Dicky Maegle, a 1979 College Football Hall of Fame inductee who starred at Rice from 1952-54, passed away July 4. He was 86.
“Dicky Maegle ranks among the greatest players in Rice football history, leaving many marks in the Owl record books which still stand today.” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “We are saddened by his loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. His accomplishments will not be forgotten, and they are forever immortalized at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.”
Maegle, who changed the spelling of his name from “Moegle” later in life to make it easier to pronounce, played football and basketball at Taylor High School in Texas (northeast of Austin). He arrived on the Rice campus in 1951 as a 16-year-old freshman, playing both football and basketball. An injured hand his sophomore year limited his playing time, but he would make his mark the following year. He amassed 833 rushing yards in 1953, and his 7.3 average yards per carry topped the nation. During his senior campaign, he rushed for 905 yards, earning consensus All-America honors. The Owls went 21-10 during his three seasons in Houston, including a 9-2 record in 1953, which gave the Owls the Southwest Conference title, and 7-3 in 1954.
Maegle is best remembered for one most iconic plays in college football history (click to watch), which occurred during the 1954 Cotton Bowl between Rice and Alabama. Maegle had begun an amazing run from the five-yard line, and he was headed straight for a 95-yard touchdown with no one to stop him. As Maegle passed midfield, Alabama’s overly-enthusiastic Tommy Lewis leaped from the Crimson Tide bench to tackle Maegle. The officials credited Maegle with the touchdown, the longest rushing play in Cotton Bowl history and one of three he scored that day. He gained a whopping 265 yards on 11 carries – an amazing 24.1 yards per carry, as the Owls defeated the Crimson Tide, 28-6. After the game, Maegle would travel to New York City for an appearance on the famed Ed Sullivan Show to discuss the play and his performance.
Maegle was a brilliant defenseman as well, leading the conference in interceptions, and he once picked off three passes in a 1953 battle against conference foe Baylor. Maegle also excelled in the classroom earning CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 1954.
In addition to his NCAA record for yards per carry in a bowl game, Maegle holds Rice records for yards rushing in a game (265) as well as yards per carry in a season (7.31 in 1953) and career (6.6). He is tied for sixth on the Rice single-season list with 11 rushing touchdowns in 1954 and tied with eight others for second in school history with four rushing touchdowns in a game (vs. Cornell, October 2, 1954).
Drafted by San Francisco with the 10th pick in the 1955 Draft, Maegle played in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. He retired prior to the 1962 season. After his retirement from the NFL, Maegle returned to Houston to build a career in the hotel and real estate business, including the management of a pair of hotel properties near the Rice campus.
In addition to the College Football Hall of Fame, Meagle has been inducted into the Rice Athletic, the Texas Sports and Cotton Bowl halls of fame.
Funeral services will be Monday at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons in Houston.
Rice Communications contributed to this report.