Former Texas College of Mines Legend Fred Wendt Dies at 95
In the 1940s, Fred Wendt was a star running back for the Texas College of Mines (later UTEP). He re-wrote the school record books in 1948, when he rushed for 326 yards and six touchdowns against NMSU. Wendt passed away on Monday at the age of 95.
The Austin High grad enrolled at Texas College of Mines in 1942 and then returned to the school in 1946 after serving in the Army during World War II. In addition to football, Wendt also lettered in track. However, Wendt made his mark on the football field and set NCAA records in addition to school records while playing for the Miners.
He finished his career with Texas College of Mines with 2,166 yards and 23 touchdowns. He is still the school record holder for rushing yards per attempt (7.65) and he rushed for 100-plus yards on eight different occasions in his college career. His single season rushing total of 1,570 yards established in 1948 was an NCAA record until O.J. Simpson broke it in 1969 playing for USC. Wendt was also an All-American in 1947 and 1948 and he was inducted into both the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame and El Paso Athletics Hall of Fame. He also was voted as a member of the Sun Bowl's 75th Anniversary team after his 92-yard rushing performance against West Virginia in the 1949 game.
Wendt was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in 1948 and then the San Francisco 49ers in 1949. The Cardinals re-signed him 1950 but he never played professional football after suffering a leg injury in 1949.