As a junior, Childress posted 15 quarterback sacks and 117 tackles and was as a First-team All-America in 1983. As a senior in 1984 he was a consensus All-America selection. He was also a two-time All-Southwest Conference pick. As a senior, he anchored an Aggie defense that ranked No. 5 nationally in pass defense (127.5 yards per game). That year, he recorded 124 tackles and 10 sacks. His 25 career sacks was then a school record for a non-linebacker and his 360 tackles then ranked fourth on A&M’s career list. Ray was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in the class of 2010.
Drafted from Texas A&M with the third overall pick in the 1985 draft to play defensive end, Childress moved to defensive tackle in 1990 when defensive coordinatorJim Eddy switched from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 scheme, necessitating an extra lineman. Childress was already a Pro Bowl end and had even filled in at nose guard on occasion. After the move, he would end up as a Pro Bowl selection in Hawaii four more times as a defensive tackle. As a testament to his excellence, four of the eight lowest single-season rushing totals allowed in Oilers history came between 1990 and 1993, with Childress at tackle.
Childress was not a one-dimensional player—he was as effective against the pass as he was against the run. He finished his Oiler career ranked second all-time in quarterback sacks and sixth all-time in tackles, joining Elvin Bethea as the only defensive linemen among the Oilers' top 10 in both categories. Childress led or shared the team sack lead from 1986–1989 and finished with the most single-season sacks for a defensive tackle (13) in 1992. For his 11-year career, Childress registered 13 multi-sack games.
Childress may be best remembered for coming up with huge plays at crucial moments of games. He had an incredible seven fumble recoveries in 1988, two shy of the NFL single-season record. Three of those came in the Oilers' memorable 41-17 whipping of the Redskins, broadcast on ESPN October 30, 1988. Childress was the foundation of a remarkable defensive unit saw Houston make seven consecutive playoff appearances. During the prime of his career, he was considered by many to be the best defensive tackle in football. With the Oilers unable to fit his salary in under the newly founded salary cap system, he was forced to play one season as a backup for Dallas in 1996 before retiring. Childress will always be remembered by his fans as not only a star, but also a blue-collar iron man. Until a shoulder separation ended his season (an injury that would thereafter be the determining factor in his decision to retire) in his final season with the Cowboys, Childress missed only 3 non-strike games due to injury, playing 154 games along the defensive line from 1985-1994.
Along with his wife, Kara, Childress established the Childress Foundation in Houston, Texas in 1992. The foundation provides programs to enhance student success, promote productive citizenship through community service, and develop effective life skills. Since its inception, the Childress Foundation has provided over $1.7 million in college scholarships and has benefited more than 1,300 students.
Following his 12 year career in the NFL, Childress served as chairman and CEO for ten years of the Ray Childress Auto Group and a limited partner in the NFL franchise, Houston Texans.
RCAG operated the Lawrence Marshall auto dealerships in Houston, Texas and the small town of Hempstead, Texas, approximately fifty miles from Houston, where Childress gained notoriety through television advertisements in which he promised to "clobber big-city prices." Lawrence Marshall dealerships closed its doors Feb. 4, 2009. The corporation closing can apparently be traced back to the national credit crunch when General Motors and Chrysler Corporation filed for bankruptcy. As car buyers are unable to get loans, dealerships are unable to make sales and are forced to close their doors.
Ray recently formed Childress Directional Drilling, LLC.