In 1938, former TCU quarterback Davey O’Brien won the Heisman trophy and the Frogs won the National Championship. 78 years later, he was honored with a statue outside of Schollmaier Arena, along with Dutch Meyer and Gary Patterson. In just over a month, he will celebrated once again, this time, during the Frogs’ home opener on September 1st.
It's been 80 years since Davey O'Brien mesmerized fans in The Carter, winning the @HeismanTrophy and leading @TCUFootball to an undefeated national title.— Horned Frogs (@TCU_Athletics) July 23, 2018
On Sept. 1, the legend lives. #DaveyDay pic.twitter.com/ttPvZfNhaA
Commemorating the 80th anniversary of O’Brien’s Heisman Moment and the Frogs’ National Championship, Davey Day will be celebrating before, during, and after TCU’s 11:00am matchup with Southern, kicking off the 2018 campaign. The TCU football team will wear a sticker on their helmet honoring O’Brien, and the field will have a special paint job as well. O’Brien’s son, Davey Jr, will serve as honorary captain for the game, there will be a special floral arrangement placed on his statue, and both O’Brien’s Heisman Trophy and the award named after him will be on display and available for photo opportunities.
In addition to the formal celebrations, there will be some neat opportunities for fans to participate - namely by purchasing replica jerseys and t-shirts with O’Brien’s #8 on them, eating eight-shaped pretzels from stands across Amon G. Carter (made by Ben’s Pretzels), and enjoying a special performance by the TCU Band. There will also be video tributes to O’Brien played throughout the game, and the day’s program will feature him on the cover.
Davey O’Brien started two seasons at TCU, throwing for 24 TDs and just over 2,400 career yards. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles with the fourth overall pick in 1938, leading the league in yardage as a rookie and in attempts and completions in year two - all while also serving as a DB (with four picks!) and a punter. He subsequently retired, joining the FBI, where he spent the next decade.
Upon returning to Dallas, O’Brien served as president of the TCU Alumni Association and was a deacon at UCC. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1956, and the Woodrow Wilson High School Hall of Fame in 1989 - along with fellow Heisman winner Tim Brown. He also served as a color commentator on Dallas Cowboys’ broadcasts from 1960-1964.
O’Brien was diagnosed with cancer in 1971, succumbing to the disease in November on 1977. He remains a crucial and celebrated figure around the TCU Football Program, and is one of the true legends of the game, at every level.