News Archives: Alumni Relations

HPU to host world premiere of choral work by alumnus

Alumni_Choir_LogoBRdr-william-batesOWNWOOD – September 23, 2016 – The Howard Payne University Alumni Choir will present a concert featuring the world premiere of HPU alumnus Dr. William Bates’ setting of “O Sing to the Lord a New Song” on Saturday, October 29, at 1:30 p.m. The Alumni Choir will perform during the university’s Concert Choir performance in HPU’s Grace Chapel. All HPU choir alumni are invited to join the choir and be a part of this exciting world premiere during Homecoming.

The new piece was composed by Dr. Bates to honor the HPU music faculty of the class of 1966.

Dr. Bates earned his Bachelor of Music degree in organ and church music as well as a Bachelor of Arts in music theory from HPU in 1966. He went on to earn both his Master of Music and Doctorate of Music degrees from Indiana University. Dr. Bates has presented recitals and workshops for churches and American Guild of Organist chapters throughout much of the United States. He has also presented recitals in Europe, including those at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, and King’s College in Cambridge, England.

Dr. Bates’ teaching career spans a total of 46 years. He served at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, as professor of organ and music history, associate dean and director of graduate studies for the university’s School of Music. In 2012, Dr. Bates was named a recipient of the Oswald Gleason Ragatz Distinguished Organist Alumnus Award at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

The Alumni Choir will make its first appearance at Homecoming with hopes of growing the ensemble to explore more performance opportunities. The choir will gather from 8:30-9:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 29, to rehearse and will be showcased at 1:30 p.m. during the Concert Choir concert. The Alumni Choir will present the world premiere of Dr. William Bates’ new piece and join the HPU Concert Choir on Fettke’s “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name.”

The Alumni Choir and the Concert Choir are under the direction of Dr. Christopher Rosborough ’08, director of choral activities.

“The HPU choral program spans nearly 70 years and we are excited to be able to celebrate generations of great music-making on this momentous occasion,” said Dr. Rosborough. “Being an HPU alumnus, I am honored to share in this experience. We are grateful to Dr. Bates for his contribution and encourage the public to come be a part of this ‘new song’ in the HPU School of Music and Fine Arts.”

To join the Alumni Choir, visit www.hputx.edu/homecoming/choir.

For more information, contact the HPU School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500 or visit www.hputx.edu.

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Photo cutline: HPU will present the world premiere of a choral work by alumnus, Dr. William Bates. All HPU choir alumni are encouraged to join the Alumni Choir and celebrate this honor.

HPU education alumni honored for excellence in teaching

BROWNWOOD – August 1, 2016 – Several alumni from Howard Payne University’s School of Education were honored by their respective school districts for outstanding teaching during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Dr. Kylah Clark-Goff, recently appointed dean of HPU’s School of Education, said she is proud to join an institution that is well known for its educator preparation.

“HPU has a great reputation and long legacy of producing excellent teachers,” she said. “I am honored to join HPU and be a part of producing the next generation of outstanding educators.”

Honorees include:

Brownwood ISD
Martha Asebedo ’76 – 35 years of service and Regional Elementary Teacher of the Year nominee
Kenan Boland ’02 – Brownwood Middle School Rising Star Teacher of the Year
Corissa Brown ’14 – Coggin Elementary Rising Star Teacher of the Year
Dana Cyr ’97 – Northwest Elementary Distinguished Teacher of the Year
Tori Moore ’14 – Northwest Elementary Rising Star Teacher of the Year
Telise Murray ’09 – Brownwood High School Distinguished Teacher of the Year

Crowley ISD
Cory Lee ’09 – Secondary Teacher of the Year

Newton ISD
Rachel Jeffers Prestwood ’04 – Teacher of the Year

Ralls ISD
Amber Wilson ’04 – Ralls High School Teacher of the Year

Tomball ISD
Matt Anderson ’07 – Teacher of the Year

The preceding list was reported to HPU’s School of Education. To alert HPU of an omission, please contact Susan Sharp, administrative assistant and certification officer, at ssharp@hputx.edu. An updated list will be maintained on the university’s website.

