The Lion's Roar

Legendary Lions

Gerard Borne, Staff Reporter

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Student-athletes can make their mark in Lion history and go on to professional sports or beyond.

1967 Alumnus Billy Andrews played both offense and defense for the Lions football team. Andrews was selected as the All-Gulf States Conference player in 1965 as a center and in 1966 as a linebacker. Among Andrews’ plays is an interception return in the first home game of the Monday Night Football series against Joe Namath, a New York Jets quarterback.

Andrews talked about his time at the university.

“I started as a freshman and played both offense and defense all four years,” said Andrews. “I was different. I was not a ‘one way’ player, and I made all conference. It was great to come here and get my degree in four years. I was especially fortunate to play in the NFL for 11 years.”

After graduation, Andrews was selected in the 13th round of the 1967 National Football League draft by the Cleveland Browns. Andrews played eight seasons for the Cleveland Browns before signing with the San Diego Chargers in 1975 and finished his last two seasons in 1976-77 playing for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Andrews now resides in Pine Bluff, Louisiana near his hometown of Clinton, Louisiana. He tries to watch as many Lions football games as possible and keep up with the team.

Andrews shared his experience returning to watch Lions games as an alumnus.

“It truly brings back great memories to come back here and watch games,” said Andrews. “In 1985, when they ended the football program, it truly destroyed me, but when they brought it back, it got me interested again. It was great to have a place to come to and watch football. It is great to watch the game to see the team interact with each other.”

1959 Alumnus Oscar Lofton played men’s basketball, football and track at the university.

Lofton discussed his time as a Lion.

“Some of the stuff I remember is the game against Southern Mississippi university in 1957,” said Lofton. “I caught a touchdown pass early in the first quarter. Another thing I remember was my first collegiate start in basketball against Loyola of New Orleans university. I scored on my first three shots I took, something that was not a normal act for me.”

Lofton recalled a saying from his college years.

“‘Someone has to make a great play to win the game, so why not me be the volunteer to make the play?’” said Lofton. “That’s one thing I truly focused on during my time here.”

After graduation, Lofton joined the Boston Patriots, now known as the New England Patriots, mostly as a tight end.

“I played in the first ever exhibition football game of the AFL against the Buffalo Bills, and I also scored the first offensive touchdown on a bootleg pass,” said Lofton. “I had a fairly productive year and was set for the 1961 football season but was drafted by the United States military in ‘61. After I came back in ‘63, I had another shot with the Patriots but pulled a hamstring and never played a down of football again.”

After Lofton’s playing career, he coached at different levels including high school, military, semiprofessional and college.

“I was Southeastern’s last football coach before the dismissal in 1985,” said Lofton. “After ‘85, I stepped down and became a college football scout for the combine in ‘86. After that, I was offered a scouting job from the San Francisco 49ers, which I gladly accepted, and won a Super Bowl in 1995. I finished scouting until 2007 when I retired.”

Lofton talked about his life after sports.

“It’s truly great,” said Lofton. “I now get to do whatever I want to do, and I mostly spend time with my lovely wife Billie Jean of 57 years. Life is truly amazing.”

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