Before the Longhorns officially began their first practice of the 2018 preseason camp at the Frank Denius practice facility Friday morning, the team gathered around and took a knee in front of a portrait of the late Frank Denius, which was displayed on the sideline.
“We had a moment of silence and we said a prayer by the monument we set up for him out there,” head coach Tom Herman said in a post-practice news conference. “All five of our special teams units are named in honor of someone in the military that has an affiliation to the University of Texas. Our kickoff team, a lot of people don't know this, was named in honor of Mr. Denius.”
In the span of 57 years, Denius missed three home Longhorn football games. Herman told one of his favorite stories of Denius about one of those three absences at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
“One of those was to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, which at first he had declined to go,” Herman said. “He said, ‘I’m not missing a game for some silly honor.’ His family said, ‘Frank, this is the Congressional Medal of Honor, I think you need to go accept it.’”
Herman also said he went to visit Denius along with Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte and University President Gregory Fenves about a week before he died on July 29.
“We went to his house and spent an hour with him,” Herman said. “He was not in great shape but he had his ‘T’ ring on. He could still give the hook ’em horns. We remembered how our kickoff team was named after him and the things he had done for the military.”
Denius was 93 years old. Herman and the Longhorns continue day two of preseason camp Saturday morning.