Daniel Baker College
Daniel Baker College
About Daniel Baker College
Daniel Baker College was a Presbyterian college founded in 1889 and located less than one mile from the Howard Payne University campus. In 1953, DBC was consolidated with Howard Payne. HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, the Dr. Guy D. Newman Hall of American Ideals and the Bettie and Robert Girling Center for Social Justice stand on the original campus of Daniel Baker.
Daniel Baker College Hall of Honor
By Dr. Robert Mangrum, University Historian
Billy Baker I
The first recorded use of a goat mascot for Daniel Baker College athletic teams was in 1904 when a Brown County rancher gave a regal angora billy goat to the college to complement their Hillbilly nickname. The goat was officially adopted as the school mascot that year. For the next twenty years the goat mascots were referred to as “our goat” or “our hillbilly goat.” It was not until thirty years later that the mascot was given an official christening.
Following World War I when DBC resumed athletic competition, there was a period of time in which the goat pen was empty, and although the use of the goat as mascot continued, it was in name only. There were no real, live billy goats on the sideline.
Daniel Baker started the 1934 football season having not won a game in two years, and they lost their first two games to start the ‘34 season. Not an encouraging beginning, but things were about to change for on the day of the game with the Austin College Kangaroos, the freshmen brought a young angora billy goat into the stadium. The goat was paraded around the field, the crowd cheered wildly, the environment was electrified, and the enthusiasm spread to the team. The mascot had returned, and for the first time since 1932, the Hillbilly football team moved into the win column.
The jinx was broken, and the credit went to the return of the mascot to the sideline. He was soon to become the most popular attraction on campus. All admired him, his appearance at student body functions evoked spontaneous enthusiasm. Following his debut on the gridiron, he soon began to appear in Chapel and in parades. He was the center of attention at pep rallies and other student gatherings, but he had no name.
However, that too was soon to change. By action of the student body at the pep rally on October 26, 1934, the goat was formally christened and from that day to now—the symbol of the Daniel Baker Spirit is Billy Baker. Since Billy Baker I, there have been other Billy Bakers that have enjoyed brief reigns as the DBC mascot, but regal angora billy goats have served without interruption since that official christening and today they symbolize the indomitable Daniel Baker spirit.
William Scott (Bill) Adams
Bill Adams was born in Sipe Springs, Texas, and was a star athlete at Desdemona High School where he was a four-year letterman in both football and basketball, and was the team captain in both his junior and senior years.
Bill came to Daniel Baker College in the fall of 1938 on a football scholarship. He earned a starting job at end for the first game of his freshman year, and he held that position as a starter on both offense and defense for four years. In earning four varsity letters, he played every minute of every game and never sat on the bench. One teammate said of him, “Bill’s hallmarks were his durability and dependability. He was tough and well-conditioned. He never missed a game due to injury, and you could always count on him to give his best effort on every play.”
Bill Adams earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Daniel Baker in the spring of 1942. Following graduation, he coached at Sipe Springs for one year, and in the fall of 1943, he moved to Olden as head football coach. Then came the “call to arms” from Uncle Sam and Bill enlisted in the U. S. Navy. After serving his country for two years, he accepted a position with Southland Life Insurance Company in 1946, and began a successful career that has carried through fifty-four productive years. Those years saw him move from a raw inexperienced insurance agent to the top levels of management in one of the nation’s premier insurance agencies. Bill’s philosophy of “stickability” (a carryover from his days as a college athlete) has been the source of his own successful career. He has been a role model for young agents encouraging them to “stick with the company” and follow his example of always striving for the number one position in personal production!
Throughout his professional career, Bill Adams has given unselfishly of his time and expertise to community organizations and charitable activities. He has served as president of the Fort Worth Insurance Managers Association and the Fort Worth Association of Life Underwriters. He has served multiple terms on the Board of Governors of the Colonial Country Club.
Bill is a dedicated Christian leader in the University Christian Church of Fort Worth serving on the governing board and as president of the Men’s Club. He has been recognized for his work over the years as one of the church’s most effective lay leaders.
This outstanding DBC alumnus has received the National Manager of The Year award three times from Southland Life, was named a Daniel Baker Distinguished Alumnus in 1970, and has been inducted into the Southland Life Hall of Fame.
Bill Adams and K. D. Hestes were the originators of the plan to establish a permanent “Sam McLaughlin Fund” which was designed to provide ongoing financial support for Sam and his mother. (Adams and Hestes were former teammates of Sam who suffered a broken neck during football practice in 1959.) Bill says, “This is one of my accomplishments of which I am most proud.”
Bill is also one of the originators of the annual DBC homecoming event. Through his efforts, the Ex-Students association has been strengthened and has become more active in the promotion of the DBC Ex-Student Scholarship Fund.
Bill Adams has been inspirational in keeping the DBC spirit alive. His induction into this Hall of Honor is an expression of respect and admiration from Daniel Baker’s former Students.
R. E. (Ed) Blair
Most who are inducted into a sports hall of fame are chosen for that honor because they excelled in a particular sport. Today we honor a man who excelled in three sports, was a winning coach of four sports, was a distinguished director of athletics, and a respected professor of history…and he did it all at Daniel Baker College.
R. E. (Ed) Blair, born on February 13, 1896, in May, Texas, grew up in Ellis County where he was a three sports star at Midlothian High School. Graduating in 1914 he came to Daniel Baker that fall on an athletic scholarship…and his star was on the rise! Blair was a steady two-way performer in football and was named captain of the 1921 squad. His competitive nature also served him well in basketball; but baseball was his sport. His pitching dominated T.I.A.A. conference batters during the four seasons of his college competition and earned him four letters and a most valuable player title as well.
Ed dropped out of school in the fall of 1917 to enlist in the U. S. Army. He served in France as a command sergeant with the 33rd Ammunition Transport Group of The American Expeditionary Force. He took part in the battles of St. Michiel, the Argonne Forest, and the Meuse River engagement.
Blair returned to school in 1919, resumed his athletic feats on the gridiron, the hardwood and the diamond, married Theodotia Freeland and completed work for his Bachelor of Arts degree.
During his student days at Daniel Baker, Blair was elected president of the D.K.S. Literary Society in 1920 and 1921. He served as secretary of the Student Council in 1921, was a member of the Athletic Council that same year, and was the most popular athlete on campus—quite a record of achievement. To add to that, he earned ten varsity letters for his athletic endeavors.
After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1922, Blair was appointed to a position at Brownwood High School where he coached baseball and basketball, taught math for two years and then served one year as principal of the Junior High School.
In June 1925, Robert Edgar Blair was named Athletic Director and Coach at Daniel Baker College, a position he held for nine years. And just as his senior prophecy had proclaimed—he lifted the downtrodden Hillbillies from mediocrity to prominence in one year. During his nine-year tenure at Daniel Baker, Blair coached teams won Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships in football in 1926, 1928 and 1931. In basketball, the Billies were runner-up in 1928 and champions in 1929. They won the baseball championship in 1929 and set conference records in track and field in 1929, 30 and 31 that were never broken in conference competition. Hillbilly stars Mac Miller, Marvin Chambers and Gus Snodgrass were among the many fine athletes recruited and coached by Ed Blair.
During the time he was the coach at DBC, Ed attended summer sessions at Texas Tech and completed work for a master’s degree in history. In 1934 after nine workhorse years as head of the athletic program, Ed Blair switched from his coaching role to the role of professor and was named Chairman of the History Department for his six remaining years at Daniel Baker.
In 1941, Professor Blair was appointed Director of Education for the State Orphans Home in Corsicana. In 1943 he was made superintendent of the State School for Boys at Gatesville and served in that capacity until December 1949. From 1950 through 1959 Mr. Blair was supervisor of Coryell County Schools, and he closed out his professional career teaching in the Gatesville Public Schools until retirement in 1966.
Throughout his professional life, Ed Blair gave unselfishly of his time and expertise to community organizations and charitable activities. He served as president of two different Lions Clubs, was elected Commander of the Brownwood Area Post of Veterans of foreign Wars, and was a past master of The Gatesville Masonic Lodge.
Ed was a dedicated Christian leader in the Presbyterian Church. He served as elder for 29 years in the Brownwood and Gatesville Churches and both he and Mrs. Blair taught Sunday School in every community in which they lived.
This outstanding former Hillbilly athlete and coach established his place in the history of intercollegiate athletics in Texas and will be remembered as a kind and gentle man, a wise and humble leader…. the coach who made a difference in the lives of those who knew him. He long ago earned the honor we pay him today.
Dr. Stanley Burnham
Stan Burnham grew up in San Saba, Texas and he played football and other sports for the San Saba Armadillos until he graduated in 1942.
Stan enrolled in Daniel Baker College and became very involved in all aspects of the college life. He demonstrated his above average intelligence by marrying Mildred Mendenhall, daughter of Dr. Raymond E. Mendenhall, Dean of Daniel Baker College. When he was not busy with his duties as Editor of the TRAIL, writing for the COLLEGIAN and being involved in numerous other campus activities, Stan found time to play football and basketball for the Hillbillies.
He was a two-year letterman in football, playing for coach Chester Weidman where he played quarterback, fullback, defensive back and any other position where he was needed. As a defensive back, Stan was known for being in the right place at the right time, making big plays, intercepting passes and getting the ball back for the Billies.
One teammate said of Stan, “He was a team player in every sense of the word. He was willing to play any position where he was needed. He was not large physically, but he played BIG and he always encouraged his teammates.” Another talks about coming to DBC as a 17 year old “scared beyond words, but Stan took me under his wing, and got me through spring football workouts.” Another teammate remembers Stan as “an outstanding athlete who served as the moral compass of our athletic family.” And finally another teammate remembers how proud he was that Stan was one of three Billie quarterbacks ejected in short succession from a game at East Texas Baptist for displaying “outstanding Hillbilly enthusiasm toward a particularly uncooperative and ornery Baptist.”
Stan later coached at Rusk High School, served as Athletic Director and Associate Professor of Ranger College and was the head basketball coach at McMurry College in Abilene, before going to the University of Texas for advanced study.
