Before Nate Newton became one of the key cogs of the Dallas Cowboys offensive line, he was a standout lineman for Florida A&M.
Newton will take his place among some of the game’s all-time greats in Atlanta on Saturday when he is enshrined into the Black College Football Hall of Fame. It was an honor that Newton wasn’t expecting, even though he was a finalist for the elite group last fall.
“I never looked at myself as going into the hall of fame,” Newton told Tallahassee.com. “When Doug Williams called me, I thought that we were just going to chop it up about our Cowboys versus Washington days but he called me to welcome me into the Black College Football Hall of Fame and told me to keep it under my hat because it was the day before.”
Newton played at FAMU in the late 70s and early 1980s under legendary head coach Rudy Hubbard. He was a part of the team that pulled off a monumental upset against the University of Miami in the 1979 season.
“When things like this happen, it’s because of a lot of people like my high school football coach Calvin Perry, George Thompson, and coach Rudy Hubbard,” he said. “When I was wilding out, acting crazy, and having fun those guys would try to keep me on pace by being good human beings and keeping me in school.
“When you look around, it’s going to be more than just you sitting at the table that helped you be successful.”
Newton turned himself into an all-MEAC performer as a defensive lineman. The Tampa Bay Bandits would eventually draft him before catching on with the Dallas Cowboys in 1986. The Cowboys would switch him to the offensive line where he would become an important part of their Super Bowl-winning teams in the 1990s, making six Pro Bowls in 12 seasons with the franchise.
Now, he’s headed to the Hall of Fame that already features legendary FAMU head coach Jake Gaither, running back Bob Hayes and others.
“I tried to prepare a speech but it’s going to be simple; I’m going to thank the committee, Doug Williams, Shack Harris, and Hollywood Henderson and tell everybody how appreciative I am,” he said. “I can talk with the best of them but with something totally unexpected like this, all you can do is be grateful.”