Former Aggie coach, wishbone creator Bellard dead at 83
By MIKE PIELLUCCI
Feb. 12, 2011
Emory Bellard, the innovator of the wishbone offense, has passed away at the age of 83 after battling Lou Gehrig’s disease.
After playing college football at Texas and Texas State, Bellard enjoyed a coaching career that spanned nearly 40 years. His most successful stint was a 6-1/2 year run at Texas A&M, where he finished 32-9 with two bowl wins over his final 4-1/2 seasons after an 8-14 start over his first two years.
His main claim to fame, however, came when he served as the offensive coordinator at A&M’s fierce rival Texas. Tasked with finding a way to utilize a deep and talented group of running backs, Bellard developed the Y-shaped formation to employ three backs at once, and the Longhorns’ fortunes immediately turned around.
After three mediocre seasons, Texas won the 1969 National Championship and the wishbone offense took off nation-wide, culminating in Oklahoma adopting it to power their dynasty in the 1980’s.
Ever the trend-setter, Bellard was also among the first coaches to recuit black players in the state of Texas.
Bellard may be gone, but his imprint remains in the game he dedicated his life to.