Publisher and Founder of RoadTripSports.com/College Football America Yearbook
Associate of Arts, Kilgore College (1989-1992)
Bachelor of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin (1992-1995)
Bachelor of Science (Recording Industry), Middle Tennessee State University (1998-1999)
Master of Liberal Arts (Journalism), Harvard University (2016-present)
College Football America Yearbook and RoadTripSports.com publisher Kendall Webb was born on March 11, 1972, at Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Florida.
“My birth certificate says Hiland Park, Florida,” Webb says, “but nobody’s ever heard of that. And it’s basically Panama City anyway.”
Webb grew up in East Texas, however, where his father and hero William H. Webb was born in 1931, and he considers himself a Texan through and through.
“If my father hadn’t been in the military, he likely never would have left East Texas to begin with,” Webb says. “Dad was born just late enough to miss out on serving in World War II, but growing up in rural East Texas near Brownsboro, Texas, in the late 1930’s, there wasn’t much opportunity outside the farming life.”
That’s basically what Webb’s father did until moving to Fort Worth sometime in the mid- to late-1940’s to live with his half brother. Within a few short years, he joined the Texas National Guard, and then enlisted in the United States Air Force in its early years after it had been carved out from the Army as a separate branch of the Armed Forces.
“Dad served at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth for a number of years, and then moved on to Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota, for a time,” Webb says. “At some point he ended up serving in Washington state in the Seattle area, and that’s where he met my mother, Karen Daily.”
William Webb then served a couple of tours in Vietnam, but when he returned to the states, he and Daily were reunited.
“My mom followed him to New York where my sister Tamara was born,” Webb says. “And then she followed him to Florida where I came along.”
“I was somewhere around a year old, I guess, when we moved back to East Texas,” Webb says. “Obviously I was too young to know what was going through his mind, but I know that Florida would have never been home to Dad. I can only speculate, but I’m guessing with his retirement approaching, he did the only thing he knew to do.
“He went home.”
William Webb had been born in the remote, unincorporated community of Carroll Springs, Texas, south of Athens, but he grew up in the small town of Brownsboro, Texas, where his mother still lived. It was here where Webb’s father returned with his young family which soon increased by one with the birth of his youngest son Timothy in nearby Tyler, Texas.
“I don’t remember much of the Brownsboro years, just a flash of memory here and there in my mind, and we weren’t there too long before we moved to the little community of Liberty City between Kilgore and Gladewater, Texas.”
It was here that Webb grew up, and at a young age, he developed a love for football passed on by his dad, William, of course.
“I can remember Dad telling me stories of driving hundreds of miles on a Friday just to get to a big game out in West Texas somewhere when he was in the Fort Worth area,” Webb says. “I laugh about it because it’s the same thing I do now.
“I wish he had kept records or kept a little journal of some of the places he went so I could look up who he might have seen on those teams.”
William Webb was also a college fan attending many TCU games in the late 1940’s on into the 1960’s before being transferred to South Dakota by the Air Force.
“Again, I can only speculate, but Dad was there during a classic era for the Southwest Conference, and I know he saw many of the great players from that entire era that he was in Fort Worth,” Webb says.
William Webb was also in Fort Worth during another critical era of American football. While high school and college football ruled the roost in Texas, professional football leagues were keen to get a foothold in Texas as well. The first attempt to establish a professional football team in Texas came during the 1952 season after a couple of millionaire brothers from Dallas named Giles and Connell Miller bought the National Football League’s struggling New York Yanks franchise.
The NFL had finally come to Texas, and that fall the newly-christened Dallas Texans took the field as a new franchise. In reality, the Texans had also acquired all of the Yanks’ players, however, and the team that took the field that fall did so with a roster of players that had gone 1-9-2 during the 1951 season. They weren’t any better based in Dallas as the NFL’s first Texas franchise finished 1-11.
“I can’t say for certain if Dad attended any of those games, but I know when the Cowboys and the AFL’s Dallas Texans came along a few years later, he was at many of those early games.”
