News Archives

HPU alumnus completes Abilene Police Academy

Dane Bryant police academy graduationBROWNWOOD – April 13, 2016 – Howard Payne University alumnus Anthony Dane Bryant of Copperas Cove recently graduated from Abilene Police Department’s Police Academy and was awarded his badge and the rank of commissioned police officer within the department.

During his time at HPU, Bryant was named the 2014-2015 Outstanding Criminal Justice Major. He additionally was president of the Sigma Theta Phi fraternity and served as a resident assistant. Bryant graduated from HPU in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice.

“We are so very proud of Dane and all of our HPU criminal justice graduates,” said Dr. Paul Lilly, assistant professor of criminal justice and director of HPU’s Department of Public Safety. “Dane is a shining example of what HPU students can become when they set clear goals and maintain a Christ-centered life. When he graduated, we told him that it was now his turn to go out and help make the world a better place. He is certainly doing just that.”

For more information about HPU’s criminal justice program, contact Lynn Humeniuk, director of the program and associate professor of criminal justice and sociology, at (325) 649-8703 or via e-mail at lhumeniuk@hputx.edu.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2016 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Photo cutline: HPU alumnus Anthony Dane Bryant, center, recently graduated from Abilene Police Department’s Police Academy. He is pictured with HPU criminal justice faculty members Lynn Humeniuk, left, and Dr. Paul Lilly.

HPU Youth Ministry Workshop helps prepare students for lives of service

Dr Jackson at ChapelBROWNWOOD – April 12, 2016 – Youth ministry students at Howard Payne University recently participated in the university’s 46th annual Youth Ministry Workshop, an event designed to strengthen their leadership skills and help prepare them for lives of ministry. The students participated in 15 sessions throughout the event, hearing from veteran ministers from the area, throughout Texas and beyond. The workshop began in 1970 under the leadership of Dr. A.J. Turner, who was then assistant professor of religious education.

The students additionally participated in two worship services and completed a short observation paper on their experiences at the workshop.

Dr. Gary Gramling, professor of Christian studies and director of HPU’s Christian studies graduate programs, described the impact of the workshop on students.

“I think the great value of the workshop is the fact that we bring veteran youth ministers each year so that students can hear firsthand about various aspects of student ministry from people who are currently serving,” he said. “Leadership is something that can be taught to a certain degree, but much of it is caught from seeing and interacting with people who are wonderful leaders and excellent role models.”

YM Workshop ParticipantsIn addition to Dr. Gramling, speakers for the event included: Ricky Cavitt, youth minister at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church, Brownwood; Brad Echols, youth minister at First Baptist Church, Midland; Chuck Gartman, adjunct instructor of Christian studies at HPU and president of Go To Youth Ministry Inc., Cleburne; Jeff Howard, youth minister at First Baptist Church, Plano; Chris Hurt, student pastor at First Baptist Church, Frisco; Dr. Allen Jackson, pastor at Dunwoody Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga.; Randy Johnson, youth minister emeritus at First Baptist Church, Richardson; Daniel Morrow, student minister at Field Street Baptist Church, Cleburne; Candy Smith, HPU Board of Trustees member, retired minister of education at First Baptist Church, Richardson, and chaplain for Marketplace Ministries; Steve Stege, executive pastor at First Baptist Church, Frisco; Jimmy Storrie, executive director of Life Recovered, Denton; and Dr. Rusty Wheelington, associate professor of Christian studies at HPU.

For more information about the programs in HPU’s School of Christian Studies, call (325) 649-8403 or visit www.hputx.edu/christianstudies.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2016 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Photo cutlines: In addition to speaking to ministry students as part of HPU’s recent Youth Ministry Workshop, Dr. Allen Jackson addressed the student body at Chapel.

In conjunction with the Youth Ministry Workshop, participants enjoyed an evening at the home of Dr. Gary Gramling, professor of Christian studies and director of HPU’s Christian studies graduate programs. Pictured, from left, are Dr. Gramling, Lubbock Roe, Joseph Flanigan, Ben Fountain, Cris Begay, Nate Rhodes, Andrew Overmiller, Anthony McCarson, Scott Turner, Chuck Gartman and Shawna Rains.

