A 2003 inductee into the Cardinals Hall of Honor, John Payton, died Saturday morning. 

Payton became the first African-American coach at Lamar University when athletics director J.B. Higgins hired him in May of 1970 to coach offensive backs under then-coach Vernon Glass. Payton remained in that position with the Cardinals until 1982 when he was the assistant to head coach Ken Stephens. Payton was a key part of a Cardinals’ staff that helped rebuild the program in the early 1970s. Payton helped bring some of the nation’s top talent to LU during his time on staff. The NFL beat a path to the Golden Triangle drafting nine different Cardinals while Payton was on staff, with several other players signing free agent contracts.

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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