The Arkansas All-American, Wear Schoonover

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Photo Courtesy: University of Arkansas Athletics

Since the dawn of the University of Arkansas’ football program in 1894, there have been numerous Arkansas players and coaches who are relatively well-known to the majority of NCAA fans. Arkansans easily recognize and acknowledge Razorback coaches and players, such as Frank Broyles, Houston Nutt, Nolan Richardson, Brandon Bullsworth, Loyd Phillips, and Darren Mcfadden; however, one of the most critical players in regards to the history of Arkansas football was Wear Schoonover. A Randolph County resident, Wear graduated from Pocahontas High School before attending the University of Arkansas. Wear Schoonover played as the end for the Razorbacks in the late 1920s. While playing football between 1927-1930, he achieved many athletic and academic accomplishments. He soon became one of the most-recognized members of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

After the University of Arkansas added Wear Schoonover to their football roster, it unleashed a whole new element of sportsmanship talent that resulted in a winning Arkansas Razorback team, as well as a soon-to-be Southwest Conference legend. In 1927, Schoonover was selected to play a starting position as the Arkansas Razorbacks offensive end. Playing under football coach Francis Schmidt, Schoonover hardly missed a single minute of every game. In the 1929 season, one of the best seasons in Razorback history, he played consistentlythrough nine whole games. This season soon resulted in him winning All-American laurels. To this day, Wear Schoonover still holds The Southwest Conference record for the most receptions from the 1929 Arkansas/Baylor game. Unfortunately, Arkansas did not win the Baylor game, as it ended with a losing score of 31-20; however, this game led to some of the most distinguished moments for Wear Schoonover’s football association with the Razorbacks. During Arkansas’ famous game against Baylor University, Schoonover successfully received 13 passes for 152 yards. Wear Schoonover’s outcome during the 1929 Razorback football season ended with amazing statistics, which include successfully catching 33 receptions adding up to 342 yards and making six touchdowns. During his incredible 1929 season, Schoonover won both the All-American and the All-Southwest Conference honors by the end of the year. Until 1968, all of the university’s receiving records belonged to Wear Schoonover. The 1929 Razorback season also produced an Arkansas victory over their Southwest Conference nemesis, Texas A&M. Schoonover made a series of successful catches that resulted in numerous Razorback touchdowns. Wear Shoonover played as a triumphal defense player during the A&M game after blocking an extra point that preserved the Arkansas victory of 14-13. Another astonishing moment for Schoonover occurred during the 1929 game against the Centenary College of Louisiana. While playing againstCentenary, Schoonover intercepted five passes, one of those being returned for a 92-yard touchdown. The game against the Centenary Gentleman ended with an Arkansas victory of 13-2. After the successful 1929 season, Wear Schoonover was selected to the Collier’s All-America football team in 1929 as an end.

Wear Schoonover was not just the Razorback’s ultimate All-American end. Schoonover was one of the most essential players in Arkansas sports history. Wear is well-recognized by Arkansans due to his unbelievable sportsman talent outside of his football career with the University of Arkansas. He was not only a Razorback champion, but also a critical part of the Razorback’s basketball team. Between 1927 and 1930, Wear Schoonover played for Arkansas’ former winning basketball team. During his reign in Arkansas sports, Wear dominated the basketball courts in the Southwest Conference by playing as a Razorback forward. Schoonover played on three straight Southwest Conference championship basketball teams. The first championship basketball team that introduced Schoonover’s forward position was during the 1927-1928 basketball season. While coaching his final years with the University of Arkansas, Francis Schmidt had the opportunity to coach the team that hadseveral All-Star players, including Glen Rose, Tom Pickel, Gene Lambert, and of course, Wear Schoonover. While playing underCoach Schmidt, Schoonover helped lead the Arkansas basketball team to a championship game and ending the season with a record of 12-0. The next championship season during the Coach Schmidt years would fall between 1928-1929. While this was Francis Schmidt’s last season coaching for Arkansas, the Razorbacks ended the season with a record of 11-1. Soon after the 1929 season, Schmidt picked up a job coaching for Texas Christian University. Arkansas and Schoonover’s remarkable team continued to excel in the Southwest Conference basketball league under the Razorbacks’ new 1929 head coach, Charles Basset. While playing under a brand-new coach, Schoonover once again played an incredible season in 1929-1930. Schoonover’s last basketball season with the Arkansas Razorbacks would end with a record of 10-2. Wear Schoonover and the 1930 Arkansas Razorbacks would soon go on to earn the chance to become the College Humor Magazine All American Basketball 2nd Team. Not only did he play both basketball and football for the University of Arkansas, but alsoexcelled in both track and baseball. He became one of few people to earn letters in four different sports at the University of Arkansas.

Schoonover was not only an incredible asset to the Arkansas Razorback sports teams; he was also a prominent Arkansas student. While playing Arkansas sports, his dedication to Arkansas academics led to him becoming a selection for the Rhodes Scholarship in 1929. The Rhodes Scholarship is a rarely distributed collegiate financial scholarship that was the oldest and perhaps most prestigious international scholarship programawarded to students by viewing their strong academic success. With an exceptional grade point average of 3.58, Schoonover was a vital leader for the University of Arkansas Academic Team. After graduating from the University of Arkansas in 1930, Schoonover became the assistant coach of Arkansas Athletics. During his employment with the University of Arkansas, Wear continued to work on his law degree, and graduated from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1935. After his 1935 graduation, Schoonover went on to work for the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. While working with the U.S Federal Government for over 30 years, he had worked through the Second World War, the Korean War, the beginning of the Cold War, and the War in Vietnam. Wear Schoonover gained his own honor in the military and developed a U.S military background. During the height of the United States involvement in World War II, Schoonover went to serve nearly three and a half years for the Navy. While serving in the military, he soon advanced to the rank of a captain before being discharged. Wear Schoonover humorously went to Hollywood California during his time with the All-American Football Team where he played a role in William Wellman’s musical comedy known as Maybe It’s Love

Wear Schoonover is easily perceived as an athletic lionheart for the Arkansas Razorbacks during the ages of the Southwest Conference. One of the most essential athletic accomplishments was him being selected for the Collier’s All-American Football Team in 1929. He is now known as the University of Arkansas’ first football All-American. 

Schoonover was also the first All American from the University of Arkansas the first All-American football player in the Southwest Conference. In 1959, Schoonover was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Roughly thirty years later, he was selected as part of the second class of the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor in 1989. In 1994, he was named to the University’s 100 Year Team. Along with his inductions to Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Hall of Honor, Schoonover was inducted into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame in 1967, and became the first Razorback player to be enshrined. Wear Schoonover was and continues to be one of the most important players in all of Arkansas Sports history.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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