Houston to celebrate 'Jerry LeVias Day' on May 4

Football legend Jerry LeVias will be honored May 4 with a proclaimation from District G Houston City Council Member Oliver Pennington and Houston Mayor Annise Parker declaring it “Jerry LeVias Day” in Houston, Texas.

HOUSTON — Football legend Jerry LeVias will be honored May 4 with a proclaimation from District G Houston City Council Member Oliver Pennington and Houston Mayor Annise Parker declaring it “Jerry LeVias Day” in Houston, Texas. 

Jerry LeVias
LeVias received SMU's 2006 DAA Award 
“The purpose of the ceremony on May 4 will be not just to honor a great football player and civil rights leader, but a great man” said Council Member Pennington.  “Through his faith and his strong family ties, Mr. LeVias was able to overcome a tremendous amount of hardship in his life.  We consider ourselves lucky and blessed to have a man of such fine moral character living in District G.  We take this occasion during National Child Abuse Prevention Month to honor his work on behalf of children throughout the state.”

Jerry LeVias holds a special place as a pioneer in the history of college athletics.  When he entered Southern Methodist University in 1965, he became the first African-American to receive an athletic scholarship in the Southwest Conference.  His signing with SMU forever changed the racial makeup of college football in the South.  LeVias made both athletic and academic All-American football teams and led the Mustangs to their first conference title in 18 years.

After earning his B.S. degree from SMU in 1969, LeVias played professional football for the Houston Oilers and San Diego Chargers.  He has received numerous honors and awards recognizing his achievements during a distinguished football career.  They include the SMU Hall of Fame, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, African-American Hall of Fame, National College Football Hall of Fame, and All-American Alumni Award of the Football Writers Association of America.  He also is a recipient of the SMU Distinguished Alumni Award. 

He was a National Football League All-Pro, and the 1969 Runner-up in the NFL Rookie of the Year contest.  In 1969, he was the Southwest Conference’s Most Valuable Player.  He was named to the All Southwest Conference Team three years in a row.  He was a 4-time recipient of the NFL’s Most Valuable Player of the Week award.  He was named the Most Valuable Player in the All-American Bowl and in the Senior Bowl.  During his career, he set numerous records, including receptions in a game (15 vs. Ohio State), season (80), career (155), yards in a season (1,131), career (2,275), and career touchdown receptions (22).  Jerry was a first team All-SWC selection and held most of the league's receiving records for nearly two decades.  He emerged as one of the greatest receivers of his day.

Jerry LeViasThe trials and tribulations of Mr. LeVias’ breaking the color barrier in the Southwest Conference have been well-documented in “Jerry LeVias: A Marked Man” on the FOX Sports Network and the HBO’s film “Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football”.  Thanks to the support of Mr. Ramon Alvarez, the Public Relations Director for FOX Sports Southwest, FOX Sports Houston, and FOX Sports Oklahoma, the “Jerry LeVias: A Marked Man” documentary will be rebroadcast on the FOX Sports Network on May 4 at 5:00 p.m. Central Time in honor of Jerry LeVias Day.  Spat upon and gouged by opposing players, Mr. LeVias encountered overt racism and bigotry even among some of his teammates.  Hate mail, on-field racial epithets, and death threats were the norm during Mr. LeVias’ tenure at SMU.

Mr. LeVias is currently the Community Outreach Director for the Boys and Girls Harbor in La Porte, Texas, a non-profit organization whose mission is to nurture the lives of children whose families are in crisis.  His activities include motivational speaking, chairing Community Voices in Action, and he has served as honorary chair of the Southeast Texas Prostate Cancer Awareness Program.  Mr. LeVias also serves on the Child Protective Services Regional and State Taskforces on Disproportionality.  In connection with National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we honor Mr. LeVias for his tireless advocacy on behalf of children everywhere.

“Child abuse takes many forms,” said Mr. LeVias.  “There is physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional/verbal abuse, and abandonment.  We as citizens should protect our most valuable resources, which are our children.  I encourage everyone during the month of April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, to find a children’s cause that is near and dear to their hearts and get involved.  There are many worthy organizations in Houston and Harris County, and by getting involved you can make a big difference in a child’s life.”

The Proclamation will be presented to Mr. LeVias in the Houston City Council Chamber at City Hall, located at 901 Bagby, 2nd Floor, Houston, TX 77002 on Tuesday, May 4, at 1:30 p.m.

For additional information, contact Mark F. Kirschke, Director of Communications for Council Member Oliver Pennington, at 832-393-3267 or email mark.kirschke@houstontx.gov

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