Stan earned his Master’s degree in Education and his Doctorate in Health and Physical Education at the University of Texas. As part of his graduate studies, Stan was assigned to work with a young coach named Darrell Royal and the Texas Longhorns and thus began a truly remarkable career.
In the early sixties, Stan convinced Coach Royal that football players would perform better by improving their conditioning and stamina through weight training; an unheard of practice at the time. Coach Royal let Stan have a large storage room at the stadium for his weight room and Stan developed and implemented the first weight training program for university football players, and it became a model program that revolutionized athletic conditioning around the country.
Stan also initiated the requirement for pre-season physicals and stress testing to determine fitness and none of Coach Royal’s Longhorns practiced until they passed the tests. Stan invented a device to monitor heat and humidity at practices to ensure athletes did not suffer from heat stroke or other heat related illnesses; and a resistance machine to improve the rebounding ability of Longhorn basketball players.
Stan developed rehabilitation programs using weights and isometrics for injured athletes in all sports. Texas writer George Breazale once wrote, “Stan Burnham has looked at more knees than the manager of a burlesque theater. His mission, however, is not esthetic, but rather that of a healer.” Stan’s rehab program allowed football players like Knox Nunnally, Bill Bradley, Jim Hudson, and George Sauer to continue playing football when most thought their careers were over. Jim Hudson said, “Stan’s the reason George Sauer and I are playing today.” Both Jim and George were teammates for the New York Jets. Stan also rehabilitated UT golfer Tom Kite’s injuries as well as the shoulder of another young 18 year old golfer named Ben Crenshaw, allowing them to excel on the professional golf tour.
Through his study and work, many changes were made to football equipment to provide greater protection for athletes, including redesigning football helmets and pads, putting shorter cleats on shoes and removing cleats from the heels of football shoes to decrease knee injuries. Stan’s work at the University of Texas is legendary and he still enjoys very close relationships with Coach Royal and many former Longhorn football players.
Beyond UT, Stan initiated discussions between the military, the state, local communities and medical societies that led to the development of what we now call EMS, Emergency Medical Services. He also developed the nurse practitioner programs in Texas and established educational programs for physician assistants. He encouraged Governor Preston Smith to establish the Governor’s Commission on Physical Fitness and chaired the Board for the first five years the commission existed.
Stan served on the faculty of The Army War College for three years; Dean of the School of Applied Arts and Sciences at San Jose State University; Vice President for Academic Affairs at Northern Montana College; President of the Pacific Coast Health Science Center in San Francisco; and Deputy Director of the Texas Department of Commerce. A committed Christian and churchman, Stan has been a leader in the Methodist church his entire life.
Stan Burnham’s career as an athlete and visionary in sports medicine and administration make him deserving of his place in this Hall of Honor.
Henry Marvin Chambers
Marvin Chambers was Daniel Baker College’s first truly great all-around basketball player. A backcourt wizard, he perfected all those showman skills that spice up the college game today: the quick set jump shot, the behind the back dribble and the no look feed pass while driving for the basket. Marvin played before sports writers coined the term “triple double,” but had the “stats” been kept on rebounding and assists, he, no doubt, would have been among the nation’s leaders in those categories during his playing days at DBC.
The TIAA All-Conference Selection Committee in 1929 said, “Marvin Chambers is without peer in the conference when it comes to the game of basketball. He is superior to any other candidate for all-conference honors.” Sports writers that same year said, “Not only has Marvin Chambers been a chief factor in the Billy Goat’s scoring for four years, but his superb floor work and passing made it possible for teammate Mac Miller to lead the nation in scoring as a freshman and set new conference records in each of his four years at Goatland.” Opposing coaches said, “Marvin Chambers is as good as they come in directing the offense, but he is also the best player in the conference for defensive steals and intercepted passes that lead to fast break points for the Billys.”
Born in 1903, Marvin grew up in the small central Texas community of May where there wasn’t much for kids to do in their free time. So “Papa” Wade nailed a hoop on the south side of the barn and young Marvin with his seven brothers and sisters were tireless acolytes. All that practice paid off and Marvin’s basketball skills soon attracted the attention of neighboring high school coaches. He played one year for Clara, Texas, where his older sister had been offered a teaching job, an offer, no doubt, contingent upon bringing along a couple of her basketball playing brothers (and she did). After one year at Clara, Marvin transferred to Brownwood where he and teammate Mac Miller carried the Lions to the state championship tournament in Austin and all-state honor for both Chambers and Miller.
In 1925, Marvin, along with two teammates and their coach, R. E. Blair, all moved across the street to Daniel Baker and continued their winning ways. Blair coached teams at DBC led by Marvin Chambers and cousins Weldon and O. B. and with a lot of help from Mac Miller produced TIAA championships in football, baseball, basketball, and track in the 1925-1929 era.
While at DBC, he was named co-captain of the basketball team as a freshman and captain for the next three years. He earned four letters in basketball, two in baseball and one in track. He was selected for All-Conference honor in basketball in each of his four years at DBC. He was a member of the Glee Club and the Delta Kappa Sigma Literary Society.
After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1929, he taught and coached at Williams, Woodland Heights, May and Goldthwaite during which time he earned a master’s degree from Hardin Simmons University. Marvin retired as superintendent of Brown County schools in 1966 after 37 years of service in education as a coach, teacher, and superintendent.
This outstanding former Hillbilly athlete has established his place in the history of basketball at Daniel Baker College and in intercollegiate athletics in Texas. Marvin Chambers will for generations to come be remembered as one of the best players ever to drop a ball through the basket.
Oscar Branch Colquitt Chambers
O. B. Chambers was a student at Daniel Baker College during the years of the Great Depression. He received his B. A. degree in 1932 at age 20, and by age 34, he had already established himself as a winning coach, a leader in education and had spent four years fighting a world war. In 1946, he returned to his position as superintendent of Early Public Schools and served for thirty-four more years in the job that he had held for four years before going off to war.
During his student days at DBC, he established himself as a favorite early on by hanging the freshman banner atop the tallest spire of the Administration Building. He attracted attention in other ways as well; he excelled academically, he earned three letters in basketball, one in track and in his senior year, he was elected president of the student body and was chosen most popular boy on campus.
After graduation from DBC, he served as coach, teacher and principal of May High School for six years before becoming superintendent of Early Public Schools where, during his distinguished tenure there, he also coached, taught classes in history, mathematics, Spanish, and driver education and earned a master’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University.
When the United States was thrust into war by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, O. B. Chambers, faced with a situation he had not anticipated, answered the challenge by volunteering for army service. He went through officer training, was commissioned a first lieutenant and was assigned to command an anti-aircraft gun battery in Europe. He did not talk much about his combat experiences, but he did have a close call at the Battle of the Bulge that could have cost him his life, except for the flip of a coin. At the end of the war, O. B. returned to his role as an educator but remained in the U. S. Army Reserve and retired in 1972 at the rank of Lt. Colonel.
A legend in public school administration, O. B. Chambers retired in 1977. During his more than 42 years as a coach, teacher and administrator, he was the recipient of many honors and awards. He served on numerous boards, committees, and advisory commissions. He has been described by a former student as “a man of dignity, character, and integrity. He was a man of confidence; he stood straight, walked tall and looked straight ahead. His admonition to students was ‘win modestly and lose graciously’.”
This outstanding Daniel Baker Ex-student made a difference in the lives of many. He received many honors, and he had many titles. He was a coach, teacher, principal, superintendent and a high-ranking U. S. Army officer. But his most important title was the one given him by his students—it was the “Mister” in front of his name. Mr. Chambers was a true gentleman. He transferred the “How you play the game” cliché from athletics to real life. He made a difference.
Induction into this Hall of Honor is one more statement about the life and achievements of this outstanding former athlete.
Weldon Chambers, a Brownwood High School basketball star, came to Daniel Baker in 1926. Linking up with his former coach and high school teammates, Mac Miller and cousin Marvin Chambers, they quickly established Daniel Baker as a basketball power in The Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association. They missed the conference championship by two points in 1928 and won the title outright in 1929.
Blocked shots and defensive take-aways were not official stats in Weldon’s era, but many a Billy win was due to the voracious and disruptive defensive pressure applied by Weldon Chambers. He was truly a team player and though a deadly shooter himself, he most often passed the ball off to the “twin shooters” Mac and Marvin, both of whom were among the best in the nation. His all-around stellar play, however, attracted enough attention to garner second team all-conference recognition in his junior year.
While at DBC he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, four letters in basketball and one in track. He was president of the junior class and president of the Pasteur Society (the DBC science club.) After graduating, he returned to the campus to teach chemistry and physics during summer sessions and went on to earn a master’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University, as well as certification in counseling from The University of Texas at Austin.
In his distinguished career in public school education, Weldon served as coach and principal at May, coach and superintendent at Williams, and principal at Cross Plains. He died at age 59 while serving as counselor at LaGrange High School.
A humble and gentle man, he was also a very patriotic citizen. And when war was declared against Japan, Weldon Chambers was among the first to volunteer for military service. Aptitude test scores placed him at the very top among new trainees and military officials pushed him into officer training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers and was sent to the University of Virginia and Harvard for training in governmental affairs. He was then assigned to the Philippines to work with the civilian population in the formation of a functioning government after the islands were retaken. He was severely wounded by Japanese artillery fire in February 1945. At the end of the war he was discharged at the rank of captain and awarded the Purple Heart.
A man of achievement, his hard work and high ideals made him a winning coach and a success as a public school administrator, but it was his compassion for learning and his genuine concern for students that led him into academic counseling, his crowning achievement—one that gave him his greatest professional gratification. This outstanding former athlete epitomized the character and values of his alma mater. He has earned his place in this Hall of Honor.
Charles Lisman Chrane
A farm boy from Brownwood, Texas, Charles Chrane was a two-sport standout at Daniel Baker College, particularly on the football field. He earned three letters in football and four letters in basketball. In football, he played both offense and defense, but it was his speed and elusiveness as a running back that earned him the title of “a mean ball toter.” Texas Conference foes set their defenses to stop plays featuring Chrane carrying the ball. He was also a steady performer on the basketball court. During his years at Daniel Baker, he played on two conference runner-up football elevens and one conference championship basketball team. The Chrane years at DBC were winning years in sports. Charlie was known for his competitive spirit on the field and court and, if time had not run out on the game clock, he would never have lost a game.
