Every year, September 15 through October 15 is designated as Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. In Texas, and especially at Texas Tech, the impact of Hispanic culture is inescapable. In fact, the very roots of Texas Tech are uniquely influenced by Hispanic heritage in ways that most universities cannot claim. The architecture of the buildings on campus was inspired by the Spanish Renaissance era. Even the university’s original mascot, the Matador, was a tribute to Spanish bullfighters.
So in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, and in honor of the Hispanic community’s profound influence on Texas Tech, I want to pay tribute to the Cavazos brothers.
Bobby Cavazos was nothing short of a Texas Tech legend on the gridiron. As a running back for the Red Raiders in the early 1950’s, Cavazos played a major role in two historical football seasons. In 1951, Cavazos helped Texas Tech win its first ever bowl game in the Sun Bowl, a ticket the Red Raiders punched by winning the 1951 Border Conference championship.
In 1953, Cavazos was named a second team All-American during arguably the greatest season in Texas Tech history. With a final record of 11-1, the Red Raiders topped Auburn in the Gator Bowl that year, 35-13. When his NFL career was cut short by a shoulder injury, he enlisted in the military to serve his country. Bobby passed away in 2013 at the age of 82.
Bobby’s older brother Richard Cavazos played football for Texas Tech in 1949 and 1950. He made history as the first Hispanic four-star general in the United States Army, serving in Korea and Vietnam. From 1989 to 1995, Richard served on the Texas Tech Board of Regents. Today, he is 87 years old.
Finally, we celebrate Lauro Cavazos, the first and so far only Hispanic President of Texas Tech University. He was also the first Hispanic Secretary of Education in the United States, serving under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. To this day, Lauro Cavazos is the only Texas Tech alumnus to serve the university as its President. He is 89 years old.
Thank you, gentlemen, for your lasting impact on Lubbock, Texas Tech, and the United States.