Tyler Texas Online Famous, Notable Athletes and Sports Stars from Tyler and East Texas

Notable Athletes & Sports Stars

A number of notable athletes and sports stars are from Tyler or the surrounding East Texas region.

There are also a large number of singers, songwriters, actors and entertainers from East Texas.

We enjoy and appreciate the talents and accomplishments of these famous people and stars!

Lovie Smith

Lovie Smith was named the head coach of the Houston Texans of the National Football League (NFL) in Feburary of 2022.

Lovie was born in Gladewater, and attended high school in Big Sandy. Smith played college football at University of Tulsa and was a two-time All-American at linebacker and defensive back.

Smith has been to the Super Bowl twice, as the defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams in 2001 and as head coach for the Bears in 2006. He was previously the head coach of the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as well as the Illinois Fighting Illini.

Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes was born on September 17, 1995, grew up in the Tyler area and is now the starting quarterback of the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs.

He attended Whitehouse High School where he played football, baseball and basketball. In football, he had 4,619 passing yards, 50 passing touchdowns, 948 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns as a senior.

He then played college football at Texas Tech, and announced on January 3, 2017, that he would forgo his last year of college eligibility and enter the NFL Draft. He was subsequently drafted by the Chiefs as the tenth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

In his first year in the league, Mahomes served as the backup to Chiefs starting quarterback Alex Smith. After a trade that sent Smith to the Washington Redskins, Mahomes was named the starter for the 2018 season. That season, he became only the third player in NFL history to throw 50 touchdown passes in a single season.

Mahomes helped the Chiefs advance to their first AFC Championship game since 1993, and allowed the Chiefs to host the first AFC Championship game held at Arrowhead Stadium in January of 2019. Mahomes passed for 295 yards and three touchdowns in that championship game, but the Chiefs lost to the New England Patriots in overtime.

On February 2, 2019, at the NFL Awards Banquet, Patrick was awarded the 2018 NFL Most Valuable Player award, along with Offensive Player of hte Year.

On January 19, 2020, Patrick led the Chiefs to a victory over the Nashville Titans, and won a place in the 2020 Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers.


Mahomes led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl LIV victory on February 2, 2020 in Miami, defeating the 49ers for their first Super Bowl victory since 1970. Mahomes was awarded the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player for his performance.

He is the son of former MLB pitcher Pat Mahomes.

Patrick has established the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of children. The Foundation will support initiatives that focus on health, wellness, communities in need of resources and other charitable causes. The Foundation’s signature program is called 15 FOR 15, which will support 15 youth charitable initiatives that focus on academics, science, the arts, classroom supplies, athletics, children with disabilities, after-school programs and more.

Earl Campbell

Earl Campbell
Earl Campbell

Born in Tyler on March 29, 1955, football running back Earl Christian Campbell graduated from John Tyler High School and then became a star on the football team of the University of Texas at Austin.

For his record breaking performances at the college level, Earl won the Heisman Trophy in 1977.

That same year he became the first recipient of the Davey O'Brien Memorial Trophy, awarded to the most outstanding player in the Southwest Conference.

Earl was then the first pick in the 1978 National Football League draft, chosen by the Houston Oilers. He later played for the New Orleans Saints and amassed a series of football and NFL records.

He is widely acknowledged as one of the best power backs in NFL history, and few running backs were as productive or imposing. He retired during the 1986 NFL pre-season.

Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio(photograph by the TylerTexasOnline staff)

Earl was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991, and is also a member of the College Hall of Fame.

He is widely known as "The Tyler Rose", and has the Earl Campbell Parkway in Tyler named in his honor.

The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, announced in 2012 by the Tyler Chamber and SPORTyler, recognizes the top offensive player in Division I football who exhibits the characteristics that define Earl Campbell. Each nominee must meet one or more of the following criteria: born in Texas and/or graduated from a Texas high school and/or played at a Texas-based junior college or four-year DI Texas college.

Trevone Boykin, the quarterback of TCU in Fort Worth, was named the winner of the second annual Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award on January 14, 2015, at Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler.

at the official Earl Campbell website



Matt Flynn

Matt was born and raised in Tyler, attended Tyler Legacy High School, and was later the star quarterback of the LSU Fighting Tigers when they won the BCS National Football Championship. He also played for several years in the National Football League, and was a member of the Green Bay Packers when they won Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In April of 2023, Matt was inducted into the East Texas Coaches Association (ETCA) Hall of Honor.

George Foreman

George Edward Foreman was born on January 10, 1949 in Marshall, Texas. He is a retired American professional boxer, two-time World Heavyweight Champion, Olympic gold medalist, ordained minister, author, and entrepreneur.

He won the World Heavyweight title with a knockout of then-undefeated Joe Frazier in 1973. He made two successful title defenses before losing to Muhammad Ali in "The Rumble in the Jungle" in 1974.

He retired in 1997 at the age of 48, with a final record of 76–5, including 68 knockouts. Foreman has been inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

The famous George Foreman Grill has resulted in sales of over 100 million units since it was first launched.