As a Daniel Baker student, Chrane was named the “most athletic Billy” in 1937 and was elected “B” Association secretary that year as well. After completing his bachelor’s degree with a major in history, he was employed at Desdemona High School where he was principal, taught five classes, coached all sports and drove the school bus. He moved from Desdemona to Water Valley where he spent one year and produced a winning six-man football team. His next position was at San Saba as assistant football coach.
Then came four years of military service during World War II in the U. S. Navy. Upon his return to civilian life, he became head basketball coach at Brownwood High School and took his team to the state championship tournament in his first year. He moved from Brownwood to Marshall as assistant to Coach Chester “Cotton” Weidman, and from there he returned to San Saba where he spent the remainder of his teaching and coaching career.
His former students, players, and colleagues remember Charles Chrane as a great coach and teacher, an outstanding Christian leader of young men and women, and as a trusted and loyal friend. We are honored to induct Charles Lisman Chrane into the Daniel Baker College Hillbilly Hall of Honor.
Hubert Davenport was one of Daniel Baker College’s all-time great athletes. He was a two-time all-conference selection in basketball. He led the conference in scoring in the ‘36 season and finished second to his teammate McCulley in 1937. The All Conference Basketball Selection Committee in 1936 said, “Davenport is by far the best all-around player in the conference, and he is equally as good in football as he is in basketball.” Hubert was by every measure a two-sport super star, an impact player who sparked the Billies to two runner-up seasons in football, two runner-up seasons in basketball and a basketball championship in his last year of competition.
Born in 1914, Hubert grew up in the small central Texas community of Richland Springs. Coached by his older brother he was a four-sport letterman for each of his four years in high school. His athletic feats in football and basketball were outstanding and earned him an athletic scholarship at nearby Daniel Baker College.
Hubert enrolled at DBC in the fall of 1933 at a time when freshmen were not eligible for varsity competition in the Texas Conference, but playing a tough freshman schedule, Davenport and forty other first year players quickly established themselves as the future powerhouse in the new conference. However, Davenport was a late bloomer and did not become a starter in either football or basketball in his first year of varsity competition. It was not until his junior year that he blossomed into a super-star in basketball and the big play, game-changer in football that could always be counted on when the game was on the line.
Basketball was his sport, but there was another side to Davenport’s athletic career and sports writers ran out of superlatives in trying to describe his play on the football field. One said, “Davenport has become one of the best pass-catching ends in the conference. He is sure-handed, and he can out jump and out muscle any defensive back.” Another said, “Davenport has unusual leaping ability for a big end, and his hands are like glue. He is at the top in the league as a sure-fire pass receiver.”
One sports scribe on the 1937 All-conference Selection Committee said, “What epitomized Davenport’s play most of all was his ability to come through, game after game, with a big play that turned the tide in the Billies’ favor.”
An opposing football coach said, “Without a doubt Skip Howard and Hubert Davenport are the most feared scoring threat in the conference with the game on the line.”
A teammate said, “We always felt in every game that we had a player who would make a great play that would win the game—a blocked punt, an unbelievable pass catch, or a game-saving tackle. Davenport was one of those big-play makers.”
His coach said, “Physically Davenport has all the attributes to make him the best in football and basketball, but he also sets the standard for attitude. He has more fun playing the game than anyone on the court.”
At the end of his senior year an article in The Collegian said, “He is a star basketball player and an outstanding football player all rolled into one great athlete. He has become the symbol of Hillbilly success in both sports over the past two years.”
Hubert Davenport was the recipient of many honors while he wore the blue and white, but he was more than just an outstanding athlete. He also excelled academically. He was mathematics major; he was selected for Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities; he was a member of Bachelor’s Association, president of the “B” Association, and was runner-up for most popular boy on campus in 1937.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in 1937, he taught and coached at Water Valley High School for five years preceding World War II. In 1942, he volunteered for military service and was commissioned a Lt. J. G. in the U. S. Navy. He served in the Pacific Theater of Operation on the islands of Hawaii, Saipan and Tinian. He was discharged from the Navy in 1946, and on October 8 of that year, he married Edith Tobey in Freeport, Texas. They purchased and operated the Freeport Pharmacy Rexall Drug store from 1946 to 1957. In 1959, they purchased Lee’s Credit Jewelers, which they have owned and operated over the past forty-seven years, and Hubert still goes to work every day, Monday through Saturday. During all of these years, he has been an important part of the life and happenings of Freeport’s First Presbyterian Church.
Hubert Davenport’s life is the story of the American dream—one of five children who grew up on a small sandy land farm during the days of the great depression, but because of his athletic ability he received a four-year scholarship to play football and basketball at nearby Daniel Baker College. Subsequently he earned a college degree, was a commissioned officer in the United States Navy and has been a successful business owner for sixty years. During this time, he has given back to his church and community and raised a loving family.
This great former two-sport star and outstanding Texan has earned his place in the Daniel Baker College Hillbilly Hall of Honor.
S.J. (Skipper) Howard
S. J. “Skipper” Howard, a triple-threat back at Daniel Baker, was an impact player and the most feared athlete in the conference when the game was on the line. “Skip”…a man with Hollywood looks and a bent for fun was one of Daniel Baker’s fabled gridiron heroes in the early days of the Texas Conference.
Howard gained national acclaim with his outstanding punting. In his career at DBC he is credited with over a dozen punts of more than 70 yards. One was a 94 yard masterpiece against Texas Tech in 1935. But it was not just distance that placed him among the nation’s elite. It was placement. According to sports writers, “S. J. Howard kept the safety man backing up and often planted a sixty yard punt out of bounds just inside the red flag.” He was a superb punter but was even better when it came to throwing a football. His deadly accurate passing produced record numbers of touchdowns and helped the Billys to two runner-up positions in Texas Conference football in the three seasons of his DBC career.
At DBC, Howard earned three letters in football and was elected team captain in 1936. That same year he was a consensus all-conference selection and a Little All-American. He lettered one year in track and was a three-year member of the “B” Association. He returned to the campus in 1939 and served as backfield coach for one year before volunteering for military service. After graduation from DBC, he spent a summer as a minor league pitcher in the St. Louis Browns’ system, but it was back to football in the fall of 1937. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles as a punter and played quarterback for their Wilmington Delaware farm club.
World War II brought an end to Skipper’s athletic career. Soon after the war was declared, Daniel Baker’s entire coaching staff volunteered for military service. Howard began his military training as an infantryman with a group that was later to become a Special Forces glider corps that would play a major role in the allied invasion of Europe. He took flight training and was commissioned as a glider pilot. He was assigned to the 436th troop carrier group and arrived in England in early 1944 where his glider corp was attached to the 82nd Airborne Division. His glider group played a vital role in supporting troops advancing from Utah Beach in the Normandy Landing. He later participated in campaigns in Northern Italy and Southern France that led to the liberation of Paris. From there it was on to Holland and into the Rhine Valley and victory in Europe.
Recognized for his many combat missions and decorated for valor in action, Flight Officer Howard was awarded the Air Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Unit Citation Badge, the European-African-Middle East Campaign Medal, seven Bronze Service Stars and a Bronze Arrowhead for the Normandy Invasion. He was given the Purple Heart at a special ceremony in England after V-E Day. In 1946 he was honored as Brownwood’s outstanding young man.
S. J. (Skipper) Howard was an outstanding athlete, a man recognized for his bravery and patriotism. His alma mater proudly installs him in its athletic Hall of Honor.
Billy N. Little
This Woodson High School football and basketball star came to Daniel Baker in the fall of 1948. Having numerous opportunities to go elsewhere, Bill accepted an athletic scholarship from the alma mater of his famous brother and DBC Hall of Honor member, John Little.
Fresh from an outstanding two-sport career at Woodson High School, he quickly established himself as a competitor in both football and basketball at Daniel Baker and earned two letters in each sport. No DBC athlete put more of himself into his football play than did Bill Little. One of his teammates said of Him, “No one worked harder than Bill. He was tough, tenacious and unselfish—he would play any position the coach asked him to play, offense or defense, and give his best effort. However, he was a natural at linebacker. He would run sideline to sideline, run over his own teammates and opponents alike and introduce himself to the ball carrier…in a most unwelcome way. He talked a little trash and backed it up with bone-jarring tackles.”
In addition to his athletic participation, Bill was active in campus life as a member of the Letterman’s Association, the Tau Kappa Delta Fraternity, and he held the distinction of being elected sweetheart of the Coggin Society. It is rumored that it was during this time that he met and courted the beautiful Dorothy Cole who was later to become his wife.
When Daniel Baker College dropped its football program in 1951, Bill transferred to Howard Payne College where he became an outstanding center/linebacker for the yellow jackets. He lettered and started for the jackets for two years, before receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in education at the end of the fall semester in January 1953.
He then promptly married his college sweetheart and moved to Wichita Falls and a job with Pan American Geophysical Company. However, Bill’s love for and training in athletics led to his accepting an assistant coaching position at DeLeon High School in the fall of 1953. Five years later, he became the head coach, a position he held until 1963.
During his years as a coach and teacher Bill prepared himself for a career in public school administration; having completed a master’s degree in education at Howard Payne University in 1962. When the opportunity came for him to shift from coaching to administration, he took the job as principal at Gorman High School. A year later, he moved to McCamey as high school principal, a position he held for ten years before being elevated to the position of superintendent of schools in McCamey. He remained in that position for 16 years.
Bill retired in June of 1990 after a long and productive career, a career that spanned 37 years as a coach, teacher, principal and superintendent. During those years, he achieved a high level of professional renown in public school education. He had a positive impact on his profession and the communities where he has lived. He is admired for his ceaseless dedication and his integrity, which are woven into his character and applied, in his work with sensitivity and balance.
Bill Little has truly brought distinction and acclaim to Daniel Baker College. Induction into this Hall of Honor is a fitting recognition of his achievements.
