It's probably not a coincidence that the three years Jack Abendschan played offensive guard for the University of New Mexico - 1962-64 - were the three seasons UNM captured Western Athletic Conference titles. In fact, this is Abendschan's second induction into the UNM Athletic Hall of Honor, the first being the entire 1961 team in 1990.
Football lettermen and teammate, Mario Mariani fondly remembers, "Jack was one we all looked to when the game was on the line and as you can see by our record he lead us to become one of the best teams in UNM history."
Jack was one of the original freshmen, who started in 1961 and finished as a senior in 1964. Fellow Hall of Honor inductee and teammate Bobby Santiago said, "As a guard his sophomore year, he began to attract attention for his competitiveness, speed, and tenacity." He was a three year starter and was twice name first team All-Conference and one year Honorable Mention. He earned second team guard All-American honors from AP his senior year.
Gary Ness, former teammate remembered, "Jack played the offensive and defensive guard positions on those teams during the one-platoon days. His pull around the end to lead sweep plays was a thing of beauty (or terror if you were the opponent cornerback). With his speed, he could play all the way to the goal line."
Wayne Tvrdik, Co-Captain of the 1964 Lobo Football team vividly recounts Abendschan's greatest performance (not listed in any record book). "It was our last game for all us original freshmen to wear the uniform as Lobos...Jack won this game, for all of us, by kicking three field goals to beat Kansas State, 9-7. Jack gave all of us a wonderful present for our last game."
Abendschan enjoyed a storied career in professional football too, playing 10 seasons (1965-1975) with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League. He was a five-time All-Conference selection at guard and kicker and played on the Roughriders' 1966 Grey Cup championship team.
In 1975, Jack was named to the Roughriders' All-Time Team and in 1992, he was forever enshrined in Saskatchewan when he was inducted into the Roughrider Plaza of Honor and was recognized as one of the greatest players ever to wear a Saskatchewan uniform.
Abendschan's accomplishments on the field are paralleled by his accomplishments off the field as a first-class citizen and businessman. His professional experience is divided into four career paths; including, professional football, human resource management, sales and marketing, and education and coaching.
Jack Abendschan's induction into the UNM Hall of Honor is validated by his level of performance as an athlete, his representation of the University of New Mexico both by his accomplishments and his remarkable personal qualities and character, and the fact that he has remained that New Mexico high school athlete who played all out all of the time.