Renfro , Melvin L.
Melvin L. Renfro was born in Houston, Texas on December 30, 1941, and spent most of his youth in Portland, Oregon. He is regarded by many as the greatest all-around high school and college athlete ever produced by Oregon. While at Jefferson High School (Portland.) he excelled in track & field and football. In high school football he was All-PIL, All-State, Shrine All-Star and two-time All-American. Mel contributed to the team's undefeated state championship team in 1957 with team also being voted co-national high school football champions. He was a key player at halfback on the undefeated 1958 state football team that was voted undisputed national high school football champions, and in 1960 led the Jefferson track team to the state AAA championship when he scored 32.5 points points while winning the long jump, low hurdles , high hurdles and anchored the winning 880-yard relay team. In 1960, he won the 110 meter high hurdles (13.8 sec.) and the 180 yard low hurdles (19.4 sec.) in what is now known as the Adidas Golden West national high school track meet. He set a Portland Interscholastic League single-game scoring record in football with 38 points, and a single-season record with 285 points. Renfro's high school football versatility was further attested to by his ability to excel at numerous positions that included quarterback, halfback, receiver, kick returner, punt returner and defensive back. His illustrious athletic career at the University of Oregon began in 1960. Before his collegiate career was over he was a football All-American (1962 & 1963), All-Coast (1961, 1962, 1963) and in 1963 he was awarded the school's Hoffman award after being voted the the team's most outstanding player by a vote of his teammates. He led the Ducks in scoring all three years at Oregon. He is also a member of the Pigskin Club of Washington D.C.'s list of top All-Americans. Mel's collegiate track career was also outstanding and highlighted by his running a leg on the school's world record 440-yard relay, and placing in both the long jump and high hurdles to help Oregon win the 1962 NCAA Track & Field Championship. His personal record for the high hurdles was 13.8 seconds, 9.6 was his personal record in the 100-yard dash and his best long jump was 25 feet 11 3/4 inches. Many thought Mel Renfro could have easily been an Olympic decathlete.
In 1964, he was the no. 17 overall pick in the National Football League draft and was chosen in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys. He enjoyed a spectacular 14-year career with the Cowboys as a cornerback, safety, kickoff returner, and punt returner. His professional football honors and achievements included:
(5) All-Pro Selections
(7) All Conference Selections
Selection to the Pro Bowl in his first 10 years
1969 led the NFL in interceptions with (10)
(52) career interceptions for 626 yards
(109) punt returns for 842 yards
(85) kick off returns for 2,246 yards (26.4 avg.)
Rookie year Led the NFL in kickoff and punt returns
Pro Bowl MVP in 1971
Set numerous Cowboy team records
Selected to the Cowboy's Ring of Honor
Elected to the College Football Hall of Fame
1986, elected to the State of Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
1990, elected to the Oregon African American Sports Hall of Fame
1992, elected to the University of Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame
1996, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
and is an inductee of the National High School Hall of Fame.