AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Football great Terry Tausch passed away Wednesday night at his home in Plano, Texas. Tausch was a four-year letterman (1978-81) for the Longhorns, earned All-America honors in 1980 and 1981, and was inducted into the Texas Athletics Hall of Honor in 2001. He was 61 years old.
At Texas, Tausch was a speedy, dependable offensive tackle who capped his collegiate career with consensus All-America honors in 1981. He also was named a Football News All-American as a junior, and earned All-Southwest Conference honors in each of his final two seasons at UT.
A native of New Braunfels, Texas, and a highly-touted tight end prospect out of New Braunfels High School, Tausch was recruited to Austin by Darrell Royal and played under Fred Akers after redshirting in 1977. As a right tackle at Texas, one of the teammates he played side by side with for four years was former tight end Lawrence Sampleton.
“Terry and I had a very special relationship,” Sampleton said. “He grew up in New Braunfels, and I grew up in Seguin, and we were archrivals in high school. He’s a year older than I am, but I had known of him since middle school. Terry was a great guy. He was a big guy, but he was a soft-spoken man and just really cared about everybody. He was a gentle kind of leader who worked hard every day and was a great example for all of us younger guys.”
During his senior season of 1981, the Longhorns posted a 10-1-1 record and finished ranked No. 2 by the Associated Press after a 14-12 win over No. 3 Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. That year, Texas also earned wins over No. 8 SMU, No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 14 Miami. Over the four years he lettered, Texas compiled a 35-12-1 record, including a 9-3 mark in both 1978 and 1979 with a final ranking of ninth in 1978 and 12th in 1979.
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“I always remember Coach (Leon) Manley, who was a really tough offensive line coach, and everyone knew that Coach Manley respected Terry so much and just loved him,” Sampleton added. “He would never get on Terry. He got on everyone else, but Terry Tausch, and that’s just the kind of respect a lot of people had for Terry. He was an amazing player, and he played in the NFL and was an All-American at Texas, but I think the thing I remember most about Terry is his work ethic, how he treated everyone around him, and his ability to gain the respect of coaches, teammates and fans, alike. I saw that in him from the time I was in middle school through now. He was an amazing person, and I wish his family the best, along with all of his fans and supporters in New Braunfels.”
A signature moment for him came in the 1979 Red River Showdown, where he helped the Longhorns best No. 3 Oklahoma, 16-7. That day, Tausch had seven pins while UT ran the counter dive play over him for yardage throughout the game as part of 223 yards rushing.
Tausch was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round (39th overall) of the 1982 NFL Draft. He played seven seasons with the Vikings from 1982-88, starting 68 of 81 games in which he played. He played his final NFL season with the San Francisco 49ers in 1989, helping the franchise win Super Bowl XXIV.
Tausch and his wife, Ela, have two sons, Nicholas and Eric. Both played college football with Nicholas as a kicker at Notre Dame and Eric as a center at TCU.
More information will be provided when arrangements have been determined by the family.