Central Texas sports legends celebrated in new exhibit

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 10:56 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - For the next few months, Bell County is putting its legendary coaches and players at the forefront.

Bell County Museum Director Coleman Hampton explains, “We wanted to create an exhibit that illustrates the great sporting legacy of Bell County.”

The exhibit celebrates Bell County athletes who made a name for themselves at the highest levels.

It features people like Temple native and NFL Hall-of-Famer “Mean” Joe Greene, while also telling stories of trailblazers whose unique experiences aren’t as well-known.

Hampton says, “I think we have a lot of things in this exhibit that big sports fans may not know about. Or might have slipped their minds.”

Stories like that of Leon O’Neal, who was a football star at Killeen and coached soccer at Ellison, but also broke a major racial barrier.

“Leon O’Neal was the first black athlete to receive a football scholarship for Darrell Royal’s University of Texas Longhorns team.”

The exhibit has plenty of stories like O’Neal’s, which are fascinating to learn about, and serve as inspiration to Bell County’s young athletes of today.

“We are always thinking about the Bell County youth. I think the message is: even if they don’t become pro, here in Bell County, people have gone to great heights and accomplished great things.”

The exhibit will be open at the Bell County Museum from now until August 21st.

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