McKinney High School alumni Dr. Larry “Jack” Hines and Mr. Bill Smith Jr. made their way yet again through the halls of MHS this past Friday, October 21. The two accomplished men were invited back to their alma mater to be awarded the most prestigious honor the school has to offer.
The men and their entourages of family members and friends congregated at McKinney High School at 7:45 in the morning, greeted by a student orchestra, and principal Stewart Harrington. They then flocked to the Lion’s Den (gym), where courtside seats, a crowd of students, cheerleaders and the whole student body awaited. Amidst their day’s agenda of a special luncheon at Eldorado Country Club, pep rally and a tribute at the football game halftime, courtesy of MHS, Mr. Smith and Dr. Hines were named MHS Distinguished Lions.
“MHS means a lot of tradition to me,” Mr. Bill Smith said. “Through the years we’ve fed the football teams [at his local café]. I just love the McKinney Lions. I mean, it’s just part of me– It’ll never go away. Being a Distinguished Lion feels great, I tell ya, just great. There’s no words to even say how much I appreciate it.”
Mr. Bill Smith, owner of the local landmark, Bill Smith’s café, the longest standing restaurant in McKinney, graduated in the MHS class of 1958. An avid Lions football fan, he’s missed a mere three football games in the past 20 years. For his dedication to the school and the city of McKinney, Mr. Smith was rightfully named a Distinguished Lion.
The other awarded McKinney High alum, Dr. Larry “Jack” Hines, graduated in the MHS class of 1943. He subsequently enlisted into the navy, where he was a member of the special training unit. From there, he enrolled in Louisiana State University and graduated with a medical degree. He had an active medical practice in McKinney from 1967 to 1991, and was named McKinney citizen of the Year in 1987 during his 15-year tenure on the MISD school board. Mr. Hines is accredited with the MHS natatorium’s establishment as well.
“It’s amazing coming back here, I can tell you that,” Dr. Hines said. “In my day, [MHS] was never this big. There were 60 or 70 students in my graduating class. MHS taught me to always smile whether you succeed or fail, and to never give up. Eight kids and a few grandchildren of mine graduated from this school. It’s important to stimulate the youngsters to always do their best, and always search for gold.”
The MHS Traditions Committee, presenter of the Distinguished Lion award, was formed to preserve MHS traditions that were lost alongside the 2000 building of McKinney North High School.
During the celebratory pep rally, McKinney High School alumni Dr. Larry Hines and Mr. Bill Smith Jr. participated courtside in the gym, interlocking pinkies with family and students as in days of old, while singing their beloved school’s Alma Mater. It was an honor for all to partake in such a tribute.
Story by TownSquareBuzz contributor Quinn Murray.
Photos by Shelby Tauber.
Editor’s Note: Pictured above, at top, is Bill Smith at the pep rally. The second picture shows Dr. Larry Hines (left) and Smith (right). Please view more photos below in our Image Gallery, courtsey of Shelby Tauber.