James Spencer, a 1980 graduate of Lakeview Centennial High School, was a standout athlete during his days as a Patriot. The versatile tight end and linebacker made the varsity squad as a sophomore. He was voted All-District linebacker as a junior, and during his senior year, Spencer was named first team All-District linebacker and tight end, a feat accomplished by no one else in the state. His athletic abilities also resulted in success on the track where he competed in the discus, hurdles and 440-yard dash.
Spencer was part of the first graduating class at Lakeview in 1980 and elected to continue his athletic and academic pursuits at Oklahoma State. He chose the Cowboys over Texas A&M, North Texas, TCU and West Texas State. While at OSU, Spencer played for an all-star coaching staff which included Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt and Butch Davis of the 1990s Dallas Cowboys Superbowl dynasty. As a freshman, Spencer played all special teams for OSU. He continued his special teams role as a sophomore and also broke into the rotation at linebacker. As a junior, Spencer was voted defensive team captain and started every game at linebacker, including the Independence Bowl versus Texas A&M. During his senior year, Spencer was again elected defensive team captain and overall team captain. He started every game at linebacker, was All Big 8, earned one Big 8 Defensive Player of the Week, four OSU Defensive Player of the Week titles, and guided the Cowboys to the Bluebonnet Bowl versus Baylor. Spencer also earned a spot on the Hula Bowl roster, where he competed against NFL Hall of Famers Steve Young and Reggie White.
Spencer earned an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine where he clocked a 4.6 40-yard dash at 6’4” 240 pounds. His performance earned the interest of several clubs, and he was drafted in the 10th round by the Minnesota Vikings. Spencer played two seasons for Minnesota before a recurring knee injury stopped his football career.
Spencer later found another area of interest in which his physical prowess would prove to be beneficial. He joined the Texas Department of Public Safety, and graduated from the DPS Academy in 1987. As a Major, Spencer’s job included supervising the five-county district of Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Hunt and Kaufman with five captains and 600 troopers. Just one of six majors in the state, Spencer added to his admirable list of accomplishments when he graduated from the FBI National Academy in 2011.