Why Baptist College President Helped “Sinner” Doyle Brunson Enter Athletics HOF

doyle brunson poker

Doyle Brunson, a tune and basketball wide name within the 1950s, became once passed over of the Hardin-Simmons Athletics Hall of Popularity for a long time which potential of his chosen profession direction. In 2009, the Baptist college’s most contemporary president, Eric Bruntmyer, went to bat for the poker legend and convinced the college to let him in.

PokerNews lately stopped by the tiny college in Abilene, 50 miles from Doyle’s space of starting up of Longworth, at some level of our Texas Week freeway time out across the narrate. Mr. Bruntmyer confirmed us across the favorite basketball gymnasium, which is within the equivalent space Brunson, now 88, executed at from 1951-1953, even supposing the fashioned facility has since been demolished and fully renovated.

doyle brunson hardin-simmons
At some level of the Mabee Advanced, residence to the Hardin-Simmons University Cowboys.

Convincing the College that Doyle Brunson Is now not in truth a Sinner

Bruntmyer, a proud man of faith, stated he understood why most school and contributors of the Hardin-Simmons community opposed Brunson’s HOF induction. Despite all the pieces, many Christians notify about playing is a sin. But there’s extra to Doyle’s existence tale than merely his poker profession.

“Before I was president right here, I looked up your whole notorious alumni, and Doyle became once undoubtedly one of them,” Bruntmyer suggested PokerNews on the Hardin-Simmons campus. “I learned a tiny of extra about him. I thought that’s extraordinary for a Baptist college, a Christian college, to have a poker player as undoubtedly one of their most notorious graduates.”

When the college’s chief began his tenure at Hardin-Simmons, he decided to learn some extra referring to the 10-time World Sequence of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner. He desired to search out out if “Texas Dolly” became once merely merely a poker player, or if he had extra going on in his existence.

“I accomplished up getting his e-book, Godfather of Poker, and I merely thought I amble to learn up on it,” the college president persisted. “I will command you that’s undoubtedly one of essentially the most improbable books I’ve ever learn on sage of it in truth tells you his existence tale.”

What Bruntmyer came across from reading the e-book became once that Doyle became once also a man of faith. He peaceful compulsory to search out out who the accurate Doyle Brunson is sooner than pushing for the poker legend’s induction into the college’s athletics hall of fame, so he reached out to the poker player by cellular phone to have a dialog.

“I talked to him about his faith dash on sage of that’s what I in truth desired to know, and I mediate slightly heaps of our alumni desired to know,” Bruntmyer stated. “All of them had heard about Doyle, but they did now not in truth know him on sage of they hadn’t learn the e-book.”

eric bruntmyer hardin-simmons
HSU President Eric Bruntmyer in entrance of Doyle Brunson’s 1953 conference championship trophy.

Upon reading Brunson’s autobiography, he began to search out the Texan as bigger than merely a poker player. He admired that Doyle’s accomplice, Louise, became once a devout Christian who would in most cases pray for her husband’s safety and effectively-being whereas he executed in some sketchy poker games at some level of the 1960s and 1970s.

“Doyle suggested me a memoir that slightly heaps of folks originate now not know,” Bruntmyer shared. “He stated, ‘we would have Meadowlark Lemon shall be found in in and we would conclude a Bible peek together.’”

Brunson, Lemon, and slightly a few poker professionals aid in Doyle’s early years would battle it out on the felt, on occasion even in hazardous games without security indicate. But that did now not conclude some avid gamers from expressing their non secular beliefs. Bruntmyer became once blown away by Brunson’s tales on how lives were changed and marriages were saved which potential of the Bible sessions sooner than the poker games.

“Folks originate now not mix those two together — poker and faith,” Bruntmyer stated. “And I will command you, because the president of this college, I even have viewed this tale applied in slightly heaps of slightly a few areas. Hardin-Simmons college students conclude now not conclude issues typically. They are able to not shall be found in in typically, they originate now not leave typically.”

Restful, despite sharing Brunson’s plump existence tale with board contributors, some weren’t convinced letting him within the Hall of Popularity became once the factual choice. He became once a sinner of their eyes, and no proclaimed faith within the almighty became once going to sway commerce their opinions.

One lady at some level of the community once known as to whinge to the college president about his pro-Brunson stance. She wanted Doyle to hand over poker or for Hardin-Simmons to refrain from honoring the poker icon.

“I stated ma’am, his tale’s now not executed,” Bruntmyer recalls of the interaction. ” I originate now not know what it’s and he might maybe well well merely by no intention, but finally you know this portion of the story, and you know about this faith dash. Let him be him and let him conclude his factor.”

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Doyle Brunson the Athlete

Bruntmyer stated the Hardin-Simmons community now understands extra about Brunson as a individual beyond his poker profession.

“He has an improbable mathematical mind,” Bruntmyer stated of the the Poker Hall of Famer. “I’ve seen that slightly heaps of oldsters who cherish math and statistics cherish poker.”

doyle brunson hardin-simmons
Doyle Brunson’s HSU plaque.

Bruntmyer is now not a poker player and he is by no intention met Doyle in individual, but he has spoken with “Texas Dolly” a handful of instances on the cellular phone. He’s impressed with Brunson’s commitment to his Christian faith, but also how effectively-spoken the lifelong poker player is.

Brunson became once sooner or later inducted into the Hardin-Simmons Athletics Hall of Popularity in 2009 for his success as a basketball and tune wide name within the early 1950s. He averaged 9.2 points per game in 61 games on the tiny Texas college.

As a junior, he helped HSU to a Border Conference Championship and an NCAA Event berth. He perceived to be on the verge of changing into a talented basketball player — the Minneapolis Lakers even regarded as drafting him — but a devastating knee injury ended any hopes of taking part within the game he loved on the next stage. So he fell in cherish with a clear game — poker.

PokerNews also visited the Mall of Abilene, now not a ways from campus, to snap pictures of one other Doyle Brunson plaque. In 2017, the excessive-stakes poker pro became once inducted into the Mammoth Nation Athletic Hall of Popularity, which honors wide name athletes who grew up in West Texas.

doyle brunson big country
Doyle Brunson’s plaque on the Mammoth Nation Athletic Hall of Popularity.

For extra on Brunson, listen to essentially the most contemporary episode of the PokerNews Podcast:


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