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HPU alumnus and JROTC instructor enjoys being back on campus

Col. Stephen Jones on HPU campusBROWNWOOD – July 12, 2016 – Colonel Stephen Jones, 1979 Howard Payne University alumnus, has returned to the HPU campus each summer for the past seven years, bringing dozens of high school students with him. Col. Jones, who serves as senior aerospace science instructor and head of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps department at Wylie High School, is among the many participants of the JROTC Cadet Leadership Camp held for the past 19 years on the HPU campus.

Nearly 500 cadets and staff attended the camp this summer, the purpose of which is to train cadets and give them the tools needed to become top leaders.

“It is a thrill to be back on campus,” Col. Jones said. “I love coming back year after year. Our JROTC instructors could not praise Howard Payne enough. The support we get from the staff is second to none.”

Col. Jones received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible from HPU, one of seven family members to graduate from the university. He was active on campus, involved in activities such as student government and intramural sports. Additionally, he served as student body president his senior year. Upon graduation, he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do with his life but knew his main desire was to serve others.

“So I thought I would serve my country for one enlistment and then get out of the military and pursue something else,” he said. “A few years turned into 30 years of military service.”

He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2009 with 22 years of active duty and eight years in the reserves.

During his time in the reserves, he earned a Master of Arts degree in religious education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and served in three churches in DeSoto and Austin, primarily in the role of minister of education/administration. He also has a Master of Science degree in organizational management from the University of Southern California.

His final assignment on active duty was as the director of operations at the Air Force JROTC headquarters, the largest aerospace science education program in the world with more than 107,000 students. Upon retirement, Col. Jones began teaching JROTC at Wylie High School. He noted that all JROTC instructors are military retirees.

Col. Jones enjoys the opportunity to bring students back to the campus he loves.

“HPU was one of the best experiences of my life,” he said. “I met many wonderful people at Howard Payne who have become lifelong friends. I would be thrilled if one of my cadets attended HPU as a student.”

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Cutline: Col. Stephen Jones, HPU alumnus, returns to campus each summer for the JROTC Cadet Leadership Camp.

HPU graduates 94 at close of spring 2016 semester

BROWNWOOD – June 21, 2016 – Howard Payne University graduated 94 students during its Commencement ceremony held at the close of the spring 2016 semester.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, and other university representatives conferred the degrees.

The list below includes the May graduates as well as a few students who are completing final degree requirements. Students must have a 3.55-3.69 grade-point average to graduate Cum Laude; a 3.70-3.84 GPA to graduate Magna Cum Laude; and a 3.85-4.0 GPA to graduate Summa Cum Laude.

Graduates included:

Abilene
Carson Brent Burns – Master of Arts in Youth Ministry

Alvarado
Ruby Patricia Johnson – Bachelor of Music in music – instrumental (all-level certification), Magna Cum Laude

Amarillo
Xavier Juiqueil McFalls – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (personal trainer)

Austin
Jordan Allen Shaw – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (general)

Bangs
Callie Ann Adams – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (personal trainer), Summa Cum Laude
Victoria Lee Hardin – Bachelor of Science in psychology (counseling/clinical), Cum Laude
Charles Anthony Long – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting
Leah’Shae Ann Martinez – Bachelor of Science in mathematics
Courtney Caprice Seybert – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6), Magna Cum Laude

Belton
Dana Kaye Everett – Master of Education in Instructional Leadership

Bertram
Conner Trent Fisher – Master of Business Administration

Big Spring
Kelsey Reed Weir – Bachelor of Science in mathematics (grade 8-12)

Brazoria
Micah Brannan Huebner – Bachelor of Music in music – instrumental (all-level certification), Magna Cum Laude

