A couple of pieces about Freddie Steinmark, who graduated from WRHS in 1967.
Freddie had an early introduction to football, playing during his elementary and junior high school years on the Rough Riders team of the citywide Young America League in Denver. At Wheat Ridge High School there he lettered in football, baseball, and basketball; throughout his entire sports career, Steinmark’s teams rarely lost a game. He ranked twenty-fifth scholastically in his high school graduating class of 530, and in his senior year he received the Golden Helmet Award from the Denver Post as the outstanding scholar-athlete in Colorado; he also received the Colorado Hall of Fame award as the state’s outstanding high school athlete. In 1967 he received a football scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin. Despite his relatively small size, 5 feet, 10 inches, about 160 pounds, Steinmark was a valuable addition to the Texas Longhorn team.
Steinmark became a national story in December 1969 when his left leg was amputated at the hip, six days after UT’s stirring 15-14 victory over Arkansas in the game that came to be known as the “Big Shootout.”
Steinmark, who was a junior in 1969, was originally diagnosed with a malignant tumor on his left femur. He died of cancer June 6, 1971 at age 22.
“I think about Freddie all the time,” said former UT teammate Bobby Mitchell, who also played high school football with Steinmark in Wheat Ridge, Colo. “He was just one of those great guys you never forget.”
To UT’s credit, Steinmark’s legacy remains an integral part of the Longhorns’ football tradition. The scoreboard at Royal-Memorial Stadium is dedicated to him, and players touch a photo of him as they leave the locker room for a game.
“David Flores: Steinmark’s legacy continues to inspire,” June 7, 2008
- “A special season, a special game ball,” by Kevin Robbins, The Austin American-Statesman, December 31, 2005
- “40th Anniversary of ‘The Big Shootout’ and, among many other things, Freddie Steinmark’s courageous game,” by Terry Frei, November 30, 2009
- UT Traditions: Freddie Steinmark