Charles (Chuck) Howley

Charles (Chuck)  Howley

Charles L. “Chuck” Howley was a first team all-West Virginia and all-OVAC tackle in 1953. He lettered in football, basketball, and baseball As a teenager, he also competed for an independent All-America boys gymnastics group.


The West Virginia University graduate is still the only Mountaineer athlete to letter in five sportsfootball, gymnastics, wrestling, track, and swimming. In football he played guard, center, and linebacker while earning All-Southern Conference laurels three straight years. Also the long snapper on special teams, Howley was selected as a third-team All-American his senior year. Howley, at 6-2, 220 pounds, was considered to be one of the fastest linemen in WVU history. He started in three college all-star games East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl, and the College Football All-Star Game. He lettered for the Mountaineers on the trampoline in gymnastics, a heavyweight in wrestling, sprinter and weightman in track, and a diver in swimming. In 1957, Howley was selected as the West Virginia Amateur Athlete of the Year.


He was an NFL first-round draft choice (1958) of the Chicago Bears only the third Mountaineer selected in the opening round. He played a year and a half in Chicago before being sidelined by a serious knee injury. Howley was back home in Wheeling working at a gas station in 1961 when the expansion Dallas Cowboys traded two draft picks for him.


The ex-Bear decided to give it one more try and wound up starting at outside linebacker 12 years for the Cowboys, earning all-pro laurels six times. He starred in two Super Bowls. The 1971 game saw Howley intercept two passes and recover a fumble to earn MVP honors in a 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Colts. He remains the only player on a losing team to be selected as the Super Bowl’s most valuable player. In 1972, he helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl VI over the Miami Dolphins by intercepting a Bob Griese pass to set up a touchdown.


Howley is a member of the West Virginia Sports Writers Association, WVU, Upper Ohio Valley Dapper Dan Club, and City of Wheeling halls of fame.

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