See every box score and game-by-game stats from Andre Ware’s 1989 Heisman Trophy winning season.
Today, in 1989, the University of Houston’s Andre Ware won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first African-American quarterback to win the award. And he did so without the benefit of preseason Heisman hype, games on TV, or ritzy promotional efforts that every modern winner has enjoyed. Andre did it the old-fashioned way: he let his on-field efforts do all the talking.
Andre threw for 4,699 yards and 46 touchdowns in that historic season while setting 26 NCAA records. The 9-2 Coogs rewrote nearly 100 UH, SWC, and NCAA records. The 624.9 yards per game, a gaudy number that Ware is mainly responsible for, remains the best in NCAA history despite an offensive explosion in college football over the last 20 years.
A few weeks before the Heisman was awarded, UH Sports Information Director Ted Nance sat down with Andre to explain the aura surrounding the stats he was putting up. Nance told him that he might have a shot at the Heisman. Ware shook his head and professed, “All I ever wanted was to be on the Bob Hope Show,” a reference to the AP All-American Team TV Special hosted by Hope.
Unlike other winners over the last few decades, Andre played the day the award was handed out and was not in NYC for the ceremony. Instead, Andre and his UH teammates watched via television just moments after he led the Cougars to a 64-0 win over Rice. Ware completed 36 of 51 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
Twenty-five years ago, when he was UH’s radio color analyst, I asked him about the decision to play in the game and miss the ceremony. Andre said it bothered him for “like a second,” but he was proud to be able to get the news and celebrate with his teammates.
In his place, his mom, Joyce, accepted the award in New York. She had secretly practiced her acceptance speech for weeks just in case Andre won. She was such a hit that SI featured her in an article in the spring of 1990.
Ware was drafted #7 overall by the Detroit Lions in 1990 and has gone on to work for UH, ESPN, and the Houston Texans.
“I knew from the age of 11 that football would be the ticket for me to earn a college degree,” Ware told the New York Times in an interview years ago. Now, he is helping others do the same.
Andre is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and was part of the inaugural class in the SWC Hall of Fame. The University of Houston inducted him into the school’s Hall of Honor in 2000.
Below is our Andre Wins The Heisman! photo gallery. Click a photo to scroll through each of them in the lightbox.