Jan Todd

The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center is showcasing a Texas football exhibit in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 1914 UT football season.

Photo Credit: Chris Foxx | Daily Texan Staff

The University’s football program is known for its long history, including the legacy of the 1914 season, when the team ended the season with both a championship and a perfect record.

To celebrate the team’s 100th anniversary, the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium opened an exhibit in September dedicated to the history of the team and its accomplishments.

Ten people who were associated with the 1914 team have been inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor, the most inductees out of any season. Seven of the inductees were players, including quarterback Clyde Littlefield. Besides making history with a perfect season, Littlefield made a breakthrough in the game of football as well.

“1914 was the year the ‘forward pass’ was invented,” center co-director Terry Todd said. 

According to Todd, Littlefield invented the forward pass and made four touchdown passes in one game. His passing record was not matched until 1977 when Randy McEachern threw four touchdown passes against Texas A&M. 

“People soon began to understand the possibilities of the forward pass,” Todd said. “And now it dominates the game today.” 

Littlefield was also a part of the basketball and track team at the time, lettering in all three sports. Additionally, he coached the football team for 43 years, as well as co-founded the Texas Relays event. 

“One of the things that interested us about the team was how well-rounded all of the players were,” center co-director Jan Todd said. 

According to Jan Todd, most of the players were affiliated with an array of campus organizations, including fraternities, student government and honor societies. All players participated in at least one other sport as well.

“One of the most interesting things to me was the fact that only one of the players was a little over 200 lbs,” exhibit designer Drew Patterson said. 

A chart in the exhibit features a comparison of the 1914 Longhorns and the 2005 national championship-winning team average weight. The 1914 team averaged 174 pounds. In 2005, the team averaged 245 pounds.

Henry Reeves, the team’s African-American trainer, is among the 10 inductees from the 1914 team.

“Henry Reeves should be regarded as the first real athlete trainer at the University of Texas,” Jan Todd said. “He wasn’t just the water guy. … And I did say water ‘guy,’ not water ‘boy.’”

Reeves served the football team from 1895 until 1915, when he suffered a stroke in the middle of their game against Texas A&M. He later died but was not inducted into the Hall of Honor until 2000.

Photo Credit: Albert Lee | Daily Texan Staff

It is rarely quiet for Nicole Thompson Beavers, but she savors silence in her office when she can. Leaning back in her chair, she calmly gazed into the coffee between her hands. Sighing, she raised the cup to her — “BLAM!”

Then she set the cup down on the — “BLAM!”

Swiveling to her computer, Thompson Beavers, a graduate program coordinator, pushed the disturbance from the weight room above her office out of her consciousness, a practice that took weeks to master.

The repetitious pounding continued above in the Bellmont weight room facility in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, where UT students and faculty are permitted to exercise in a historic environment.

Fifty years ago, Bellmont contained the training facility for the Longhorn football team. But if Thompson Beavers taught all those decades ago, she would never have had an issue with the thuds of heavy iron. Before the 1970s, lifting in football was discouraged — even banned. Now, most colleges have a strength and conditioning program with facilities built specifically to advance players’ strength.


Illustration by Albert Lee / Daily Texan Staff

Part of the history behind that idea lies roughly 100 yards north of the Bellmont facility in the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, built in 2008 by directors Terry and Jan Todd. At the start of the 2013 football season, Terry Todd felt he had to do something to honor the 50th anniversary of the 1963 championship team and coach Darrell Royal, who died Nov. 7, 2012.

Todd designated a section of the exhibit hall for a large banner of the ’63 team photo to drape down in the main hall and for pictures and items from the life of Royal to be arranged on the walls nearest to the entrance.

While a tribute to a former football coach doesn’t raise any questions, Todd — a UT tennis player in the late ‘50s — knows weight training was looked down upon at Texas until Royal changed that perception.

“It had a terrible reputation that it would stiffen you and slow you down,” Todd said.

Todd tested the theory during the summer after his senior year of high school. 

“I played tennis and never did calisthenics or any other exercise, so my right arm was like a crawfish that lost one of its claws and it was just half-grown back,” Todd said. “I did curls, presses and stuff, and I could feel that it was working.”

Todd gained 30 pounds that summer and continued training during his college career, setting him at odds with head coach Wilmer Allison — the co-namesake of the Penick-Allison Tennis Center, where the Longhorns currently play. At one point, Allison threatened to reduce Todd’s scholarship to a half-scholarship.

Todd quit the team his junior year, focusing on a weight lifting course instead. 

Strengthening to 270 pounds in 1960, Todd gained a reputation as the strong man on campus and word of his strength even reached Royal.

Royal’s 1960 team finished at 7-3-1 and in early 1961, Todd was unexpectedly called to Royal’s office.

Royal explained that he had heard of Todd from a few of his players and knew of his dispute with coach Wilmer. 

But then Royal asked a question that he wanted to keep quiet at the time.

