Dallas Huston didn't become the “Voice of the Lions” by making it about him, and so on Thursday, coming for an interview about his 50-year career as the radio announcer for the Brownwood Lions sports, he wasn't going to start to make it about him.
Fifty years ago, did he think he'd be in the announcer's box in 50 years?
“Fifty years ago, I started out hoping I wouldn't fall flat on my face,” Huston said in that kind, resonant, thoughtful Dallas Huston tone.
But lest there be confusion, he clarifies, he didn't start out being the play-by-play man. Huston, 70, had just turned 21 the season of 1962 and he'd gotten his foot in the door at the radio station by keeping statistics.
There was a changeover in the broadcast team. Ken Schulze, whom Huston describes as a great friend and also a mentor, was the man doing play-by-play then. Schulze got to pick a partner, and Huston was his choice.
But Huston humbly explains, he had advantages. His dad had been a great sports fan, and Huston grew up hearing games broadcast over the radio. That planted the seed and cultivated Huston's love of sports. To have such an opportunity as a young man to announce games, “was really kind of a dream in life.”? Fifty years, though, is a very long time, Huston confirms, even though he's not ready to retire. Of course, as a veteran, he knows the ins and outs of a lot of press boxes in Texas, and has a working knowledge of the good restroom facilities and the bad.
Outstanding in his memory will always be that night in Burkburnett when he used the facilities at halftime and could have been locked in for the night had someone not happened to open the door from the other side.
Oh there have been stadiums where they had the lights turned out on them, when the home fans were ready to leave. There have been colder than a … nights, and, by the same token, hotter than a … evenings; electrical outages and hours-long game delays. There have been trips where they've gotten lost trying to find the stadium, he said.
And there have been some incredible, wonderful, amazing seasons.
For Huston, the football season begins sooner than most would think.
“I get involved a little earlier with the kids than some people might think, and it goes on through the season and by the end, they're all pretty special to me,” he said. “I watch them come up as eighth-graders, freshmen and then before you know it they're seniors.”
Huston chuckles that he thought he was getting old when he began announcing games for the sons of players on the first Lions teams he'd announced for.
“Then when their grandkids came along, I really started to feel old,” Huston said.
He likes them all, he said, but his favorites are the kids that “really gel as a team.”
Not coincidentally, his favorites are also the teams that have state championships and others that go deep, deep into the postseason. That's because to get very far, they have to be a team, not just a group of individuals.
“I'm very spoiled,” Huston said. “We have had great, great, football teams here.”
So to be certain, Huston said, “I've been blessed. A lot of play-by-play guys would kill to be able to broadcast games like I have gotten to broadcast over the years. Like I said, there have been a whole lot of special teams over the years.”
Huston paused for a moment. That first Brownwood state championship team, in 1960, Huston was just out of high school, but he remembers how football became the source of pride for Brownwood, how everything changed, how everyone was bursting with pride.
He credits Gordon Wood for giving “this town its winning mentality.
“I'm a believer that high school football is something important to the lifeblood of a community. I'll always credit Coach Wood, what he did by coaching those state championship teams led to a whole lot of good things in this community.
“I feel blessed that for this long and as long as the Good Lord lets me, I've been where I've been.”