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Mel Renfro

Mel Renfro - Football

Mel Renfro established himself as a standout in high school, college and with a Hall of Fame career in the National Football League.

 Born in Houston in 1941, Renfro grew up in Portland and attended Jefferson High, where he starred in football and track and field.

 With Renfro catching passes from quarterback and future Heisman Trophy winner Terry Baker, the Democrats won the state title in 1957 and ’58. Following Baker’s graduation and move to Oregon State, the Demos lost to Medford, 7-6, in the 1959 title game.

By then, Renfro had established himself as a track star as well, having won the 180-yard low hurdles at the 1959 state meet. As a senior, Renfro won the low hurdles, 120 high hurdles and long jump to power Jefferson, which won six events, to the team title.

 Renfro played three seasons at Oregon, 1961-63, as both a defensive back and running back. In his career, he rushed for 1,540 yards and led the Ducks in scoring each season. As a senior, he won the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top running back and helped the Ducks finish 8-3 and play in the Sun Bowl. Renfro is still among the Oregon career leaders in all-purpose yardage.

In 1962, he finished second in the high hurdles and third in the long jump to help the Ducks win the  NCAA Track and Field Championship. He ran a leg on the 440-yard relay team that set a world record at 40.0 seconds.

The Dallas Cowboys selected him in the second round of the 1964 NFL Draft and he played 14 seasons for the team as a defensive back. Renfro excelled on special teams returning kicks for several seasons, but played primarily as a cornerback, eventually establishing a franchise record for interceptions with 52.

In his 14 seasons, he was named to the Pro Bowl 10 times and All-Pro five times. Renfro played in the Super Bowl four times with the Cowboys winning twice, Super Bowl VI and XII.

Renfro was the fifth Dallas player inducted into the Ring of Honor at Cowboys Stadium. He currently works as a motivational speaker.

Renfro was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1983, and into the University of Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. He was enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame in 1996.