LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Information from Texas Tech Athletic Department
Texas Tech Athletics mourns the loss of Hall of Fame member and legendary running back James Hadnot, who passed away this past weekend at the age of 59.
Adored by Red Raider fans as "Kong" in the late 1970s, Hadnot remains one of the most beloved players in school history after he torched opposing defenses up the middle during his playing career from 1976-79. He was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 2005.
"James Hadnot was easily among the best players in Texas Tech history," said Double T Varsity Club director Rodney Allison, who played alongside Hadnot during the 1976-77 campaigns. "James was not only a great player but a great person as well. He loved Texas Tech and could always be seen sporting the Double T proudly."
Originally a tight end, Hadnot moved to the backfield just weeks prior to his junior season in 1978. At 6-foot-3 and roughly 245 pounds, Hadnot was already among the largest players on the field when new head coach Rex Dockery placed him in the backfield as a veer-formation fullback.
One aspect for Hadnot did not change, though, as he continued to wear his No. 86 jersey even as a running back as a junior. He eventually moved to No. 48 for his senior year.
The switch to the backfield turned into a tremendous success as Hadnot led the Southwest Conference in rushing with 1,369 yards in 1978 and then 1,371 yards a year later. Both totals remain among the top 10 in Tech single-season history to this day.
Hadnot, who was a second-team All-America selection in 1978, was named the SWC Offensive Player of the Year each of the final two seasons. He finished his career among the SWC's top-10 career rushers as well as the Texas Tech all-time leader for single-game, single-season and career rushing despite spending just two seasons in the backfield.
The Kansas City Chiefs selected Hadnot in the third round of the 1980 NFL Draft. He played three seasons for the Chiefs, totaling 1,029 rushing yards and five touchdowns off 266 carries while also catching 54 passing for 426 yards. He later spent one season with the San Antonio Gunslingers of the USFL in 1985.
Following his football career, Hadnot returned to Lubbock where he lived until his passing. He was a regular at all of Tech's sporting events from the gridiron to over at Rocky Johnson Field and the John Walker Soccer Complex.