Anyone who follows the Lone Star Conference knows it is one of the top conferences in NCAA Division II. There have been numerous national championships (and several near-misses), coaches who moved to Division I jobs, and a large number of All-American student-athletes who went on to have successful professional careers.
We thought it would be fun to look back and come up with an all-time greatest list. We hope you enjoy this as much as we did putting it together.
Due to the long history and different eras, the list is divided into an NAIA section and an NCAA D2 section.
Some of our younger readers might wonder, what is the NAIA? It is the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, a non-NCAA athletic classification. While the present day NAIA may seem unfamiliar, many current NCAA schools were once members of the NAIA. The competition level was comparable to current day Division II. A partial of list of NAIA football champions includes current FBS member Troy State, FCS schools Montana State, Central Arkansas, and D2 schools Azusa Pacific, Findlay, Sioux Falls, Central Washington, Northwestern Oklahoma, Carson-Newman, North Alabama, Missouri Southern, Hillsdale, former LSC schools Abilene Christian, Southwestern Oklahoma, Northeastern State and current LSC members Angelo State, Texas A&M-Commerce, Texas A&M-Kingsville and even Cameron (when they fielded a football team but prior to joining the LSC).
We will start with the NAIA, and will list the all-time top 15 LSC schools from that era beginning tomorrow. But before we go today, here are 3 schools that just missed out on making the list, but were too good to ignore.
#15 - 1980 Angelo State Rams
1967 - Texas A&I (9-0)- The Javelinas went undefeated and outscored their opponents by a 228-76 margin. Despite the undefeated record, the team did not receive one of the four NAIA playoff invitations that year. George Franklin was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the second round.
1977 - Texas A&I (8-1-1) - The three time defending NAIA champions dropped a 7-6 contest to East Texas State, and tied eventual national champion Abilene Christian 25-25 in what has been described by many as the greatest LSC game ever. Six Javelinas were taken in the NFL draft, including John Barefield, Larry Collins and Doug Greene in the first three rounds (and first 69 picks overall).
1976 - Abilene Christian (9-2) - The Wildcats outscored opponents by a 313-126 margin and only lost to Southwest Texas State and national champion Texas A&I. Three ACU players were drafted by the NFL, including Johnny Perkins and Wilbert Montgomery.