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Renaissance man Duane Evans visits the Masters

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There is not much that Duane Evans has not done in his 84 years on this earth. He played football, basketball and tennis at Roswell High School, graduating in 1954.

Evans has held a job at every level in the Roswell Independent School District in his 24 years, except superintendent. And he is the only man to be named RISD athletic director twice. He was the principal at Missouri Elementary School for 14 years.

If that was all there was to Evans then that might be enough to secure his legacy in the community. But he is not content to sit around in retirement and do nothing but play golf.

The jacket

Evans has taken on a calling to honoring coaches and others who have made significant contributions to Roswell sports and the community. Evans recognizes people that might have fallen through the cracks or been forgotten about as time goes by.

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Evans recognizes them and tells them thank you by giving them their 15 minutes of fame. At halftime of a basketball game during the Poe Corn Tournament, he will give the deserving person a letterman jacket from Roswell or Goddard.

The only man to receive a Goddard and Roswell jacket is Jim Waldrip, who loved to wear his jacket with the Goddard patch on the left and the Roswell letter on the right. He could be seen in the stands wearing it during the Roswell-Goddard football games at the Wool Bowl.

Jim Waldrip

Waldrip coached baseball at Roswell and golf at Goddard. Each year a worthy person is selected for a Goddard or Roswell Jacket. This is done to immortalize them and to say thank you.

The jacket started when popular Roswell tennis coach Stan Kubiak retired in 1976. Evans decided to take some of the school funds and buy him a jacket. The jacket has become a staple in the community and is usually given out during the Poe Corn basketball tournament. This year, however, the jacket is pending due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evans was a high school athlete at Roswell where he played football, basketball and tennis. He was good enough to earn a scholarship to play sports in college. Evans graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Sul Ross State University.

Before coming to Roswell, Evans taught at a high school in El Paso, Texas, where he was the head golf coach. During his time in El Paso, Evans remembers PGA Hall of Famer Lee Trevino worked at the area Horizon Country Club where his students would play. Trevino would work for $30 a day back then as the assistant golf pro before he became famous.

Masters Tournament

Duane Evans’ first exposure to the Masters Tournament was in 1996, when he took his son, Derek Evans, to watch the practice rounds. Duane Evans was given the tickets by a lady wearing a Masters jacket. After talking to her, he found out she used to work at the Pro Shop but had recently retired. She wanted to pay it forward to people less fortunate that would never have the opportunity to attend the event. She ended up giving tickets to Duane Evans for three years.

In 2003, Duane Evans and his wife, Sue Evans watched Mike Weir win the Masters. It was the first time he had the opportunity to watch the Masters in person.

In 2005, he took his oldest son, Bryan Evans and Bryan’s in-laws to the event. It was the second time Duane Evans watched the Masters live. He knew he was witnessing something special as Tiger Woods won by 12 strokes. Not only was it by such a large deficit, but Woods would become the first African American to win the event.

“I thought I was watching something special,” Duane Evans said. “The best part of the trip was watching him and his dad hug when he won the tournament.”

Family

In 2006, Duane Evans took Bob Pottle, Derry Moore and his brother-in-law from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to see Phil Mickelson win the event by two strokes over Tim Clark. The one thing that stood out to Duane Evans was Mickelson hit a shot on the 16 fairways over the pine trees that were 120 feet high. The shot landed on the greens where Ben Crenshaw was standing. Crenshaw looked wondering who hit that shot and where the ball come from.

Some of the things Duane Evans remembers is pimento cheese sandwiches were $5 and beer was $2 or $4, depending on size. He remembers on the first morning of selling souvenirs in the tent, the Masters took in $3 million. People were buying for friends who would never be able to attend the event in person.

“Words can’t describe it,” he said. “It’s old money. If you become a member, it’s $300 a month and $2,000 a year to join. Each year you’re a member, they don’t charge members’ dues, they make them do projects at the golf course — something like building a practice range or a cabin.”

Duane Evans said there’s a bar and grill and putting green on the back nine of the course hidden in the woods. This area is for the extra special members of the club. They can stop and have a burger or beer while on the course watching the tournament.

After retiring from teaching, Duane Evans coached for one year as the Goddard boys junior varsity golf coach, and one year at Dexter as a junior varsity coach. To this day, he carries his own golf bag and plays four days a week at Spring River Golf Course.

“I intend to die on the golf course,” he said. “That’s my wish. Bing Crosby died on the golf course, that’s good enough for me.”

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.