FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The seniors of the 1979 Razorback football team have established an endowed scholarship to honor Dean Weber, the long-time director of athletic training at the University of Arkansas.
The 1979 University of Arkansas Razorback football team is one that fans will never forget. This team became the Southwest Conference Football Champions and then faced the Alabama Crimson Tide during the Jan. 1, 1980, Sugar Bowl. Even though Arkansas lost to Alabama – the team that went on to win the national championship – this exciting time in Arkansas history exemplified the commitment, teamwork and passion of the Razorbacks.
Seniors from the 1979 team have now joined together once again to honor Weber by establishing a scholarship endowment in his name. During their time as student-athletes, the teammates formed long, lasting friendships with Weber and knew they wanted to recognize his dedication to them and to the university. The purpose of the Dean Weber Scholarship Fund is to provide educational opportunities for students who are involved in the Athletic Training Education Program. So far, more than $30,000 has been raised by the classmates for this effort.
"This is definitely the highest honor one could hope to achieve: to be associated with an entire senior class of student-athletes who have become your friends over the past 30 years and to be honored in a way that helps other university students in their pursuit of education,” Weber said. “The 1979 Southwest Conference football champion seniors are to be commended for their achievements in this endeavor."
"When the seniors from the 1979 Razorback football team approached us about doing something special for Dean, each person was adamant that this be given as a team – not as individuals,” Clay Edwards, associate vice chancellor for university development, said: “This group of student-athletes worked together years ago to achieve great things, and they worked together again to fulfill this significant goal on behalf of someone who is so meaningful to them."
"This was the last Senior Class I recruited, and they are a very special group of men,” Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles said.“They were close as players and have remained close all these years. This is just like them: selfless and always thinking of the team first. We are so grateful they have done this for Dean. Dean’s work with our athletes has been an important part of our success over the years."
The 1979 Razorback football team had one of the great seasons in school history. They were called "a team without stars" because of their focus on team accomplishments rather than individual recognition. The key to their success was attributed to the play and leadership of a strong senior class. The class members were well known for their close bond as friends and players, and prided themselves on being their best as a group rather than as individual players.
At their 25th reunion celebration in 2004, the seniors decided to commit themselves as a group to a project that would have a lasting effect and further strengthen their bond. They established three goals for their project: to continue their practice of achieving 100 percent participation as a group of 14 teammates, to give back to the University of Arkansas, and to honor their good friend Dean Weber for his friendship and his years of service and dedication to the university and the many student-athletes under his care. With 100 percent participation from the group, they achieved their goal with the establishment and funding of the Dean Weber Scholarship Fund.
Additional Quotes from 1979 Razorback Football Seniors
“The University of Arkansas has been great to me. This group has always displayed passion, pride, and leadership. It starts with people like Coach Broyles and Dean Weber. People want to be in this positive environment. Dean did a lot for all of us as young men. He has always made a difference. When we think of Dean, it’s always with gratitude, pride, admiration and love.”
“Dean made a difference on a personal level. There are some people that have a true calling. Dean is doing what he was called to do. We’re very glad to have this opportunity to honor Dean.”
“Dean became a part of our family. He gave advice and spent time with us. We enjoy being around him, and we respect and honor him. He has always helped us. He made our years at the University of Arkansas really special.”
“I learned from Dean to surround myself with quality people. Dean always took care of us. It is a great honor for us to acknowledge a great man.”
“Dean always did everything in his power to help us.”
“I got hurt a lot in my senior year. Because of Dean I was able to play in the Sugar Bowl.”
“Dean taught us so much by just watching him work. He was always there. He taught us how to interact with people. It’s amazing to see his work ethic. That’s why he is so respected. We love and respect him very much. Thank you, Dean, for teaching us.”
“This group is better collectively than as individuals. We’ve always included Dean Weber. We achieved a lot, but our bond with Dean is one of the greatest assets we’ve always had. We wanted to accomplish something together. We wanted to give back to the University of Arkansas. We wanted to honor our friend. Dean is one of us.”