I am here at the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame and I am here with a Hall of Famer Jimmie Keeling.

He was a Hardin-Simmons head coach for 20 years.

Jimmie, how great does it feel that you got to be an inductee this year?

Jimmie Keeling said, “Well this is very special and uh the Big Country has so many great athletes and coaches and families and teams. So when you get to be a part of any of this, it’s such a great honor for sure.”

With those 20 years that you had, what is probably your fondest memory out of those 20 you had?

Jimmie Keeling added, “Well, that’s the hardest question of all, but we had some great teams and they were always fun, but my greatest memories are just working with the kids and practices and working with assistant coaches. Then, just the great atmosphere we had at Hardin-Simmons. I mean, our student body, faculty and staff we were just blessed in that respect. You know to be at Hardin-Simmons, all those things were really special memories to me.”

And last thing, you know you basically laid the foundation for the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys back in 1990, now it is ran by Jesse Burleson who is a fomrer Cowboy under you. What does that mean to have that successful program now that you laid that foundation for?

Jimmie Keeling said, “Well I’m really proud of Hardin-Simmons football and we always told guys, Haridn-Simmons is the best place in America to go to school and play football. I still believe that. Jesse Burleson played for us, he was an All-American player, he was an All-American academic scholar. We lured him back from Odessa Permian to be on our staff, and he’s done an outstanding job. He’s had a lot of great days and there’s a lot of really great days ahead. I’m really proud of what they’re doing.”

Keeling is joined in this year’s class by former Cooper tennis star and Wylie tennis coach Kathryn Gilreath, former Jayton Jaybird Trey Richey, former Wylie golfer Trey Todd, former Cooper football coach Merrill Green and Cooper baseball star David Tollison.

The Smith and Galbraith families are given the Legacy Award, and Merkel’s Jack Patterson and Elmer Gray, from Roscoe, receive the Legends Award.