Sponsors announced for HPU’s Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon

Donna Clark LoveBROWNWOOD – April 12, 2016 – The Howard Payne University Woman’s Club will host its annual Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon next Thursday, April 14, with area businesses and individuals serving as sponsors for the popular event. The ticketed luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the Bullion Suites of HPU’s Mabee University Center.

Sponsors include Sally Porter (Gold Sponsor), Big Country Ford (Gold Sponsor), Painter & Johnson Financial, Diana Ellis, Ann Towery, J’Net Pattillo, Brownwood Regional Medical Center, Deborah Cartwright, Margaret Blackburn, Citizens National Bank, Prosperity Bank, Creative Image Laser Solutions, Early Blooms & Things, ’Nspired Nail Salon and Sharp Concrete Designs.

The guest speaker for this year’s luncheon is HPU alumna Donna Clark Love, an internationally recognized expert, trainer and motivational speaker in the areas of bully prevention, family systems and student assistance.

Clark Love has served as a teacher and school district administrator and is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, a certified trainer for Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and a certified mediator/conflict resolution trainer. She has been featured on NBC’s Today show and NBC Nightly News to highlight successful prevention/intervention programs and has been interviewed by Forbes magazine on bully prevention.

During the luncheon, the Woman’s Club will announce the recipient of the Yellow Rose Scholarship for the 2016-2017 academic year as well as honor one of the guests with the prestigious 2016 Yellow Rose Award.

A limited number of luncheon tickets are still available. For more information about the HPU Woman’s Club or the Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon, visit www.hputx.edu/womansclub, e-mail womansclub@hputx.edu or call (325) 649-8305.

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Photo cutline: The HPU Woman’s Club will host its annual Yellow Rose Scholarship Luncheon next Thursday, April 14, with guest speaker Donna Clark Love.

HPU exhibiting works of art students

student art exhibition april 2016BROWNWOOD – April 8, 2016 – Howard Payne University is exhibiting the work of art majors, minors and other students who have taken classes through HPU’s Department of Art this academic year. The exhibition is scheduled through April 16 and is housed in the Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery inside HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center.

Student artists include Travis Adams, sophomore from Brownwood; Sierra Bennett, junior from Tuscola; Jordan Bundick, junior from Blanket; Colby Compton, junior from Early; Lydia Conrad, sophomore from Brownwood; Kaeli Goodgion, sophomore from Comanche; Don Greenwood, junior from Bangs; Julie Hart, senior from Goldthwaite; Catherine Haston, junior from Odessa; Molly Hull, senior from Brownwood; Tyler Jones, senior from Granbury; Will Locke, senior from Kerrville; Jennifer Martinez, freshman from Brownwood; Lawrence Martinez, senior from Pflugerville; Drew McNeil, freshman from Waco; Gabriel Means, sophomore from Palestine; Kinsey Nall, junior from Rising Star; Emily Peisker, senior from Cedar Park; Shawna Rains, sophomore from Cisco; Asiyel Smith, junior from Fredericksburg; Chelsea Taylor, senior from Brownwood; and Scott Turner, senior from Georgetown.

“Student art work has been curated by our faculty, choosing from the very best art projects,” said David Harmon, professor of art and chair of the Department of Art.

Represented art courses include Drawing 1 and 2, Painting 1 and 2, 3D Design, Contemporary Crafts and Ceramics.

“Many art media are represented including acrylic, charcoal, colored pencil, collage, corrugated colored board, foam board, basswood, clay and mixed media,” said Harmon.

HPU’s gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information about the exhibit, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500. The Doakie Day Art Center is located on the HPU campus, on Center Avenue, near Lipscomb Street in Brownwood.

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Photo cutline: HPU is exhibiting the work of art majors, minors and other students who have taken classes through HPU’s Department of Art this academic year.

“Kinesiology” name change better reflects HPU department’s mission

Xavier McFalls KinesiologyBROWNWOOD – April 7, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science recently announced that it has changed its name to the Department of Kinesiology to better reflect the department’s mission and purpose.

