Buddy Dial, who was All-America at Rice University and later starred in the NFL, is being honored this weekend with induction into the Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Honor.

Mr. Dial's family, who resides in Tyler, are representing him this weekend in the Steel City. Mr. Dial passed away in 2008.

Attending the ceremonies are his son David Dial, David's wife Michelle and their three children, Jack, Merritt and Mary-Michael.  

The week culminates with a halftime ceremony when the Steelers meet the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night at Heinz Field. The game is being broadcast on NBC with kickoff set for 7:20 p.m.

Joining Mr. Dial in the Class of 2018 include Rocky Bleier, Alan Faneca, Bill Nunn and Art Rooney Jr.

Mr. Dial and the honorees were feted Friday night.

Mr. Dial was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma, but but grew up in Texas and attended Magnolia High School. There he played six-man football and earned all-district honors at end and linebacker three times.

He then attended Rice University in Houston where he was selected Sophomore of the Year in the Southwest Conference in 1956. The next season he helped the Owls win the Southwest Conference championship and a berth in the Cotton Bowl.

In 1958, he caught 19 passes (13.9-yard average) for 264 yards and four touchdowns. He was the team’s co-captain and Most Valuable Player. He also received consensus All-America and the Columbus Touchdown Club Lineman of the Year honors.

In an era where the offenses were run-oriented, Mr. Dial was recognized as one of the greatest Ends in SWC history, even though he recorded only 61 receptions for 1,129 yards with a 18.5-yard average. He also posted 13 career receiving TDs, tying the school record set by another Hall of Fame end, James "Froggie" Williams (1946–1949).

In 1971, he was inducted into the Rice Athletics Hall of Fame. In 1993, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Mr. Dial was taken in the second round of the 1959 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, but he was waived before the season started and signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He played five seasons for the Steelers (1959-63). Mr. Dial had 229 receptions (fourth all-time for Pittsburgh), 4,723 yards and 42 touchdowns (fourth) in his illustrious career. His 1,295 yards in 1963 ranks as the sixth highest for the Steelers while his 235 receiving yards against the Cleveland Browns in 1961 is the second highest in club history.

Mr. Dial is also still tied for the most touchdown receptions in a season by a Pittsburgh wide receiver (12) and was named to two Pro Bowls.

He was traded to the Dallas Cowboys and retired after the 1966 season.

Mr. Dial did not have a fumble in his career.

Mr. Dial started Christian devotional services with the Steelers and Cowboys. While playing for the Steelers, he recorded an album of inspirational songs called Buddy Dial Sings on Word Records.   

Each Hall of Honor inductee receives a solid steel football, which replicates the original given to Steelers' founder Art Rooney Sr. by the United States Steel Corporation and United Steel Workers in 1982 on the occasion of the team's 50th Season.

Each of the Hall of Honor members also are recognized with a plaque and a steel football in a special display located inside the FedEx Great Hall at Heinz Field.


Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

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