University of Houston

Andre Ware won Houston's first Heisman by virtue of one of the great passing seasons in NCAA history. He remains the only player to win a Heisman for a team on NCAA probation.

Heisman Winner

Andre Ware

QB | Junior | University of Houston

Ware won Houston’s first Heisman by virtue of one of the great passing seasons in NCAA history. He remains the only player to win a Heisman for a team on NCAA probation. He was also the first black quarterback to win the award.

Ware was born in Galveston, Texas, and attended nearby Dickinson High. Plenty of schools were willing to offer him a scholarship after his 1985 senior season, but not as a quarterback. Ware signed with Houston as a veer quarterback but was later ruled ineligible for his freshman season in 1986 so he attended Alvin Community College, working two jobs to help pay his tuition before joining the Cougars the following season.

His arrival at Houston in 1987 coincided with the arrival of the run and shoot offense of new Cougars head coach Jack Pardee. As it turns out, Ware was custom-made for the system. However, he broke his arm five games into the season and was lost the rest of the way.

Ware rebounded in 1988, earning the starting job and throwing for 2,507 yards and 25 touchdowns as the Cougars improved from 4-6-1 to 9-3. This excitement over this improvement was dampened a bit as Houston was placed on NCAA probation and banned from a bowl game for the 1989 season.

That didn’t stop Ware and the Cougars from producing one of the most explosive offenses in NCAA history. Ware threw for 4,699 yards and 46 touchdowns as Houston averaged 53.5 points per game. The list of accomplishments included a 95-21 drubbing of SMU, the most points ever scored by a team with a Heisman Trophy winner. All in all, Ware set 26 NCAA records as Houston finished 9-2 and ranked 14th nationally.

Despite the dominant season, Ware won the Heisman in a close vote over Indiana’s Anthony Thompson. Being on probation prevented Heisman voters from seeing Ware on television, which probably affected his support.

Ware declared for the NFL draft and was selected by Detroit with the seventh overall pick of the 1990 draft. He currently works as a college football color analyst.

More Articles About Andre Ware

Heisman Voting Results

Number of electors: 918 - Announced: December 2, 1989.

 PlayerClassPositionSchool1st2nd3rdTotal Points
1Andre Ware*JRQBHouston242132831073
2Anthony ThompsonSRRBIndiana1851701081003
3Major HarrisSRQBWest Virginia115115134709
4Tony RiceSRQBNotre Dame72101105523
5Darian HaganSOQBColorado524252292
6Dee Dowis*SRQBAir Force153138145
7Emmitt Smith*JRRBFlorida132943140
8Percy SnowSRLBMichigan State7151970
9Ty DetmerSOQBBYU3131449
10Raghib IsmailSOWRNotre Dame3111748
11Blair Thomas*SRRBPenn State4121248

Three points are awarded for first place on a ballot, with two points for second place and one point for third place.

(*) Invited, but did not attend ceremony.

Heisman Voting By Region

Heisman voters are spread out across six regions, with roughly 145 per region.


1Andre Ware192
2Anthony Thompson127
3Major Harris120
4Tony Rice71
5Darian Hagan27


1Andre Ware165
2Anthony Thompson148
3Major Harris142
4Tony Rice96
5Darian Hagan35


1Major Harris210
2Andre Ware153
3Anthony Thompson130
4Tony Rice112
5Darian Hagan21


1Anthony Thompson306
2Andre Ware141
3Tony Rice92
4Major Harris87
5Darian Hagan38


1Andre Ware253
2Anthony Thompson105
3Darian Hagan103
4Major Harris65
5Tony Rice55

Far West

1Anthony Thompson187
2Andre Ware169
3Tony Rice97
4Major Harris85
5Darian Hagan68


Andre Ware’s Heisman Year Statistics

DateOpponentResultAttCompPct.YardsYPATDIntRatingRushesYardsYPCTDPlaysTotal OffYPPTotal TDs
9/2/89at UNLVW 69-0483062.53908.151160.96362.001513967.766
9/23/89at Arizona StateW 36-7694159.45037.324118.632-15-7.500714886.872
9/30/89TempleW 65-7453066.64139.270195.094-21-5.250493928.007
10/7/89BaylorW 66-10533362.25149.761177.313-30-10.0004148411.806
10/14/89at #20 Texas A&ML 13-17522853.82474.81388.557-46-6.550592013.401
10/21/89SMUW 95-21412560.951712.561210.313-7-2.3304451011.596
10/28/89+ #13 ArkansasL 39-45463473.93527.730159.715163.200513687.213
11/4/89at TCUW 55-10634266.64777.660161.704307.500675077.566
11/11/89TexasW 47-9472961.74118.742154.738131.630554247.704
11/25/89#19 Texas TechW 40-24633758.74757.542136.673237.661664987.545
12/2/89at RiceW 64-0513670.54007.821145.496-5-0.831573956.923
Heisman Stats9-2; AP #14; PROB**57836563.146998.14615152.5150-38-0.76362846617.4249

(+) Neutral Site
(**) Ware is the only player to win the Heisman for a team serving on NCAA probation.