Todd recalled Royal saying, “I want to know more about it because I keep hearing a few other schools are starting to do it. So explain this to me: Why do people believe that [weight lifting is] bad for you?”

Royal grew up in a time where it was believed weight lifting was detrimental and could make you so tight you would be unable to brush your teeth. 

But Todd explained how weight training helped him in his athletic career and cited how LSU had implemented a weight training program and won the national championship in 1958.

But according to Todd, Royal could not  start a similar program at UT because head trainer Frank Medina would never allow it. Royal couldn’t force the issue either, if he insisted the players lift and injuries resulted or they had a poor season, Royal could lose his job.

Texas won three national championships in the ’60s, but despite the success, Royal’s fear kept the Longhorns from heavy training until the 1970s.

“The only weights that [Medina] ever had us using was when we’d hold them in our hands and do sit-ups and stuff like that,” said Leslie Derrick Jr., a member of the 1963 national championship team. “I don’t know if coach Royal was really excited about [weight lifting] or anything … I don’t think Diron Talbert ever worked out with a weight in his life.”

Photo by Jonathan Garza / Daily Texan Staff
Although the Bellmont weight facility has been updated since housing the Longhorn football team, its faded floors and walls provide a museum-like look at years past. In the 1960s, the space had much less equipment than it holds today. Photo by Jonathan Garza / Daily Texan Staff

Talbert, a 6-foot-5-inch defensive lineman at Texas from ’63-’66, played in the NFL for 14 seasons. Before he left Texas, the coaches set him up to meet with Todd, who had established himself as a national champion lifter, to test Talbert’s strength. The coaching staff realized for sustained success after college, Talbert would have to “put a little meat” on his bones, according to Todd. 

Todd wanted to first test him in the bench press and placed 135 pounds on the bar. Talbert only pressed two reps.

“I thought, ‘My goodness,’” Todd said. “He must just be such a gifted player, so agile and quick and so aggressive. How could you be that weak and be able to be really dominant on the line?”

Heavy weight training was not fully integrated into football weight rooms around the country until the ’70s, reaching a new generation of athletes such as former UT strength and conditioning coach and president of the College Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, Jeff Madden.

Madden grew up in Cleveland, Ohio during the ’70s, when athletes were beginning to eliminate the weight lifting barriers of fear in sports.

“We had to break that phobia in my household, first of all, so that I could start training,” Madden said. 

Throughout his 30 years of coaching, Madden helped lead strength and conditioning into the modern era. He’s watched as football players have grown substantially as the years have progressed. The weight listings of Texas players tell this story.

On the 1963 Longhorns football team, the average weight of a defensive and offensive lineman was 208 pounds. On the 2013 team, 296 pounds.

“You’ve got to be bigger, faster and stronger because everybody else is bigger, faster and stronger,” Madden said. 

Photo courtesy of Texas Athletics
Weight room facilities have increased in size and supply in the recent years. New workouts have also developed such as tire lifting, where an athlete flips a tire from one end of the floor to the other. Photo courtesy of Texas Athletics

Recently graduated defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat said Talbert’s example of the past makes the difference clear.

“That’s the difference, we lift weights a lot more and lift a heavier weight style,” Jeffcoat said. “Like me, I had two [pectoral] injuries and I was still able to lift a bench 18 times. When my dad came out [in 1983], he benched 225 pounds 18 times.”

Typical lifting workouts for Jeffcoat consisted of either bench press or incline bench press, alternating with dumbbell bench or leg workouts like squats. Other days, there are “power” lifting workouts for the lower body such as leg cleans, where a standing Jeffcoat would lift a weighted barbell off the ground.

None of these workouts were a part of football training 50 years ago. But Jeffcoat said he understands the fears coach Royal and others had about losing flexibility.

“Shoot, I see where [Royal’s] coming from because I know some guys that lift so much but they don’t stretch, and that’s why they get so tight,” Jeffcoat said. “But if you’re stretching and you’re lifting, you’re going to be able to do all your normal functional things.”

Although there has been innovation in weight training, new problems have surfaced. Both Madden and Jeffcoat said athletes have to be careful not to over train muscles; too much focus designated on a specific muscle could result in physical stress and injury. As Jeffcoat enters the NFL Draft, he progresses into the future of football and weight lifting and said he does not know what changes to expect.

“Who knows?” Jeffcoat said. “Fifty years from now I might look back and see that they’re doing something different and making people bigger but there’s not many injuries … But every year you see they come out with something new, so who knows what they’ll come up with next.”

Much has changed since a Pro Bowl defensive lineman could only bench 135 pounds twice. And as innovations continue, strength and conditioning coaches, football players and coordinator Thompson Beavers, will have to adapt.

Terry and Jan Todd, both former competitive weightlifters, are the founders of the Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, a 27,500 square foot museum and the largest repository for artifacts of physical culture in the world, at the Darrel K. Royal Stadium.
Photo Credit: Zachary Strain | Daily Texan Staff

Terry and Jan Todd are no strangers to attention. Terry Todd, a former English student, doctoral candidate and lecturer at UT, was the first man to officially perform a 700-pound squat.

