Emory Bellard Dies At The Age Of 83

Emory Bellard, the legendary football coach who created the wishbone offense but will be equally remembered for the degree of loyalty and admiration that he inspired among Aggies, Longhorns, Buckaroos, Bobcats, Mustangs and Texas football fans in every corner of the state, died Thursday morning.

Bellard, 83, was diagnosed last year with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement that is known as Lou Gehrig?s Disease. He died at a treatment home in Georgetown, said his wife, Susan.

After his diagnosis was made public, Bellard was honored at events at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco, into which he was inducted in the 1990s, and at Texas A&M, where he coached the Aggies from 1972 through 1978 after creating the wishbone offense as an assistant to Darrell Royal at the University of Texas.

?You can?t make a better statement than the one (Gehrig) made, you know ? ?the luckiest guy in the world,??? he said at the event last October in Waco. ?And I am lucky. I?ve had a great life, no ifs, ands or buts about it. I?m 10 times as blessed as most people.?

While his physical condition had declined, he spent his final days swapping stories with friends, former players and colleagues, among them former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, who made his final visit to Georgetown this week to meet with his friend.

?He had his sense of humor to the very end, and we were able to talk once more about old experiences and things that had happened,? Slocum said. ?He had such a great life. He said all he ever wanted to do was coach, and he got to do it with good players and at great places.

?He always got the best out of people as a coach because he was able to see the best in them.?

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