Briggs
Allison Victoria Eaton – Master of Business Administration

Brownwood
Mackenzie Draye Burrows – Bachelor of Science in social work
Terry Wayne Cantwell – Master of Education in Instructional Leadership
Caleb Nathan Dillard – Bachelor of Science in business administration
William Brett Ellis – Bachelor of Music in music performance – voice
Kimberley Kay Garner – Master of Arts in Youth Ministry
Molly Jane Hull – Bachelor of Science in art (all-level certification), Summa Cum Laude
Douglas Arnold Hurt – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice
Kindry Cruz Kirbo – Bachelor of Science in biology, Cum Laude
Mary Catherine Kunkel – Bachelor of Science in athletic training
Sylvia Diaz Laureles – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice (restorative justice)
Jefferson Scott Lewis – Bachelor of Arts in psychology (family psychology)
Adam Justin Lloyd – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting
Jason Alexander Murphy – Bachelor of Business Administration in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and accounting, Cum Laude
Sandy Rodriguez – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting, Cum Laude
Amber Nicole Schroepfer – Master of Business Administration
Kristian Jalyn Simpson – Bachelor of Arts in psychology (psychology and ministry)
Chelsea Louise Taylor – Bachelor of Science in art (all-level certification), Magna Cum Laude
Stephanie Michelle Upfold – Bachelor of Science in criminal justice (forensic science)
Lois Elizabeth Wallace – Bachelor of Arts in Christian education
Derek Robert Wilson – Bachelor of Science in athletic training

Bulverde
Tyler Evan Krug – Master of Business Administration

Burleson
Caleb Michael McConnell – Bachelor of Arts in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, political science (general) and history (general), Magna Cum Laude

Burnet
Jordan Michelle Brown – Bachelor of Arts in family studies

Canyon Lake
Tara Lee Roussett – Master of Business Administration

Cedar Creek
Samuel Joe Austin Parmley – Bachelor of Science in forensic science

Cedar Park
Emily Janice Peisker – Bachelor of Arts in studio art, Magna Cum Laude

Cleveland
Matthew David Daniel – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (sport management)

Comanche
Walker Seth Dailey – Bachelor of Science in business administration

Corsicana
Anthony David Johnston – Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry
Jeffrey Lance Rhodes – Bachelor of Arts in cross-cultural studies

Cross Plains
James Lowell Sullivan – Bachelor of Science in computer information systems (systems development), Cum Laude

De Leon
Kelci Ann Feist – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (physical education)

Deer Park
Jason Wilburn Havner – Master of Arts in Youth Ministry

DeSoto
Danyel Marie Bradley – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice (restorative justice)

Dripping Springs
Elliott Nicole Gray – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)

Early
Melanie Elaine Clark – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6)
Aaron J. Tassin – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (physical education)
Peyton Nicole Walker – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in general studies

El Paso
Yessenia Angelica Cazares – Bachelor of Arts in psychology (general psychology)
Jessica Kristine Galaviz – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (personal trainer)
Mark Andrew Montes – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Christian studies (composite concentration)

Ennis
Ashley Briann Chapman – Bachelor of Arts in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, Spanish and political science (general)

Farmington, N.M.
Zachary H. Sterling – Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry

Florence
Luis Anthony Robles – Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice, Magna Cum Laude

Fredericksburg
Chandler Jacob Condra – Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Summa Cum Laude

Fulshear
Will Orion Roberts – Master of Business Administration

Gatesville
Murry Roy Clingerman – Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting, Magna Cum Laude

Georgetown
Michael Clifton Bailey – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice
Jacob Daniel Spivey – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (general)
Zachary Charles White – Bachelor of Arts in cross-cultural studies

Goldthwaite
Brittany Renae Martin – Bachelor of Arts in theatre arts (all-level certification: early childhood – grade 12)

Granbury
Tyler Kirk Jones – Bachelor of Science in computer information systems (multimedia), Magna Cum Laude

