Unfortunately, we learned Sunday morning that a third member of the Texas Tech Ring of Honor had passed away. On Saturday, the great two way player for the Lubbock Westerners, Texas Tech Red Raiders and Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs died at the age of 81.
Emil Joe Holub, or “The Beast” as his teammates called him, was a big time recruit in high school, gaining interest from teams all over the country. However, he stuck with the college just a mile away from his high school, choosing to play for the Red Raiders.
While at Texas Tech, he played both ways as a linebacker and a center. Although it’s difficult to find career stats for Holub, he did have some monster games his senior season, including 23 tackles (15 solo, eight assisted) against Baylor, and 28 tackles(18 solo, 10 assisted) and a pick six against Arkansas.
What we do know is that college football considered him one of their best players in that era. He was a two time All-American at center in 1959 and 1960, including becoming the school’s first consensus All-American his senior season. He also was the first Red Raider to be named to the All-Southwest Conference team in 1959 and 1960.
Despite being a lineman, Holub ended up finishing 10th in Heisman voting in 1960. No less than a year later, he was drafted by both the NFL and AFL, becoming the 16th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys and sixth overall pick by the Dallas Texans. He would end up choosing the upstart AFL and was one of their better players while there.
During his stint in the AFL with the Texans (who later became the Chiefs), Holub continued to play both sides of the football, one of the last to do so. He would be named an All-Star five of his first six seasons, was a first team All-AFL player in 1962 and 1963, and an second team All-AFL player in 1961, 1964-1966, and 1969.
Holub also won a few championships during his time in league, winning the AFL Championship in 1962 and 1966, and Super Bowl IV in the 1969 season. In fact, he played in two of the first four super bowls, and is the only player to have started on both sides of the ball (linebacker in Super Bowl I, center in Super Bowl IV).
The sixth overall pick’s career ended prior to the 1971 season with a knee surgery. It’s amazing that Holub had a long outstanding career with 20 surgeries from 1957 to 1973. Even though his playing career was over, his football legacy wasn’t over yet.
In 1986, he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame, the first Red Raider to go into the Hall of Fame and still one of only five in the Hall of Fame. Holub was the first Red Raider to get his number retired (55) and was one of the first players to be named to the Texas Tech Ring of Honor in 2012.
He would also be named to the Chiefs Hall of Fame and was part of Lubbock ISD’s inaugural class in 2011. Will he ever be a Pro Football Hall of Famer? It’s hard to tell, and it looks like it’s unlikely to happen. That being said, the NFL will have a large Hall of Fame class in the upcoming year to get some older players in the hall, so perhaps Holub might get his named called.
Regardless, Holub had a hell of a career ranging from high school all the way to professional football. He was an avid supporter of Texas Tech Athletics until the very end, and he will be missed by the Red Raider community.