The 1952 Texans were so bad that the Millers’ ownership of the team lasted only seven games. They returned the team to the league on November 14, and the NFL then made the Texans a traveling team. Their only win came as the “home” team on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1952, over the Chicago Bears in a game played at Akron, Ohio’s, Rubber Bowl. The Texans escaped with a 27-23 win after Bears’ head coach George Halas started his second string believing it would be enough to beat the overmatched Texans. At the conclusion of the season, the franchise folded although its assets were awarded to a new franchise a few months later that took the field in 1953 as the Baltimore Colts and continues to this day as the Indianapolis Colts.
A few years later, of course, the NFL would try again in Dallas, and this time, the league had a competitor. Both the NFL and the upstart American Football League awarded franchises to Dallas before the start of the 1960 season. For three seasons they shared the Cotton Bowl, and William Webb was there.
“I don’t know which games he attended with certainty,” Webb says, “but my dad and I spoke about it several times. Both teams were in dire need of support, and he recalled that both teams allowed military members in for free. In his memory, one of them let him in with his military ID, and the other would let him in if he was in uniform. He spoke as if he regularly attended games that season.”
The NFL’s Dallas Cowboys were even worse in their first season than the 1952 Texans finishing 0-11-1 with only a 31-31 tie on the road late in the season against the New York Giants at Yankee Stadium to hang their hat on. On the other hand, the AFL’s Dallas Texans which shared the name of the earlier NFL franchise were competitive from the beginning including an 8-6 record in 1960. In just their third season in 1962, the Texans advanced to the AFL Championship Game against the Houston Oilers who had won the league’s first two titles. In one of the greatest championship games in the history of professional football, the Texans pulled off a 20-17 upset in double overtime to win the third AFL title. Nevertheless, it would turn out to be their final game as the Dallas Texans. The franchise moved to Kansas City in the off-season and renamed itself the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Ultimately, the Dallas Cowboys outlasted the team that became the Chiefs, and Dad was a big fan of the Cowboys. He passed that along to me, and ultimately I grew up a huge fan of the ‘Boys.”
Twenty years after he had attended some of the Cowboys’ earliest games, Webb’s father took his young son to his first Cowboys’ game on December 21, 1980.
“I was just eight years old, and as I recall, we won the tickets through some kind of drawing at the local Montgomery Ward department store,” Webb says. “We only won two tickets, so being the oldest son, I was the one who got to go.”
It was the final game of the 1980 season played at the old Texas Stadium, and due to some unusual circumstances, the Cowboys entered that game needing to beat the Philadelphia Eagles by 25 points to win the tiebreakers that would give them a division title and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. With quarterback Danny White at the controls, the Cowboys raced out to a 21-0 lead and eventually did take a 25-point lead at 35-10 in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Ron Jaworski would then rally his team to 17 straight points to end the game, and the Eagles claimed the division title despite the fact both teams finished 12-4.
Three weeks later on January 11, 1981, they met for the third and final time that season in the NFC Championship Game. Played in 17 degree temperatures in front of a home crowd on the hard Veterans Stadium turf, the Eagles prevailed over the Cowboys 20-7 to advance to Super Bowl XV where they lost to the Oakland Raiders 27-10.
“Who knows, maybe the Cowboys would have provided a better matchup for the Raiders,” Webb says. “I was a disappointed little kid on the way home, but looking back, it was the only Cowboys’ game I ever got to go to with Dad, and it’s a great memory. It was Danny White’s first year after Roger Staubach retired, but many of the other veterans of those great ’70s teams were still playing. Drew Pearson and Preston Pearson each scored that day, and Tony Dorsett ran for 74 yards.
“Tony Hill and Billy Joe DuPree also scored, and Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones, Harvey Martin, Randy White and Charlie Waters were all playing defense. It’s a distant memory now, but I can say I was there and got to see some of those Cowboys’ legends in person. I was in awe that day of the whole experience.”