Grandview
Bailey Dawn Simmons – Bachelor of Science in athletic training

Highlands
Hannah Marie Strebeck – Bachelor of Music in music – instrumental (all-level certification), Summa Cum Laude

Iowa Park
Joshua Lee Farquharson – Bachelor of Arts in music – instrumental

Kerrville
Willie Claudius Locke – Bachelor of Science in computer information systems (systems development)

Lampasas
Astin K. Murray – Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in criminal justice
Kelsan Marie Wolverton – Bachelor of Arts in cross-cultural studies, Magna Cum Laude

Lewisville
Christopher Ryan Beaty – Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry

Lockhart
Timothy Layne Counce – Bachelor of Science in Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and chemistry (biochemistry concentration)

Longview
Benjamin Paul Fountain – Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry

May
Sarah Katherine Brown – Bachelor of Arts in English
Rebecca Danielle McFarland – Bachelor of Science in elementary education (early childhood – grade 6), Magna Cum Laude
Heather Renae Starnes – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (all-level certification)

Midland
Garrick Hunter Seigler – Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry

Midlothian
Tyler Christopher Colburn – Bachelor of Business Administration in management

Mineral Wells
Dustin Adam Rollings – Bachelor of Science in biology

New Braunfels
Darryl Leigh Fresne – Master of Business Administration
John Ross Kublank – Master of Business Administration

Paradise
Nathan Cole Lamb – Bachelor of Science in computer information systems (systems development)
Rachel Catherine Runnels – Master of Business Administration

Pflugerville
Lawrence Adom Martinez – Bachelor of Science in psychology (general psychology)

Port Lavaca
Amber Christine Jackson – Bachelor of Arts in communication (public and media communication)

Rochelle
Cantrell Oldham Miller – Bachelor of Arts in studio art

Salado
Michael Joe Sellers – Bachelor of Arts in social studies composite (grade 8-12), Cum Laude

San Angelo
Kyndal Nicole Broome – Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Magna Cum Laude
Kristin Leeann Haman – Bachelor of Science in athletic training, Summa Cum Laude

San Saba
Marshal Lynn McIntosh – Master of Business Administration

Santo
Sarah Jane Van Remmen – Bachelor of Science in chemistry, Cum Laude

Seguin
Vanessa Mae Marquez – Bachelor of Arts in social work, Magna Cum Laude

Spring
Colby Ray Byrd – Bachelor of Science in business administration
Dustin James Kelver – Master of Business Administration

Stephenville
William Cody Cain – Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (personal trainer)
Libby Ann Evans – Bachelor of Science in business administration

Sutherland Springs
Christopher Lee Gonsalves – Bachelor of Arts in music – instrumental

Sweetwater
Stephanie Elizabeth Baker – Master of Education in Instructional Leadership

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Twenty receive HPU Alumni Association Scholarship

Alumni Association logoBROWNWOOD – May 27, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Alumni Association recently awarded the HPU Alumni Association Scholarship to 20 students for the 2016-2017 academic year. The scholarship is presented annually to relatives of HPU alumni as selected by the association’s Scholarship Committee.

This year’s recipients include Stephen Bailey, freshman from Georgetown; Caleb Bostick, freshman from Brownwood; Bryan Bourque, freshman from Alvin; Jacob Bowren, freshman from San Antonio; Paul Chandler, freshman from Mount Pleasant; Madelyn Deviney, freshman from Bulverde; Kailey Doering, freshman from Little Elm; Katherine Hailey, senior from Bangs; Rebecca Hamilton, senior from Nocona; Chanda King, freshman from Childress; Lindsey Krueger, freshman from Howe; Holly Leatherman, junior from Tolar; Rachel Lilley, freshman from Comanche; Anna McBride, freshman from Eldorado; Madison Miller, freshman from Granbury; Taylor Reid, junior from Harper; Lauren Tipton, freshman from Brownwood; Bailey Waller, senior from Weatherford; Eli Williams, freshman from May; and Spencer Wolverton, sophomore from Desoto.

