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View Full Version : Remember th guy that used to do somersaults to grab the kicking tee for our old team?


Shaft75
10-27-2011, 10:57 PM
Who was that? One of my fondest gameday memories as a child.

Mods feel free to move this, but I just couldn't find the right forum.

Hervoyel
10-27-2011, 11:15 PM
Who was that? One of my fondest gameday memories as a child.

Mods feel free to move this, but I just couldn't find the right forum.

Mojo. That's all I ever heard him called. I think it was Mojo? Been a long time.

Luv_ya_blue
10-27-2011, 11:16 PM
Who was that? One of my fondest gameday memories as a child.

Mods feel free to move this, but I just couldn't find the right forum.

That would be MOJO!!!

Luv_ya_blue
10-27-2011, 11:16 PM
Mojo. That's all I ever heard him called. I think it was Mojo? Been a long time.

Dang Herv...ya beat me to it. lol

Hervoyel
10-27-2011, 11:17 PM
Very unfortunate ending I think. 43 is too young.

http://articles.latimes.com/1995-11-23/sports/sp-6304_1_kicking-tee

Showtime100
10-27-2011, 11:17 PM
Who was that? One of my fondest gameday memories as a child.

Mods feel free to move this, but I just couldn't find the right forum.

Mojo. Like some of the namesakes here.

If I'm thinking Mojo it wasn't so much (or at all) somersaults but more like intentional falling down followed by spiking the tee.

EDIT: Sorry, I delayed my post while watching the WS, by which time others were on it. :D

NitroGSXR
10-28-2011, 12:34 AM
Wow! Talk about a random blast from the past! Thanks for the memories, MO-JO!

texanhead08
10-28-2011, 01:29 AM
I have hard Mojo's real name before but it escapes me now. I want to say he was the former teams equipment manager for years. If I remember correct didn't they get a dog to retrieve the tee after Mojo died??

Luv_ya_blue
10-28-2011, 07:19 AM
Life Is Like a Kicking Tee : Oilers Knew What They'd Get With Mojo--and They Loved It
November 23, 1995 (http://articles.latimes.com/1995/nov/23)|BILL PLASCHKE | TIMES STAFF WRITER
HOUSTON He spent the last night of his life on a couch outside a locker room.

And nobody asked Bill (Mojo) Lackey why he did not go home. Everyone knew he was home.

Mojo awoke his last morning at 4:30 a.m., folded laundry at 6, then collapsed of a massive stroke and died 20 minutes later.




He was hanging sweat jackets and muttering about a spot the cleaning crew had missed. He fell over a bench, hit the bottom of a locker, turned blue.

A simple man had come to a simple ending.

William Van Lackey, Houston Oiler equipment assistant, dead at 43.

A man who for 16 years was paid by the hour to wash jocks.

A guy with a large waist and a childlike mind who became famous for running out and grabbing the kicking tee after Oiler kickoffs.

No wife, no children. Laid out in a small south Texas town with an American flag in one hand and a kicking tee behind his head. He was buried in a suit coat purchased by the Oilers, the only one he ever owned.

End of story. End of another anonymous life that filtered through today's high-powered NFL like smoke.

Who could have guessed what would happen next?

Who could have guessed that two days after Mojo's death Nov. 2, Oiler Coach Jeff Fisher would end a Saturday pregame speech by showing his team a video clip of Mojo and walking out of the room in silence?


All for a man who never owned a house, needed 7 1/2 years to finish college, and mostly worked in T-shirt, underpants and cowboy boots.

"One of life's little people," said Carl Mauck, a former Oiler lineman and current assistant with the San Diego Chargers. "A simple, wonderful little person."


Mojo saw the world not in black and white, but in one brilliant color that caused him constantly to smile and hug.

"On the night before he died, right before I went home, he looked at me and said, 'You know, I haven't said this in a while, but I love you,' " fellow equipment assistant Paul Noska recalled. "He was always doing stuff like that."


"I'll never forget my first trip back to Houston as coach of the Atlanta Falcons, walking down the runway before the game, I felt a big arm around my neck," former Oiler coach Jerry Glanville said. "It was Mojo. Tears were streaming down his cheeks. He didn't say a word. We walked our separate ways. That was him."

Whatever color he saw, it left Mojo incapable of insulting anybody, or feeling insulted by those who viewed him as an easy target because of his slow and innocent nature.


"Even when you asked him about the Oilers during their bad years, he would say, 'I'm not paid to think about those things, I'm paid to wash clothes,' " said Susan Pruett, a close friend. Mojo called her his sister. "Life to him just wasn't real complicated."

Who would have guessed that "MOJO" would now be in black letters on the back of every Oiler helmet?


There were not many mysteries surrounding a man who would tell his life story to prospective players he routinely picked up at the airport.