Webb’s father certainly was his biggest influence early on, and it wasn’t long before the younger Webb could recite years worth of results for his local school, the Sabine Cardinals. Webb would attend all 13 years of grade school, middle school and high school at Sabine. During his senior year, he even played tight end and defensive end for his beloved Cardinals.
“I say ‘played,’ but it was only sparingly,” Webb says. “We had 19 kids on the team until they scrapped the JV team late in the season, but I started on kickoffs and kick returns. And then I usually played the entire second half at the right defensive end to give one of our better players a break. I was pretty awful having not played since junior high.
“But Dad was always there on Friday nights when I played even though he was a long-haul truck driver,” Webb says, “and he always encouraged my love of football for certain. He introduced me to scrapbooking filling up old journals full of newspaper clippings, and he would buy two copies of the local paper so that I would have both sides of the page in my scrapbooks. That’s where my love of sports journalism began.”
Webb spent some of those summers in high school traveling around the country with his father in a truck, and just like his father, he fell in love with life on the road. When it was time for college, however, those days came to an abrupt end as Webb enrolled in the local junior college at Kilgore College. It was here he studied journalism under the legendary Bettye Craddock.
“Looking back, I learned everything I needed to know to be a successful journalist under Mrs. Craddock at Kilgore College,” Webb says. “If it had been a four-year program, I would have been faced with a hard choice, but ultimately I would have stayed at Kilgore and then pursued a master’s degree at Texas.”
“Kilgore is a two-year junior college, however, so to finish my bachelor’s, I had to move on to another school,” Webb says.
Ultimately, Webb followed his heart to Austin earning a Bachelor of Journalism degree at the University of Texas at Austin in 1995.
Of course, football was never far from his mind during his days in Austin, and from 1994 to 1997, Webb attended every Texas Longhorns’ football game home and away falling in love with the road all over again. That included trips as far-ranging as Pittsburgh to Hawaii, and the only game he missed came when one of his best friends from high school and college ended up getting married in Austin on Texas-Oklahoma Saturday in 1997. Webb was a groomsman that day.
“I told him it better work out, and I’m happy to report they’re still married almost 20 years later with six children,” Webb says. “I couldn’t have missed the game for a better reason, an amazing love story that’s still going strong all these years later.”
Webb ultimately didn’t pursue a career in journalism, but continued freelancing through the years eventually moving to Nashville, Tennessee, and completing a second bachelor’s degree in recording industry management from Middle Tennessee State University. He recently completed his first class at Harvard University with an eye on potentially earning his Master of Liberal Arts degree with a focus on journalism. In the meantime, RoadTripSports.com continues along with the College Football America Yearbook which was launched in 2011.
“Ultimately, I thought a website that had every college football team in American including NAIA and juco’s would be pretty amazing,” Webb says, “and I picked the name because I wanted to be as much about the all of the side trips and side roads and experiences that are part of a great football road trip. At the time, though, I just didn’t have the technical skills to build my own website.
“I became aware of Amazon.com’s self-publishing platform (CreateSpace), and ultimately my partners and I chose to move the idea to a book format.”
The College Football America Yearbook launched as a digital-only publication that first year before a limited print edition release in 2012. Since 2013, the book has been available in both print and digital formats nation-wide.
“It’s been the dream of a lifetime to have my own publication, and Chuck Cox and Matthew Postins have been there every step of the way helping to make this happen,” Webb says. “One thing I knew early on is that you’ve got to have good partners that you trust, and those two guys are as committed and trustworthy as you get.
“Ultimately, though, I know the roots of this publication and my love for football and travel and for life on the road in general were instilled in me by my father, and I’m grateful that I had the Dad I did,” Webb says.
“He was the guy who was strong enough to tell his kids he loved them, and every fall that I’m traveling up and down our beautiful nation’s highways and byways, I know he’s right there next to me in the passenger seat every mile of the way.”
RoadTripSports.com and the College Football America Yearbook are dedicated to the memory of William H. Webb.