Provided by Texas Tech Athletics
LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech Athletics mourns the loss of All-American defensive lineman and Hall of Fame member Ecomet Burley, who passed away Thursday at the age of 65.
"Ecomet Burley was a true Red Raider, and we join with thousands of others who mourn his passing," Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt said. "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."
Burley, one of the most decorated defensive linemen in school history, starred for the Red Raiders from 1972-75, earning All-Southwest Conference honors his final three seasons as well as second team All-America accolades as a junior in 1974. Texas Tech went a combined 31-14-2 and played in three bowl games during Burley's career, one of the best four-year stretches in program history.
The Red Raiders finished 11-1 overall after defeating No. 20 Tennessee in the Gator Bowl to wrap Burley's 1973 sophomore season where he had 102 tackles and five forced fumbles. He followed with 124 tackles, including seven for a loss, the next season en route to becoming only the second defensive line in school history at the time to earn either first or second team All-America honors.
Burley, who began his Red Raider career as an offensive lineman under head coach Jim Carlen, was among the first freshmen to play varsity football in 1972 after NCAA rules were changed prior to the season. He found his niche on the defensive front late in that year, eventually earning most valuable lineman honors at the Sun Bowl.
The Lufkin native wrapped his Red Raider career as a nose guard in 1975 as part of a new scheme from head coach Steve Sloan, who hired two future NFL mainstays in Bill Parcells as the Red Raiders' defensive coordinator and Romeo Crennel as the defensive line coach.
"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 played in the Japan Bowl following his senior season, becoming the first Red Raider all-time to be selected for the all-star game. He went on to play six years in the Canadian Football League before beginning a long and dedicated career in educating future generations.
The son of a principal and a teacher, Burley became an educator himself, serving as a teacher, principal and finally a superintendent over a 30-year career. He was later the director of the Harris Country Department of Education's Center for Safe and Secure Schools before retiring in July 2019.
Burley was most recently inducted into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame this past August. He was previously enshrined into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 2004.