In previous blogs, we covered a few of the notable games. Now it's time that we will talk about one of the legends from the '60s. His name is Harry Jones, better known to fans as "Lighthorse" Harry Jones.
It was the decade of the '60s when music began with Lawrence Welk and ended with Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. The Civil Rights Act had been enacted. It was a time when we went from a small Russian satelite named Sputnik to walking on the moon. Two Kennedys had been assassinated, along with a young southern Baptist preacher named Martin Luther King. With Viet Nam at its peak, protests were running rampant throughout the country. Although in Fayetteville (since it was pretty much isolated with only limited accesss from the outside world) life centered around the school, Vic Mons, and the Razorback football team. Life was good in the Ozarks and the nation began taking notice that there was something special going on there.
Throughout the decade, college football was being dominated by the Southwest Conference and its leaders Arkansas, and the Longhorns from Austin. For eight of the ten years during the '60s, the winner of the Texas-Arkansas game would go on to either own a share or be the outright winner of the Southwest Conference and play in the Cotton Bowl. The latter half of the decade would usually find either Arkansas or Texas as the #1 football team in the nation.
Born in Huntington, WV, and coming to Fayetteville from Enid, Oklahoma, 6'-2", 195 lb. “Lighthorse” Harry Jones became an overnight folk hero as a sophomore when he returned an interception, with his 9.7 second speed, for a touchdown against TCU leading to a 29 – 6 win in the miraculous 1964 season. During his sophomore season while playing safety, he compiled 44 tackles and 2 interceptions averaging 29.5 yards.
Being moved to a running back in 1965 and 1966, Jones gained a reputation for his breakaway runs. This national reputation won him an All-Southwest Conference selection in 1965, and All-American honors in 1966. During his career, "Lighthorse" Harry Jones led the nation in yards per carry (7.7 yards) and set a school record of 293 yards rushing against Oklahoma State on September 18, 1965, in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium. The notoriety didn’t stop there either. He became the first Razorback to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated (November 8, 1965 issue). Along with Darren McFadden (August 19, 2007 regional issue), Jones is the only other Hog football player to individually grace the SI cover.
As Hog fever was growing throughout the state, 45-rpm records began showing up and became popular by telling the glory of the team and its key players. These records became so well known that they could be heard on all of the popular radio stations throughout the state. Stock in “Lighthorse” Harry Jones had risen to the point that he had his own record declaring “Run Harry Run, Oh run, you son of a gun, Give the ball to Har-ry Jones.”
In the 1965 and 1966 seasons, Jones rushed 166 times for 974 yards and seven touchdowns. He also caught 29 passes for 598 yards and five touchdowns for a total of 1572 and 12 touchdowns making him a true legend that started out as a defensive safety and ended up as a folk hero running back. This was a time when football was played for the love of the sport with no thought of trying to make millions in the pros. Many went on to play pro, but it was always about the game and the love. “Run Harry Run"
performed by The Rivermen