Sports Illustrated and the Guinness Book of World Records once declared Jan Todd the “Strongest Woman in the World.”

Terry Todd, born in Beaumont, Texas in 1938, attended the University of Texas in 1956 and competed for the UT tennis team. However, his interest in weightlifting conflicted with his desire to play tennis. Athletic coaches at the time believed weightlifting had a negative impact on athletic performance.

“But since I had experienced myself what the weights could do for me, athletically, physically, then it didn’t matter who said it was not good for you,” Terry Todd said.

Terry Todd began to lift competitively while he played for the tennis team, using assumed names in contests to mask his activity from his coach. However, his coach caught on and Terry Todd gave up his tennis scholarship, moving back in with his family so he could continue his pursuit of competitive weightlifting.

Terry Todd went on to win the first two official senior national weightlifting competitions in 1964 and 1965, and in 1966 earned a doctorate with a self-made curriculum from UT.

In 1967, he retired from competitive weightlifting.

“I was getting ready to become a professor and decided that I’d fulfilled my curiosity about becoming big and strong,” Terry Todd said.

Terry Todd went from about 340 pounds, his peak weight, to 250 pounds, where he stands today. He began teaching at Auburn University and later moved to Mercer University, where he met Jan Todd.

Jan Todd caught his eye when she beat many of his companions at a spontaneous game of log tossing. They were married in 1973 during Jan Todd’s senior year at Mercer University.

Jan Todd began tagging along with Terry Todd to his workouts.

“This is what Terry did for recreation, and I just wanted to understand it a bit,” Jan Todd said.

Jan Todd said she found light workout routines designed for her to be boring, but later found she was able to deadlift 225 pounds. She became inspired to ask Terry Todd whether he thought she could compete in weightlifting.

“For me the transition was from doing light sets of ten to going and seeing ‘Can I do more,’” she said.

Jan Todd, with Terry Todd’s guidance, went on to set more than 60 strength records, competing in men’s competitions because of a lack of women’s strength contests.

“I grew up in the generation before Title IX,” Jan Todd said. “People were generally surprised that I could put a sentence together.”

Jan Todd later earned a doctorate from the University of Texas in American studies, and continues to lecture at UT today.

Jan and Terry Todd founded the Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, a 27,500 square-foot museum and the largest repository for artifacts of physical culture in the world, at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in 2009.

Jan and Terry Todd, now 60 and 74 respectively, say the Stark Center occupies most of their time but they enjoy the challenge. Terry Todd said he was happy it could be located in Austin, where he felt he belonged.

“This was the place where clearly it means home,” Terry Todd said. “It’s our ancestral home.”

Printed on Friday, November 30, 2012 as: Retired weightlifters Jan and Terry Todd now teach at UT, consider Austin their home

Co-founder of Stark Center for Physical Culture & Sports Dr. Terry Todd and his wife, Dr. Jan Todd (not pictured), discussed the realities of strength in humans compared to strength of superheroes at the SAC Wednesday evening. Both he and his wife were former champion powerlifters and are considered pioneers to the field of physical fitness.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Wife and husband Jan and Terry Todd said the appearance and feats of superheroes and other creations of the entertainment industry closely track developments in strength competitions in a presentation sponsored by the UT library system Wednesday.

The presentation, part of a twice-a-semester series entitled Science Study Break was the first for the couple, who competed and broke records in the weight training world in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The presentation featured clips from movies including “The Avengers,” “Spider-Man,” “Hulk” and pictures from comics over the years.

Jan Todd, who was once declared the “Strongest Woman in the World” by Sports Illustrated and the Guinness Book of World Records, said heroes have evolved over the years to keep up with developments in the weight training world. While Superman looked like a normal but athletic man in the early 1950s, she said he ballooned in size as athletes began using the first anabolic steroids.

“Our concept of what a superhero looks like has totally changed,” Terry Todd said. “Our notion of what a superhero looks like is really based on what the top male bodybuilders look like.”

Terry Todd, who won the first two official senior national weightlifting competitions in 1964 and 1965, focused on the way superheroes are presented.

“[Producers] want superheroes not to just do super things but to look super heroic,” he said.

He cited examples such as Batman, whose armor outlines his pectoral and abdominal muscles.

“You can understand why somebody who doesn’t have Superman’s abilities would want something that would stop a bullet,” Terry said. “However, the armor has very delineated muscles ... why? That’s not needed.”

He also focused on Spider-Man, whose physique is prominently featured in movies, but is irrelevant to his abilities.

“Surely he doesn’t have the kind of musculature or physiognomy that would allow him to do the things he can now do,” Terry said.

Terry speculated that this is part of our desire to see a transformation in appearance in ourselves.

“They did it for the same reason they put the abs on Batman. It’s part of the magic,” Terry said. “It’s ‘wait, I can have muscles and I won’t be the little wimpy guy anymore.’”