Former Razorback football All-American Wayne “Thumper” Harris passed away on Thursday. He was 77.
Harris was one of the most prolific linebackers in school history, earning All-America honors during the 1959 and 1960 seasons. A three-year letterman, Harris was team captain as a senior in 1960 and recorded 174 tackles, a single-season school record that still stands to this day. He helped Arkansas finish 8-3 and win the 1960 Southwest Conference title. Harris was named to the All-Decade team for the 1960s and inducted into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
“Wayne Harris was one of the all-time great Razorbacks,” former Arkansas coach and athletic director Frank Broyles said. “He was a fierce competitor on the field and his toughness was legendary. He was everything an Arkansas football player should be.”
Following his Razorback career, Harris became one of the best players in Canadian Football League history. He played 12 season (1961-72) for the Calgary Stampeders, winning every award available to a linebacker. He was named the CFL’s most outstanding lineman four times and earned All-Canadian linebacker honors eight times. He helped lead the Stampeders to three Grey Cups, the CFL’s championship game, and won the CFL title in 1971.
Following his playing career, he was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1976. His No. 55 jersey was retired by the Stampeders and he was part of the inaugural class for the Stampeders Wall of Fame in 1985. In 2012, Harris was featured prominently on a stamp that was part of Canada Post’s 100th Grey Cup anniversary series.
The Hampton, Ark. native remained in Calgary after retiring from football and worked in the oil business until his retirement in 2008. His son Wayne Jr. also played for the Stampeders and is currently head coach of the University of Calgary.