Bill Lackey, a native of Kingsville, served as the football equipment manager in the 1970s and later held the same position with the Houston Oilers. He was inducted into the Javelina Hall of Fame in 1998.
He lived several blocks from the Texas A&I campus while serving as the equipment manager for seven years.
During his tenure with the Javelinas, the football team was one of the most successful in the nation, winning 42 in a row at one stage and taking three national championships.
He was with the Javelinas when they played a five-game exhibition schedule in Germany, Austria and France in 1976 and when they made trips to Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1975 and 1976.
While with the Javelinas, he would often spend the night in the equipment and wash room, getting ready for a big game or “catching up”. He continued the practice while with the Oilers.
After receiving his degree from Texas A&I in 1978, he was hired by Bud Adams as the equipment manager for the Oilers and held that position until his death in November 1995.
Lackey, better known as “Mojo” throughout his career, became one of the most recognized personalities in the National Football League. He was selected to the All-Madden team as the league’s best “tee picker-upper” and received recognition on NFL Today and in most of the nation’s newspapers.
He would retrieve the tee after kickoffs and would roll after hitting the sidelines, jumping up and spiking the tee. He changed his routine slightly each time he performed the act. He had started the practice while with the Javelinas and continued it with the Oilers until 1991.
Lackey worked closely with Cenikor, a drug abuse and alcohol rehabilitation center in Houston. He was active in his work for many Houston area groups benefiting children.
He was well known for his “Patton speech” which he got from the movie “Patton”. He was asked to speak during a Desert Storm rally in Pasadena and ended his talks with Johnny Cash’s “Ragged Ol’ Flag”.
Lackey became personal friends with Jerry Clower and Roy Acuff and made trips as often as possible to Nashville to visit the Grand Old Opry.
After his death, the Oilers established the Bill “Mojo” Lackey Memorial Award. It goes to the Oiler employee who best exemplifies the qualities which characterized Lackey.
The person selected is presented a $10,000 check to be donated to the charity of his or her choice. “This memorial award will ensure that his impact on the Oiler organization and the community will never be forgotten,” Adams said.
The weekend after Lackey’s death, which came after a massive heart attack in the Oiler locker room, Houston coach Jeff Fisher’s team upset Cleveland, 37-10, and the game ball was dedicated to Lackey. The players wrote “MOJO” in black letters on the back of their helmets.
Former players from as far away as Wisconsin and North Carolina attended his memorial service and nearly 1,000 people were at the tribute.
Lackey was a member of the American Equipment Managers Association since its inception and served as a district director.
Lackey’s mother, Margaret Lackey, resides in Kingsville.