Bubba Bean was the firt Aggie to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He played in the wishbone offense for Emory Bellard who was hired in 1972 to replace Gene Stallings. The ‘72 team struggled with the new offense and has a freshman Bean rushed for 253 yards.
Over the next three years, the offense and team got better including Bean. He finished his career 2,846 yards (eighth in school history) and a very impressive 5.9 yards per carry. He also held the longest run in school history (94 yards) for 18 seasons. Greg Hill tied for the longest against TCU and then it was finally surpassed by D’Andre Hardeman against Baylor in 1996 (Christine Michael holds longest run in history, 97 yards against Baylor in 2009).
His senior season in ’75 was his best as he and his backfield mates (freshman George Woodard, fellow senior Skip White and quarterbacks Mike Jay and David Shipman) led the Aggies to a 10-0 start and a No. 2 ranking in the polls. The team would end up losing their final two games but we all wonder had the Arkansas game not been pushed back five weeks would the result be the same.
Bean said of being on the cover of SI, he didn’t grasp the enormity of the situation at the time. “Coming from the country and not having been exposed to that kind of stuff, it really didn’t mean much to me,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve realized that it was a special situation.”
Bean was drafted ninth overall in the 1976 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.