Andre Ware, your 1989 Heisman trophy winner ladies and gentlemen. The run and shoot phenomena. Was Jack Pardee’s headset plugged in? Not important. What is important is that Andre Ware dominated college football in 1989.
Ware, a Dickinson product, signed with the Cougars and Bill Yoeman. Ware was a fairly well known recruit, but most colleges wanted to him to move to the defensive side of the ball. Yeoman wanted Ware to run his veer attack. When Yoeman left, Jack Pardee arrived with offensive coordinator John Jenkins ushering in the revolutionary run and shoot offense and the rest was offensive history. In 1989 Ware won the O’Brien, the Heisman, and was a consensus All-American. He won all that hardware while the Cougars were on NCAA probation.
The Cougars ran through their schedule, losing only to A&M and Arkansas, and dismantling the newly reinstated SMU Mustangs 95 to 21.
Ware, in an odd twist, accepted the Heisman from the locker room after the team’s season finale against Rice. Detroit drafted Ware with the seventh overall pick in 1990. With the Lions Ware was essentially relegated to mop up duty and his career never took off. Thanks Wayne Fontes. Ware went on to play for Jacksonville, a number of CFL teams, and the World League’s Berlin Thunder.
As for the 1989 Heisman, Ware finished ahead of Anthony Thompson, a running back from Indiana, by a mere 70 votes. He also finished ahead of West Virginia’s Major Harris and Notre Dames Tony Rice. None became household names in the NFL.
There are precious few highlight videos of Andre Ware on the inter web so we are stuck with the Ken Hatfield show's highlights of one of Houston's two losses in 1989. Enjoy.
Today you can find Ware doing color analysis of Houston Texan’s games with Mark Vandermeer. (Vandermeer made the phrase “rock and roll touchdown” somewhat successful and completely annoying.) Ware’s impact as the first African American quarterback and his prolific offensive numbers left a lasting impact on the game.