John E. Little
John E. Little, talented athlete, popular coach, and highly successful public school administrator, died suddenly at the age of 53. At the time of his death, he was principal of Killeen’s only high school. In describing him, his students used these words of the prophet Micah: “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Such a man was their principal.
He was a three-sport high school standout who earned football letters at Albany, Eliasville, and Woodson. His athletic ability brought him to Daniel Baker College where he was a four year letterman in football, president of the Junior in 1936 and was elected student body president his senior year. He maintained a high grade point average even though he spent a lot of time playing golf—a sport in which he earned three varsity letters. He received a B.S. from DBC in 1937, a M.A. from Southwestern University in 1955, and continued with doctoral study at the University of Texas.
John was a powerful blocking fullback. He carried the football only when the gain of a few yards was essential to the outcome of the game. On those rare occasions, the call in the huddle was “It’s time for John’s play.”
After graduation from DBC, he coached for three years at Santa Anna and Miranda City. In 1941, he was employed by the Texas Department of Public Safety as a highway patrolman and was stationed at Sweetwater and Eastland. In 1946, he returned to coaching and held head coaching positions at Eastland, Graham, and Belton. John became an elementary school principal at Fort Hood in Killeen I.S.D. in 1952. In 1955, Killeen’s School Board started a search for an experienced, people-oriented principal who could provide leadership to a large high school with a rapidly growing student body. A wise choice was essential and the time was right for John Little. It was “time for John’s play,” and he was named principal of Killeen’s Meadows High school, a position he held until his death in 1964.
John Little achieved a high level of professional renown as a coach and administrator, and he did so without compromising those aspects of his life that he valued: family, coaching, teaching, friendships, church and community service. He was a respected leader in the United Methodist Church and took a positive role in community affairs. He belonged to the Order of the Red Red Rose, an organization of school administrators, and the Lion’s Clubs in communities where he lived.
The honors and awards he received during his lifetime are so numerous that it would be difficult to adequately share them here. After his death, the city of Killeen’s Condor Park Pavilion was officially named the John E. Little Pavilion to honor him and to recognize his many contributions to the community.
John E. Little has brought great distinction to Daniel Baker College and when the call went out for nominations for the Hillbilly Hall of Honor, every former Hillbilly knew, “It was time once more for John’s play.”
John Mac Miller
John Mac Miller, a four-sport high school star at both May and Brownwood attended Daniel Baker College from 1925 through 1929. He won all-state honors while playing basketball for Brownwood High School. He made the pages of a well-known national magazine while at May H.S. when he scored 62 points in a tournament game at Stephenville—and he did not play in the second half.
Mac enrolled at DBC in the fall of 1925, and for the next four years he rewrote the record books for The Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association—and his records were not in just basketball, but also in football, baseball, and track and field. He earned a letter in each sport during his four years at Daniel Baker and wound up a brilliant college career with sixteen letter sweaters.
Mac was by every measure a multi-sports superstar. His athletic performance was called “super” long before sports information officers coined that term to describe outstanding ability in a sport. He was a superstar in three sports and many would claim he was superb in four. Mac, an impact player, led the Billies to four TIAA Conference championships during his playing days at DBC: football in 1926 and 1928, basketball in 1929, and baseball in 1929.
Mac drew much press attention each time he stepped on the playing field or court. He was an offensive guard and defensive end in football, and he played without a helmet. As a freshman basketball player at DBC, he led the nation in scoring 426 points−and he continued to set records as the leading scorer in TIAA basketball in each of his four years at DBC, tallying more than 1500 points.
Mac was recognized as the best baseball player in the conference, winning games and setting records with his hitting and base running. His stellar play at short stop was a thing of beauty to DBC fans−he had a tremendous signature game against Notre Dame when his two-out ninth inning home run won the game. This was nothing unusual for Mac.
Miller was the recipient of many honors while he wore the blue and white. He was a consensus All-TIAA Conference pick in three sports: basketball for four years, baseball for three years and football for three years. In his junior year, he was offered a baseball tryout with the Houston Buffs but turned it down for another year at DBC. In his senior year, he was offered a contract with the Chicago White Sox, but turned it down to become the head basketball coach at Brownwood High School where he coached for twelve years. He led his teams to several district and bi-district championships. Mac gave up coaching in 1942 and became a successful rancher and breeder of championship Hereford cattle.
John Mac Miller died in 1952 at the age of 43. At his funeral, sports writer George Kellam said, “John Mac Miller was one of the most legendary athletic figures that central and west Texas has ever seen.” His son, Donnell Mac Miller, an outstanding athlete himself, will accept the award and participate in the enshrinement of his “sports legend” dad in the Daniel Baker College Hillbilly Hall of Honor.
Sam McLaughlin is immortalized in the hearts of Daniel Baker College fans and his friends, not because of his exploits as an athlete, but because of the horrifying injury he suffered on February 27, 1939…and what happened in the years that followed.
Sam, a 180-pound freshman athlete with a promising future in basketball and football, was making a tackle in a spring practice workout when he suffered a life-threatening spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Sam would never walk or run again. He was forced to spend the rest of his life in bed.
The months that followed that February afternoon in ‘39 were a struggle for Sam and the McLaughlin family, but Sam was a competitor. He never gave up. He did not become bitter or dejected, and he did not blame football for his injury, but years later, in an interview with a Brownwood Bulletin columnist he did say, “It’s not what life does to you that counts. It’s your reaction to what it does to you that counts.”
Tommy Thompson, Galveston press sports writer, who interviewed Sam in John Sealy Hospital following kidney surgery, said, “You never forget a true champion, a man with courage, heart, determination, and the ability to smile in bitterest defeat. That is why Sam McLaughlin is remembered…he is a champion without medals or trophies. Anyone who knows him could never forget this little man with laughing brown eyes, a ready smile, a fragile body, and a fighting heart beyond compare.”
In 1954, two of his former teammates, Bill Adams and Dr. Kenneth Hestes, led in establishing the Sam McLaughlin Fund. It made life easier for Sam and his mother.
Thanksgiving 1955 was designated Sam McLaughlin Day by Howard Payne University. It was a day of celebration for Sam, HPU and DBC Ex-Students and the city of Brownwood. Howard Payne officials arranged for ringing the DBC bell before and after the game, the HPU band played the DBC Alma Mater during the half-time ceremony honoring Sam. Howard Payne President Emeritus, Dr. Thomas H. Taylor, presented a certificate of merit to Sam in recognition of his courage. Howard Payne defeated Abilene Christian College that day and the HPU players presented Sam with the game ball, and to cap it all, the Yellow Jacket Club made Sam a life member.
Sam McLaughlin, Brown County’s top sportsman, said in another press interview, “I guess I am just about the luckiest fellow alive. You have no idea how many friends I’ve made in the last few years.” Sam’s courage and his desire to keep up with his classmates made him DBC’s most beloved ex-student. In 1967, DBC’s Ex-Students Association established the Distinguished Alumnus Award, and Sam was the first recipient.
Sam McLaughlin retained throughout his life what DBC Exes refer to as “The Old Daniel Baker Spirit.” Because of his outstanding devotion to his community, his college and his teammates, and through his demonstration of spirit and courage, Sam McLaughlin has brought attention and acclaim to his alma mater. He has earned his place in the Hall of Honor.
Jack F. Meredith
Jack Meredith grew up in the small west Texas town of Archer City, where he set the pace for competition in the Panhandle region from 1944 through 1947. Earning three letters each in football, basketball and track, he was an All-District halfback in ‘45 and in 1946 he was named to the all-district team as an end and was voted District 12-A’s Most Valuable Player. He was named to the district’s all-tournament basketball team three consecutive years, and he captured the sprint event championships for District 12-A in 1946 and 47.
In the fall of 1948, fresh from his unanimous all-everything athletic honors at Archer City High, he came to Daniel Baker on an athletic scholarship where he played under three different coaches; first under Chester “Cotton” Weidman, next under the legendary Paul Tyson, and in his last year under Bob Masters. In his final year at Baker, in a game against Louisiana Tech, Jack made the most memorable play of his college career. Playing wide receiver, he sprinted into the end zone to catch a pass for a touchdown. That was the last touchdown ever to be scored by a Hillbilly athlete!
After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in 1951, Jack accepted a job as assistant coach at Floydada where he served for two years under his former high school mentor, the late Preston Watson. He moved to the head coach position at Happy, Texas in 1954 and won the district championship in ‘55. The Happy Cowboys were ranked third in The Dallas Morning News top ten for the state, and Jack was named the Panhandle Area Coach of the Year.
He moved from Happy to Crosbyton in 1956 and in three years took a downtrodden program to a district co-championship. Those successful years at Crosbyton were followed by five years of restructuring and reshaping the athletic program at Hereford where losing had become a habit. No district championship there, but the coaching job he did at Hereford earned him another Coach of the Year honor and solidified his reputation as a winner and as one who did it the right way.
In 1967, Coach Meredith took command of the District 13-3A program at Belton and in three years led the cellar-dwelling tigers back into the winner’s circle with two district championships and a trip to the state championship semi-finals. Jack’s coaching achievements at Belton earned him Central Texas Coach of the Year honors in 1968 and again in 1969, his last year in coaching.
In 1974, after three years as owner of a private business, Jack returned to Belton I.S.D. as high school principal. In 1979 he was appointed assistant superintendent, a position he held until retirement in 1996.
During the forty-five years of his professional life as a coach, teacher, principal and superintendent, Jack received many honors, served on numerous boards and advisory councils. He was chosen Coach of the Year four times. He served for four years as a director of the Texas High School Coaches Association. He designed and supervised the building of Belton’s new football stadium. Too numerous to name are the civic and charitable boards and committees on which he has served.
Jack Meredith is one of the most successful coaches in Texas High School football with a record of 146 wins, 58 losses and 1 tie. But he is far more than a great football coach. Scores of letters from students, their parents and fellow coaches say Jack Meredith was a man who had a very positive impact on their lives. He is a dedicated Christian and a wise counselor who leads by example. He set high standards of conduct and performance and held others to them. Jack Meredith is an example of the way life should be lived. Jack Meredith is one of Daniel Baker’s most outstanding alumni. He has earned his place in this Hall of Honor.