Alumni Association Scholarships are awarded annually to selected new students who have earned an average grade of “B” or above in high school or returning students who have maintained a GPA of 2.5 or above in their college coursework. Scholarships will be considered only for students who have at least one relative as a current dues-paying Alumni Association member.

“HPU is thankful for members of the Alumni Association whose dues make it possible to award these scholarships,” said Stephen Sullivan, director of development and alumni relations. “It’s exciting to welcome new students who are carrying on a generations-long legacy in their families by choosing to attend HPU.”

For more information, visit www.hputx.edu/alumni/alumnischolarship or contact HPU’s Office of Alumni Relations at (325) 649-8044.

HPU alumnus named 2016 Class 6A Assistant Coach of the Year

mark nickolsBROWNWOOD – May 24, 2016 – Howard Payne University alumnus Mark Nickols was recently named the 2016 Class 6A Assistant Coach of the Year by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. He serves as assistant basketball coach at San Angelo’s Central High School.

According to the San Angelo ISD website, Nickols helped his team reach the playoffs for the second straight year this season. They finished the season with a record of 21-12. He will be recognized this month at the annual convention of the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.

“At HPU, I really appreciated the small classes and professors who truly cared about my success,” said Nickols.

Nickols said it was Coach Troy Drummond’s friendship with San Angelo’s Coach Jaime Boswell that led him to begin his career at Central High School.

Drummond serves as head men’s basketball coach, head golf coach and associate athletic director for operations at HPU.

“I am very proud of Mark for taking an opportunity and making the most of it,” said Drummond. “When Coach Boswell got the job at San Angelo Central and was talking to me about his assistant position I really thought that Mark would be a great fit. Mark is an exceptional young man with a great work ethic. I’m so very happy for him and his family and wish him all the best.”

A 2010 HPU graduate, Nickols is the son of John and Barbara Nickols of Brownwood. John Nickols serves at HPU as assistant professor of history and political science and special assistant to the athletic director.

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Cutline: HPU alumnus Mark Nickols was recently named the 2016 Class 6A Assistant Coach of the Year by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. Photo courtesy of San Angelo ISD.

HPU New Braunfels Center graduates two

Roussett hoodingBROWNWOOD – May 20, 2016 – Two students from Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels Center participated in the university’s Commencement ceremony in Brownwood on May 7. Tara Roussett of Canyon Lake and John Kublank of New Braunfels graduated with Master of Business Administration degrees.

“We are proud of these graduates and their successes,” said Dr. Dale Meinecke, HPU’s assistant vice president for external affairs and assistant professor of Christian studies. “Both have left their mark on HPU NB and we look forward to what is still to come from each of them as they continue to serve at the university.”

Kublank was voted vice president of the HPU New Braunfels Alumni Chapter for the coming year and Roussett serves as a member of the university’s Advisory Council for the New Braunfels Center.

Kublank and MeineckeAlso completing degree requirements from HPU’s New Braunfels Center were Darryl Fresne of New Braunfels, MBA student, and Francene Larrabee of New Braunfels, undergraduate business administration major. Fresne and Larrabee will take part in HPU’s December Commencement ceremony.

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Cutlines: John Kublank, left, recently graduated from HPU’s New Braunfels Center with a Master of Business Administration degree. He is pictured following the Commencement ceremony with Dr. Dale Meinecke, HPU’s assistant vice president for external affairs and assistant professor of Christian studies.

Tara Roussett, center, recently graduated from HPU’s New Braunfels Center with a Master of Business Administration degree. She is pictured during the hooding portion of the Commencement ceremony with Dr. Brad Lemler, left, interim dean of the School of Business, and Dr. Debra Powell, assistant professor of business administration.

