Texas football, track star Johnny ‘Lam’ Jones dead at 60 after longtime cancer battle

Ross Burkhart

Johnny “Lam” Jones, a former renowned dual-sport athlete in football and track at Texas, died at the age of 60 on Friday morning after a long battle with cancer, Texas Athletics announced

Jones became known as one of the best sprinters in the country during the 3A state championship in May 1976. The Lampasas, Texas, native delivered one of the greatest individual performances in Texas sports history after a come-from-behind victory as the anchor leg of the 1,600-yard relay. Jones began in seventh place before eventually delivering the win for Lampasas High School. On that track in Memorial Stadium, Jones’ legend was born on the Forty Acres.

Months later before joining the Longhorns, he competed for the United States Olympic Track team at the 1976 Montreal Games. He helped the U.S. win a gold medal in the 4×100 Relay as team’s second leg.

Jones was a standout running back and wide receiver for Texas during Darrell K Royal’s final season as head football coach and the beginning of Fred Aker’s tenure. He was a two-time All-American for the Longhorns on the field as well as a two-time All-Southwest Conference performer. He was inducted into the Longhorns Hall of Honor in 1994.

Jones battled stage four myeloma cancer for years after an NFL career playing for the New York Jets from 1980–1986 and the Dallas Cowboys in 1987.

“He’s a fighter, I know that. Competitive guy,” Texas head coach Tom Herman said after practice Friday. “I never had an opportunity to meet him, but I wrote him a note early in the week just to tell him, I think I put, ‘The thoughts and prayers of your Texas football program are with you.’ Because just like all the other greats that have come through here, this is his program. He will be sorely missed, but not forgotten.”