Billy M. Miller
Billy Miller is one of this nation’s most successful college football coaches. In his thirteen years as head of the football program at Southwest Texas State University, he posted the winningest record in school history, 94 wins, 53 losses and 3 ties, a record that stands today. However, Billy Miller is far more than a great football coach; his greatest impact on intercollegiate athletics came during his 16 years of service as director of all athletic programs at Southwest Texas State. It was during those years that he was to become one of the most respected and dedicated leaders in Texas college athletics.
Billy Miller grew up in the small central Texas town of Goldthwaite. He was an outstanding student and a three-sport star. After graduating from Goldthwaite High School in 1948, he attended Westminster College on a basketball and academic scholarship. After one year there, he transferred to Daniel Baker College where he earned two letters each in football and basketball.
In 1951, at the outbreak of the Korean War, Bill left DBC to enlist in the U. S. Navy. He played one more year of collegiate level football in the U. S. Naval Training Center’s selective program for athletics before being assigned to the U.S.S. Minifee, a ship designed for troop transport on missions of amphibious landings. One such landing was at Inchon, South Korea.
Following a four-year tour of duty in the U.S. Navy, Billy enrolled at Southwest Texas State University where he completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and earned two letters in football and one in track.
After coaching and teaching for three years in the Corpus Christi public schools, Bill returned to Southwest Texas State University in 1961 as assistant football coach. In 1964, he was promoted to the head coach post, a position he held for thirteen years. He later went on to become Southwest Texas State’s Director of Athletics where he served with distinction until his retirement in 1992.
Under Billy Miller’s guidance as the school’s first full time athletic director, Southwest Texas became the powerhouse in the University’s move through three athletic conferences and from the NAIA into Division I of the NCAA. During this time Southwest Texas State won 29 conference titles, five consecutive all-sports championships, nine all-sports trophies, four national team championships and two NCAA Division I individual championships.
During his tenure as Director of Athletics, he coordinated and assisted in the design of the University’s football stadium. In addition, he designed and supervised the installation of a “state of the art” natural grass turf system for the playing field. Beyond athletics, he developed a “special talents” entrance program for students with special abilities who were seeking admission to the university, and he began an awards program for student athletes who had lettered and completed their degree program in five years.
Coach Miller was selected to serve on the NCAA Council in 1981. This council is the governing body for all intercollegiate athletics in the United States. He served in this capacity for three years.
Upon the occasion of his retirement, University President Jerome Supple said, “We are indeed sorry to see Billy leave. It is difficult to think of SWT athletics without him.” Executive Vice President Michael Abbott, who was Miller’s boss, said, “Billy is a man of great integrity with remarkable administrative skills, but his most enduring quality is that he genuinely cares about the people—the athletes, his staff, and the university. I have always been grateful to Billy because I can sleep at night without worrying that I will wake up to the headlines that the NCAA is investigating SWT. It was always reassuring to know that Billy Miller was at the helm of the University’s athletic ship.”
In recognition of his leadership and accomplishments in the field of college athletics Billy Miller has been the recipient of many awards and honors:
• Twice selected to coach the Texas High School football All Stars in the Oil Bowl game against Oklahoma High School All Stars.
• Selected to coach the Green Belt Bowl in 1977, a football all-star game between East and West Texas High Schools.
• He was inducted into Southwest Texas State’s Athletic Hall of Honor in 1984, a Hall of Honor that he founded in 1971.
• He received the Southwest Texas State University Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1991.
• He received the Hall of Honor Award from the Southland Conference for his career accomplishments and outstanding leadership in athletic administration.
• He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Daniel Baker College in 2003.
• He received the alumni Achievement Award from Texas State University in 2005.
Billy Miller is a man with a record of high achievement. He is a man who will take his place in the history of athletes alongside the likes of Milton Jowers, Grant Teaff, Darrell Royal and other giants of Texas college football. The remarkable story of Billy Miller goes far beyond the words contained in this short citation, but it must be stated that the distinguished career of Billy Miller; player, coach and administrator, and his exemplary lifestyle have earned him his place in the Daniel Baker College Hall of Honor. Billy Miller epitomizes the very best that Daniel Baker College represented.
Joe H. Moring
Joe Moring, Mr. Basketball at Daniel Baker College, was the top collegiate basketball scorer in Texas in his senior year. His record of 418 points in the 1950-1951 seasons was set before the rule change that created the “3 point” shot. Joe was deadly accurate inside the paint with his turn-around jumper.
Joe played high school basketball at Proctor and was a one-year letterman at Amarillo Junior College before coming to DBC where he earned two letters in football and three in basketball. He was elected basketball team captain for each of his three years of participation in that sport. As a DBC student, Moring was elected vice-president of the Lettermen’s Association and senior class president in 1950-1951. After completing his Bachelor of Science degree in 1951, he taught and coached at Friendship and Fort Stockton High Schools for thirteen years, during which time he earned a Master of Arts degree from Sul Ross State University.
Moring retired as superintendent of Bishop I. S. D. in 1988 after 37 years of service as a coach, teacher, principal and superintendent at Friendship, Ft. Stockton, and Bishop. He was named “West Texas Coach of the Year” in 1962 and served two years as Director of the Texas High School Coaches Association. He served three years on the Interscholastic League Review Board. He also found time to serve as an advisory board member to the Coastal Bend Administrator’s Association, The Council of Governments and the Regional Education Service Center.
Throughout his professional life, Joe Moring has given unselfishly of his time and expertise to community organizations and charitable activities. He was elected president of three different Lions Clubs, served as president of the Chamber of Commerce on two occasions and was appointed chairman of the Ft. Stockton Water Carnival in 1963.
Joe is a dedicated Christian leader in The United Methodist Church. He has been elected Lay Leader by his local congregation on six occasions and is a certified Methodist Lay Speaker. He has been Sunday School teacher for 47 years. For his work throughout the Southwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, he was named Outstanding Layperson in 1989.
This outstanding former DBC athlete has received the Business and Professional Award for Outstanding Service from the Bishop Chamber of Commerce in 1988, served as President of the DBC Ex-Students Association in 1994, and received the DBC Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1998.
Joe Moring was a super athlete, a dedicated educational leader and is one of Daniel Baker’s most outstanding alumni.
Everett V. Nicholson
Everett Nicholson attended Daniel Baker College from 1948 through the fall semester of 1950. He was an outstanding football and basketball player and was chosen co-captain of the 1950 football squad by his teammates. He was a champion bull rider and bareback broncobuster and was named best all-around cowboy of the 1950 DBC Rodeo. He was active in campus activities and was selected most athletic Hillbilly in 1950, and he was chosen Coggin Society Sweetheart that same year.
Nicholson left Daniel Baker to enlist in the U. S. Navy in January 1951. He was ordered back from the combat zone in Korea to play football for the San Diego Naval Base where he played four seasons of collegiate level football on a San Diego team made up of former college stars, many of whom were All-American selections. While playing service football, he was selected to play on a navy-marine corp. all-star team against the Washington Redskins in a charity game for the U. S. Navy Relief Fund. Everett must have made quite an impression on the pro-scouts because soon the Cleveland Browns were hot on his trail. He ended his service football career assigned to Special Services to develop and administer recreation programs for navy and marine corp. personnel.
Following Navy service, Everett enrolled at The University of Arizona where he earned his B. S. Degree in 1957, a master’s degree in 1960, and later an administration certification for public school education. While at Arizona, he played one more year of college football and played in two post-season bowl games: the Salad Bowl, renamed the Fiesta Bowl, and the Christian Bowl, a collegiate all-star game, East vs. West. He served as freshman line coach in 1956, his last undergraduate year at The University of Arizona.
In 1957 Everett began a brilliant career of coaching, teaching and administration at Catalina High School where he served as department head for health and physical education, summer school principal, and head football coach. He ended a 31-year tenure at Catalina High School serving as athletic director from 1974 through 1988. While at Catalina, he also served as a consultant in weight management for the Thomas-Davis Medical Clinic and as a personal trainer for the handicapped.
Throughout his professional life, Everett has given unselfishly of his time and expertise to the many professional organizations to which he belonged, including: The Arizona State Education Assoc., The Arizona Assoc. for Health and Physical Ed., the Arizona Coaches Assoc., The National High School Athletic Directors Assoc., and the National Football Coaches Association.
He has received many honors and awards for his distinguished service as an athletic coach and professional educator. Among his many honors are: the Arizona Interscholastic Assoc., Service Award; The AAA interscholastic Outstanding Athletic Director Award; The Retiring Administrator Award; and in 1988 the Catalina Athletic Stadium was named The Everett Nicholson Stadium. His outstanding achievements as an athlete and public school educator have brought national attention and high acclaim to Daniel Baker College.
Jon M. Payne
Honored as a DBC Distinguished Alumnus in 1978, Jon Payne participated in six sports while enrolled at Daniel Baker College. He earned letters in baseball, track, boxing and wrestling and was picked all-conference in basketball and football. His classmates elected him best all-around athlete in his senior year.
A native of Hillsboro and a longtime resident of Fort Worth, Jon received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Daniel Baker in 1938. Before beginning a life-long career as a salesman, he coached briefly at Seymour, Texas, and spent his World War II years serving as a lieutenant in the U. S. Navy.
Following his navy service, he started his career-long tenure with the American Greeting Corporation. His positive attitude coupled with a strong desire to help people won him the place as top salesman and a promotion to Assistant National Sales Manager early in his career. He remained with that organization until retirement. During this time he won wide recognition for his work as a community leader and for his volunteer work with charitable organizations. He has served on numerous board and advisory councils. He was chosen Outstanding Board Member of the Texas Drug Travelers Association and was a member of The University of Texas School of Pharmacy Advisory Council.
Jon and Mildred are active members of The University United Methodist Church of Fort Worth where Jon has been Chairman of The Administrative Board and has taught the Men’s Bible for many years.
