An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

Contact Information
Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc.
1401 Lavaca St
Austin, TX 78701

[email protected]

In Memoriam: Legendary Longhorn Athletics Administrator Bill Little

Bill Little

Died Aug. 18, 2023

Austin, Texas

Bill Little


Legendary University of Texas Athletics Administrator Bill Little passed away peacefully surrounded by family Friday evening in Austin. He was 81. Celebration of life services are pending and forthcoming.

Little was the face — and often the voice — of Longhorn athletics for more than 50 years. Long before sports reporting turned digital, Little, as sports editor of The Daily Texan, was hammering out copy on a manual Royal typewriter. He continued to masterfully and skillfully share stories of Longhorn Athletics through the many transformations of broadcast radio and television, varying forms of delivering news, and from the 24-hour news cycle to the non-stop news cycle that took over the industry.

Little was inducted into The Daily Texan Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Friends of The Daily Texan, in 2020.

Little grew up in the small West Texas town of Winters, the hometown that while encompassing under three square miles and a population of just more than 2,500, nurtured the man with an enormous heart and passion for people. Growing up a Longhorn fan cheering on everything UT, he was thrilled to follow in the footsteps of both his parents when he began his college career at Texas in 1960.

After his 1964 graduation, Little spent two years writing for The Austin American-Statesman, then moved to Oklahoma City to write for The Associated Press. After two-years with The AP, he returned home to Austin and to The University of Texas for good.

“I saw there was this really good job in public relations at The University of Texas,” Little said during his time at UT. “I called Coach Royal, and I said, ‘Coach, I want to come back.’ And he said, ‘I’d like to have you back.’ And that was the extent of it. I started that spring.”

It seems incredible that Darrell Royal hired the then-26-year-old Little as Texas’ assistant SID based only on a two-sentence interview. Yet Royal knew Little’s work, knew his character, and knew he’d be loyal and always professional. Royal’s assessment was on the money.

Inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1993, Little served UT in many capacities: first as assistant SID under the legendary Jones Ramsey, then as Sports Information Director, as Special Assistant to the Athletics Director, as Assistant AD for External Communications, then head of communications for Mack Brown. The job titles changed, but the office address, infectious smile, and endless Texas hospitality stayed the same.

Bill Little and wife Kim Scofield

“We lost a great man with a huge heart,” said former Texas Football coach Mack Brown, with whom Little authored the book ‘One Heartbeat.’ “Bill loved Texas, he poured his heart into the coaches and staff, and took such joy in working with the players. He was an icon in his business, a Longhorn Legend, and a wonderful man who is beloved by so many. He knew the history of the Longhorns better than anyone, was always right there by my side to celebrate the best of times or help me through any difficult situation. And he did it with charm, grace, and a heartwarming grin. There’s no one like him. Sally and I were so blessed to have him in our lives and will miss him dearly. But the legacy of Bill Little, the many wonderful stories and the impact he had on so many will live on. We send our love, sympathy and deepest condolences to (his wife) Kim, his family, and many friends.”

And whether it was on the radio, in his eloquently crafted commentaries, a roundtable discussion with media and broadcast teams, or a spontaneous conversation with a fan, Little’s knack for storytelling always stood out. He was passionate about the people who played the games, and saw the mediums and media he worked with as the window to the world to share their stories and welcome everyone in.

Little often said, “I always found that, if you can write something that can make a difference to somebody, it can change a life. I was a bad golfer and a worse tennis player. And I wasn’t big enough to play football, and I was too short to play basketball, so my only gifts were to write and talk. And if I was going to do what God put me on this planet to do, then I needed to do those things.”

Little did them at a world-class level. In his half century at Texas, he worked with five football coaches, five basketball coaches and four athletic directors. Decades of Longhorn football, basketball and baseball fans will forever recall that familiar voice they long heard over the public address system in stadiums, on radio broadcasts, emceeing banquets, or introducing coaches at donor and fan events.

“It was heartbreaking to hear of Bill’s passing,” said longtime Texas Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds. “No one loved or poured more of themselves into The University of Texas than Bill Little. He absolutely loved his job, did it with such pride and passion, and was a prominent part of Texas Athletics for decades. Personally, Bill was a trusted advisor, excellent resource, and loyal friend. He and Kim were great partners, and they adored their three children and grandkids. As much as he loved the Longhorns, that all came first in his life. I want to send my love and condolences to all of them. He will be dearly missed, but he will never be forgotten.”

Little worked 37 bowl games, was a publicist for three football national championship teams (1969, 1970, 2005), and accompanied an unheard of 25 teams to the College World Series in Omaha. He worked more than 1,700 baseball games, had lengthy radio stints with both men’s and women’s basketball, and his record-setting streak at one point reached 521 consecutive Longhorn football games. The string was almost broken when, just before the 1995 Sugar Bowl, he suffered a heart attack, but the ever-professional Little convinced doctors that he’d be under more stress in the hospital than he would if he attended the game. The streak remained intact all the way until his retirement in 2014.

Little’s legacy to The University is remarkable. He served as mentor and father figure to countless student-athletes through the years. CoSIDA’s Academic All-America Committee acknowledged Little’s influence on UT’s athletes by awarding him the Lester Jordan Award in 1996, “for exemplary service…and the promotion of the ideals of being a student-athlete.” He was inducted into the Texas Athletics Hall of Honor in 1993 and the Big Country Hall of Fame, which honors legends of West Texas, in 2006.

Always a wonderful goodwill ambassador, his hospitality was one of his trademarks in the industry, hosting hundreds of sportswriters and broadcasters who grew to love Austin and Tex-Mex while covering Longhorn athletic events. Young writers found encouragement and counsel from the veteran journalist. He did the same for so many aspiring professionals in the field of sports information, as well, with hundreds of staffers that worked under his tutelage taking skills they learned in his SID office to a wide variety of careers.

Bill Little and Family

Little was long the authority on UT Athletics history, and his award-winning columns and commentaries have left the Longhorn Athletic Department a written history — a vast archive — of its athletics programs and those who made it great. He authored or co-authored nine books on UT and college athletics.

Little attended his first CoSIDA workshop at the 1969 Chicago meeting, then entered the officer rotation in 1985. As president in 1989, he presided over the first 1,000-person workshop in CoSIDA history. Named to the CoSIDA Hall of Fame in 1992, Little received the Arch Ward Award in 1998, for “inspiring excellence in and bringing dignity to our profession.” In 2016, CoSIDA presented him with a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

One of the most decorated SIDs and writers in the profession, the FWAA honored him with their Lifetime Achievement award in 2015, and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association awarded him the Wilbur Snypp Award “for outstanding contributions to college baseball” in 1991.

Little brought great honor to The University, to the profession he loves, and to himself and his family. His influence was so great that the football and baseball press boxes at Texas are both named the “Bill Little Media Center,” a gift from longtime friend and UT athletics supporter Marian Dozier in 2014.

Bill is survived by his wife, Kim Scofield, who also was an invaluable advisor, editor and travel companion, and was a true partner in his work. They have three children and 10 grandchildren.

Upon retirement in 2014 Little said, “Texas Athletics has pretty much been my life for close to 60 years. But now, I think I’ve earned the right to set my bucket down.” Little continued as an advisor to the Athletics Department for many more years, celebrated 50 years of broadcasting Longhorn baseball games in 2017 and remained a significant presence in Texas Athletics until the year he passed.

Special contributions to this story by Jenna McEachern

Bill Little family
Bill Little and Family