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Houston-Gamblers.com has compiled the most detailed timeline available. We'll continue to add more info as it becomes available.



May 11     Houston ownership group acquires rights to a Houston USFL franchise from league founder Dave Dixon.

May 19     Houston franchise is officially announced as the "Gamblers." Principal owners are Alvin N. Lubetkin, Bernard H. Lerner, Dr. Jerry Argovitz and Fred M. Gerson. Team also appoints Argovitz colleague Gene Burrough as General Manager.

May 31     Former Texas A&M great and two-time NFL Coach of the Year Jack Pardee is named as Gamblers Head Coach.

June 7     Gamblers sign their first player, University of Texas defensive end Kiki DeAyala.

June 9     University of Miami (FL) All-American quarterback Jim Kelly signs with Gamblers.

Aug. 15     Gamblers open team administrative headquarters in new office complex in Southwest Houston.

Aug. 20-21     Team holds first free-agent tryout at Rice Stadium, where more than 780 players come out for the two-day event.

Aug. 31     Kicker Toni Fritsch is signed as a free agent.

Sep. 5     Cornerback Mike Mitchell is signed.

Sep. 6     Slotback receiver Richard Johnson and cornerback Will Lewis are chosen by the Gamblers in the USFL Expansion Draft.

Sep. 13     Linebacker Andy Hawkins is signed as a free agent, to take effect on Feb. 1, 1984.

Sep. 19     Offensive Guard Scott Boucher is signed as a free agent.

Oct. 3     Running back Sam Harrell is signed as a free agent.

Oct. 13     Defensive back Calvin Eason is signed as a free agent.

Oct. 19     Team's advertising campaign receives national attention. Campaign boasts, "Houston Gamblers. Because you've waited long enough."

Nov. 2-4     Gamblers hold first mini-camp for signed players in the Astrodome.

Nov. 23     Linebacker Mike Hawkins is signed as a free agent.

Nov. 30     Team announces that former Rice University Head Coach Ray Alborn has joined the club as Defensive Line Coach.

Nov. 30     Radio station KRBE (104 FM/1070 AM) is announced as the Gamblers flagship station. KRBE is one of the first radio stations in the country to broadcast professional athletics in FM stereo.

Dec. 16     Gamblers announce that KTRH (Channel 20), Houston's number one indepenent station will broadcast Gambler football in 1984. The station also carries Houston Astros baseball and Rockets basketball.

Dec. 26     Wide receiver Scott McGhee is signed as a free agent.

Dec. 27     Team's inaugural schedule is released.



Jan. 4-5     Gamblers participate in their first open draft. Club selects 24 players in the open phase and announce its 30 territorial selections. Open draft selections include Tony Fitzpatrick, Todd Fowler and Clarence Verdin. Territorial selections include Tommy Robison, Ricky Sanders and Dale Walters.

Jan. 12     Sam Houston State University's Pritchett Field is announced as the site for the Gamblers 1984 training camp. The Huntsville, Texas campus is located 75 miles north of Houston.

Jan. 19     Slotback receiver Clarence Verdin is signed.

Jan. 19-22     Mini-camp with full squad of more than 110 players is held in Huntsville.

Jan. 21-22     Team holds cheerleader tryouts at the Adam's Mark Hotel. More than 650 candidates show up.

Jan. 23     Camp officially opens with a maximum of 94 players.

Jan. 23     The club selects a cheerleading squad of 36 girls. "Highrollers" is chosen from more than 2,000 entries as the name for the dancing group.

Jan. 26     Wide receiver Ricky Sanders is signed.

Feb. 4     The Gamblers meet the San Antonio Gunslingers in a controlled scrimmage in Victoria, Texas. Houston wins 19-17, and proceeds from the exhibition ($13,000) are donated to the American Cancer Society.

Feb. 11     Team travels to Jacksonville, Florida for an exhibition game against the Jacksonville Bulls. Gamblers unveil away uniforms for the first time, along with their high-powered offense, and trample the Bulls 34-22 before a corowd of 24,680.

Feb. 16     Gamblers announce signing of Baylor All-American wide receiver Gerald McNeil.

Feb. 19     Gamblers conclude first exhibition schedule by routing the Oklahoma Outlaws 34-7 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Feb. 26     Gamblers open inaugural season in Tampa Bay against the Bandits, and are defeated 20-17.

March 3     Defensive end Pete Catan is signed as a free agent.

March 5     Houston records first ever USFL win with a 35-7 rout of cross-state rivals San Antonio.

March 11     Running back Sam Harrell sets USFL single-game rushing mark with 200 yards against the Blitz in Chicago.

March 18     Gamblers home opener in the Astrodome produces a 32-25 upset of highly favored New Jersey.

April 4     Safety Tom Myers is signed.

May 6     Weary Gamblers lose for the last time during the regular season at Michigan in overtime. This marks the fourth Houston loss by three points, their third OT loss (all by FGs) and second consecutive OT loss (April 30 L.A. Express in Houston was the first).

June 3     Gamblers clinch playoff spot with 36-20 win over Denver in Mile High Stadium. Houston running back Todd Fowler sets new USFL single-game rushing record with 208 yards.

June 10     Houston becomes the 1984 USFL Central Division Champions with a win over the Chicago Blitz in the Astrodome.

June 19     Denver developer Jay Roulier becomes the newest partner in Gamblers ownership, replacing Bernard Lerner.

June 25     Gamblers finish the regular season at home with a victory over the Memphis Showboats. It is Houston's seventh straight win.

July 1     Houston hosts the Arizona Wranglers in the USFL Playoffs and lose 17-16.

Aug. 5-6     Team selects new cheerleaders for the 1985 season, from 350 entries.

Aug. 26     Houston hosts free agent try-out camp at Fun Stadium and sign three players from 400 attendees.

Aug. 28     Nine Gamblers are honored by the USFL writers and broadcasters for outstanding play in 1984 -- five players are named to the first-team All-USFL and four are named to the second unit.

Oct. 2     John Jenkins is elevated from Special Teams Coach to Offensive Coordinator.

Oct. 31     Former Gamblers player Kevin McLain is named Special Teams Coach.

Dec. 6     The USFL dispersal draft takes place, where the Gamblers acquire safety Luther Bradley.



Jan. 3     Gamblers participate in the third USFL draft (team's second).

Jan. 21     Team opens second training camp at permanent practice facility in Houston.