Payne, an avid golfer, has been a prime mover in making Fort Worth’s Colonial Country Club one of the best in the nation. During his 44 years as a member, he has served in numerous leadership roles and has won several awards.
Jon Payne’s record of alumni support is inspiring. He has represented Daniel Baker College and Howard Payne University well over the past fifty years, serving as President of The DBC Ex-Student Association, Vice President of The Howard Payne University Ex-Students Association, as a member of the Yellow Jacket Century Club, as a founding sponsor of the Sammy McLaughlin Fund, and he led in the move to establish the DBC Ex-Students Scholarship Fund.
Jon Payne’s career is marked by high achievement, admirable service and great loyalty to his family, his church, and his community and to our nation. He has earned a place of high respect in this Daniel Baker College Hillbilly Hall of Honor.
Hubert Benjamin Ray
Known only as “Hue Ben” to his DBC classmates and friends, Hubert Benjamin Ray grew up in Brown County and graduated from Zephyr High School in 1946. He enrolled at Daniel Baker College in the fall of ‘46 and became the only four-year basketball letterman-starter after DBC resumed intercollegiate play following World War II.
Hue Ben had more the appearance and demeanor of an academic scholar than the look of a basketball star. He was only about 5’9”, was not particularly fast and could not jump very high; but with his vision, guile and smarts, he became a great playmaker. He was consistently one of the leading scorers, and he became one of the best point guards ever to wear the blue and white.
In Hue Ben’s days at DBC all those on athletic scholarships were required to work; each was assigned a job. Hue Ben’s job title was Student Manager of Athletics. At DBC, that was two jobs, equipment manager and athletic trainer. Both were demanding of time and energy. Both required a high level of expertise and a full knowledge of the requirements. Hue Ben performed each fully, responsibly, and with professional competence during his four years at DBC.
Hue Ben’s humble demeanor, his dependability, and his manner of working to get things done made him one of the most active and popular students at Daniel Baker College. He was a leader in the AOF fraternity, secretary of the Billy Club, secretary/treasurer of the student body, runner-up as most popular boy on campus and runner-up as best athlete. In addition, he was assistant editor of The Collegian, was named to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, and graduated Cum Laude in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics. He did all that while serving as Manager of Athletics and starring for four years on the basketball court. That was our Hue Ben Ray.
Shortly after graduation from DBC Hue Ben enlisted in the U. S. Navy, completed boot camp and went to personnel school. He was selected for officer’s candidate school and was sent to Newport, Rhode Island. He graduated from OCS as an ensign and was assigned to active duty in the Korean War aboard the aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade.
After discharge from the navy in 1955, Hue Ben remained active in The United States Naval Reserve and advanced to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. In recognition of his meritorious military service, Hubert Benjamin Ray was awarded the Korean Service Medal with four stars, the China Service Medal, The United States Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.
Hue Ben began his civilian career in Brownwood, Texas, as a sales representative with Southwestern States Telephone Company. From there he moved to General Manager with Thornhill Publishing Company in Kilgore, which later merged with General Telephone Company. Hue Ben remained with General Telephone and served in various administrative roles that took him and his family to Long Beach, California; Mt. Prospect, Illinois; St. Petersburg, Florida; and San Angelo, Texas, prior to his untimely death in August 1990.
This former DBC athlete lived a life of dedicated service to his country, his church, and his family. Throughout his professional life, he gave unselfishly of his time and expertise to community organizations, his church and to charitable activities. He was in every way a representative of the high standards expected for membership in the Daniel Baker College Sports Hall of Honor.
Hue Ben was a great athlete, a dedicated professional leader, a patriotic American and is surely one of Daniel Baker’s most outstanding alumni.
T. M. (Pete) Roach
This Rising Star High School football star earned all-district honors for four years. He repeated that feat at Daniel Baker College earning all-conference honors four times as a center and linebacker. He earned a starting job at center for his first game as a freshman and held on to it for four years. The thing that set Pete apart from other players was his competitive attitude. He made blocking and tackling a “mind set” –and he carried that philosophy into his coaching.
Pete Roach earned a B. S. Degree from Daniel Baker in 1936. Following graduation, he coached at Desdemona for one year and in 1937 moved to Hamilton as athletic director and head coach. In his first year, Hamilton won a first ever district championship. Then came “Pearl Harbor” and Pete enlisted in the U. S. Navy. He rose in rank to lieutenant and served his country for four years. In 1951, Pete moved from Hamilton to Mineral Wells where he took a woeful team of Mountaineers to a winning season in his first year. Not even the most optimistic of their long-suffering fans had an inkling of the glory soon to be theirs, of victories over archrival Weatherford and a district championship. Roach the coach was like Roach the player. He said “It’s all about believing you can win and going out and doing it.” His players believed in him, as did his assistant coaches. He knew how to build a winner, and his coaching record proved it.
During his early years of coaching, Pete attended Baylor University each summer and earned a Master of Science Degree and a certification in Education Administration. This led to his move from coaching to public school administration in 1955, first as high school principal at Temple, Texas. In 1956, he became Superintendent of Rosebud I.S.D. where he soon became known in administrative circles as the superintendent who could take a rundown school district with dilapidated, inadequate and condemned facilities and rebuild it into an effective educational system with new, attractive adequate and safe buildings and grounds. He did just that at Cisco I.S.D. and Marlin I.S.D. before returning to Hamilton as superintendent where he served until retirement in 1976.
Travis Morgan (Pete) Roach built a record of high achievement from the day he entered high school at Rising Star, Texas, until his retirement at Hamilton, Texas. He was truly a rising star from that small west Texas town which bore that name; all-district, all-conference in athletics, excellent academic record, effective naval officer, great football coach, outstanding superintendent. In every city where he and his family lived, Pete was involved in community activities; Rotary Clubs, Jaycees, Lions Clubs and Chambers of Commerce. He was an active Mason, a volunteer fireman and coached little league sports. On Sunday mornings, Pete, Tissie, Judy and Travis could always be found at The United Methodist Church of the community where they lived.
Pete married Juanita (Tissie) Thomason, DBC Football Sweetheart, in 1937. Tissie is here today to receive the award and assist in the enshrinement of this outstanding Hillbilly in this Hall of Honor.
D. W. (Donnie) Rowland
Donnie Rowland played high school football at Marshall, Texas. He came to Daniel Baker College in 1947 along with his coach Chester “Cotton” Weidman. A four-year football letterman, he was recruited as a guard but was moved to fullback in the single wing offense of Coach Paul Tyson. Donnie was a speedy and savvy lineman. Although a bit small for the positions he played, he held his own and in most cases had his opponent pinned when DBC relied upon the dive play over him for yardage. He was named co-captain of the 1950 football squad.
As a Daniel Baker student, Rowland was elected vice-president of the sophomore in 1948-49 and was named “most popular boy” in 1950. He served as vice-president of the Student Senate in 1950-51 and was a member of the College Choir from 1947 to 1951. During those same years he was also a member of the T.K.D. Fraternity, the Letterman’s Association, and a slugger on the collegiate boxing team.
After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1951, Rowland coached one year at Joshua High School. He then served in the U. S. Army from 1953-1955 with a tour of duty in Turkey.
After being honorably discharged from the U. S. Army in 1955, Donnie was employed as an accountant with Texaco Inc. for thirty-five years. During his tenure with Texaco he was located in Denver City, Texas, Hobbs, New Mexico, and Midland, Texas. He held positions of district accountant and staff accountant.
Throughout his professional career, Donnie has been active in civic affairs and in numerous professional organizations. He has received many honors and served in a leadership role in several organizations.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the West Texas-New Mexico Federal Credit Union and has served as its president and treasurer. He has been a local scoutmaster. He is a past president of the DBC Ex-Students Association and is an active member of the DBC Billy Club. In 1999 he received the Gus Snodgrass Award for outstanding service to the DBC Ex-Students Association.
He is currently president of the Good “Sam” West Texas Gadabout Chapter. You will need to ask him about this one.
Donnie was an outstanding student athlete, and he established a record of high achievement in his professional career. His induction into this Hall of Honor is an expression of the DBC Ex-Students respect and admiration for Donnie W. Rowland.
Robert A. “Gus” Snodgrass
Gus Snodgrass was a three-sport letterman at Daniel Baker College from 1928 to 1932. Because of his size and speed, he was a standout in football and was offered a chance to play for the Chicago Bears. He turned the offer down and took a high school coaching position. While at DBC, he was among the nation’s top sprinters and in winning the Texas Intercollegiate Conference Championship in 1931, he set records of 9.3 seconds in the 100-yard dash and 21.3 in the 220-yard dash. He drew national attention that year while competing in the N.C.A.A. Invitational Meet in Chicago.
His sprint records, which were set on a dirt track without starting blocks, remained on the books until 1956 when they were broken by Olympic gold medalist Bobby Morrow.
While at DBC, where he earned B. S. and B. A. degrees, he was captain of the ‘31 track team, president of the senior class, and president of the student body. He later went on to earn an M. A. degree from Hardin Simmons University. Gus Snodgrass was one of the states most distinguished high school track coaches. During his 21 years as head track coach at Brownwood High School, he won 18 district titles, nine regional crowns and the state 3A championship in1962.
Gus served in the United States Navy from 1943 through 1945 and was an instructor in the U. S. Navy V-12 Officer Training Program at The University of Texas.
His outstanding ability as a collegiate sprinter and his record as a high school track coach have earned Gus high honors and much acclaim:
• Named Daniel Baker College Distinguished Alumnus in 1969
• Elected President of the DBC Ex-Students Association for 1968-1969
• Elected to the Texas High School Coaches Association’s Hall of Honor in 1983, the highest honor a Texas high school coach can receive.
• Elected to Howard Payne University’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986
• Elected to the Gordon Wood (Brownwood High School) Hall of Champions
During his lifetime, Gus was active in his church and civic organizations. He was the fastest man ever to wear the blue and white of his alma mater. He was one of Texas’s most successful high school track coaches. He is one who has brought great distinction to Daniel Baker College.