But one thing nobody ever knew: Why did he pick up the tee like that?

Anybody who has followed the NFL even casually recently remembers it.

From 1979 until weight problems forced him to quit in 1991, Mojo would gallop toward the tee after every kickoff as if riding a horse.
Once at midfield, he would cut a wide circle around the tee and pick it up with his left hand. Always his left hand.

If he would miss, which happened occasionally because of difficulty maneuvering his 5-foot-10, 280-pound frame, he would circle the tee again with arms outstretched like an airplane before making another attempt.

After grabbing the tee, he would gallop back to the sidelines. Once out of bounds, he would somersault, spike the tee and scream.


He began doing this during the 1970s while equipment manager in Kingsville, Tex., at what was then Texas A&I University.

One day his mother, Margaret, with whom he lived until leaving for Houston, asked him about it.

"He said 'Momma, if I go out there slow, then that's how those football players will play,' " recalled Margaret Lackey.


He caught the attention of Oiler owner Bud Adams, who invited him to training camp in 1979.

Another equipment man warned Lackey that, this being the NFL, he would have to speed up and get his "mojo" going. The name stuck. An unusual, unwitting, unfazed star was born.


"Everywhere the team played on the road, the fans would go wild," recalled John McClain, Houston Chronicle sportswriter who covered the club then and now. "Everybody wanted the Oilers to score at least once so they could see his act."

Lineman Bruce Matthews, a first-round draft pick from USC in 1983, put it into perspective by saying, "When I joined the team, I had heard of two people there--Earl Campbell and Mojo."


"Maybe," said Glanville, who coached the Oilers from 1985 to '89, "this was the real Forrest Gump."

Once when Glanville was on the practice field, then-President George Bush, an Oiler fan, phoned the Oiler training facility to speak to him.

Mojo answered the phone. He politely told the President that he was under orders not to disturb Glanville under any circumstances.
Bush then asked Mojo if he would ask Glanville to return the call. Mojo wrote down the White House number and told the President that he would do his best.

"That was the kind of guy Mojo was, follow instructions to the letter, do exactly what you told him," Glanville said, still laughing at the memory. "Mojo told me that once he knew it was the President, he spent the rest of the conversation in a salute, his right hand above his right eye."

Mojo was so patriotic, he would stop his car at any home or business where the flag was being wrongly displayed, and ask the inhabitants to fix it.


Then there was the time Mojo somersaulted into a snowbank during a game in a northern city. After spiking the tee, he began moving his arms back and forth into the snow.

"I looked down and couldn't believe it," writer McClain recalled. "Right in the middle of an NFL game . . . Mojo was making an angel."


http://articles.latimes.com/1995-11-23/sports/sp-6304_1_kicking-tee/2

Sorry it's so long--but I think that it's well worth the read.

:cry2: Tons of good memories! RIP Mojo!

Luv_ya_blue
10-28-2011, 07:21 AM
I have hard Mojo's real name before but it escapes me now. I want to say he was the former teams equipment manager for years. If I remember correct didn't they get a dog to retrieve the tee after Mojo died??

Yup, a black border collie
And it was "Bill (Mojo) Lackey"

El Tejano
10-28-2011, 08:07 AM
Yup, a black border collie
And it was "Bill (Mojo) Lackey"

And the dog's name was Blue. When the Oilers left, he then went to retrieve for New Orleans.

Texans34Life
10-28-2011, 08:26 AM
Damn, being an Houston Oilers fan from the late 80s until they left, I'm surprised why I never noticed Mojo.

Now reading that article, it makes me feel even more proud to be an Houston Oilers fan.

HOU-TEX
10-28-2011, 09:05 AM
Mojo was great! He was able to lift an entire crowd by doing his thing.

Crazy George was another character back in the day. Roughneck was the official team mascot, I believe. But imo, nothing compared to Mojo

Luv_ya_blue
10-28-2011, 09:07 AM
Mojo was great! He was able to lift an entire crowd by doing his thing.

Crazy George was another character back in the day. Roughneck was the official team mascot, I believe. But imo, nothing compared to Mojo

I used to love Crazy George.
It killed it for me when I found out he was only there cause he was gettin' paid.

HOU-TEX
10-28-2011, 09:12 AM
I used to love Crazy George.
It killed it for me when I found out he was only there cause he was gettin' paid.

Yeah, but at least Crazy George earned what the moron paid him. Roughneck was a joke

Joe Texan
10-28-2011, 09:13 AM
Crazy George had his hat in the hall, now mine is there, the dog was owned by a lawyer who lived close to me. I met the guy at the restaurant Baileys

GP
10-28-2011, 09:28 AM
I was just a kid, but I remember him. LOVED it every time he did it.

It gave a "college game" feel to it. A tradition.

