Long before Jerry Jones became the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, he was just an undersized offensive lineman at the University of Arkansas. But despite that lack of size — Jones was six feet tall and weighed 182 pounds — he was an extremely fierce player that exceeded all expectations.
He eventually became a co-captain for the Razorbacks and helped the team win a national championship following the 1964 season as Arkansas staged a dramatic comeback to defeat Nebraska, 10-7, in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day in 1965.
But Jerry Jones certainly wasn’t the only notable name at the University of Arkansas in the early-to-mid-1960s as a number of his teammates and coaches during his time in Fayetteville later became members of either the College Football Hall of Fame or the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a list that includes the two men that won Super Bowl titles alongside Jones with the Dallas Cowboys, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer.
Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson were both offensive linemen at Arkansas and later won two Super Bowls together with the Dallas Cowboys
A quarter-century before Jerry Jones hired Jimmy Johnson to become the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, the two were teammates at the University of Arkansas, both playing on the offensive line. Johnson continued his career in football after leaving the Razorbacks, taking his first coaching job as an assistant at Louisiana Tech in 1965. Jones, on the other hand, took the business route, opening up a chain of restaurants in Missouri, which failed, as did a number of other business ventures, including an attempt to buy the San Diego Chargers.
Jones finally succeeded in oil, which made him a very rich man, and he bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 for $140 million. One of his first moves was to fire the only head coach the franchise had ever known in Tom Landry and replace him with Jimmy Johnson, who’d become one of the biggest head coaches in college football. Johnson led the Miami Hurricanes to a national championship in 1987 and he and Jones would go on to win two Super Bowls together with the Cowboys before parting ways in March 1994.
Jimmy Johnson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020.
One of Jerry Jones’ coaches with the Razorbacks was Barry Switzer, who later coached the Dallas Cowboys to a Super Bowl victory
After parting ways with Jimmy Johnson, Jerry Jones replaced him with Barry Switzer, who had been one of the coaches at Arkansas during Jones’ playing days. Switzer himself had played for the Razorbacks before becoming the team’s running backs coach in 1961, a position he held for five years before spending more than two decades at the University of Oklahoma.
For the first seven seasons of his time with the Sooners, Switzer was the offensive coordinator and was promoted to head coach ahead of the 1973 season. He led Oklahoma to 12 Big Eight championships, three national titles, and recorded a 157-29-4 record over the course of 16 seasons before stepping down in 1989.
After more than five years away from the game, Barry Switzer returned to the sidelines in 1994 when Jerry Jones hired him to become the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. In his second year with the team, Switzer led the Cowboys to a Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers following the 1995 season, famously screaming “We did it our way, baby!” to Jones during the postgame ceremonies. Switzer amassed a 40-24 regular-season record over four seasons in Dallas and resigned following the 1997 season.
Barry Switzer was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
A number of other Hall of Famers came from that Arkansas team
In addition to Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer, a number of other Hall of Famers, both players and coaches, came from that Arkansas team that featured Jerry Jones. First of all, there’s Jerry Jones himself, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017 and is also a member of the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame.
As far as teammates are concerned, here’s a quick list of those that were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
- Loyd Phillips (OL) – Two-time All-American at Arkansas, 1966 Outland Trophy winner, played three seasons with the Chicago Bears, inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992
- Ronnie Caveness (LB) – Two-time All-American at Arkansas, Defensive MVP of the 1965 Cotton Bowl, played four seasons in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers, inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010
And here’s the incredible list of Hall of Fame coaches that were on staff during Jerry Jones’ time in Fayetteville, beginning with the man who led the Razorbacks to that national championship, Frank Broyles.
- Frank Broyles – Won seven SWC titles and one national championship, 1964 Coach of the Year, 149-62-6 career record with Missouri and Arkansas, inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983
- Hayden Fry – QB/RB coach at Arkansas, 232-178-10 record as head coach with SMU, North Texas State, and Iowa, one SWC title, one MVC title, three Big Ten titles, 1981 Coach of the Year, inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003
- Johnny Majors – Assistant coach at Arkansas, 185-137-10 record as head coach with Iowa State, Pitt, and Tennessee, won 1976 national championship with Pitt, won three SEC titles with Tennessee, inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987