Rice Institute Owls football player and track runner J. Fred Duckett
Black and white photograph of Rice Institute Owls field and track athlete and football player J. Fred Duckett, class of 1955, headlining his achievement as an Honorary "R" Person. Caption reads: The program for induction of the 1991 Rice Athletic Hall of Fame members kicks off what could be close to the biggest weekend of his life for the nominee of a special honoree, J. Fred Duckett, who becomes recipient of the “Honorary R Person” Award. This is a particularly deserved recognition for a guy who has given so much to his school, the athletic program, and the “R” Association. We suspect many people long have assumed J. Fred has been an “R” man for years, not realizing that while he played some football and competed in track at Rice, he never received a letter while at Rice because there were rigid requirement rules back then. Thank goodness that situation is now corrected and Duckett is a deserving recipient because very few others have given so much of themselves for the Rice program as J. Fred has. J. Fred long has been considered the voice of the Owls. He is the man on the PA mike at all home Owl football and basketball games, track meets and some baseball games. Non-Rice folds in Houston also know him as the voice of the Astros, for 22 years serving as the PA man for major league baseball in the Astrodome. Duckett is perhaps the city’s finest track authority, announcing all UH and TSU track meets, as well as the Texas Relays in Austin, the Houston Marathon and most top high school meets. He has served as an analyst on TV and radio at NCAA, Big Eight, Big Ten, SEC, SWC and various national, regional and local track meets. He was in charge of all press interviews with the track and field athletes at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. He also frequently is in demand for his extensive records he maintains on men’s and women’s track and field data at several levels of competition. It all began in the 1950’s when he started at Rice out of Lamar, even though he was the son of a former Texas A&M star cager of the 1920’s, Harry Duckett. But “Mr. D.” and the late Mrs. Duckett raised sons Jim and J. Fred on South Blvd., almost in the shadows of the Rice campus (where Mrs. D. “Dot” attended and Uncle, Fred Boettcher, served as a football captain in 1921). His love of athletics began at Lamar and carried over to Rice, where he became a valuable, if unheralded, scout team grid tackle in the Jess Neely-Joe Davis era. He was also a discus event man for Emmett Brunson in track and field. Let it be known that he is a genuine SWC gridder of record, who played tackle when Rice beat Hardin-Simmons at Rice Stadium, though he admits most of his grid time was “cannon fodder” for the varsity in workouts. In addition to competing, Duckett also became a student aide to sports information director Bill Whitmore that led to his fascination with both statistics and the microphone. He served as sports editor of both the Campanile and Thresher. J. Fred soon knew almost everyone in the SWC and they knew him. He continued helping out at sporting events while completing his graduate studies at Texas when Jones Ramsey was the SID. But his first love still was Rice, helping with the late Brunson and then successive track coaches Augie Erfurth, Bobby May and current coach Steve Straub. In his career to pay the bills, he has been a popular teacher and lecturer on history at St. John’s School and Awty International School, while his main duty has been with American General Insurance in Houston. He is proud of a wonderful family in wife Baudine and daughter Petra, and he does great yardwork at a nice home in Mercer in West University Place, close by the Rice campus. J. Fred and Baudine (a native of the Netherlands) very much enjoy entertaining foreign students in the Houston universities, especially those in athletic pursuits. For his love of Rice, the world of sports, academia, and as a special booster of such folks as Owl world champion athletes like Dr. Fred Hansen and Dr. Dave Roberts, as well as a great lady athlete in Regina Cavanaugh Murphy, and so many more, we salute J. Fred Duckett. With apologies to Jose Cruz, J. Fred, this honor is for you.
Honorary "R" Person
Sports; William M. Rice Institute--Football; Duckett, J. Fred, 1933-2007; Varsity lettermen's clubs; Athletic clubs--Texas--Houston; More... Rice Owls (Football team); College football players--Texas--Houston; Rice Owls (Track and field team); Track and field athletes--Texas--Houston; Rice University--History Less...
Citable link to this pagehttps://hdl.handle.net/1911/64005
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