Have never read the whole story, though, until now. Thanks for sharing!

Double Barrel
10-28-2011, 10:57 AM
Very unfortunate ending I think. 43 is too young.

http://articles.latimes.com/1995-11-23/sports/sp-6304_1_kicking-tee

wow...I did not know this...or I did and forgot. I loved that guy as a kid. I remember seeing him at the 'dome and I always looked forward to it.

RIP Bill "Mojo" Lackey (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=1523)
http://image1.findagrave.com/photos/2009/206/1523_124865047940.jpg

Sadly, I have been unable to find any pictures of him on the internets. You'd think some old Oiler fan out there would have posted it.

He passed away in 1995, a year before the Oilers left. And according to the article, he stopped retrieving the kicking tee in 1991.

In a way, it's good that he did not see the Oiler leave Houston and then change their identity. I'd imagine that would have torn him up.

Mojo was great! He was able to lift an entire crowd by doing his thing.

Crazy George was another character back in the day. Roughneck was the official team mascot, I believe. But imo, nothing compared to Mojo

I met Crazy George (again) at a Houston Stallions game earlier this year. It was cool to introduce my son to him. He gave us his card which lists all the teams that he's worked for over the years. He even claims to have invented the wave. If true or not doesn't matter. Guy is a fun character to be around.

Luv_ya_blue
10-28-2011, 11:09 AM
Sadly, I have been unable to find any pictures of him on the internets. You'd think some old Oiler fan out there would have posted it.
I've been lookin all morning and can't find anything either.

In a way, it's good that he did not see the Oiler leave Houston and then change their identity. I'd imagine that would have torn him up.
Agreed.

HOU-TEX
10-28-2011, 01:53 PM
Other than the tombstone pic that DB posted, I couldn't find any pics of MOJO either. Weird?

House of Pain
10-28-2011, 02:10 PM
No pics and no videos of him retrieving the tee...very strange.

I remember Mojo (although I was young) as well as I remember being there when Tony Zendejas had a career game, then broke his leg.

Double Barrel
10-28-2011, 03:21 PM
Still looking for pics of Mojo.

I came across this in my quest: Oilers leave rich legacy of low-budget absurdity (http://www.texnews.com/texsports97/oilers063097.html)

There is some funny stuff in that article. Here's a bit of trivia from it:

Q. Because of a locker room theft, the Oilers were forced to play their first game with 20 players decked out in jerseys belonging to what team?

A. The Dallas Texans. The Texans beat the Oilers, 27-10, in the first exhibition game for both clubs.

Vinny
10-29-2011, 12:08 PM
More than three decades or so back I was at an Oiler game with my friend Marc. He later went on to marry my sister. Hated the seats since they were in the dome right up front where you had to watch the game like a coach on the sidelines. Due to the round configuration in the Astrodome the middle of the field is further away than the seats at the 20 yard line, so in a weird sort of way the seats further out from the 50 were better seats. The Chiefs were in town and I can't tell you much about the game except for Mojo and the fact that we lost. What I do remember was that Marc and I had great fun laughing and pointing out Mojo slamming across the field as fast as he could, flipping at the end and spiking the tee. We weren't mean spirited, but we yelled MOJO and didn't mind laughing at his antics since there wasn't much to cheer about on the field I assume. At the end of the game Mojo came running right at us. At first I thought he may have heard us and was upset, but he ran right up to what I think was his parents...sitting a few seats down from us. I think we both felt like lessrons (like morons, but somehow less). I don't feel bad (now) because we weren't mean (sheepish may be a good word though), but I did feel a little less intellectual that day. I have nothing but respect for Mojo. He's part of the Oiler mosaic. He's woven into the never changing history of my Oilers. When I was young I'd see the old guys reminiscing about the Brooklyn Dodgers on TV sometimes. Never really connected with them. I thought, hell, you still have a team up there. Two really. I understand them now that I'm older and I look back at the team that no longer exists; one that I followed as a youth growing up in Houston. Great memories. RIP Mojo

Texecutioner
10-29-2011, 12:41 PM
Mojo was the man!! I remember as a kid wondering what the **** he was doing when he was rolling around on the ground. Watching a fat man doing that randomly at a football game was always so weird, but entertaining to me.

texanhead08
10-29-2011, 11:12 PM
Field level at the dome was a horrible view. I always preferred mezzanine seats there.

Joe Texan
10-29-2011, 11:44 PM
We my dad and I had just recieved to 50 yardlie seats in the Loge(sp) great seats but the next season Dud Adams announces they were leaving Houston for Memphis, We tore up the check as soon as we heard the news. It was too bad that I had to miss those years watching football with my dad we used to love to go to the games together. He had to sell his Texans tickets cause it got so hard for him to walk in and out of the game.