Wednesday, February 16, 2005

ST. LOUIS – One of the most prolific runners in Rams history, Lawrence McCutcheon recently was inducted into the Texas Panhandle Hall of Fame. In a ceremony held in Amarillo, Tex., about 60 miles from his hometown of Plainview, McCutcheon was one of three individuals that received the honor.

“It’s a nice honor,” said McCutcheon, who now serves as director of player personnel for the Rams. “I got a chance to see a lot of guys that I played with and against in high school and got a chance to see my family. It was a really nice.”

McCutcheon attended an all-Black Booker T. Washington High School for his first three years, but after Washington closed, he transferred to Plainview High School after full integration in 1967. On Plainview’s first integrated football team, he rushed for 589 yards as well as starring at linebacker as the team posted a 7-3 record, the school’s first winning record in 10 years.

“As far as racial situations, I never had any issues or problems with that,” said McCutcheon. “I stayed at Booker T. Washington because I was comfortable with all of my friends and that is where I had gone all of my life. The racial part of it, I had no problem with it. I played Little League baseball and pickup basketball with those guys at the high school and we always had no problem with that issue.”

McCutcheon went on to play college football at Colorado State, where he set more than 20 school and Western Athletic Conference records in his three years at the school, later becoming a member of Colorado State’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

He became a third-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Rams in 1972, and when he left the team after the 1979 season, the four-time Pro Bowler finished as the organization’s all-time leading rusher with 6,186 yards and continues to hold the record for most playoff rushing yards (687).

“It’s a great honor for everybody in this organization to witness Clutch receive this award,” said Rams General Manager Charley Armey. “He has not only been a great running back in this team’s history, but he has been a great employee for the St. Louis Rams. We are very proud of him and very proud of his achievements.”

The Texas Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame was started in 1958 from an idea suggested by Putt Powell, longtime Amarillo Globe News sportswriter.