LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Former Lufkin standout and Texas Tech Red Raider Ecomet Burley Jr. has died.
Lufkin Athletic Director Todd Quick and Lufkin Pro Day Group member Oscar Kennedy both confirmed the news Thursday morning.
After a standout career at Lufkin High School as a defensive tackle, Burley went to Texas Tech and then the CFL.
While in Lubbock, Burley was a three-time All-Southwest Conference player for the Red Raiders. According to a recent press release from the university, Burley was among the first Red Raiders to letter as a freshman after the NCAA changed its policy to allow freshmen to play varsity sports prior to the 1972 season.
“Ecomet Burley was a true Red Raider, and we join with thousands of others who mourn his passing,” Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt said in an offical release by the university. “Ecomet was always a strong advocate for Texas Tech Athletics and always wanted the best for his alma mater long after his playing career was over. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time.”
In 1972, Burley was named the most valuable lineman at the Sun Bowl. The release stated that Burley became only the second defensive tackle in school history to receive All-America honors as a junior in 1974 as he was named to the second team. He later played in the Japan Bowl following his senior season and then six years in the Canadian Football League. He was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 2004 and the SWC Hall of Fame in the fall of 2019.
“Texas Tech lost a great Red Raider today,” said Rodney Allison, a former teammate of Burley’s and the current Director of the Double T Varsity Club. “Ecomet was a great teammate and someone who really valued the importance of an education. We will forever be grateful for the many ways he made Texas Tech Athletics better on and off the field.”
Burley Primary in Lufkin is named after the legacy his parents left for education in Deep East Texas.
“He was all about education first and faith secondly," longtime Lufkin coach Winfred Simmons said. “If you could do those things the athletic thing would happen and we could work on those things. He was so big about education and I think that is what stands out the most.”