The Donna Independent School District Board of Trustees, administration and staff will honor one of the Valley’s most successful athletes of all time. The public is invited.
A special ceremony will be held to unveil a life-size bronze sculpture of Donna High School’s Class of 1961 graduate and hometown hero Norman Evans. The six-foot, five-inch statue, which was created by well-known sculptor Douglas Clark, is suited in Miami Dolphins’ football attire from the 1970s.
Evans, now 74, and his wife Barbara “Bobbe” Evans will travel from their home in Washington to Donna for the celebration, which will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24 by the west entrance of the Bennie LaPrade Stadium where the statue will remain on display permanently.
“I am absolutely stunned to be so honored by the Donna administration and Board of Trustees,” Evans said. “As I was growing up, my family moved so that I could attend Donna High School and I was blessed to learn the game of football from some incredible coaches like Earl Scott, Lou Hassel, Jim Easley and Bennie LaPrade. Their impact on me has been life-long and had much to do with the longevity of my football career – 22 years in all. They shaped my life for success. I am excited to anticipate being home again.”
Evans began his journey to stardom at Donna High School where he earned 10 letters including All-State in football and All-District in basketball.
After he graduated in 1961 from DHS, Evans played college football at Texas Christian University where he served as team captain and awarded All-Southwest Conference honors.
In 1965, Evans kicked off his professional football career when he was drafted by the Houston Oilers, an American Football League team.
A year later, he was traded to the Miami Dolphins in the 1966 AFL expansion draft. He was the starting right offensive tackle for the next 10 years, including the Dolphins’ 17-0 undefeated 1972 season. While with the Dolphins, Evans was selected team captain, named twice as Best Offensive Lineman and recognized as an Unsung Hero. He also played in Super Bowls VI, VII and VIII, earning rings in Super Bowl VII and VIII. He was also named to two Pro Bowls.
After his long stint with the Dolphins, Evans was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in the 1976 NFL Expansion Draft, making him the only player in pro football history to be chosen in two expansion drafts. He played for the Seahawks until his retirement in 1978.
“I count my long career as a blessing from God,” Evans said. “It has taken me all over the world and has connected me to life-long teammates and friends and to incredible memories, honors and opportunities.”
In the years that followed, Evans became heavily involved with the faith-based organization Pro Athletes Outreach and made a name for himself as the Chief Executive Officer while his wife
Bobbe became the Executive Director. They held conferences across the country to promote healthy marriages for athletes and their spouses, which led to their work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Their contribution to both organizations totaled more than 50 years.
A special NFL 50th anniversary commemorative Golden Football was awarded to Donna ISD in his honor. Evans’ legacy as a football great will forever be remembered in Donna.