Here are 10 points you might not know around Thomas wade "Tom" Landry, that for 29 years was the head coach the the Cowboys. He perfect his NFL coaching career through the third-highest win full in league history (special many thanks to longtime DMN staffer Barry Horn for a file of Landry that appeared Feb. 13, 2000 -- the job after Landry"s death at age 75 native cancer)

1. Texas Roots

Landry was born in southern Texas" Rio Grande Valley, not much from the mexico border, in the small town that Mission, top top Sept. 11, 1924. His father, ray Landry, to be an auto mechanic and chief the the local volunteer fire department. His mother, Ruth Coffman Landry, to be a homemaker who increased three children. In his autobiography, released in 1990 and also written with author Gregg Lewis, Landry described Mission as a typical Texas small town. "Anyone you"d satisfy on the street knew that you were, wherein you lived, and also often wherein you were heading. Ns learned a sense of accountability early in life, accepting the truth that civilization were constantly watching -- even when i wished they weren"t."

2. Tex and also Tom

Landry was hired in ~ the behest of Tex Schramm, a former GM of the Los Angeles Rams. Schramm pertained to the Cowboys after ~ spending 3 years with CBS sporting activities in brand-new York. "I checked out their games and also was surprised by what i saw," Schramm said. "Here was an assistant coach - a defensive coach -- who was looked top top by his football player as practically a god. They were the finest defensive club in the league for number of years, and also Tom Landry was the reason. He had actually a different philosophy that defense, and also it worked." Landry in reality signed before the Dallas franchise existed. Potential owners Clint Murchison Jr. and Bedford Wynne signed Landry to a personal-services contract two days ~ Christmas in 1959. It wasn"t till Jan. 28, 1960, the the NFL welcomed Dallas right into its ranks.

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3. Quiet concentration

As a child, Landry worked hard to conquer a decided impediment. On the sidelines, he was viewed as a grim-faced Texan. Once, at a Cowboys practice, defensive ago Cornell environment-friendly intercepted a happen thrown through quarterback Don Meredith. In mock rage, Meredith chased environment-friendly down the field, beating him end the head through a helmet. Teammates exploded in laughter. Landry walk not. "Nothing funny ever before happens ~ above a football field," Landry stated after the incident. As for the general public perception the him, Landry said: "People based their judgments simply on what they experienced on the sideline. The way I trained myself come concentrate, i blanked everything else out. Friend can"t display emotion. The photo never bothered me as well much. My friends recognize me."

4. On a mission at Mission

While play football in ~ Mission High, which had actually fewer than 200 students, Landry was a quarterback, all-regional fullback and defensive back. Mission"s team in 1941 finished unbeaten, untied and nearly unscored upon. The Eagles enabled only one touchdown that season. It come after defensive ago Landry was penalized for pass interference versus Donna High School.

5. Armed forces Man

Landry was at the university of Texas in the autumn of 1942 when he got a speak to from his family notifying him that his only brother, Robert, had been killed. A pilot in the military Air Forces, Robert Landry was shed aboard his B-17 bomber over the phibìc Atlantic. Shortly after, Tom Landry enlisted in the military reserve and also applied because that pilots cultivate in the military Air Corps. He would certainly fly 30 objectives over Europe in a B-17. On one mission, his plane ran out of fuel end France, forcing a crash landing. Landry and also the remainder of the crew walked far uninjured. After the war, Landry returned to Austin to more his studies and also play football because that the Longhorns.

6. Alicia

In the fall of 1947, Tom Landry was introduced to freshman Alicia Wiggs. Wiggs was a graduate that Highland Park High School. She had actually been a model whose photo had appeared in Seventeen magazine. Tom Landry and Alicia Wiggs were married in January 1949 -- a few days ~ Landry, the team captain, had actually led the Longhorns to a 41-28 Orange Bowl win over Georgia. "I wasn"t that interested in football," Alicia Landry would say virtually 35 year later. "I was really a Tommy fan."


Shot October 21, 1992 - released November 25, 1992 - EVENT: Women's Guild of joined Cerebral Palsy Honorary Board held the Heroes and also Legends in sporting activities reception to respect Tom and also Alicia Landry. The Oct 21 occasion was hosted at the residence the Carl Westcott. // shown HERE, from left: cutting board Wade Landry - Alicia Landry

7. Walk pro

Later in 1949, Landry i graduated from Texas v a bachelor"s degree in service to expert football. That signed with the new York Yankees of the soon-to-be-defunct All-America Conference. His contract was for $6,000 and a $500 signing bonus. He remained a Yankee for only one season prior to the league folded.

The next season, Landry join the NFL"s new York Giants, because that whom he would certainly star at protective back. In 1954, the Giants inquiry Landry, who was play left cornerback, to come to be an assistant coach. He spent one more season playing and also coaching. After the 1955 season, he dedicated himself to comes up with defensive schemes because that the Giants. The most he would ever before make as a player was $15,000. His final Cowboys contract, however, payment him $1 million a season.


8. How did the fedora start?

It was as a Giants assistant coach that Landry started wearing his trademark fedoras. One factor was obvious. Brand-new York gained cold during the football season, and also he needed something to cover his fully head. The other? thinking ahead come a post-football life in the insurance allowance business, he chose it would certainly be ideal to look together businesslike as feasible on the sideline. The idea was to impress feasible future employers and people who could like come buy policies from him. Once he became a head coach, there were those that urged him to switch to a cowboy hat.

9. What if ...?

When the fledgling American Football league announced it would have a team in Dallas in 1960, the NFL made decision it, too, had actually to have a team there. Landry to be 35 year old when the Cowboys made that the youngest head coach in the NFL. Landry signed a five-year contract that average out to $34,500 a season.

It is often forgotten the Landry actually had actually his an option of jobs in 1960. The brand-new AFL franchise in Houston, the Oilers, approached Landry around its coaching position. Yet he currently had experienced life in a league that had contended with the NFL.

Tex Schramm readily available Landry other the Oilers go not. "Tex gave me what I wanted from the beginning, finish control the the football finish -- something that had actually to perform with the players various other than signing them," Landry claimed in explaining why he chose Dallas end Houston.

10. All over pop culture

In 1959, Landryappeared ~ above the TV panel video game show To call The Truth.

In an episode of The Simpsons ("You Only relocate Twice"), Homer Simpson buys Landry"s trademark fedora in an initiative to enhance his leadership qualities.

Landry is also featured in the season 7 illustration "Marge Be not Proud" as one of the Christmas carolers introduced by Krusty the Clown.

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A section of interstate 30 in between Dallas and Fort worth was called the Tom Landry Highway by the Texas legislative branch in 2001. The football stadium in Mission was called Tom Landry Stadium, as was Trinity Christian Academy"s stadium in Addison, Texas.


A Tom Landry Highway (IH-30) sign in between Grand Prairie, Texas and also Dallas, pictured top top Tuesday, July 28, 2015. (Michael Ainsworth/The Dallas Morning News)(Michael Ainsworth / employee Photographer)