Dr. Graham Hatcher, head of the department and professor of exercise and sport science, said many academic departments nationwide have adopted similar name changes since the National Research Council recognized kinesiology as an academic discipline in the life sciences in 2006.

“Our focus is on the multidimensional study of physical activity and its impact on health, society and quality of life,” he said, “so this is an especially appropriate designation for us and our bachelor’s degrees in kinesiology and athletic training as well as the Master of Education in Sport and Wellness Leadership degree.”

Dr. Hatcher mentioned the department has had several other names throughout Howard Payne’s history: elocution and physical culture (1898), physical education (1923), athletics and physical education (1934) and health and physical education (1955). It was named the Department of Exercise and Sport Science in 1994.

“In the past two-and-a-half years we have crafted our mission statement, revised both undergraduate degrees, gained national accreditation for our Athletic Training Education Program and introduced the Master of Education degree in Sport and Wellness Leadership,” said Dr. Hatcher. “Those efforts were conducted intentionally as a prelude to this name change, which better reflects our core programs focusing on physical activity and human movement.”

The mission statement for HPU’s Department of Kinesiology is “To provide a Christ-centered approach to the field of human movement through study, practice, and service.” Fall 2015 enrollment in the department was 191 majors, minors and graduate students. The department employs six full-time faculty members and 19 adjunct instructors.

Kinesiology major Xavier McFalls, senior from Amarillo, said the department has opened doors for him regarding his future career options.

“The kinesiology program not only academically challenges me but also helps me take what I learn and apply it outside the classroom,” he said.

For more information about HPU’s Department of Kinesiology, visit www.hputx.edu/kinesiology or contact Dr. Hatcher at (325) 649-8966 or via e-mail at hatcher@hputx.edu.

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Photo cutline: Xavier McFalls (blue mat), senior kinesiology major at HPU, leads a yoga class for fellow athletes.

HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau competes in San Diego tournament

SSB in San DiegoBROWNWOOD – April 7, 2016 – Student Speaker Bureau, Howard Payne University’s speech and debate team, recently competed at the National Christian College Forensics Association Invitational National Championships. The tournament was held in early March at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California.

Braxton Clark, junior global studies major from Southlake, was named second-place overall debate speaker at the tournament.

“I am very proud of Braxton’s performance,” said Dr. Julie Welker, team coach and chair of the Department of Communication. “This is the most difficult tournament we attend, and for Braxton to be named second top speaker is outstanding.”

The parliamentary debate team of Clark and Isaac Sommers, junior from Boerne majoring in jurisprudence, English and public policy (Academy), advanced to the quarterfinals round in open parliamentary debate.

Sophomore Reagan Grisham, communication major from Arlington, was named sixth-place speaker in novice parliamentary debate.

Sommers also advanced to semifinals in open extemporaneous speaking and teammate Christopher Freeland, freshman biochemistry major from Bangs, advanced to semifinals in novice extemporaneous speaking.

Freeland stated that Student Speaker Bureau has helped sharpen his communication skills with firsthand trial-and-error experience.

“As a freshman, I found parliamentary debate to be a valuable learning experience through which I walked out of every debate round knowing what worked and what needed improvement,” he said. “As we competed in more and more tournaments, my confidence and competence grew and showed me debate is a tool used for effective communication of ideas.”

Freeland also competes in oral interpretation events of prose and poetry, and he added that these interpretative events have taught him about different artistic points of view.

Other students competing in the tournament were Morgan Ashmore, junior communication major from Brock; Andrea Balderas, junior biology major from Lytle; and Aimee Orozco, sophomore communication major from Shepherd. Each member of HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau auditions for a spot on the team and scholarships are awarded to the individuals based on experience and level of performance.

Students competed in both debate and individuals events throughout the three-day tournament. This year, 23 universities from across the nation participated in NCCFA. All schools are members of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. Almost 300 students competed in the tournament.

