How I Came to Be in the Hall of Fame at Big Springs High School

By Don Swinney | August 1, 2013

I’m sorry to all the basketball and baseball players, but in Texas, football is King. And I am glad because that is what I played. I can’t say I loved the fame before I started playing it. The truth be told, I began playing because of fear. I had two older brothers who played, and I feared they’d kill me if I didn’t. After all, they knew I could run faster than they could. What they didn’t know was I was also more scared than they were. {{more}}Two things almost caused me to give up football. On the freshman team, the line coach was called into the National Guard. During the week I would practice as starting guard. Then he’d come back for the game and I’d sit on the bench the entire game. In the last game of the season, they got their heads together and I played the entire game.Then, at the beginning of my sophomore year, I got started late one day. Because I knew I could run faster than most, I decided I’d try for the backfield. When the coached split the teams, I went with the backs. The backs coach said, “Weren’t you a lineman last year?” I said, “Yes, but I want to try out for the backs.” He said, “We have all out backfield filled, so go on over to the lineman.” I got over there and the line coach asked, “Why are you over here?” I told my story. Then my friend came to the rescue. “He’s fast” one said and the others echoed. So the line coach said, “Well go on back over there.” I felt like a ping pong ball. This time I stayed. Before the end of the season I was promoted to varsity for one game.In 1953, we went to state in football. We had the distinction of being the only team in more than 100 years of school history to do so. In 1973, a Hall of Fame was begun at Big Spring High School. Our team was the charter inductees.When I returned from teaching eight years in Germany in 1980, I taught 19 years there. I got so much fun out of showing my students my picture in the Hall of Fame. I could show them the spot where I asked my wife for our first date almost 60 years ago.