Another Hall of Fame nod for Texas Dolly. But this one isn't for gambling, nor for poker. Doyle Brunson was a star basketball player at Hardin-Simmons University and his hoops prowess got him recognition. Brunson is already a member of the Hardin-Simmons University Hall of Fame, but he was officially inducted into the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame in Abilene, Texas.
We need to head back into the groovy time machine to almost 65 years ago. Back in 1953. World War 2 had ended only 8 years prior and a young Doyle Brunson found himself as a student-athlete at Hardin-Simmons University in Texas. This was a decade before the rough and tumble days as a road gambler. At Sweetwater High School in the middle of nowhere West Texas, Brunson starred as a 3-sport athlete, but he excelled in basketball and baseball. He earned a scholarship at nearby HSU, a small and private Baptist college in Abilene, Texas.
In 1953, Brunson had a sensational year for Hardin-Simmons. He averaged 15.3 points per game as a junior. The conference named him MVP. HSU lost to Santa Clara in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, but the 1954 season had high expectations for HSU and Brunson, but he got into an accident that altered his athletic career and set him forth on a path that eventually led to poker. Brunson shattered his leg and spent two years on crutches. TheMinneapolis Lakers in the NBA had a modest interest in Brunson. Alas, he never fully recovered and never returned to the court. Brunson eventually earned a masters degree in education. For a while, Brunson humped a crappy sales job, but realized he was earning more money playing poker on the side. He eventually gave poker his full attention…and you know the rest of the story. Fifty years later, he's a 10-time WSOP bracelet winner and known as the Godfather of Poker.
According to the article, Brunson added, "I'm honored, because the (Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame) is from where I grew up and I know the names of most of the people who are in it. Most of the people in it who I knew personally have died. But I'm very honored because it's from Texas."