PASSINGS: James Street, Bob Kurland

James Street

Standout University of Texas quarterback

James Street, 65, a former University of Texas quarterback who took over the Longhorns’ wishbone offense and led them to the 1969 national championship, died Monday at his home in Austin, Texas, according to his longtime friend and business partner Bill Hall. The cause has not been determined.

Street started the 1968 season as a backup but was made the starter after two games. He led Texas to 20 consecutive victories, including the “Game of the Century” — a come-from-behind, 15-14 victory by the top-ranked Longhorns over No. 2 Arkansas to cap the 1969 regular season. The game was attended by President Nixon, who declared Texas the national champion after the Longhorns’ victory even though there was a bowl game to be played.

In the Cotton Bowl, Notre Dame ended its self-imposed 44-year ban on bowl games to play the Longhorns. Texas came back to win, 21-17. The school didn’t win another national championship until the 2005 season.


Street was also a baseball standout, posting a 29-8 record pitching for Texas that included a perfect game (1970 versus Texas Tech) and no-hitter (1969 versus Southern Methodist). He was on three Texas teams that reached the College World Series, and one of his five sons, San Diego Padres relief pitcher Huston Street, helped Texas win the College World Series in 2002. Street had traveled to San Francisco over the weekend to watch his son pitch.

The Longview, Texas, native went on to a career in finance and structured settlements after college, founding a firm that focuses on working with plaintiffs in legal disputes.

Bob Kurland

Oklahoma State basketball All-American

Bob Kurland, 88, a former Oklahoma State basketball All-American who led what was then Oklahoma A&M to national championships in 1945 and 1946, died in his sleep Sunday at his home in south Florida after a lengthy illness. The university announced his death.

Born in St. Louis on Dec. 23, 1924, Robert A. Kurland grew to nearly 7 feet, too tall to serve in the military during World War II. Instead he enrolled in college and used his height to his advantage on the basketball court. Kurland’s ability to leap above the basket and block opponents’ shots led the NCAA to institute a rule against goaltending. A three-time first-team All-American for Coach Hank Iba, Kurland led the nation in scoring his senior season with 19.5 points a game and won the Helms Athletic Foundation award as the player of the year.

Kurland was drafted by the NBA’s St. Louis Bombers in 1947 but did not play professionally, working instead for Phillips Petroleum and playing with the company’s Amateur Athletic Union team. Retaining his amateur status, Kurland was a member of the 1948 and 1952 U.S. gold medal-winning Olympic teams. He carried the American flag at the opening ceremony of the 1952 Games in Helsinki.

He was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

Times staff and wire reports