Oct. 24, 2000
PULLMAN -- Keith Lincoln, who made his college and pro football marks with Washington State University and San Diego, has been named to the all-time Chargers team.
The 61-year-old Lincoln, who resides in Pullman, will be honored as part of the selected team on Nov. 12 when the Chargers play host to the Miami Dolphins.
"It was a pleasant surprise, and I'm thrilled with it," said Lincoln, who played halfback for the Chargers from 1961-66 and the latter part of the 1968 season. He spent the 1967 season and the first part of the '68 campaign with the Buffalo Bills before closing out his pro career back in San Diego.
"It's really nice to be remembered this way," Lincoln said.
While Lincoln enjoyed banner days running the football for six-plus seasons, three of his most productive days came in an American Football League title game, a regular-season AFL game and an AFL All-Star Game.
On Jan. 5, 1964 at San Diego's Balboa Stadium in the AFL title game, Lincoln put on what the Patriots' press guide described as "a super human effort" in the Chargers' 51-10 romp over the Boston Patriots, now known as the New England Patriots.
Lincoln, who rushed for 206 yards that day, also caught several passes to finish with a total of 329 yards to help provide San Diego with its first and only AFL championship.
"That was a lot of fun," recalled Lincoln, whose 206 rushing total is second only to the L.A. Rams' Eric Dickerson, the latter rushing for 248 yards in the 1985 playoffs. His 15.8-yards per rushing attempt is also an all-time second-best, behind only the Chicago Cardinals' Elmer Angsman, who had a 15.9 average in a 1947 playoff game.
In a regular-season AFL 33-24 win at Oakland in 1962, Lincoln averaged 13.8 yards per carry, while in the 1965 AFL All-Star Game in Houston, he rambled 80 yards for a touchdown and also caught a 73-yard TD pass in the West's 38-14 victory over the East.
"It was the competition I enjoyed the most," Lincoln said in looking back on his career. "And I'm thrilled to death to be going back and to rub elbows with former teammates."
Lincoln played football at WSU from 1958-60 and reeled off two 100-yard-plus rushing performances against Houston (153 yards) in 1959 and against California (128) in 1960.
When the state of Washington established its Sports Hall of Fame in 1960, Lincoln was eventually inducted, and he was also inducted into the WSU Hall of Fame in 1979.
Lincoln's roommate during his Charger career was outstanding receiver Lance Alworth, who also made the all-time San Diego team.
Lincoln was so impressed with Alworth on and off the field that he named his second son Lance. His older son is named Kip.
When Lincoln heads for San Diego next month, he will be joined by his wife Bonnie Jo and perhaps both sons for what is expected to become a memorable weekend of activities.
Lincoln says things start rolling Friday, two days before the Charger-Dolphin game, which will be played at Qualcomm Stadium.
"There's an alumni golf tournament and barbeque at Charger Park on Friday," Lincoln said. "Then on Saturday, there's a 40th anniversary all-time dinner."
On Sunday during halftime, the Chargers' organization, which was born in 1960, will officially introduce the all-time San Diego team.
And what a team it will be.
On offense, Lincoln will be joined by Paul Lowe and Chuck Muncie at running backs, Dan Fouts at quarterback, Kellen Winslow at tight end, Doug Wilkerson and Ed White at guards, Ron Mix and Russ Washington at tackles, Don Macek at center and Wes Chandler, Charlie Joiner and Alworth at wide receivers.
On defense, Speedy Duncan and Gill Bryd are at cornerbacks, Charlie McNeil, Rodney Harrison, Woodrow Lowe, Billy Ray Smith and Junior Seau are at linebackers, Louie Kelcher and Gary Johnson are at tackles, Fred Dean and Leslie O'Neal are at ends, John Carney at place-kicker, Darren Bennett at punter and Lionel (Little Train) James at punt returner.
The all-time Charger head coach is Don Coryell with special recognition going to Sid Gillman, while special teams coach is Hank Bauer.
"They talk about other coaches coming up with the West Coast offense, but I think it was Gillman who started it," Lincoln said. "I believe that with my whole heart. I know because I played for him."
Lincoln is eagerly looking forward to being reunited with Fouts as well as Duncan, Mix, Lowe and Alworth.
"He's pretty excited about being on this dream team," said his son Lance.