HPU alumna named All-Big Country Coach of the Year

Heather Hohertz and teamBROWNWOOD – May 4, 2016 – Heather Hohertz, 2007 Howard Payne University graduate, said she credits her HPU professors and coaches in guiding her to be her best. Hohertz, who serves as head basketball coach and assistant softball coach at Brownwood High School, was recently named the All-Big Country Coach of the Year for Classes 4A-6A by the Abilene Reporter-News. She additionally won the award in 2010.

“By playing under Coach K (Chris Kielsmeier, former HPU basketball coach), I learned how to dedicate myself toward my passion and I learned the work ethic to become successful on the court and in life,” she said.

Hohertz grew up in Priddy and during her senior year of high school was a member of the team that won the first-ever state championship for the small community.

“When I was searching for a college to continue my playing career, Howard Payne was an easy choice,” she said. “Coach Kielsmeier recruited me and I knew I had to become a member of the Lady Jacket family.”

Today, Meia Daniels, a former teammate of Hohertz, serves as head women’s basketball coach for the university.

“Heather is very deserving of the award,” said Daniels. “She works hard and is very competitive, which she relays through her team. I am very proud of her and I know she will continue to do great things in the future.”

During seven years at Brownwood High School, Hohertz has led her team to many victories and has a win-loss record of 147-74.

“This year, we matched our best record in the school’s history,” she said. “We were 25-8 and made the school’s first-ever trip to the regional tournament.”

Hohertz said it’s a great honor to be named the All-Big Country Coach of the Year because there are so many great coaches in the area.

“It’s a tribute to the great kids I have had the opportunity to coach,” she said. “They bought into my philosophy and they strive to be successful.”

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Cutline: HPU alumna Heather Hohertz, kneeling, was recently named the All-Big Country Coach of the Year for Classes 4A-6A by the Abilene Reporter-News. She is pictured with members of her Lady Lions basketball team. Photo contributed.

TSHOF inductee Ken Gray reflects on life at HPU, in the NFL and beyond

By Abram Choate, assistant athletic director for sports information and game administration

A version of this article originally appeared in HPU’s Link magazine.

BROWNWOOD – March 31, 2016 – Recent Texas Sports Hall of Fame inductee Ken Gray had great success on the football field for Howard Payne University and the National Football League, but he says what he went through at Howard Payne really made him who he is.

Grays at exhibitGray and seven others comprised the Class of 2016 inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on February 2. The Waco institution houses displays of more than 300 Texas sports legends.

“It’s one thing to make all-district, all-conference, all-pro or all-anything,” says Gray. “But to receive recognition from your peers – to be inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame – it’s icing on the cake.”

Gray says he’s very sincere in being appreciative of everything Howard Payne has meant in his life.

“I know how indebted I am to Howard Payne for the university’s share of the recognition,” he says.

Grays with HPU representativesBorn in San Saba County to a father who was a heavy-equipment operator during World War II, the Gray family moved around central and west Texas before finally settling in the Llano area. There, Gray became an outstanding high school player.

At a basketball practice during his senior year, 1954, Gray was introduced to Jack Brewer, who was an assistant football coach at HPU. Coach Brewer asked if Gray liked to play football and if he would like to play at Howard Payne.

“‘Yes, sir, I sure would,’” Gray remembers replying. “‘Do you understand I am married and have a child?’”

Not only did Brewer understand, HPU had an opportunity for a job for Gray and a home for the young family.

In the fall of 1954, Gray played his first game as a Yellow Jacket. Howard Payne was handily beating the other team and Gray was put in on defense. Coach Brewer did not like the way he was lining up and asked him what he was doing.

“I guess he thought I was being lazy,” Gray says. “It broke my heart. I thought I would just get on the bus and go back to Llano.”

Coach Brewer then came over to the bench and put his arm around Gray.

Gray at HPU“He said, ‘Ken, I’m sorry. It will never happen again,’” Gray recalls. “From then on, I would die for him. That was my introduction to Howard Payne football.

“Coach Brewer was a great, great man. He got the most out of everybody, he was fair and he made men out of a lot of us. I still tear up when I think about him.”

