Randy Winkler..... a Tiger to Remember
Sunday, 22 July 2012 by Chuck Kelly
From 2nd team All-District in high school in 1960 --- to Texas All-College and NAIA All-American --- to a six feet, five inch, 255 pound behemoth in the National Football League --- this IS a Tiger to Remember!
Randolph Stanley (Randy) Winkler was born on July 18, 1943 in Temple to Ruth and Paul Winkler and was the eldest of three children.
His grandfather, Ernest Winkler, came to Texas from Germany in 1859 and the Winkler family has lived in The Grove/Moffat area of Bell County ever since. Randy and his siblings, Rodney and Janell, attended school at St. Paul Lutheran School in The Grove, Belton Junior High School and Belton High School, where he graduated in 1961.
In addition to playing football, Winkler threw the shotput and discus on the Tiger track team. Randy grew bigger each year. He was a 190 pound sophomore tackle on the 1958 district champion football team. Winkler was a 6-1, 206 pound starting tackle as a junior on the 10-1 Tigers, coached by John Hugh Smith, that was ranked number three in the state. In his senior year, Winkler was a veteran tackle under first-year head coach Cedric Bettis and was named the team's most outstanding lineman, was 2nd team All-District and earned honorable mention Super-Centex by The Waco Times-Herald.
Randy Winkler was offered a football scholarship by the University of Oklahoma and other schools but signed to play for Tarleton State University in Stephenville, where he played for four years.
He grew to 6-4, and 240 pounds by the start of the 1963 season and became known at Tarleton as "the Jolly Green Giant" because of his broad smile and size and was voted the varsity's outstanding lineman as a freshman tackle. As a sophomore, Randy was named a tri-captain on the team, starting on both offense and defense. He was named by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to the Texas All-College team as a defensive end and by the NAIA All-District at offensive tackle. He was the team's Most Valuable Player in his junior year and Texas All-College at defensive end and was named honorable mention NAIA All-American. As a senior, the now 6'4", 250 pound Winkler was moved to tight end and outside linebacker, the only two-way player on the team. That year (1973), he was again honorable mention All-American. In 2005, the Killeen Daily Herald named Winkler to its 1st team All-Time Centex offensive team --- an honor given to only six Belton athletes at that time.
Randy graduated from Tarleton State in 1967 with a degree in physical education and biology.
He was selected in the NFL draft by the Detroit Lions and played offensive tackle and guard alongside great pros like Alex Karas in the 1967 season. The following year, he went to the Atlanta Falcons and played with former UT All-American Tommy Nobis.
Winkler was called to active duty in the Navy Reserves but after discharge, he returned to the NFL alongside Bart Starr and Ray Nitschke on the Green Bay Packers.
He was one of only three ex-Belton Tigers (Ricky Sanders and the late Booker Russell) to play in the National Football League. Winkler was inducted into the Tarleton State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1981, again one of only three former Tigers (Joe Barnes and Jarrell Hayes) in a collegiate Hall of Fame.
After his pro football career ended, Winkler worked for Atlantic Steel for four years before beginning a 26 year career with S&S Industries in Nashville before returning home to Belton.
"We retired and Billie (his wife) and I moved back to Belton in 2006 to be closer to my parents," he stated. "My brother, sister and I have been running the 325 acre Winkler Family Farm and Ranch at The Grove. We've leased it out now so we don't have to work as hard as we were. Billie and I have a home in the Moffat area and we're actively involved in activities at St. Paul Lutheran Church out here at The Grove. I love retirement...a lot more time to play a little golf."
What a life --- Randy Winkler is truly a Tiger to Remember.