It is hard to figure where to begin as burnt orange overflowed in a weekend of success that was superlative even by the most exacting standards.
First and foremost, Mack Brown should take a bow. The Spring Jamboree that he initiated upon arriving on the "40 Acres" in 1997, has become a great success.
Orange prevailed throughout mid-Texas this weekend. In San Antonio, where Rick Barnes' Longhorns won on Friday night to advance to the "Elite Eight" of college basketball in front of a pro-brunt orange crowd, while in Austin, another record crowd of 35,500 came to see the annual orange/white spring scrimmage on Saturday.
Weaving throughout the festivities on the Austin front was the largest, and best, football lettermen's reunion in school history.
In Brown's first season at UT, he talked with benefactor Joe Jamail about staging a reunion that would feature a golf outing for the returnees. To use the word "tournament" would be pretty much a stretch, as most of the guys simply enjoy the time together and few actually keep score.
Named in honor of the late Mike Campbell, the day features morning and afternoon rounds of golf, with a hefty hamburger and chicken sandwich lunch in between. On Friday, perhaps the greatest collection of former UT football players ever assembled took place at the Golf Club at Circle C.
Noble Doss was there, 62 years after he played his last down at Texas. That was appropriately the beginning. Decade by decade and era by era, the players came back, simply to have fun. By the time it was over, nearly 200 lettermen had signed in and they included folks all the way from Doss to current graduate assistant coach Major Applewhite.
As Brown toured the grounds at Circle C, he had a chance to visit with legends and legacies. Tommy Nobis was there. So were Keith and Kerry Cash. The event also provided an interesting get together. For the first time since they left school in the late 1960s, UT's original "Wishbone" backfield reunited.
Bill Bradley, who was the quarterback, finished his career in 1968 and went on to star as a defensive back in the NFL and now is an assistant coach with the New York Jets. Chris Gilbert left that year to go into private business. Ted Koy departed after the '69 season, and Steve Worster left after earning All-America honors as a senior in 1970.
As they posed for a picture, Koy, who is now a veterinarian in Georgetown, noted it was the first time the four had been together in one place since Bradley and Gilbert left school.
The 1950s had strong representation, with T Jones, who was an all-star player in the early part of the decade and an assistant in the latter part of it, spanning the seasons. Byron Townsend was there, as was Bobby Dillon.
James Saxton and Gilbert, both members of the National College Football Hall of Fame, were there. So was Jerry Sisemore, the massive tackle who was inducted to the Hall last fall. Sisemore looks as fit today as he was the day he ended an enduring professional career in the 1980s.
Roosevelt Leaks and Lonnie Bennett, pioneers of a different era (the early 1970s), both played together. The legendary Johnny "Lam" Jones returned.
The coaches returned as well. With Fred Akers and Darrell Royal joining Brown and T Association head David McWilliams, every living Texas head football coach except for John Mackovic came back. So did assistants Jones, Leon Manley, Willie Zapalac, Spike Dykes, Ken Dabbs, R.M. Patterson, Prenis Williams and Clovis Hale.
Bob Moses and David Kristynik, stars on the 1961 team were on hand, while Tommy Ford, Tom Stockton, Joe Dixon, Clayton Lacy and Frank Bedrick from the the Longhorns' first ever National Championship team of 1963, all enjoyed the day.
Current NFL stars Blake Brockermeyer, Phil Dawson and Dan Neil joined Pat Fitzgerald as representative from the 1990s, while Applewhite was among those weighing in from the current decade.
As you can tell, it is impossible to name them all, but you get the picture. The gathering has grown every year, with more and more of the elite of UT football coming back to the campus and program.
The group enjoyed an El Arroyo-catered dinner Friday night, as Mack Brown opened the team room at Moncrief-Neuhaus, so the guys and their guests could watch the Longhorns beat UConn on the projection screen TV. Saturday at noon, it was Bert's BBQ that welcomed even more of the lettermen, who came to see the spring game.
Most of the visitors reflected the pride Texas supporters are showing throughout the country. With a National Champion in baseball last June, and the success of Brown's Longhorns in the fall, things were good. Now, with the basketball team knocking on the door of history on both the men's and women's side, folks note that this may well be the best era of Texas athletics.
As the legends returned to watch the fun of the 2003 team and swap stories and cold beverages, one message was really clear.
Past or present, it's a great time to be a Longhorn.