“Having four of the seven HPU students advance or win some type of speaker award is success by any measure,” said Dr. Welker. “We were competing against some of the largest and most prestigious schools in Christian higher education. Our HPU students did a fabulous job.”

While in San Diego, the team visited the USS Midway and went on a whale-watching boat tour to see the migrating whales.

“These trips are about more than just competing,” said Dr. Welker. “We want our students to have a well-rounded education through travel and experience the culture of each city we visit. While competition is our primary focus, getting out and about and networking is an important part, too.”

In her first year on the team, Ashmore said that her travels with Student Speaker Bureau have been an important part of her learning experience.

“This semester, I have had the amazing opportunity to travel to Colorado, California and England,” she said. “Traveling with Student Speaker Bureau has helped me develop critical-thinking skills and become more well-rounded. Getting to travel to Oxford and London with the team was easily the best experience I’ve had at HPU. I was able to make friends with students from all over the world and experience a new culture.”

Freeland agreed.

“Being a successful new member on the team means commitment, but the experience is worth the time invested,” he said. “The team members learn together, debate together and have fun at the tournaments together. Being part of the Student Speaker Bureau family is an honor and I look forward to new experiences next year with veteran and novice members.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2016 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau is pictured at Point Loma Nazarene University’s famous stoa. Pictured from left to right are Dr. Julie Welker, Braxton Clark, Aimee Orozco, Christopher Freeland, Andrea Balderas, Morgan Ashmore, Reagan Grisham and Isaac Sommers.

Three sisters share college experience at HPU

By Amy Pitman, communications assistant

BROWNWOOD – April 6, 2016 – Growing up, the Wolverton sisters each had different thoughts of where they might attend college someday. Their parents, Kelly and Susan Wolverton, taught each of them to follow God’s leading in their lives. Even though they share the same last name, Kelsan, Sharon and Spencer Wolverton have all made individual names for themselves in their majors and hobbies while following God’s lead at Howard Payne University.

Wolverton SistersKelsan, the oldest sister and senior cross-cultural studies major, wasn’t always sure that HPU was where she wanted to attend college. However, after all of the positive outreach she received from HPU faculty and staff during her senior year in high school, Kelsan felt that God was indeed leading her to the university.

“It is the best thing that the Lord could have done in my life,” said Kelsan. “Everything I prayed about wanting in college has happened at HPU, like finding Christian friends, having great professors who care about me and lots of other wonderful opportunities.”

Kelsan will graduate this May and plans to partner with a non-profit organization by traveling to Laos to teach college students for a year.

Although Kelsan may have originally doubted HPU was the place for her, Sharon, the middle sister and junior elementary education major, says she always knew that she wanted to attend HPU, especially after attending one of the university’s summer camps at a young age.

“Even in eighth grade, I already felt Howard Payne was my home,” said Sharon. “One thing that I prayed was that I would make godly friends at HPU who would challenge me and love me for who I am, and that has happened during my time here.”

Youngest sister Spencer, a freshman kinesiology major, was a bit apprehensive about coming to HPU and being in the shadows of her sisters’ accomplishments. Like them, she wanted to be her own person. Coming to HPU confirmed that she could indeed do that while attending the same university.

“The good thing about HPU is that each person has the opportunity to be involved in so many different things and you can really be yourself,” said Spencer. “The three of us all do different things on campus and HPU encourages us to use our talents in areas such as student government, social clubs and mission opportunities, just to name a few. Everyone can make a difference here in their own ways.”

The Wolverton sisters each have individual personalities, talents and goals, but they do enjoy spending time together when they can by watching movies, eating out and encouraging each other during tough times.

“We watch out for each other even though we may not see each other that much,” said Sharon. “We love each other and enjoy being close.”

Kelly, 1996 HPU graduate and pastor of Hampton Road Baptist Church in DeSoto, is very happy that all three of his daughters chose his alma mater.

“I like that they chose to go to HPU because I knew they would excel in the Christian family environment that the school offers,” said Kelly. “I appreciate the faculty and staff at HPU because you aren’t just a number. At HPU, you are a person who is loved like family.”

