Mel Renfro

Mel Renfro

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Mel Renfro

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Melvin Lacy "Mel" Renfro (born December 30, 1941 in Houston, Texas) is a former American football defensive back in the National Football League who spent his entire fourteen-year career with the Dallas Cowboys.

High school

Mel Renfro attended high school in Portland, Oregon. He was enrolled at Jefferson High School, which is celebrating its 100th year in 2009. He is with the "Notable Alumni", along with Terry Baker, Aaron Miles, Ime Udoka, and Pete Ward.

College career

Renfro attended the University of Oregon, where he excelled as a track star and as a two-way football player, an All-American halfback and defensive back. In his three seasons with the Ducks, Renfro rushed for 1,532 yards and scored 141 points.


One of Renfro's best collegiate games took place against Rice University at Houston in 1962. Renfro shined on both offense and defense, leading the Ducks to a 31-12 victory. Rice Stadium had been a whites-only facility prior to the Ducks' visit, but university officials allowed Renfro's family to enter and sit in a special section of the stadium near the 35-yard line. According to a contemporary account in the Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard, when Renfro left the game, he was given a loud and appreciative ovation by the Rice crowd. An Oregon sportswriter asked a Houston counterpart in the press box if an African-American had ever received such an ovation by a predominantly white crowd. The Texan enthusiastically replied, "We've...
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