Football Legend Stars Off The Field

Ken Hall says the only memento from high school that he still keeps around the house is Gloria, his high school sweetheart and wife of 50 years, CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports in this week's Assignment America.

The rest of his story is in storage. Dusty, yellow, fading, letters, pictures and articles from what may be the most spectacular high school football career of all time.

In his four years at Sugarland High School, near Houston, Ken rushed for over 11,000 yards. That's 6.5 miles. In one game, he averaged 47 yards per carry. He also averaged 5 touchdowns per game, all national records that still stand to this very day.

"The uniform was dirty, except one game," Hall says. "There's one game where there was 9 touchdowns scored — I scored 7 of them — and I was never tackled. My uniform didn't get dirty that night so they said they weren't going to wash it."

Hall ended up at Texas A&M and he eventually signed with the Baltimore Colts where he never, ever played. He broke his back in the preseason and was never the same again. Hall says it was devastating at the time, but it paved the way for him to do something even more impressive with his life.

He opened a barbecue restaurant. Hall says this is where he put up his most impressive numbers, "hiring 66 high school kids over a span of 17 years." And he says "there's a story in every one of them."

"I don't think I'd be where I am now if it wasn't for Ken," Malakai Boyles says.

Malakai came from a broken home and was nothing but trouble when he first started working at the barbecue place. Fortunately, Hall had no tolerance for slackers.

"I asked a lot of questions and demanded a lot of answers. I gave a lot of information and wanted them to listen," Hall says.

Malakai certainly did. He recently graduated from NYU Law School, and is now clerking with a federal judge in Dallas.

"I learned from Ken how to be a father, how to be a husband. I learned everything. It was more than a job, it was kind of like a life lesson," Malakai says.

Almost all the students who worked together still stay in touch.

It's funny how people think you have to do something extraordinary, like run over a whole lot of people for a whole lot of years, to become a legend. All you really have to do, Hartman concludes, is step in front of someone who needs you, and you become a legend just the same.
  • Melissa McNamara

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