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James and Judy Glenn
James “Catfish” Glenn and 1951 homecoming Queen, Judy (Deaton) Glenn holding hands while strolling the TCU campus.

James “Catfish” Glenn ’53 wears two rings: his Cotton Bowl game ring and his wedding ring. James played in the TCU’s 1952 Cotton Bowl game and is married to Judy (Deaton) Glenn ’52, TCU Homecoming Queen and wife of 70 years. They made for quite the TCU power couple, and they are still going strong.

The Glenns met during their freshman year at TCU in 1947. James was a physical education major, which is today housed in the kinesiology department at the Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences. The two had classes together and laughed when asked who made the first move.

“Women didn’t do that back then,” explained Judy. “That is something that the newer generation is freer to do.”

She said, back then, you would have friends put the word out. It worked.

“We had a wonderful time. It was a great four years, and we have lots of good memories,” she said. “I wish I had been aware then of how lucky we were.”

James cites his favorite memories as meeting Judy, camaraderie with his teammates and playing for infamous football coach Dutch Meyer. The defensive lineman – nicknamed ‘Catfish’ because of his “big mouth” – was redshirted as a first-year student and remained in school for one additional year so he could continue playing football.

The Ring

James "Catfish" Glenn
James “Catfish” Glenn posing for a photograph with the TCU football team in the 1951 season.

The 1952 Cotton Bowl Classic featured the University of Kentucky Wildcats of the Southeastern Conference and the TCU Horned Frogs of the Southwest Conference. TCU was ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press poll prior to the game, and Kentucky was ranked No. 15 entering the game.

The game resulted in the final score of Kentucky 20, TCU 7.

“It was such an honor. It was a wonderful atmosphere,” said James. “Plus, we had great coaches: Dutch Meyer, Abe Martin and Walter Roach.”

Glenn was honored at that year’s annual football banquet as Player of the Year and was awarded the Grassy Hinton Award by Meyer. The award goes to the team’s most conscientious player. In an NBC 5 television broadcast that January, Meyer called Glenn “the boy who bounced back,” after having broken an arm earlier in the season.

Judy was a devoted football girlfriend.

“You wouldn’t dare not go; you couldn’t miss a game,” she said. “But after about one quarter, to me, they were all the same.”

‘The Best Surprise of My Life’

James and Judy Glenn
James “Catfish” Glenn and 1951 TCU Homecoming Queen Judy (Deaton) Glenn pose with photos of James’ football-playing days at TCU at a TCU national championship watch party.

Fast forward to 2022, a mere 70 years later, when James learned the Horned Frogs were off to their first national championship game. He was ecstatic. The oldest living TCU football player, according to the Block T Association, Glenn’s love for TCU has only grown over the years.

“It’s such a great football program,” said James.

Knowing how much her grandparents and fellow Horned Frogs love TCU, granddaughter Lee Middeke hosted a national championship watch party for her grandfather and surprised him with newly found old photos of him during his time at TCU.

“I was shocked and loved seeing those old photos. It was the best surprise of my life. I enjoyed the memories they brought back and reliving those days,” said James. “It reminded me of the good times I had playing football with those guys as my teammates. Football was a huge part of my life.”

Judy Glenn
951 TCU Homecoming Queen Judy (Deaton) Glenn posing for the TCU yearbook.

He admits to spending a little more time on football than academics.

“I didn’t study too much,” said James. “Thank goodness for the tutors I had. I would still be in freshman English class if it wasn’t for Judy.”

Judy was an education major who enjoys fond memories of living in Waits Hall. She was crowned Homecoming Queen in 1952 and recalls the celebration, including a ride on the parade float.

“It was exciting, and it was fun, but it had its moments where you thought about how scared you were of this thing while trying to smile,” she laughs.

Life After TCU

James and Judy got married on June 21, 1952 and have been inseparable since. Judy soon found that the field of education was not for her.

“I taught for one year and that was enough,” said Judy. “I loved the children, but I didn’t like all of the structure.”

James and Judy Glenn wedding
James “Catfish” Glenn and 1951 and 1951 TCU Homecoming Queen Judy (Deaton) Glenn married on June 21, 1952.

She explained there were not many choices for women as there are today.

“Most women our age were either teachers, nurses or secretaries,” she said.

Her passion was being a mother and starting a family.

“We always got by, and everything was fine,” she said. “It was different then.”

James stuck with his physical education field. He began his career as a teacher after graduation and coached football for several years in the towns of Brady, Coleman and Abilene, Texas. Eventually, he earned his master’s degree from McMurry University and continued to teach. Years later, he left education and pursued economic development.

At one point, he even did some modeling. He modeled in print and TV commercials and auditioned to be in the television show “Law & Order.”

“It was a pure accident,” said James.

James and Judy Glenn
James “Catfish” Glenn and his wife, 1951 TCU Homecoming Queen Judy (Deaton) Glenn posing for a photo.

A colleague’s spouse worked at the modeling agency Carolina Talent and recruited him because she needed an older, nice-looking gentleman. He was a natural and booked several campaigns, including one for Delta Airlines.

“It was because he was athletic-looking, and he still had his hair and a nice smile,” laughed Judy.

Today, the Glenns have two children, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. They reside in Columbia, South Carolina, where they chose to retire to be close to family. However, James found it difficult to assimilate into retired life.

“Pop could not sit still, so he got another job after moving to South Carolina,” said Middeke. “He didn’t officially retire until he was 85 years old.”

It sounds reminiscent of James as a student.

“James was the life of the party,” said Judy. “He loved to have a good time.”

James and Judy Glenn
James “Catfish” Glenn and his wife, 1951 TCU Homecoming Queen Judy (Deaton) Glenn posing for a photo.

Good times, loving relationships and bowl games. Not a lot has changed in 70 years.