Longhorn Foundation donor spotlight: Darrell Hanshaw and Denise Reneau
July 23, 2012
Longhorn Foundation donors Darrell Hanshaw and Denise Reneau were not sure what to expect when they headed out to Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on a Saturday morning more than 20 years ago.
The couple was just hoping to find someone selling good seats outside the stadium to watch the Longhorns play the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Now these season ticket holders can be spotted at all home, away and bowl games.
"Well Darrell had moved here from California, and initially he was having a hard time keeping up with West Coast sports," Reneau said. "And initially we only started going to a game here and a game there because I always thought that we would have to be up in the upper deck, and it wasn't really until we joined The Longhorn Foundation that we saw we could get some pretty good seats."
Though Reneau has an undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of Texas, Hanshaw went to Arizona State University before getting his MBA at the University of Southern California.
"Pre-Internet, when Austin was still a pretty colloquial town, and because of the two hour time difference, it would often just say 'late game' in The Statesman, so I'd have to call a buddy up on the West Coast and ask what happened, or I'd watch the ticker on ESPN," Hanshaw said. "And at the time ASU didn't have much of a program and USC was in a down period, so they weren't making headlines, so I got bored."
Despite his ties to ASU and USC, Hanshaw said he proudly wore burnt orange at the recent bowl game match-ups the Longhorns have had versus the Sun Devils and the Trojans.
That includes the 2006 Rose Bowl that saw Texas defeating USC to claim the BCS National Championship.
"I wore my burnt orange at the 2005 Rose Bowl when Texas played Michigan, and I wore my burnt orange again the next year when Texas played USC," Hanshaw said. "By the time you've invested so much into a program, especially a program as great as Texas, and after you've followed Mack Brown and gotten to know so many people in the athletics department, I had just become emotionally invested."
"He has totally converted," Reneau added.
Not only have Hanshaw and Reneau devoted themselves to UT Athletcs, they have invested a lot in the friendships they have made through Longhorn sports as well.
"There's definitely a lot of camaraderie," Hanshaw said. "We've bonded with a lot of people who we'd meet at the games."
One of the couple's most special friends was Fred "Hawk" Edwards, a World War II veteran and diehard Longhorn fan who they met at a Longhorn Baseball game.
"I heard Darrell Royal one time tell a story about how he and his wife, Miss Edith, were out to eat in Seattle one night before Texas was going to play Washington, and he told her he was worried that few Texas fans would be able to make the trip up to the game because it wasn't easy to travel back in the 70s," Hanshaw said.
"No sooner had he said that," Hanshaw continued, "here comes Hawk walking down the street with his wife and he said, 'You know, Edith, I've got to invite that man out to practice because he is so loyal and I see him everywhere,' and that's where Hawk's legacy began."
From that moment, Edwards would become a regular at UT Football practices. When he was no longer able to drive himself, he asked Hanshaw to escort him to practices every Tuesday and Thursday after Mack Brown's tenure with the program began.
"Hawk just lived for that," Hanshaw said. "And Mack Brown was so magnanimous, he just knew how much Hawk loved those practices, so he would make a point to come over every single practice and talk with him, shake his hand, laugh, just make him feel good. And not many people know little details like that about Mack, but that's just how Mack Brown is."
Though Edwards has passed away, Hanshaw and Reneau will always appreciate the kindness Royal and Brown so willingly showed him.
"I definitely feel UT is like a family," Reneau said.