The Seventh Annual Midwestern State Athletics Welcome Back Dinner features former NFL legendary player and coach Dan Reeves as the guest speaker on Sunday, Aug. 25 at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. The dinner begins at 6 p.m.
Reeves has participated in more Super Bowls as player/assistant coach/head coach than any other player in the NFL. He played in two Super Bowls – Super Bowls V and VI – and also was an assistant coach in three more – Super Bowls X, XII and XIII – and was Head Coach in four more – Super Bowls XXI, XXII and XXIV as the Denver Broncos' head coach and Super Bowl XXXIII as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
After graduation from college, Reeves received offers to play professional sports with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, the San Diego Chargers of the AFL and the Pittsburgh Pirates in Major League Baseball. Reeves signed with the Cowboys as a rookie undrafted free agent in 1965 to play the safety position, but was later moved to halfback. His rookie year was spent playing mostly with special teams.
In 1966, Tom Landry looking for more speed at running back, shifted All-Pro safety Mel Renfro to offense. Renfro was hurt in the opening game of the season against the New York Giants, and Reeves took advantage of his playing opportunity by having a breakout season, not only leading the team in rushing with 757 yards but finishing second in pass receiving with 757 yards and in scoring with 96 points. He set a Cowboys' record with 16 touchdowns (8 rushing and 8 receiving), had over 1,300 combined yards, and was sixth in the NFL in rushing, first in touchdowns and sixth in scoring.
He was voted to The Sporting News All-Pro team after finishing the season as the NFL's sixth-leading rusher. Reeves' performance in 1966 helped the Cowboys take some of the running load from fullback Don Perkins and reach its first championship game.
In 1967, Reeves posted back-to-back seasons with more than 600 yards and he was the Cowboys' second leading rusher with 603 yards and third in receiving with 490 yards. In Week 13 against the Philadelphia Eagles he recorded a touchdown run, touchdown reception and threw a touchdown pass in the same game. He also set a team record scoring four touchdowns in a game against the Atlanta Falcons.
During the first half of his NFL career, he became a multi-talented player and displayed the ability to consistently make big plays. He remained a starter until Week 4 of the 1968 season, when he tore ligaments in his right knee and was lost for the season. Because of his injury, Tom Landry started playing him in spots and asked him to become a player-coach. He did that for three years until the end of the 1972 season when he retired to become a full-time assistant coach.
Reeves played eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, collected 1,990 rushing yards and 1,693 receiving yards with 42 touchdowns. He threw a touchdown pass in the Cowboys' losing effort in the legendary Ice Bowl against the Green Bay Packers. The Cowboys made the playoffs every year of Reeves' playing days, reaching the Super Bowl twice culminating in a 24-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI following the 1971 season. In Super Bowl V, the Cowboys lost in a close game to the Baltimore Colts.
Reeves, a protégé of Tom Landry, became the youngest head coach in the NFL when he joined the Denver Broncos in 1981 as Vice President and Head Coach. After acquiring quarterback John Elway in a trade, Reeves guided the Broncos to six postseason appearances, five divisional titles, three AFC championships and three Super Bowl appearances during his 12-year tenure. He was the only AFC coach in the decade of the 1980s to lead his team to consecutive Super Bowl berths and his Broncos played in the Super Bowl three times during a span of four years.
Reeves served as New York Giants head coach from 1993-96. In his first season, he led the Giants to an 11-5 record and a berth in the playoffs. Reeves' 1993 season record is the best ever for a first-year Giants' coach. Reeves was named the 1993 Associated Press Coach of the Year after helping the Giants improve from a 6-10 record in 1992. In 1997, Reeves was named the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Under his command, the team which had finished the 1996 campaign with a 3-13 record, steadily improved. After going 7-9 his first season, Reeves took Atlanta to the greatest season in franchise history.
The Falcons went 14-2 in 1998, going on to capture their first NFC championship. Reeves coached the Falcons to a 12-2 mark before being hospitalized for the final two regular season games to undergo quadruple-bypass heart surgery in December. Reeves managed to return to the sidelines just three weeks later to lead the Falcons to victory in the first NFC Championship game. Reeves' Falcons were pitted against the Denver Broncos and lost Super Bowl XXXIII 34-19. In the process, Reeves earned the NFL's top coaching awards as he was named the 1998 NFL Coach of the Year.
Reeves is a member of both the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. He has played an active role in the starting of Georgia State University's football program and currently is a national NFL color analyst for the Westwood One radio network.