Mac Engel

UT has gone out of its way to honor the late, great Dan Jenkins. TCU should do the same

The home office of the late Dan Jenkins remains mostly untouched since he died in March. The University of Texas will have its annual award ceremony that bears his name on Friday at Colonial Country Club. PGA Tour legend Jack Nicklaus is scheduled to attend.
The home office of the late Dan Jenkins remains mostly untouched since he died in March. The University of Texas will have its annual award ceremony that bears his name on Friday at Colonial Country Club. PGA Tour legend Jack Nicklaus is scheduled to attend. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The manuscript on his desk is opened to where Dan Jenkins left proofing his latest book. It is just as he left it, on page 104, when he left us.

Grief has its own pace.

Jenkins’ final book, “The Reunion At Herb’s Cafe,” is finished, and will be available shortly.

Fort Worth’s favorite and funniest author died in March, and some things have remained in place since the day he died, while other portions of his past have found a home.

TCU, and specifically its school of journalism, should be that place as much as the destination for which he playfully professed a deep disdain, the University of Texas.

No one could have loved TCU any more than Jenkins, which makes the fact a good portion of his work is housed at UT out of line. Even more odd that the University of Texas has much of Jenkins’ work is that it named an award in his honor, the Jenkins Medal for Excellence in Sportswriting Jury.

This would be like TCU creating the Darrell K Royal Coaching Award, or Texas A&M sponsoring the Mack Brown Championship Trophy.

The annual Jenkins’ award ceremony will be held on Friday evening at Colonial Country Club. Sportswriters Gary Smith, Sarah Spain and Dave Sheinin will be honored as recipients of awards during an event will celebrate the life and legacy of the man whose life influenced a list of people that would have embarrassed Jenkins.

Also scheduled to make an appearance at the event and participate in an open interview is Jenkins’ friend, PGA Tour legend Jack Nicklaus.

Organizers for the three-year-old event decided to have the banquet this year in Fort Worth to honor Jenkins, and to make it easier for his friends and family to attend. Next year, the event will likely find a permanent home in Austin near UT.

Still reads wrong; the University of Texas with an event for TCU’s Dan Jenkins.

Credit UT for having the foresight to create the space, and the award, in Jenkins’ honor. It is better to have this than not. This is also one of those that TCU wishes it could have back.

TCU did dedicate the press box at Amon G. Carter Stadium in his name, which is no small gesture. Typically when anything is named at TCU, or any other university, it’s done so to honor a benefactor who has given millions.

TCU named the press box after Jenkins with no strings, or checks, attached.

There are, however, other significant pieces from the man’s award-winning career that are in nearly perfect condition that, when the time is right, should be displayed.

Not only are they mementos from one of TCU’s most distinguished alums, but it is the work of a man who chronicled the history of both Fort Worth and America in a voice that was distinctly Dan Jenkins.

The entire manuscript from his best-selling novel, “Semi-Tough,” as well as countless letters he received from celebrated figures such as Robert Redford, multiple presidents, and men from sport such as Bear Bryant to Ben Hogan.

At least some of this should be displayed at his TCU. Maybe adjacent to its athletics Hall of Fame. Potentially a spot in the football stadium, or the new club area when it is finished.

A spot should be created at the TCU School of Journalism, where Dan and June endowed multiple scholarships, to display some of his works, and some of his tools.

And certainly the TCU library should have some of his writing, and research, in its archives.

The University of Texas was first to do any of this, and both the school and its department of mass communications should be thanked for their efforts. It should not stop Jenkins’ alma mater from celebrating its own with equal measure.

Dan Jenkins loved TCU, and TCU should simply equal the efforts of the University of Texas to show off one of its most famous alums.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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