LUBBOCK, Texas – College Football Hall of Famer and Texas Tech Ring of Honor member Dave Parks passed away early Thursday morning at his home in Austin. He was 77.
"Dave Parks will forever be remembered as one of the greatest Red Raiders of all-time," Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt said. "He set the standard for the wide receiver position and was a loyal Red Raider throughout his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time."
While best known as a wide receiver, Parks was a reliable two-way player for head coach JT King from 1961-63, excelling in the passing game while also disrupting opposing offenses as a defensive back. In addition to his other roles, he also served as the Red Raiders' punter.
Parks became the second consensus All-American in school history as a senior, earning first team honors from the likes of the Associated Press, Sporting News and the American Football Coaches Association among others. He was the first Red Raider all-time to garner first team All-America accolades from the Associated Press.
Parks, a two-time All-Southwest Conference selection, departed Tech as the school's leader in single-game receiving yards (132), single-season receiving yards (499), career receptions (80) and career receiving yards (1,090), while his 98-yard interception return versus Colorado in 1962 remains the longest in program history.
For his efforts, Parks was inducted into the prestigious National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He was one of the first three inductees to the Texas Tech Ring of Honor in 2012, joining fellow legends Donny Anderson and E.J. Holub in the charter class.
"Dave Parks is hands-down one of the best Red Raiders to ever play the game," said former Texas Tech quarterback Rodney Allison, now the executive director of the Double T Varsity Club. "On top of that, he was a great person that will be missed by many. We always enjoyed Dave's visits back to campus, and we join others in mourning his passing."
Parks participated in the 1963 East-West Shrine Game, the 1964 Senior Bowl and the 1964 Coaches All-America Game leading up to the NFL Draft where the San Francisco 49ers selected the Abilene native with the first overall pick. Parks remains the only Red Raider to be chosen with the top pick in the draft.
Parks played 10 seasons in the NFL with stints with the 49ers (1964-67), New Orleans Saints (1968-72) and Houston Oilers (1973). He was selected to three Pro Bowls (1965-67) while with the 49ers and garnered first team All-Pro honors twice, including in 1965 when Parks was the NFL's leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Parks totaled 360 receptions for 5,619 yards and 44 touchdowns before announcing his retirement in 1973. He later served as the associate director of the Texas Ranger Law Enforcement Organization and was active on the executive board of the Dallas NFL Retired Players Association.