ET Kick-Off

The 14th Annual East Texas Kick-off Luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 13, at the Green Acres Baptist Church CrossWalk Center, Cindy Smoak, SPORTyler executive director, announced Thursday.

The event, sponsored by Azalea Orthopedics and Baylor Scott & White Texas Spine & Joint Hospital, and presented by SPORTyler and the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The luncheon will feature guest speaker Ron Franklin, who has 48 years of broadcast experience. He has done play-by-play for radio and TV — 12 years as voice of the Houston Oilers, and six years as voice of the University of Texas football and basketball programs. He also did 24 years of college football and basketball play-by-play at ESPN, host voice for 15 years for the NCAA radio network for the Final Four weekend in basketball, hosted a fishing show on ESPN for 16 years, and 17 years in Houston working in commercial television.

The emcee will be Bill Coates, The Team 92.1 sports director.

Each year the event kicks off the football season by honoring some of the best athletes, head football coaches and school administrators in East Texas. Each school is asked to bring one senior athlete who will receive a scholarship from the sponsors, Azalea Orthopedics and Baylor Scott & White Texas Spine and Joint Hospital.

The Coach Danny Palmer East Texas Team Community Service award will be presented and a video highlight of last year’s season will be shown.

The official announcement of The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Watch List will also be made at the luncheon.

Individual tickets are $30 for each open seating and $240 for a table of eight.

Touchdown sponsors for the event include Altra Federal Credit Union, Austin Bank, Datamax, Employee Benefits Consulting, Henry & Peters, P.C., High Hill Farm, Landmark Title, Inc., Office Barn, Oncor, Prothro, Wilhelmi, & Company, Southside Bank, The University of Texas at Tyler, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, UT Health East Texas, and WRL General Contractors, LLC.

Tickets can be purchased online at

For more information, contact SPORTyler’s Smoak at 903-592-1661 x237 or csmoak@tyler


Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

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