Carroll “Crazy Legs” Tatom
This former Hillbilly athlete from Putnam, Texas, received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Daniel Baker College in 1950 and a Master of Education Degree from Hardin Simmons University in 1960. During his fifty-year professional career, Carroll has quietly gone about establishing a record of high achievement as a teacher, coach and administrator in Texas Public Schools.
During his student days at Daniel Baker, Carroll was a three-year football letterman and was elected co-captain of the 1948 and the 1949 football teams. He earned one letter in basketball, was Vice President of the Junior and was named to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.
After graduation from DBC, he coached for two years before being inducted into the United States Army (Korean War). With the army came more football and he was named to the U. S. Third Army All-Star Football Team in 1953. Following his army service, Carroll coached for six years at Wink High School where his team won the state track championship in 1959 and was runner-up in 1960.
Tatom moved into public school administration in 1960 with short terms as principal at Wink and McCamey before becoming a superintendent and spending the next 25 years heading school districts at Albany, Winters, Brady and Graham, Texas.
Following his distinguished service as a superintendent, he was associated in 1988 with Region 14 Education Service Center and has served as mentor to new superintendents, provided special assistance to dysfunctional schools, and has written a generic code of conduct for Region 14 schools.
Carroll retired in July 2000 after a long and productive career. He made important contributions to public school education in Texas. During his tenure as a superintendent his expertise and leadership were sought by many, and he served on numerous boards, committees and advisory commissions including: The Texas Education Agency, The University Interscholastic League Executive Board, West Texas American Heritage Project, the T.E.A.’s Tri-Partnership Initiative Team to Assist Dysfunctional Schools, and he chaired numerous advisory committees for the Regional Education Service Center.
Carroll Tatom is the recipient of many honors and awards for distinguished service to his profession, community and church: He was named Region IX Superintendent of The Year in 1986-1987 and in 1987-1988; he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Vocational Agriculture Teacher’s Association of Texas; He was named Outstanding Citizen of The Year in 1969 by the Winters Chamber of Commerce.
Carroll was elected President of The DBC Ex-Students Association in 1972, he received The Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2000, the highest honor that is awarded by the DBC Ex-Students Association, and he was selected as chair of DBC Legacy Society Founding Committee in 2001.
Induction into The Hillbilly Hall of Honor is another statement about the life of this outstanding former Daniel Baker College athlete. His outstanding record of achievement has earned him the admiration and respect of all who know him.
In the spring of 1934, looking for the best man available to head up its athletic program, Daniel Baker College tapped a product of its former conference archrival to fill the bill; Gene Taylor. A 1927 graduate of Texas Christian University, Taylor was All Southwest Conference in both football and basketball and excelled in baseball as well. He was a great outside shooter in basketball and a star running back and pass receiver in TCU’s double wing offense.
Following graduation form TCU, Taylor quickly drew the attention of the athletic world by building a winning football program at Uvalde in one year. He lost only one game that season, and his exceptional record at Uvalde led to a move to Post. In his only year there he won the regional championship. His reputation as a coach who could “turn a program around” quickly spread throughout the state and his services were in high demand. This prompted a move to Spur where he coached for two years, had two undefeated seasons and two regional championships. Then it was to Brownwood High School where he continued his winning ways.
After eight successful years of high school coaching, Gene Taylor moved to the college level and tougher competition. Coming to Daniel Baker in 1934, Coach Taylor stepped into a difficult assignment as head coach of all sports and director of an under-funded athletic program that had just moved into the new and very competitive Texas Athletic Conference.
Gene Taylor took on the challenging task in Taylor fashion. In his first year at the helm, his football team, picked to finish last, ended in the runner-up slot losing the title to cross-town rival Howard Payne. And in the spring of that first year his Hillbilly basketeers captured second place honors as well. That was a message to the Texas Conference of what was to be expected of Taylor-coached teams in the future. In his second year, the Billies finished third in football and ended the basketball season in a strong second place, breathing down the necks of the West Texas State buffaloes for the championship at the final whistle.
In his final year at DBC, the Taylor-coached Hillbillies were runner-up again in football and took the basketball crown in a breeze. Four runner-up honors and a conference championship in three seasons was a Herculean accomplishment for a program that was picked to be among the Texas Conference cellar-dwellers in all sports.
These were times of economic depression in America. Daniel Baker’s financial future was “shaky,” and at the end of the 1937 season, Coach Taylor was forced to seek a more stable financial environment for his family. This being the case, he accepted an athletic director’s position with the U. S. Civilian Conservation Corps at Beaumont and two years later, he was promoted to commander of the CCC Camp in Austin.
At the on-set of war, Gene was commissioned a lieutenant Junior Grade and served four years in the Pacific Theater. He ended his naval career as a commander in charge of the Naval Embarkation Center at Treasure Island, California. Returning to civilian life, he spent his remaining professional years as Director of Athletics with the Veteran’s Administration at Waco. He died in 1955 at the age of 53.
By whatever standards one may use to measure success in coaching, Gene Taylor must be ranked as one of the most successful all-around coaches in Texas athletic history. He possessed a certain genius, as Tom Landry best stated, “of motivating young men to do what they didn’t want to do in order to achieve what they wanted to achieve.” Restated, he possessed the great quality of bringing out the best in the young men he coached. He was demanding of their effort, and he led them to excellence.
Gene Taylor was a man of achievement:
• He was selected All-Southwest conference in two sports. Few have ever gained that honor.
• He was listed among coaching’s outstanding by sports writers.
• He was a life member of the Southwest Football Officials Association.
• He was a life member of the Parent Teachers Association of Texas.
• He had a distinguished record as a U. S. Naval officer.
• He was a life member of the TCU’ Ex-Letterman Association.
• He was a member of the Masonic Lodge
• He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of The Southwest Football Officials.
• He was a patriotic American, a man of deep convictions and strong principles.
Gene Taylor has brought distinction and honor to Daniel Baker College. Induction into this Hall of Honor is a fitting recognition of his achievements.
Elmer M. (Hotdog) Thompson
Elmer M. (Hotdog) Thompson was a three-sport standout at Rusk High School. He was a World War II U. S. Navy veteran when he came to Daniel Baker College. He had played basketball on the championship team for the U. S. Naval Air Base at Corpus Christi where he also won an individual championship in swimming. He came to DBC in 1947 with a young wife, a baby daughter and with definite goals in mind…to perform well in athletics, to earn a college degree, and in the process to learn as much as possible about how to become a successful coach. He achieved those goals.
As a DBC student, he demonstrated outstanding ability in football and basketball, earning two letters in each sport. He was captain of the 1947-1948 basketball squad and was named “most athletic” Hillbilly that year. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949. Elmer was an outstanding athlete, but he is remembered best for the kind of person he was; he was a man of strong values—morally and spiritually. His conduct on the playing field and court, in the classroom and on and off the campus was exemplary. He was the conscience for the teams on which he played.
Athletics were Elmer’s hobby and his profession. His wife, Freddye, said she should have been alerted to the role athletics would play in their life when he delayed being mustered out of the navy for six weeks so that he could finish the basketball season with his navy team.
After completing his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1949, he accepted a job as assistant coach at Rusk High School and soon became head coach and athletic director. He built a winning program there in football, basketball and track and coached the great James Swink who would later become a football All-American.
He moved from Rusk to Hull-Daisetta and in ten years, there took his team to the State Championship game in 1961, losing 18-12. That year he was the runner-up “Coach of The Year in Texas,” and in a tremendous signature year in his coaching career, his Hull-Daisetta team rewrote the Class-2A record books for points scored, yards gained, first downs and over-all defense.
Those successful years at Hull-Daisetta were followed by establishing winning programs at Orangefield, Anahuac and Mexia. During those years, he also served as a Director of The Texas High School Coaches Association and was on the committee for selecting high school athletes to participate in the annual High School All-Star Game. In his fifth year at Mexia, open-heart surgery and a strict command from his doctor forced Elmer to end his thirty-year coaching career.
Elmer Thompson was among the most successful coach in Texas high school football with a record of 198 wins, 102 losses and 2 ties. He took run-of-the-mill programs with poor records and built them into winners. But all who knew him will tell you that the impact he had on the lives of the young people he coached was his greatest achievement.
Elmer Thompson was a truly remarkable individual. He had a sense of vision and imagination that was refreshing and stimulating for his profession, and he had the knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish the demanding goals he set for himself and his teams. He was admired for his indomitable spirit, his ceaseless dedication, and his integrity, which were woven into his character and applied, in his coaching with sensitivity and balance. He has truly brought distinction and acclaim to Daniel Baker College.
Chester Tobey was an outstanding two-sport athlete at Brownwood High School. He was a four-year football letterman, and he rewrote the record books in track and field as a shot-putter. He had scholarship offers from several Southwest Conference schools but chose instead to stay home and play for Daniel Baker. An offensive guard and defensive lineman, Tobey is best remembered for his aggressive play and competitive heart. Trying to get by him to make a tackle was like wrestling with a grizzly bear. When filling a hole to stop a running back, he goaded opposing linemen by telling them how good he was—and then backed it up with bone-jarring tackles.
As a Daniel Baker student, Tobey excelled academically as well as athletically. He majored in education and graduated with a B average. He was a four-year football letterman and was elected co-captain of the football team in 1951. He was a member of the Student Christian Association and a member of the Delta Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
After completing his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1951, he enlisted in the U. S. Air Force and played football for the Brook Army Medical Center as a double-duty lineman and was captain of the defensive team. Brook Army won the national military services championship in 1952, defeating the Quantico Marines in the Cigar Bowl at Tampa, Florida.
A career air force officer, Tobey applied for Officer Candidate School in 1953 and graduated from pilot training in 1954. He trained as a multi-engine pilot and graduated from Squadron Officer School in 1958. He graduated from Command Staff College in 1963 and from the Air War College in 1974.
In his 30-year military career, Tobey served as a pilot, senior pilot, and command pilot, flying tankers, bombers, and gunships. As an officer in the Strategic Air Command he served as: a tanker pilot for refueling operations from 1955 to 1968; as wing operations officer in England from 1968 to 1972; and as battle staff director in Vietnam from 1972 until 1974.
