lawler said he is “on board with any plan whatsoever to save the coliseum” and believes that turning the historic venue into a Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum “could be a massive destination for people to come to if it was done right.”  Lawler also said he would be willing to donate some of his memorabilia to a Hall of Fame in the Mid-South Coliseum.

Start at 12:57 mark for talk about the Mid-South Coliseum and the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame:

MemphiSport Live

Kevin Cerrito hosts Cerrito Live on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Listen to more podcasts at CerritoLive.com.

 

White Station’s Cameron-James Thomas clinging to high hopes as Signing Day looms

As National Signing Day looms, Cameron-James Thomas would like to enlighten college scouts and recruiters of several things with regards to his solid work ethic.

“I am a dependable player,” Thomas told MemphiSport earlier this week. “I am coachable. I am a team player. I am a consistent player. I am a responsible player. I am a work horse.”

DREAM CHASING --- Cameron James-Thomas, who starred as an offensive lineman for White Station High the past two seasons, believes he could have an immediate impact for whichever college grants him the golden opportunity to put his skills on this display this fall. (Photos submitted by K. Thomas)

DREAM CHASING — Cameron James-Thomas, who starred as an offensive lineman for White Station High the past two seasons, believes he could have an immediate impact for whichever college grants him the golden opportunity to put his skills on this display this fall. (Photos submitted by K. Thomas)

It is, by all accounts, because of those key attributes that Thomas, who starred as an offensive lineman for White Station High the past two seasons, believes he could have an immediate impact for whichever college grants him the golden opportunity to put his skills on this display this fall.

Having contributed masterfully to Spartan head coach Joe Rocconi’s squad since being installed as a starter his junior season, the 6-foot, 330-pound Thomas contends his prep resume is such that he’s worthy of playing in the collegiate ranks.

Clinging to confidence and optimism with National Signing Day a little more than a week away, Thomas knows full well that all it takes is one college to say “yes” to his athletic future.

Clinging to confidence and optimism with National Signing Day a little more than a week away, Thomas knows full well that all it takes is one college to say “yes” to his athletic future.

Clinging to confidence and optimism with National Signing Day a little more than a week away, the 18-year-old Thomas knows full well that all it takes is one college to say “yes” to his athletic future.

“I am a leader….I lead by the word of God,” Thomas explained. “I am a fighter. No matter how ugly the situation may get, I will fight to the end. College football is a dream for me because it will allow me to play a sport that I have loved since I was eight years old, all while furthering my education.”

Although Signing Day is just days away and Thomas has yet to garner any official offers, he believes anything can possibly happen, considering he has amassed an array of interest from a number of colleges, particularly after what had amounted to a stellar junior campaign for the Spartans.

According to Thomas’ mother, Kimberly Jackson-Thomas, her son has received letters from from a host of schools, most notably Cumberland University, Victor Valley Junior College, Mendocino Junior College, Bluefield College, and Kentucky Christian University, among others.

Like her son, Kimberly Jackson-Thomas and her husband, James “Bo” Thomas, insist all hope isn’t lost with regards to her son inking his name on a National Letter of Intent.

 

James-Thomas has received letters from a host of schools, most notably, Cumberland University, Mississippi College, Northwest Community College, Hinds Community College, Tennessee State, Alabama A&M, Arkansas Pine Bluff, Mississippi Valley State, Langston University, Lincoln University, Kentucky State, Murray State, Central State, Arkansas State, Bethel University, Texas Southern, University of North Alabama, Alabama State, and Stillman University, among others.

Thomas has received letters from a host of schools, most notably, Cumberland Victor Valley Junior College, Mendocino Junior College, Bluefield College, and Kentucky Christian University, among others.

“Cameron is our first born and only son,” Thomas said. “We have always encouraged him and his sister to follow their dreams and be the best at whatever they do in life. Just being able to support our son, watch him develop over the years in a sport that he loves, and gives 110 percent every time he hits the field, makes his dad and I very proud.”

By and large, it is because of Thomas immense work and overall body of work as a rugged offensive lineman that he and his family haven’t ruled out hope that one — or perhaps — several colleges — could come calling with an official offer any day now.

“The sky is the limit for Cam because he not only believes in himself, but he knows and believes that all things are possible through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Thomas said.

Spoken like a football mom who, like her son, is clinging to an array of optimism.

DreColumnAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Whitehaven QB Jordan Williams has two official offers, expected to pick up more

Whitehaven High football coach Rodney Saulsberry on Thursday summed up Jordan Williams’ senior campaign in just three words.