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Photo cutline: (From left) Sharon, Kelsan and Spencer Wolverton enjoy their time as students as HPU.

Husband-and-wife HPU faculty members exhibit artwork at UMHB

David HarmonBROWNWOOD – April 1, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s David Harmon, professor of art and chair of the Department of Art, and his wife, Susan Harmon, adjunct instructor of art, recently returned from exhibiting 70 pieces of their artwork by invitation from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton.

David Harmon also gave a lecture during the exhibition at UMHB with more than 200 people in attendance. The theme of the lecture was “Our Modernist Mentors: Architecture, Artists, Design and TV.”

“Our works entail abstract painting,” said David Harmon. “My work is on the mark-making process and my wife’s work is based on the content of shattered lives, especially those of women in international countries.”

David Harmon hails from St. Louis, Missouri. Growing up, he was surrounded by teachers and coaches who were artists and encouraged him to be a painter. He received his undergraduate degree from Webster University in St. Louis and his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree from Pennsylvania State University in University Park. He always loved to draw and felt that God was using his art and his desire to teach as a calling in his life. David Harmon came to HPU as an art professor and department chair in 2012.

Susan HarmonSusan Harmon is from Chicago, Illinois, and received her MFA degree from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro and two Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was recently honored to create a large public art commission mural for the convention center in San Marcos.

The couple have both taught in schools across the country and enjoy being in Texas. They are well traveled and well rounded in their areas of visual art. Their work has been featured in exhibitions around the world and includes many different styles.

In the summer, the couple will exhibit their artwork at Angelo State University in San Angelo with another show scheduled this fall at Sul Ross State University in Alpine.

For more information about HPU’s Department of Art, call 325-649-8500.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2016 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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HPU’s Symphonic Band and Concert Choir to present concert tours

BROWNWOOD – March 31, 2016 – Howard Payne University’s Symphonic Band and Concert Choir will each tour select schools and churches in western and central Texas in April. The band will travel Sunday, April 3, through Tuesday, April 5, on its spring concert tour and the choir will travel Friday, April 8, through Monday, April 11.

“We are always excited to be able to take the name of Howard Payne University and our Lord Jesus on tour through the musical talent of our students,” said Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands. “We get to connect with prospective students, friends and HPU alumni, and we are proud to get to represent the university in this way.”

The band will present concerts at First Baptist Church in Brady, Taylor’s Valley Baptist Church in Temple, Llano High School, Burnet High School and Gatesville High School. Musical selections will include works by composers Frank Ticheli, Alfred Reed, James Swearingen and Camp Kirkland, as well as “Jesus Loves Me, It is Well” by Gene Currie.

“Music is the universal language,” said Ash. “It’s a blessing to be able to share it everywhere we go.”

This year’s tour will take the Concert Choir to Ballinger High School, Colonial Baptist Church in Snyder, Second Baptist Church in Lubbock, First Baptist Church in Stanton and Trinity Christian School in Midland. The program for the choir tour, titled “Lord, I Believe…,” will include works by Mary MacDonald, Thomas Tallis, Larry Shackley and Morton Lauridsen as well as spiritual arrangements by Jester Hairston, William L. Dawson and the team of Alice Parker and Robert Shaw. Additionally, the choir will sing a number of compositions by Sir John Rutter including movements from his famous “Requiem.”

According to Dr. Gregory Church, associate professor of music and director and conductor of the Concert Choir, the concert is loosely based on the five sections of the Catholic Mass: “Kyrie,” “Gloria,” “Credo,” “Sanctus” and “Agnus Dei.”

“We are looking forward to the tour very much,” he said. “These types of choir tours accomplish a number of goals such as recruiting for the university and the music department, connecting with alumni and friends around the state and sharing wonderful music.”

On tour with the Concert Choir will be the Heritage Singers, conducted and directed by Dr. Celeste Church, associate professor of music and dean of institutional research and effectiveness.

After the groups return, a final choir tour concert will be presented on Tuesday, April 12, at First Baptist Church in Brownwood. The free concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the public is encouraged to attend.

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.

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.