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USNA Notable Graduate Highlight: Roger Staubach

Sep 27, 2022 10:00:00 AM

There are two gleaming Heisman trophies displayed proudly in the state-of-the-art Terwilliger Center and in Lejeune Hall, and Roger Staubach earned one of them.* One of the U.S. Naval Academy’s most well-known and revered football stars, this Class of 1965 graduate continues to play a role in the sport at which he has excelled for so many years. Here’s his incredible story.

All-American Navy Football Star

Born Roger Thomas Staubach to Robert Joseph and Elizabeth Staubach on February 5, 1942 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the man who would someday earn the nickname “Roger the Dodger” began his football career at Purcell High School in Cincinnati, eventually ascending to play at USNA from 1963-1965. His stats there were impressive—as a junior quarterback his junior year, he helped take Navy to the second ranked football team in the country, notching a spot in the Cotton Bowl. Here, he set Bowl records for pass completions (with 21 of 31 complete), as well as yards passing. Staubach also threw for 228 yards. 

His season statistics for 1963 were excellent too. Staubach completed 106 passes with 161 attempts and threw for 1,474 yards. That year, the Midshipmen were victorious over Notre Dame, Maryland, Michigan and West Virginia, wrapping the season with a 9-1 record. Staubach himself scored 18 touchdowns, catapulting the humble junior to fame and earning him the title of “All-American.” He was also awarded the Maxwell Trophy and Walter Camp Memorial Trophy, as well as the coveted Heisman Trophy as the “best collegiate player in 1963.” The following season in his senior year, Staubach was unfortunately waylaid by injuries—but his career in football was just beginning.

U.S. Naval Academy Accolades

All in all, Roger Staubach at Navy was a standout. He passed for 3,751 yards andgained a total of 4,253, earning the nickname “Roger the Dodger.” Roger Staubach’s stats set 28 Naval Academy football records and helped him earn the USNA Thompson Trophy Cup for three years running; he was the first sophomore and the only midshipman to win it three times. In 1965, he won the coveted Naval Academy Athletic Association (NAAA) Sword, making him only the fourth midshipman to win the Thompson Trophy Cup and the NAAA Sword. The National Museum of History has a U.S. Naval Academy Roger Staubach jersey in their collection to commemorate his accomplishments here.

Incredibly, Staubach also had an amazing showing as a varsity baseball player at the Naval Academy from 1963-1965, with a .420 batting average in 1963; he became captain of the team in 1965. He also had a brief stint as a varsity basketball player and lettered in 1962-1963.

In 1965, he married his long-time girlfriend, Marianne Jeanne Hoobler. That same year he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy and served through 1969, including one year of overseas duty in Vietnam. 

The Dallas Cowboys Welcome Roger Staubach

After retiring from the Navy, Staubach joined the Dallas Cowboys, then a fledgling team in the NFL. Together with his teammates, Staubach played a large role in building the young team into a formidable powerhouse from 1969 to 1979. He played for eleven years with the Cowboys, and in that time the team made it to the playoffs every year but in 1974. Staubach also helped take them to the Super Bowl four times—and they won it twice—in 1971 and then again in 1977. He was the league leader in passer ratings for four seasons. Christened “Captain Comeback,”  Staubach also spearheaded some dramatic comebacks in 23 fourth quarters and fourteen games where the Cowboys were either tied or losing in the last two minutes or in overtime. 

Their record was outstanding. With Staubach as their starting quarterback, the Cowboys posted a record of 90-31. Additionally, he became an important public face for the team, leading them with his characteristic professionalism and the signature wholesome character that drew people to him. Staubach and beloved coach Tom Landry helped build the reputation of the Cowboys as “America’s Team” throughout the 1970s. 

In 1979, Staubach achieved another high honor with his induction into the Professional Football Hall of Fame. It was 1985, and it was his first year of eligibility—adding one more significant honor to his legacy. In fact, Staubach earned many accolades during his esteemed career, including the following awards:

  • NFL Players Association Most Valuable Player in 1971
  • The Sporting News NFL Player of the Year in 1971
  • Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl VI in 1972
  • The Vince Lombardi Sportsman of the Year Award in 1975
  • Washington Touchdown Club NFC Player of the Year in 1976 and 1978
  • NFC Pro Bowl Selection Five Times
  • NFL Players’ Association NFC Offensive Player of the Year in 1978
  • The Byron “Whizzer” White Humanitarian Award in 1979
  • Walter Camp Foundation Man of the Year in 1985
  • Ricketts Hall Football Locker Room Named in his Honor in 1996 and 2008
  • National Football Foundation’s Gold Medal, the Highest from that Organization
  • Named to the Walter Camp All-Century Team
  • Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame
  • Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium All-Stadium Team
  • Office & Industrial Properties 1998 Executive of the Year
  • Commercial Property News Corporate Services Executive of the Year in 1999 & 2000
  • NCAA "Teddy" Roosevelt Award in 2000
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018

Continuing His Legacy

Even after earning these distinctions, Staubach gave back to the sport. He worked as a sports announcer for CBS Sports from 1980-1982 while also serving as CEO of the Staubach Company, the leading commercial real estate services company that he had founded while still with the Cowboys. The company merged in 2008 with Jones Lang LaSalle, and Staubach still serves as Executive Chairman. Throughout his time with the company, he also found and continues to find many ways to give back to the community. Staubach served on the Board of Directors of the United Way of America and the Board of Advisors of the Children's Scholarship Fund. He was also involved with the American Cancer Society Annual Children's Luncheon, and a number of other excellent civic, charitable and professional organizations. 

The name Roger Staubach has become synonymous with excellence in many things, notably with the Physical Mission at the U.S. Naval Academy. He has earned a spot as a “Distinguished Graduate” of the Academy. As his celebrated Heisman trophy proclaims his “pursuit of excellence with integrity” to the world, we salute the man whose determination and hard work on and off the gridiron have inspired and helped so many. We are proud and honored to have Staubach and other notable graduates represent the USNA for generations to come.


Visit the Terwilliger Center and See the Heismans!

Bill the Goat
Written by Bill the Goat

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