Legendary Brownwood sportscaster Dallas Huston retires
As his hall-of-fame radio sports broadcasting career approached and surpassed 50 years, people kept asking Dallas Huston when he would retire.
“I always told them that as long as my health blessed me and allowed me to keep doing it,” Huston said Friday. “But with my health situation now, I couldn’t do it even if I wanted to. It’s a good time to step aside.”
Huston announced his retirement from radio broadcasting Friday after calling or helping call Brownwood High School football games for 58 years and Howard Payne University games for 57 years.
The 78-year-old Huston recently underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery, as well surgery to repair a broken hip. Last fall, Huston missed a couple of Brownwood games after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
More damaging to his health has been the spread of white matter disease, which affects the nerves that link various parts of the brain to each other and to the spinal cord.
“The tremors from the white matter disease have spread from my hands into my jaw, my tongue and my vocal cords. I can’t talk like I want to,” Huston said.
“It has also affected my balance to do anything. I couldn’t walk up the stairs to a press box even if I wanted to. To be honest, I have a great desire not to pass away in a press box.”
Huston is living in a Brownwood rehabilitation facility, and he and his wife, Linda, continue to appreciate everyone’s prayers but ask for no visitors at this time.
The man who became a born-again Christian in his mid-40s and pastor at Center City Baptist Church in his mid-60s said he is at peace with his decision to retire from broadcasting. Center City is a small, rural church 45 miles southeast of Brownwood.
“I never set out to set a record for how long I could be on the radio,” Huston said. “A couple of weeks ago after heart surgery, I was in ICU for two or three nights. ICU is a very solitary place. I just remember that being in the darkness seemed like a great time to talk to the Lord.
“I asked that if he could bring me back from this, I hope I can preach again. Not one time did I ask him to help me call another ball game.”
He said a hopeful return to preaching is still “down the road.”
Huston began with the Brownwood Lions on the radio in 1963 and the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets in 1964 — first on KBWD-AM and later on KOXE-FM. His familiar voice informed and entertained Brownwood-area radio listeners for parts of seven decades.
“I’ve had several people propping me up for the last few years or I couldn’t have kept doing the games,” Huston said. “I’ve had so many blessings and so much support. I’m blessed to have so many great friends — I’m talking about forever great friends.”
Huston, who moved to Brownwood at age 2, graduated from Brownwood High School in 1960 and began working in local radio in 1961. He assisted Ken Schulze in calling Brownwood football games from 1963-1976 before taking over the broadcasts. He also called Brownwood basketball games and began doing Lions baseball game when the program was started in 1986.
He called Howard Payne football and basketball games, as well as some baseball games in that program’s early days.
“I’m thrilled that I got to fulfill my dream of being a sportscaster for more years than I ever could have imagined — and I never left town. I got to do every bit of it in Brownwood,” Huston said.
Huston called six of the seven state championship football games won by legendary Brownwood coach Gordon Wood from 1960-1985. He also called the 2008 NCAA Division III women’s national championship basketball game, which completed the HPU Lady Jackets’ 33-0 season.
He began calling Brownwood and Howard Payne football games in old Lions Stadium before the teams moved to Cen-Tex Stadium — later renamed Gordon Wood Stadium — in 1972. His first season to call Howard Payne men’s basketball games also was the first season the Brownwood Coliseum opened in 1964.
“I called games at the old stadium (Lions Stadium) and when we moved to the new stadium. I still call Gordon Wood Stadium the new stadium, even though it’s almost 50 years old,” Huston said. “The new stadium and the Coliseum were great places to call games.”
Huston also remembers calling Howard Payne baseball games in the humble surroundings at Don Shepard Park.
“It was literally just a park at first,” Huston said. “They didn’t have dressing rooms or grandstands. We had to call games out of my pickup truck behind home plate. I remember one game when the sports information director was sitting with me in the pickup. It began sprinkling rain, and he said, ‘We need to turn on the windshield wipers in the press box.’ ”
Recognition has accompanied Huston’s broadcasting skill and longevity. He has been inducted into the Abilene-area Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame as well as the HPU Sports Hall of Fame and the Gordon Wood Hall of Champions. In 1999, Texas Monthly magazine called him the state’s top high school football broadcaster.
“Hopefully, I can get my health back, and Linda and I can just go to some games and watch,” Huston said. “I love Brownwood, the high school and the college, and being a part of their programs. I’ll always be a Brownwood Lions fan and a Howard Payne Yellow Jackets fan.”