Every fall, the University of Houston’s football team begins preparing for their season opener with crosstown rival Rice University. As the young men condition their minds and bodies for a grueling 12-week schedule, they’ll be joined by one of the longest-serving members of the Cougar family, 92-year-old Tony Bruno.
Three days a week, year-round, Bruno makes the 20-minute drive to campus from his home at The Buckingham senior living community. For 33 years he’s volunteered with the program, making himself available around the recruiting office or just offering the players a kind word of encouragement.
After serving as a radarman on a destroyer in the South Pacific during World War II, Bruno returned stateside in 1946. That fall he enrolled at the University of Houston and purchased season tickets for their inaugural football season. For more than 70 years he’s maintained his tickets, except for an 18-month hiatus when he was recalled to serve in the Korean War.
“The U of H has done a lot more for me than I’ve done for it,” said Bruno, who eventually graduated with degrees in economics, management and education. “At my age you need something to do, and I love to mix with the younger kids.”
Even when the team is on the road, Bruno still doesn’t miss a down. Saturday mornings you can find him huddled with other football enthusiasts at The Buckingham, cheering his beloved Cougars in his U of H jacket.
Watch an interview of Tony on Fox 26, here.