Famous Athletes and Sports Stars from East Texas

A number of notable athletes and sports stars are from Tyler or the surrounding East Texas region.

Photograph of the bust of Earl Campbell in the Pro Football Hall of Fame gallery, Canton, Ohio (photograph by the author)Earl Campbell in the Pro Football Hall of Fame gallery, Canton, Ohio (staff photo)

There are also a large number of singers, songwriters, actors and entertainers from East Texas.

We enjoy and appreciate the talents and accomplishments of these famous people and stars!

Earl Campbell

Born in Tyler on March 29, 1955, football running back Earl Christian Campbell graduated from John Tyler High School and then became a star on the football team of the University of Texas at Austin.

For his record breaking performances at the college level, Earl won the Heisman Trophy in 1977.

That same year he became the first recipient of the Davey O'Brien Memorial Trophy, awarded to the most outstanding player in the Southwest Conference.

Earl was then the first pick in the 1978 National Football League draft, chosen by the Houston Oilers. He later played for the New Orleans Saints and amassed a series of football and NFL records.

He is widely acknowledged as one of the best power backs in NFL history, and few running backs were as productive or imposing. He retired during the 1986 NFL pre-season.

Earl was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991, and is also a member of the College Hall of Fame.

Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio(Staff photo)

He is widely known as "The Tyler Rose", and has the Earl Campbell Parkway in Tyler named in his honor.

The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, announced in 2012 by the Tyler Chamber and SPORTyler, recognizes the top offensive player in Division I football who exhibits the characteristics that define Earl Campbell. Each nominee must meet one or more of the following criteria: born in Texas and/or graduated from a Texas high school and/or played at a Texas-based junior college or four-year DI Texas college.

Trevone Boykin, the quarterback of TCU in Fort Worth, was named the winner of the second annual Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award on January 14, 2015, at Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler.

at the official Earl Campbell website

Matt Flynn

Matt attended Robert E. Lee High School, and was later the star quarterback of the LSU Fighting Tigers when they won the BCS National Football Championship.

Matt now is on the roster of the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. We visited Lambeau Field and the Packer Hall of Fame in 2009 and were CheeseHeads for a day!

Go Tigers! We love those Bayou Bengals, and remember the nights we've spent in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.

George Foreman

George Edward Foreman was born on January 10, 1949 in Marshall, Texas. He is a retired American professional boxer, two-time World Heavyweight Champion, Olympic gold medalist, ordained minister, author, and entrepreneur.

He won the World Heavyweight title with a knockout of then-undefeated Joe Frazier in 1973. He made two successful title defenses before losing to Muhammad Ali in "The Rumble in the Jungle" in 1974.

He retired in 1997 at the age of 48, with a final record of 76–5, including 68 knockouts. Foreman has been inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

The famous George Foreman Grill has resulted in sales of over 100 million units since it was first launched.

Adrian Peterson

Born in Palestine, Texas, he was a local football hero before becoming a record-setting running back for the University of Oklahoma, where he was a Heisman Trophy runner-up.

Today he is a running back for the NFL Minnesota Vikings.