SAMMY JOE ODOM

Compliments of Billy Hathorn, Class of 1966

Samuel Joseph "Sammy Joe" Odom (November 13, 1941 - January 18, 2001) was a football player for the Houston Oilers, the Northwestern State University Demons in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and the Minden High School Crimson Tide in Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana.

Odom was born in Shreveport to Mr. and Mrs. Troy S. Odom, Sr. In the fall of 1958, in his last season at Minden High School, Odom, an offensive tackle and defensive middle linebacker, was named "Most Valuable Player". He was also cited as an All-American center.

He continued his football excellence at Northwestern State, where he was designated permanent co-captain of the 1963 team. He was named (1) the best offensive lineman, (2) the co-winner of the "Most Valuable Player" trophy, and (3) the best lineman in the annual competition between Northwestern and its regional rival, the Louisiana Tech University Bulldogs, who meet annually in October at the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport. Odom was also named to (4) the All-Gulf State Conference team and (5) the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American team. He was the (6) "Most Valuable Lineman", according to Gulf State Conference coaches in 1962.

Odom played only a year in the American Football League for the Oilers -- 1964.

After his sports career ended, Odom lived in Shreveport, where he founded the flag football program at the Agnew Town and Country School. In 1971, Odom relocated to Mansfield, the seat of De Soto Parish south of Shreveport. There, he operated the Dunn-Odom Insurance Agency for fourteen years. At the time of his death, Odom was the administrator for the De Soto Parish Police Jury, the governing agency of the parish. Odom's brother, Charles D. Odom (born 1951) of Minden, is a member of the Webster Parish Police Jury. Odom was also a member of the De Soto Regional Hospital board for fifteen years.

Odom died of a sudden illness. In addition to his younger brother, he was survived by his wife, the former Cheryl Yarborough; a son, Samuel Joseph "Bo" Odom of Mansfield; two daughters, Joel Caral Odom Salley and husband, Thomas Addison Salley (born ca. 1961), of Shreveport, and Rachel Odom Delafield (born ca. 1974) and husband, Wil Delafield (born ca. 1973), of Mansfield; four grandchildren; sister-in-law, the former Pattie Lou Cook of Minden, wife of Charles Odom; a second brother, Troy S. Odom, Jr. (born 1948), and wife, the former Donna Suzanne Haygood (also born 1948), of Lewisville, Arkansas, and his mother-in-law, Carajo Yarborough of Mansfield. Services were held in the First United Methodist Church, of which Odom was chairman of the board of trustees. Burial was in Highland Cemetery in Mansfield.

On July 4, 2007, Odom was posthumously honored among the "Top 100 Players" in the NSU centennial celebration.