KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - At Kilgore College, honoring the past is an important part of the present.
Saturday night, the college held a special ceremony during the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet for former Ranger Hardy Johnson, who was unable to attend a Hall of Fame induction ceremony years ago in his honor.
“Well I had no idea that i was going. ... I think I was honored three years ago. But my wife was ill at the time and i wasn’t able to attend ... so they had me here today. I appreciate it," Johnson said.
The event, held in the Devall Ballroom, offered a glimpse of yesterday met up with today. Johnson was treated to a special presentation.
Seated at a table with family and friends, he marveled at how players have evolved and become bigger, stronger and faster.
“No there is no question there. Particularly on the defense," he said. "Those backs coming in are like rockets.”
Johnson played on the 1946 Kilgore team that played in the Rose Bowl.
“One of the things I recall about that from the paper, there were over 51,000 people witnessed that game,” he said. “And at that time there had never been that many people see a game in Texas because we didn’t have any stadiums bigger (than) 38,000. It’s been so long ago, don’t remember the score.”
His memory of his days at Kilgore College won’t fade anytime soon. Neither will the Rangers memory of him.