Former Blinn football player Steve Beaird to be inducted into Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame

Former Blinn College football player Steve Beaird has achieved many victories on and off the football field as a Blinn Buccaneer, Baylor Bear, and in the Canadian Football League.

On Friday, he will be recognized for his achievements with the Baylor University football program as an inductee into the 2019 Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame at the Waco Convention Center.

While at Baylor University, running back Beaird not only broke through defensive lines, he broke records. In 1974, he became the first player to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season as he broke a then-school record with 1,104 yards on 267 carries for 13 touchdowns.

That same year, he earned Southwest Conference MVP honors from the Houston Post, received an unanimous all-Southwest Conference vote, and helped the Bears win their first Southwest Conference title in 50 years.

A legend in Baylor football history, Beaird is known for playing an instrumental role in turning a 2-9 team in 1973 into the best team in the competitive Southwest Conference in 1974.

Beaird's final chapter at Baylor has drawn the most attention, but the start to his collegiate career is equally impressive.

"The only college offer I received out of high school was from Blinn College," said Beaird. "To this day, Blinn is still in my heart."

It was back in 1971 that then-Blinn head football coach and athletic director Leroy Dreyer went to see the all-state football player and track star at Angleton High School.

"I remember Steve as a very special person and player ever since I recruited him," Dreyer said. "He had all of the tools of a running back and had the mentality to show up every day ready to play with a winning mindset. There was no doubt that he deserved a full scholarship."

While at Blinn, Beaird spent two seasons (1971-72) as a starting tailback under two coaches, Dreyer in 1971 and Ben Boehnke in 1972. He picked up all-conference honors both years and All-American honors in 1972.

In 1972, the Buccaneers went undefeated and won the Southwest Junior College Football Conference title and the Wool Bowl. Beaird was the leading rusher in the Wool Bowl with 160 yards on 17 carries for one touchdown as Blinn defeated Mesabi State, 38-21.

"I have so many fond memories at Blinn and it didn't hurt any that my sophomore year we went undefeated and won the conference title," Beaird said. "It was a small campus with very good professors and everyone was supportive of Blinn athletics. On top of that, I was on a very close football team and we had the chemistry to win games and be successful."

Beaird's success on the junior college football field led to the Division I offers he had been waiting on.

"He kept improving his entire time at Blinn and was always pushing himself to be a better player," Dreyer said. "There was never a doubt in my mind that Steve would be successful in the Southwest Conference. He was always up for a ballgame, always gave over 100 percent, and was unstoppable when he was handed the ball."

After transferring, Beaird saw most of his playing time his senior season. However, when Beaird was given an opportunity to play in the 10th week of his junior year, he broke a single-game rushing record when he rushed for 176 yards on 28 carries against Southern Methodist University.

In 1974, Beaird led Baylor's rushing efforts as the Bears earned a conference title, an invitation to the Cotton Bowl for the first time in history and finished the season nationally ranked No. 12. He was later selected to the Baylor Football's All-Decade team of the 1970s.

In 1975, he was the St. Louis Cardinals' seventh-round pick in the NFL Draft and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' first-round pick in the CFL Draft.

In two seasons with the Blue Bombers, Beaird rushed for 1,367 yards, caught 51 passes for 584 yards, scored 16 touchdowns and had another 1,372 yards in kick and punt returns. He was a Rookie of the Year nominee, a CFL All-Star and played in the Pro Bowl.

In 1995, Beaird was inducted into the NJCAA Football Hall of Fame, along with other Blinn football greats Lyle Blackwood and James Wright, who also went on to have professional football careers.

In 2005, Beaird was inducted into the Blinn College Alumni and Friends Association Hall of Honor and recognized as the Person of the Year.

"I have always been appreciative that Coach Dreyer gave me my first offer and took me under his wing," Beaird said. "My accomplishments at Blinn are something I will always be very proud of. It was the start of a really good journey."

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 41 NJCAA national championships since 1987.