The Howard Payne coaching staff made practices very tough. At that time, the team included several veterans of the Korean War.

“So when an 18-year-old went against a 25-, 26- or even a 29-year-old, you had to battle,” he says. “The things I went through at Howard Payne really made me who I am.”

As a husband and father at HPU, Gray did not have time for much beyond family, football and work. However, he found support among the team’s other married players.

“There were other players who were married with families, so there were others going through the same things,” he says. “All the older guys kind of put an arm around you to take care of you and teach you. Jack Browning and Joe James were older players. Harold Garms was a former service guy.”

Gray graduated from Howard Payne in 1958 with a degree in history and education. He finished Howard Payne as a four-year letterman (1954-1957), where he was All-Lone Star Conference and named to the Little All-American team.

He went on to be drafted in the sixth round (as the 62nd overall pick) of the NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers in 1958 before earning a spot with the Chicago Cardinals. The team eventually moved to St. Louis.

Gray is one of 17 players in Howard Payne history to be drafted into the NFL and one of approximately 30 Yellow Jackets to have played in the NFL or Canadian Football League.

“When I went from Howard Payne to Green Bay, I really could not believe it. This is pro football,” he says.

However, after his experiences playing at Howard Payne, he was prepared.

“The practices were not really that hard. I found making that jump was really easy.”

In an NFL career that spanned 13 seasons, Gray was named an NFL Pro Bowl guard for the St. Louis Cardinals seven times. He would be named consensus All-Pro six times (1963, 1965-1969) and was honored as a First-Team selection twice during that time. He finished his professional career as a Houston Oiler in 1970.

Gray returned to Llano High School as head football coach from 1973 to 1975.

“That turned out to be the most fun I ever had,” he says. “I got to coach my son who turned out to be an All-State player.”

He then spent the 1977-1978 seasons as the Denver Broncos’ offensive line coach. Since then, Gray has become a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and Howard Payne University Sports Halls of Fame.

Gray now lives in Kingsland, Texas, with Shirley, his wife of 62 years. He has fond recollections of his days as a student-athlete at HPU.

“The memories are not so much of what happened on the field but the relationships I had with all the players,” he says. “Howard Payne is the kind of place where you can get a good education along with a dose of character building.”

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Photo cutlines: Ken and Shirley Gray stand in front of Ken’s display at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco.

The Grays are pictured with HPU representatives following Ken’s induction into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Left to right: Abram Choate, HPU’s assistant athletic director for sports information and game administration; Ken Gray; Shirley Gray; and Stephen Sullivan, HPU’s director of development and alumni relations.

Ken Gray is pictured as a football player at HPU.

HPU alumna named Teacher of the Year at Duncanville’s Central Elementary

Amanda TaylorBROWNWOOD – March 29, 2016 – Howard Payne University alumna Amanda (Hendrix) Taylor was recently named Teacher of the Year at Central Elementary School in Duncanville. Taylor, who teaches visual arts, graduated from HPU in 2012 with a degree in art education.

Taylor has taught for three years, with all three of those years spent at Central Elementary. She piloted the art program for the school and teaches approximately 600 students in kindergarten through fourth grade. In addition to a busy teaching schedule, she volunteers with after-school tutoring, assists with organizing fundraisers and helps decorate the school for special events.

“I am truly honored and humbled to have been chosen by our faculty as Teacher of the Year,” said Taylor. “It means the world to me that they see what I do as important and essential to the life of a child. I love to see my students blossom as they discover new things about themselves and their abilities in the art room.”

Dr. Daresa Voss, interim dean of HPU’s School of Education, was delighted to learn of Taylor’s award.

“Amanda has accomplished so much in just three short years of teaching,” she said. “I’m excited to see the directions in which her career will lead her.”

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Photo cutline: HPU alumna Amanda Taylor was recently named Teacher of the Year at Central Elementary School in Duncanville.