In his distinguished career as an Air Force officer, Tobey received many honors and awards, including:
• The Bronze Star
• The Air Force Combat Readiness Medal
• The National Defense Service Medal
• The Vietnam Service Medal
• The Republic of Vietnam Service Medal
• The Air Force Commendation with Four Oak Leaf Clusters
• Good Conduct Medal
• And several other military ribbons
Since retiring from the Air Force at the rank of Colonel, Tobey has been a productive salesman, an effective insurance executive, and a skilled advisor in financial marketing. Throughout his professional life Chester Tobey has given unselfishly of his time and expertise to community activities and charitable organizations. A dedicated Christian, he served as a Sunday School teacher throughout his military career and has been a leader in his church in wherever he has lived.
His outstanding record of achievements as an athlete, distinguished Air Force officer and corporate executive has earned him the respect and admiration of all who know him.
This San Saba High School football and baseball star attended Daniel Baker from 1935 to 1939, where he earned three varsity letters as a triple-threat back in a single wing offense. During his junior and senior years, he was one of the Billy’s most versatile players. He ran and passed with excellence, played defense, placekicked and punted. At five feet eight inches and 165 pounds, he was smaller than most college backs, but he was a giant in the eyes of his teammates because no athlete put more of himself into playing the game than Preston Watson.
He was elected captain of the 1939 football team, was chosen most popular boy on campus and was president of the Letterman’s Association that year as well. He was also a member of the Student Council during his senior year. He graduated in 1939 with a Bachelor of Science degree in history and education.
After graduation from DBC, he coached for two years before volunteering for military service in the U. S. Navy where he served for three years as a Chief Athletic Specialist. Following his U. S. Navy service, he coached for five years at Archer City where he produced winning teams in both football and track.
In 1950, he accepted the head coaching position at Floydada where he gained distinction as a coaching genius and later as an athletic administrator of exceptional ability. Floydada teams, under Watson, won district and regional championships; and if winning is the one true test of coaching success, then Preston Watson must be ranked as one of the most successful high school coaches in Texas. Among his most memorable wins was an upset victory in the state playoffs over number one ranked Phillips on a frozen, snow-covered field at Amarillo in 1952, a victory that earned him his second “Coach of the Year” honor while at Floydada.
In 1964, after a four-year venture in private business, Preston returned to public school education and served for ten years as athletic director and assistant principal. In 1974, he was appointed principal of the R. C. Andrews Elementary School, a position he held until retirement in 1984.
The honors and awards he received during his lifetime are many. After his death, the city of Floydada named the local baseball park “The Preston Watson Baseball Park” to honor him and to recognize his many contributions to the community.
Championships and won-loss records do not tell the entire story of Preston Watson’s coaching and teaching career, though they go a long way in characterizing a very special man. He was admired for his positive attitude, his dedication and his integrity that were woven into his character and applied in his relationships with people.
Preston Watson has earned his place in this Hall of Honor.
Walter A. (Bob) Werner
Bob Werner grew up in Eden, Texas, where he was an Eagle Scout, an outstanding student, and a star athlete. He excelled in football and basketball as well as baseball and track. After graduation from Eden High School in 1947, Bob served two years of active duty in the U. S. Army. In 1949, he accepted an athletic scholarship to play football at Daniel Baker College and was assigned National Guard duty at Brownwood, Texas.
In the fall of 1949, he enrolled at DBC. Coached by the legendary Paul Tyson, Bob earned two varsity letters in football in 1949-50 and 1950-51. He played in DBC’s last football game and was involved in the plays that led to the last touchdown ever to be scored by Daniel Baker College. A teammate said of him, “He worked as hard in practice as he did in playing the game.” Bob was an honor student and also found time to write for The Collegian, serve as Art Editor for The Trail, and endeavor to win the favor of Jeanne Fannin who would later become his wife.
Bob Werner excelled academically and athletically during his days at Daniel Baker, but it was in his forty-six year professional career of law enforcement that he reflected distinction to his alma mater. Bob had an outstanding record of achievement as a Texas State Trooper, a Texas Ranger, and a top administrative executive of The Texas Department of Public Safety, and as a Police Chief of two cities. During all this time, he completed thirty-two years of continuous service in the U. S. Army National Guard, rising through the ranks from private, to Lt. Colonel.
Werner began his law enforcement career at the age of 21, when Daniel Baker dropped its football program…and his athletic scholarship was discontinued. He applied for admission to the D.P.S. Highway patrolman-training program and was accepted. He served the next fifteen years as a state trooper. In 1966, he achieved a life-long dream when he was commissioned a Texas Ranger and over the next fifteen years, he rose to the rank of captain with responsibility for a sixty county area in the Texas Panhandle. In 1981, he was promoted to the rank of major and Assistant Chief of the Law-enforcement Division of the Department of Public Safety with administrative responsibility for the Texas Rangers, Narcotics Services, Criminal Intelligence, and the Motor Vehicle Theft Division.
Bob retired from the DPS in 1985, but he continued to distinguish himself in law enforcement, serving as chief of police for three years at Navasota, and eight years at the city of Fredericksburg. Bob ended his professional career after forty-six years of service to his state and nation when he retired permanently on September 30, 1997.
W. A. (Bob) Werner was a man of achievement. He excelled in all that he did:
as a student, as a boy scout, as a patriot soldier, as a professional lawman, as a public servant and as an effective leader in every community in which he lived. During his long and distinguished career, Bob received more than eighty honors and awards from civic groups, professional organizations and from state, national and international law enforcement agencies—recognizing and honoring him for his outstanding performance and brilliant leadership, not only in law enforcement but also in community activities. Examples include the following:
• The Distinguished Service Award as the Most Outstanding Young Man of the Year in Texas, by the Junior Chamber of Commerce.
• He received Texas Flags that had flown over the state capitol from the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate in recognition of his 34 years of outstanding service to Texas in law enforcement.
• He was selected Outstanding Public Servant by the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce.
• He received the United States Meritorious Service Award for 32 years of continuous service from the Army National Guard.
• He received the Texas Outstanding Service Medal from the Army National Guard.
• He is a Charter Member of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.
• The Texas Ranger Cross was unveiled at his grave August 2, 2002. This is a special grave marker placed in commemoration of the services rendered and the sacrifices made by Texas Ranger W. A. (Bob) Werner.
He was active in the Lions Club, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and the Presbyterian Church wherever he lived. He was especially interested in projects to benefit youth. He applied for and received many grants for juvenile-related work. He was an Explorer Scoutmaster in both Navasota and Fredericksburg. In communities where there was no scouting program, he started one. In Fredericksburg he hired the first juvenile officer for the police department, promoted drug control programs, served on the original board of directors of what is now the Boys and Girls Club of Fredericksburg, and actively encouraged summer youth programs.
Bob Werner was an influential role model in every aspect of his life. He lived a life of commitment and devotion to his family, his profession, and to his Christian faith—that influenced the lives of many people across our state and nation. He made significant contributions to his profession, to his state and nation and to every community where he lived. He represented Daniel Baker College well, and is truly one of DBC’s most distinguished alumni.
Induction into this Hall of Honor is one more statement about the life of W. A. (Bob) Werner. He earned the admiration and respect of all who knew him.
James L. (Bulldog) Willingham
James (Dog) Willingham, a three-year football letterman, attended Daniel Baker College from 1947 to 1950. He was a speedy, dependable, offensive guard and blocking back on the singlewing formation. He was an outstanding defensive lineman and was one of DBC’s all-time leading tacklers. “Bulldog” was a fierce competitor and even though the other team may have won by the score, “Dog” acted like the victor; his helmet was always scarred, and his face may have been bloody, but his head was up and his manner was that of a winner.
He was a co-captain of the 1948 football squad; he was a member of the Letterman’s Association and the Spanish Club. He graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education and later earned a master’s degree from Texas Christian University.
Following graduation from Daniel Baker, he entered the coaching-teaching profession and gained distinction as a winning coach and as a talented athletic administrator of the Fort Worth Independent School District, a position he held for twenty years. In his thirty-eight year career, he developed winning teams and outstanding performers in football and track.
Before turning to fulltime athletic administration, he served as head coach at Joshua, Glen Rose, and Nocona and as head track coach at Eastern Hills. At Joshua his football team was undefeated regional champion, and in 1955 he coached Glen Rose to its first district championship in eighteen years. His twenty years as an athletic administrator were devoted to the successful development and supervision of the football and track programs of the Fort Worth Independent School District. During that time, he took a lead role in the formation of the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association. Under his supervision, Fort Worth track teams won nine successive state championships. In 1974, Fort Worth teams won the state championships in golf, tennis and track.
Willingham’s honors include:
• Texas High School Athletic Director of the Year 1977-1978
• Hall of Honor, Texas High School Athletic Directors Association. 1988
• Athletic Hall of Fame – Stephenville High School. 1992
• He was active in numerous civic and professional organizations and was a charter member and president of several.
The achievements of James L. Willingham have brought acclaim and distinction to Daniel Baker College.
Ross Wilson, a graduate of Brownwood High School, attended Daniel Baker College in 1947-49. A true leader on the football field, he quarterbacked the Hillbilly Squads of ‘47 and ‘48. He lettered two years in both football and basketball. He was named Daniel Baker’s “Most Athletic Boy” in 1949. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree that same year, and in 1952, he earned a Master of Arts degree from Southwest Texas State University.
Ross Wilson excelled athletically and academically during his days at Daniel Baker, but it was in his professional career that he reflected distinction to his alma mater. Ross has an outstanding record of achievement in education, civic affairs and in corporate and government service. He has received many honors and awards from civic groups, professional organizations, and government agencies for his outstanding performance and brilliant leadership. His expertise and hard work have earned him the respect of America’s farmers, government officials, and members of the U. S. Congress. U. S. Agriculture Secretary, Dan Glickman, stated, “American Agriculture, the U. S. Department of Agriculture, and the peanut industry owe a debt of gratitude to Ross Wilson for his wisdom, guidance, counsel and dedication.”
Ross Wilson has lived a life of commitment and devotion to his family, his profession, his country and to his Christian faith that has impacted the lives of many Americans and brought great distinction to Daniel Baker College.