A victim of a massive June 4 stroke, Pine Bluff's Thurman Shaw fought on finally succumbing early Friday morning.
FAYETTEVILLE- Arkansas football fans dating back to 1979-81 may remember Pine Bluff’s Thurman Shaw lettering as a backup offensive guard for Lou Holtz’s Razorbacks.
Elkins fans may remember Thurman Shaw as their high school’s head football coach until Shaw returned to Pine Bluff assisting at Watson Chapel while tending to his ailing mother since deceased.
Marty Edmiston “absolutely” remembers Thurman Shaw as a “life-changing” force when Edmiston was a student at Prairie Grove and Shaw, after 15 years working for Hiland Dairy in Fayetteville, got into coaching.
A victim of a massive June 4 stroke, Shaw fought on finally succumbing early Friday morning.
Edmiston asserted Friday he “absolutely” chose his career path of teaching math and coaching football at Springdale’s Southwest Junior High because of Thurman Shaw.
“He was my offensive line coach,” Edmiston said. “He was the first coach I ever had that made it more than just Xs and Os. Really took the time to make sure I was doing OK in the classroom and doing OK at home and really kept me out trouble and steered me in the right direction. Just a fantastic guy. I just loved him so much.”
As its first black coach, Shaw impacted then all white Prairie Grove in general, Edmiston said.
Obviously he impacted Edmiston in particular.
“Thurman was the first black person I had ever been around in my life,” Edmiston said. “And so that was a big influence on me. It really changed my outlook on people. That was a life-changing thing for me for sure. Really opened my eyes to other people.”
Old Razorbacks teammates Mike Burlingame, a Razorbacks center and retired Springdale teacher, Steve Cox, the longtime NFL kicker now on the UA Board of Trustees and former Razorbacks tackle Ronnie Trusty all recalled Shaw like Burlingame did when contacting this writer a month ago about Shaw’s plight.
“One of the best people there is,” Burlingame said,
Cox and Trusty recalled Shaw’s “infectious” smile and that whether in practice or in games Shaw never gave less “than all he had,”
Given he was a backup, all Thurman had while still good wasn’t up to the great Arkansas guards he played behind like George Stewart and Steve Korte.
But as a human being, then Razorbacks assistant coach Harold Horton said he never recruited better and then Arkansas offensive line coach Larry Beightol said he never coached better.
“He was a lot better person than he was a player and that’s the way you want people to remember you anyway,” Beightol said. “We’ll miss him for all time.”