Tom Landry was the legendary professional football coach who served as the Dallas Cowboys’ coach for 29 years. During his tenure, the Dallas Cowboys won 13 division titles and represented the NFC five times in the Super Bowl, Super Bowls V, VI, X, XII, and XIII. Coach Landry led the Cowboys to Super Bowl victories over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII.
Tom Landry was born on September 11, 1924 to Ray and Ruth Landry in Mission, Texas. As a child, Tom Landry was struck by a car and nearly killed. In 1938, Landry met Bob Martin, who would have a significant impact on Landry’s football career. Landry began his football career as a center but became the starting quarterback for the Mission High School varsity football squad. In 1941, Landry led the Mission Eagles to a perfect record, beating Hondo 33-0 for the regional championship, which was the highest attainable title for a Class A football team at the time.
During his early years in Mission, Texas, Tom Landry “learned a sense of accountability …. accepting the fact that people were always watching — even if I wished they weren’t.” Tom Landry was recruited to play for the University of Texas Longhorns. As a freshman, Landry joined the military and served on a B-17 bombing crew during World War II; Landry flew more than 30 missions and survived a plane crash in Belgium. From 1949 to 1955, Landry played defensive back and punter for the AAFC’s New York Yankees and the NFL’s New York Giants. He became a player/coach for the New York Giants before returning to Texas to become the first coach of the Cowboys in 1960.
To honor Tom Landry’s legacy in 1993, Mission residents Bill and Gen Long commissioned Manuel Hinojosa to create the Tom Landry Mural. The mural measures 95 x 18 feet and was dedicated on September 18, 1995 by legendary Coach Tom Landry himself.