“He showed up,” Saulsberry said.

AIR JORDAN --- Since an ACL injury he suffered his sophomore year, Williams has been nothing short of impressive for a Whitehaven team that advanced to the TSSAA Class 6A championship in 2014. (Photos submitted by LaSanto Williams)

AIR JORDAN — Since an ACL injury he suffered his sophomore year, Williams has been nothing short of impressive for a Whitehaven team that advanced to the TSSAA Class 6A championship in 2014. (Photos submitted by JaSanto Williams)

Indeed he did.

Since an ACL injury he suffered his sophomore year, Williams has been nothing short of impressive for a Whitehaven team that advanced to the TSSAA Class 6A semifinal game in 2014.

To his credit, Williams undoubtedly was the catalyst of the Tigers’ high-powered offense, in large part because of his ability to perform more efficiently in the pocket.

“It was good overall,” Williams told MemphiSport, when asked to assess his senior campaign. “You know, everyone didn’t expect us to go as far as we did…to go 13-1. But to come back and play as good as I played was great.”

Williams culminated his career by producing more 2,000 yards of total offense during a regular season, nearly 1,600 of which came through the air (a career high).  He didn’t let up in the postseason.

Williams culminated his career by producing more 2,000 yards of total offense during a regular season, nearly 1,600 of which came through the air (a career high).
He didn’t let up in the postseason.

Appearing virtually unaffected by a season-ending knee injury that sidelined him a majority of the 2013 season, the speedy 6-foot-1, 185-pound Williams did a masterful job in engineering the Tigers’ potent offense, thus helping Whitehaven remain Shelby-Metro’s No. 1-ranked team throughout the entire 2014 regular season.

Williams culminated his career by producing more 2,000 yards of total offense during the regular season, nearly 1,600 of which came through the air along with 20 touchdown passes (career highs).

The fierce, dual-threat quarterback didn’t let up in the postseason.

Instead, Williams continued to demonstrate he’s as good as advertised, having amassed more than 1,000 yards of total offense through four postseason outings, including 900 passing yards.

Fortunately for Williams, the remarkable numbers he registered this year did not go unnoticed by college scouts.  According to JaSanto Williams, Williams’ father, his son has already garnered official offers from the Naval Academy and Arkansas State and, given his favorable display as a senior, such a list is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

National Signing Day is Feb. 4.

“We’re waiting on more official visits,” JaSanto Williams said.

IN HIGH DEMAND --- Jordan Williams earlier this week said he already has an official visit to the Naval Academy scheduled for this weekend and will visit Arkansas State within the next week. However, his father said the possibility exist that his Jordan Williams will be extended official invitations to visit Ole Miss, Memphis, Northwestern, and Auburn, considering each of these schools invited him to their Senior Day weekend festivities.

IN HIGH DEMAND — Jordan Williams earlier this week said he already has an official visit to the Naval Academy scheduled for this weekend and will visit Arkansas State within the next week. However, his father said the possibility exist that his Jordan Williams will be extended official invitations to visit Ole Miss, Memphis, Northwestern, and Auburn, considering each of these schools invited him to their Senior Day weekend festivities.

Jordan Williams earlier this week said he already has an official visit to the Naval Academy scheduled for this weekend and will visit Arkansas State within the next week. However, his father said the possibility exist that his son will be extended official invitations to visit Ole Miss, Memphis, Northwestern, and Auburn, considering each of these schools invited him to their Senior Day weekend festivities.

“We’re ecstatic about it,” JaSanto Williams said of his son’s recruiting process. “His doctors surprisingly said his repaired knee is 20 percent better than his other knee.”

That Jordan Williams shows no signs of injury coupled with his career numbers are factors his father believes schools who have yet to extend offers will take into account as National Signing Day looms.

“His numbers speak for themselves,” JaSanto Williams said. “In my opinion, there are doubters. There will be people who will say you will be able to recover. But he’s been doing this thing since Pop Warner. I’m supposed to be a little bit prejudice because he’s my son. No doubt, the numbers speak for themselves.”

And no doubt, the Tigers’ dual-threat signal caller showed up in a year that counted the most.

DrePicAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Texas pastor with Memphis ties remembers two-time Super Bowl champion Jethro Pugh

FALLEN STAR --- A former All-Pro selection and two-time Super Bowl champion who played 14 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys from 1965-78, Jethro Pugh died January 7 in Dallas. He was 70. (NFL Films photo)

FALLEN STAR — A former All-Pro selection and two-time Super Bowl champion who played 14 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys from 1965-78, Jethro Pugh died January 7 in Dallas. He was 70. (NFL Films photo)

DALLAS — When the Dallas Cowboys returned to Green Bay for a playoff game Sunday for the first time since the classic 1967 Ice Bowl, Andrew Jackson, Jr. couldn’t help but think of his longtime friend, Jethro Pugh.

“Every month, we had a dinner together at the airport,” said Jackson, referring to his tenure as a Delta Airlines employee at Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport in the late 1980s. “I would always see Jethro and we would interact. He was a big guy, a tall guy already. Jethro was one of the most humble men you’d want to meet.”

A former All-Pro defensive tackle and two-time Super Bowl champion who played 14 seasons for the Cowboys from 1965-78, Pugh died January 7 in Dallas. He was 70.

According to team officials, Pugh died of natural causes. A public viewing will be held from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Restland Funeral Home located at 9220 Restland Road in Dallas. A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m. at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship located at 1808 West Camp Wisdom Road.

While quarterback sacks weren’t an official NFL statistic during Pugh's tenure, he is unofficially credited with a career total of 95.5. To his credit, he led the team with 12 ½ sacks for five consecutive seasons from 1968-1972. (NFL Films photo)

While quarterback sacks weren’t an official NFL statistic during Pugh’s tenure, he is unofficially credited with a career total of 95.5. To his credit, he led the team with 12 ½ sacks for five consecutive seasons from 1968-1972. (NFL Films photo)

A native of Windsor, North Carolina, although Pugh was offered a contract to play for the AFL’s Oakland Raiders, he spent his entire professional career with Dallas, where he was the catalyst of a stifling defensive unit that was dubbed the “Doomsday Defense.”

A former Elizabeth City State All-American, the 6-foot-6, 260-pound Pugh enjoyed a stellar NFL career with the Cowboys. While quarterback sacks weren’t an official NFL statistic during Pugh’s tenure, he is unofficially credited with a career total of 95 1/2. To his credit, he led the team with 12 ½ sacks for five consecutive seasons from 1968-1972.

Pugh’s 14 seasons in Dallas is the fourth-longest in franchise history.

“He was a tough player for the Cowboys,” Jackson said. “A lot of the older players remember him. If there was a (defensive) play to be made for the Cowboys, he was the player who would make it.”

A second-team All-Pro selection in his third professional season, Pugh appeared in five NFC Championship games, two Super Bowls, and appeared in 23 playoffs games in 12 of his 14 seasons. He was mostly remembered for having played in the original Ice Bowl, or the 1967 NFL Championship.

DALLAS DUO --- Andrew Jackson, Jr. (left) and former Dallas Cowboys great Jethro Pugh pose for a photo at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in September 2013. An avid Cowboys fan, Jackson met Pugh in the late 1980s. (Photo submitted by Andrew Jackson)

DALLAS DUO — Andrew Jackson, Jr. (left) and former Dallas Cowboys great Jethro Pugh pose for a photo at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in September 2013. An avid Cowboys fan, Jackson met Pugh in the late 1980s. (Photo submitted by Andrew Jackson)

Pugh was blocked by Green Bay’s Jerry Kramer on the Packers’ final play of that game, one that cleared the way for Bart Starr to score on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 16 seconds remaining that lifted the Packers to a 21-17 victory in minus-15 degree weather at the historic Lambeau Field.

Besides leading the Cowboys in sacks, Pugh appeared in 183 games, having amassed 14 fumbles, two safeties, and one interception before retiring in January 1979.

Since calling it a career, Pugh was a fixture in the Dallas community. He owned a number of western-themed gift shops at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas and hosted the annual Jethro Pugh Celebrity Golf Tournament in Dallas to raise funds for the United Negro College Fund. Also, he served as an advisory board member of the DFW Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy for which Jackson is a current member and assumes the role as an associate chaplain.

Jackson, who moved from Memphis to Dallas in 1986 to assume the pastoral duties at West Irving Church of God in Christ, said Pugh left behind an awe-inspiring legacy.

“I thought about Jethro, especially Sunday with him passing right before the game,” said Jackson who, on Sunday, shared memories of Pugh and held a moment of silence in his honor with his congregation. “And that was kind of eerie with him playing (in the Ice Bowl) so it was kind of emotional because I had known him personally and know his family.”

DrePicAndre Johnson covers the NFL for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.