Pampa, Texas, is the county seat of Gray County in the heart of the Texas Panhandle. Its population of just under 18,000 people is supported by agriculture, ranching, some manufacturing and the petroleum industries. I first visited Pampa High School on March 8, 2017. Approaching the school I drove down Randy Matson Avenue and thought, “I know Randy Matson.” We worked together at Texas A&M University for over a decade. Randy came from the Panhandle to be sure, but I did not remember where until turning onto Randy Matson Avenue. Randy lettered in three sports at Texas A&M University graduating in 1967. He was drafted to play professional football and professional basketball, but chose his first love— track and field and throwing a shotput. He was good at it. He won a silver medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and a gold medal in the 1968 games. It’s hard to believe this year’s games, again in Tokyo, are postponed due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Over Randy’s athletic career, record after record fell, and countless distinctions and recognitions accumulated. His studies at the now Mays Business School at Texas A&M University provided the skills he applied as Executive Director of the Association of Former Students. He led the organization for twenty years. These accolades and accomplishments pale, however, in comparison to the defining characteristic of Randy’s life. He possessed a quiet determination, an ever-present humility and a gentlemanly nature that he brought to every task he undertook. I first visited Pampa High School onMarch 8, 2017. Approaching the school I drove down Randy Matson Avenue and thought, “I know Randy Matson.” We worked together at Texas A&MUniversity for over a decade.
I did not know it then, but I know it now—he brought that with him from Pampa, Texas.
And on top of all these attributes of distinction, Randy had a great sense of humor. We used the same barber in College Station, and one day as I sat down in the chair our barber AC told me that Randy said, “I’ll give you 100 bucks if you shave off Walter’s hair.” Then AC asked me, “Do you want to make a counter offer?” I told AC, “If you can get 200 bucks I’ll split it with you, fifty/fifty.” I knew Randy well enough to know that my hair was safe.
Made with FlippingBook HTML5