Athletics News

Football Great Fred Gough to be Enshrined in Hall of Honor

Jan. 8, 2018

Buy Tickets to Ceremony | 2018 Hall of Honor Class | Hall of Honor Home

By Brent Ingram, UTA Athletics Communications

ARLINGTON, Texas --
One of the top defenders in UTA football history, former star linebacker Fred Gough will be inducted into the 2018 Hall of Honor.

Gough, a native of Graham, Texas, is regarded as one of the top defensive players in UTA's storied football history. A 6-foot-2 linebacker, he traveled a circuitous rout to Arlington.

As a freshman student at the University of Texas in 1964, Gough's football career as a standout at Graham - where he helped lead the Steers to the state semifinals - seemed like a distant past. He hit a growth spurt during his year studying in Austin, which led him to catch the eye of the UTA program.

Behind the prodding of former UTA standout and fellow Graham, Texas, athlete Jimmy Gwynn, Gough earned a scholarship as a tight end for Coach Chena Gilstrap before quickly transitioning to linebacker early in his freshman season.

His freshman season was an education in collegiate football, with the NCAA requiring all freshmen to redshirt their first years on campus. Among his introduction to UTA was through the preseason conditioning led by former swimming head coach Don Easterling.

"One of the things that I remember was that Coach Easterling was a pretty tough coach," Gough recalled about his first year on campus. "And if you swam for coach Easterling you were going to be in pretty good shape. When I tried out, they got Easterling to do the spring workout program for football. And the first guy that I met when I came out to campus was Coach Easterling. He got us into pretty good shape."

Gough began to excel for coordinator Charlie Qualls, soaring to 230-pounds as a physical force on the defensive side of the ball.

As a sophomore, Gough established himself as a weapon for the then Arlington State Rebels. But it was late in the 1967 season that Gough solidified his role. He started six games - including the final five to end the year - while averaging seven tackles per game. In a matchup with West Texas State, Gough had 15 tackles with an interception and a fumble recovery.

As a senior in 1968, Gough starred, earning All-Southland Conference honors, in addition to All-Texas honors by the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In addition, he was named Ex-Letterman's Player of the Week after performances vs. West Texas and Arkansas State.

The 1968 edition of UTA's football gridiron standouts featured a 10-1 overall record and a 13-0 win over North Dakota State in the Pecan Bowl.

"It was so cold that day," Gough remembered. "They actually ran an add on the Abilene TV station that they were going to hire people to come out and help with picks and shovels to get the ice off the field. The game was delayed a little bit because they were still chopping up ice on the field. (North Dakota State) was supposed to be really good and we went out and just beat them. That's ironic because you would think they'd have been used to playing in the ice and snow. Those were good years."

Gough was one of five seniors from the 1968 team to earn professional contracts following the season, as the Detroit Lions made him their 11th pick in the NFL Draft. His brother, Gary "Ping" Gough followed Fred to linebacker stardom in Arlington, leading the team with 118 tackles in 1970.

While with the Lions in training camp in 1969 and early 1970, Gough suited up in Detroit during a labor strike in the NFL. With the veteran players sitting out camp, Gough was afforded a chance to play for pay.

"During the strike, the veterans didn't come to camp and they had all of the young guys, trying to establish ourselves," Gough said. "Well for about 10 weeks we just ran around and knocked each other around. I think there were a lot of us that decided we didn't know how much we liked football after that."

Gough completed his football career following the 1970 season and began a successful career as a professional accountant, returning to call North Texas home.

"From no scholarship out of high school to getting to Detroit, it was just a fun ride," Gough said. "Had a lot of good memories."

Joining Gough as inductees in the 2018 Hall of Honor Class is football standout Don Morrison, a three-time all-conference offensive lineman who played in Arlington from 1967-70 and had a seven-year NFL career.

"Playing on the other side of the ball from Fred, it really made me get better," Morrison said. "I was glad he was other there because he created a great daily challenge in practice and I'd like to think I helped him get better too."

"Don Morrison was a good guy," Gough said. "Not only was he a good player but he was a good guy. As you go through college, there are occasionally a few bad apples, in any group of college kids, but Morrison was just a class guy. He always tended to his business. I am glad he's going in with me."

The Hall of Honor class of 2018 will be inducted on the weekend of Jan. 19-20, with a special ceremony scheduled for Friday, January 19 at 7:30 in the E.H. Hereford University Center. Tickets are available through www.utamavs.com/hallofhonor, with table sponsorships available through Friday, Jan. 12.

The honorees will be celebrated during UTA's basketball doubleheader with ULM on Saturday, with the women tipping off at 2 p.m. (CST) and the men's game slated for a 4:30 p.m. start at College Park Center.

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