ABILENE, Texas – McMurry University will honor the powerful legacy of distinguished alumnus Grant Teaff on Friday, April 22, 2022, at 3 p.m. outside of Radford Hall on campus. A statue will be unveiled honoring his faith and the legacy of the 1963 McMurry football team.
The 1963 team experienced a life-changing plane crash on its way back from a game at Northeast Louisiana State. There were 28 players, three coaches, a flight attendant and two pilots aboard the plane, which had difficulty taking off and damaged its landing gear and electrical system on two failed landing attempts.
The plane made a crash landing at Barksdale Air Force Base, and while the plane was damaged, all 34 people on the plane made it out relatively unscathed. Teaff affectionally refers to the individuals on that plane using the acronym B.I.B.L.E., which stands for Brotherhood of Indian Belly-Landing Experts.
“I believe there was a reason and a plan and a purpose for what happened on that night, and I have tried to fulfill that purpose… as a leader, a husband, a father, and a member of my community,” said Teaff.
Coach Teaff had cards made – listing each member on the plane – inscribed with Romans 8:31 which says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” This was just the start, as Teaff and others from the team used this experience for faith-building opportunities.
Teaff was a former football standout at McMurry before becoming the program’s head coach in 1960. He later went on to a Hall of Fame coaching career at Baylor University and continues to influence many lives through his legacy on and off the field.
Teaff’s connection to McMurry started in the 1950s where he played offensive line and was team captain for the football team. He graduated from McMurry with a degree in physical education in 1956, then earned his master’s degree one year later.
“Coach Teaff is one of McMurry’s most recognized alumni who has enjoyed an outstanding career in coaching and leadership,” said McMurry’s current Vice President for Student Affairs and Intercollegiate Athletics Sam Ferguson. “This statue allows us to honor his legacy, while also telling his inspiring faith story that involves our B.I.B.L.E. football team from 1963. We’re excited for our students to walk by Coach’s statue and have them dream big dreams. Coach Teaff is proof that McMurry launches leaders of tomorrow and Develops Champions for Life!”
McMurry is working with artist Dan Brook of Cisco, Texas, to create the statue. Brook played for Coach Teaff at Baylor from 1979-82. The former defensive end helped Teaff’s team win the 1980 Southwest Conference championship and appear in the Cotton Bowl.
After graduating from Baylor, Brook embarked on a long and successful career as an artist and sculptor. His career led him to Cisco, just east of Abilene, where he maintains his art studio near the downtown area.
“Coach Teaff is one of the most important people in my life – for a lot of reasons,” said Dan Brook. “This was poetic in how it all came full circle. I met coach at 19 years old and played football for him. To meet again now at this stage in my career and in his life just pulls everything together. It’s very special to me.”
Teaff and his wife, Donell, have supported McMurry Athletics over the years. The Teaff’s were honored with the Bob & Clara Brown Award at the McMurry Hall of Honor Ceremony in 2018.
McMurry Athletics also named the Grant Teaff “Beyond the Game” Award in his honor in 2019, honoring a McMurry scholar-athlete or staff member that has brought prestige and honor to the University in ways beyond the playing field.