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NORTON, HOMER HILL

NORTON, HOMER HILL (1896–1965). Homer Hill Norton, athlete and football coach, was born on December 30, 1896, in Carrollton, Alabama, the son of Rev. and Mrs. John W. Norton. He grew up and was educated in Birmingham, where his father served as a Methodist minister. Norton excelled in athletics at Birmingham Southern College, where he lettered in four sports. After graduation in 1916 he played with professional baseball teams in Alabama, North Carolina, and Florida. On December 2, 1917, he married Mabel Telton; they had four daughters. Norton ended his baseball career in 1920, when he took a football coaching position at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. There he served with Alvin Nugent (Bo) McMillinqv and Earl Davis before taking over as head coach in 1926 and compiling a record of sixty wins, nineteen losses, and nine ties. Norton moved to Texas A&M in 1934 and by 1939 had brought football glory to the Texas Aggies. With All-Americans Joe Boyd and John Kimbrough, he led the Aggies in 1939 to an unbeaten season, a national championship, and victory over Tulane in the Sugar Bowl. Defeat by the University of Texas in 1940 prevented a second unbeaten season and an invitation to the Rose Bowl. Trips to the Cotton Bowl in 1941 and 1942 and to the Orange Bowl in 1944 highlighted Norton's later years at A&M. When his tenure ended in 1947, he had served longer than any other Aggieland coach at that time. His overall record there was eighty-two wins, fifty-two losses, nine ties, and three Southwest Conference championships. His coaching career spanned three decades (1920–47). He developed four All-Americans: guard Joe Eugene Routt, 1936 and 1937; tackle Joe Boyd, 1939; back "Jarrin'" John Kimbrough, 1939 and 1940; and guard Marshall Robnet, 1940. Norton was elected to the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame, the A&M Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. After he retired, Norton became a sports columnist for the Houston Post and owned and operated several restaurants and a motel. In 1953, after his wife's death, he married Christine Sheppard, and they had one daughter. Norton died on May 26, 1965, and was buried in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, Houston.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Houston Post, May 27, 29, 1965.

Billy M. Jones

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Billy M. Jones, "NORTON, HOMER HILL," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fno10), accessed July 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.