Right before I was able to walk on over from DKR to the bubble, I was able to witness the Texas Program in Sports and Media honor one of the greatest sportswriters of all time in Dan Jenkins.
Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw introduced Jenkins. Crenshaw relayed a story about how he was good enough to speak to the press corps after one of his younger rounds at the U.S. Open. A USGA official told Crenshaw to “take the media through his round.” Crenshaw said he began just listing the strokes he had on each hole, 4-4-3-5-4, and as he looked up, he witnessed Jenkins doubled over in laughter.
Many people associated with the athletic program were in attendance. Edith Royal was there, and several members of some of Royal’s teams, teams Jenkins wrote about, were there as well including Doug English, Billy Dale, and Mike Perrin.
Administrators from the Moody College of Communication and the School of Journalism were also there, including director of the journalism school R.B. Brenner, as well as one of my favorite professors, former Statesman writer and author of a book on Harvey Pennick, Kevin Robbins.
TPSM is creating an award for sportswriting named after Jenkins. Each year, a board of people selected by TPSM, including Kirk Bohls and several other great writers, will bestow an award for great sportswriting in the previous calendar year, as well as a lifetime achievement award.
Jenkins was as sharp as ever, relaying some great stories. He spoke his great admiration for Royal and Royal’s admiration for him. He had some quick quips, including a joke about how before the game of the century people in Arkansas looked up at airplanes and wondered what they were. He made sure to mention that Royal won four national championships, crediting him for the 1968 title that Texas does not claim.
He also mentioned a story about James Street (He accidentally called him James Sweep and said “there’s the horned frog coming out in me”). Royal had placed a quote in the locker room that said ‘What I gave, I had. What I kept, I lost.’ Street noticed Jenkins looking at the quote and told him “if you figure out what that means, let me know.”
He finished the speech with what he said was a different quote than what he previously finished speeches with: “It’s times like these I’m more grateful than ever I didn’t go to Baylor.”