Longhorn legends: Women's Basketball Hall of Honor inductee Hattie Browning
Oct. 30, 2008
Georgia Latcham, Texas Media Relations
It may have been 28 years since Hattie Browning last played basketball at The University of Texas, but she still holds the records for most steals in a game, most steals in a season, and career steals-per-game average. This November, she will enter the UT Women's Athletics Hall of Honor, along with four others, in recognition of her achievements.
"There's no feeling that can describe (being inducted into the Hall of Honor). You just have to scream and say, 'What?'," Browning said. "When you consider all the people who were at Texas with me and the ones that have gone through since, and all the people who are being inducted with me... to be put on that same level is quite a compliment."
Browning transferred to UT after her sophomore year at Temple Junior College and played two years as a standout guard for Texas. She led the Longhorns to a 70-8 record during her career and as a senior, Browning had a record-breaking season with 179 steals in 1979-80.
"I never even think about (the records) until someone brings it up," Browning said. "For my record to still stand after 28 years, with all the amazing players that have come through the school, it's a great feeling."
Browning amassed 291 steals over her two seasons on the Forty Acres and her average of 3.8 steals per game is a career record at UT. A Longhorn has had 10 or more steals in a game four times in UT history and Browning recorded two of those efforts. She wrangled up a Texas single-game record 15 steals against Pittsburgh on January 2, 1980 and just over a month later she booked 10 steals against Texas Tech.
The Bellville, Texas native was also adept at dishing the ball off, leading the team with 162 assists and a 4.4 assists per game average in 1979-80.
After college, Browning played for the Dallas Diamonds in the Women's Basketball Professional League during the 1980-81 season. Once she finished her Diamonds' career, Browning returned to Bellville and became the postmaster in nearby San Felipe in 1984, a position she still holds. And though she has no children of her own, she has plenty of nieces and nephews with whom to share her love of basketball.
"They kind of look up to me as far as [playing] basketball," Browning said. "They always want to play with me. I have one nephew who says he's going to go to UT and break my records."
Browning gives credit to the coaches and the team for her record-making success.
"(Playing at UT) was a great experience because I came from a small town, and getting to play at Texas was exciting," Browning said. "We had good support from the coaches and great team rapport, so you always wanted to go out and do your best."
Browning had a tremendous support from the coaches considering she was a member of one of Coach Jody Conradt's earliest nationally-recognized teams.
"(Conradt) was a great coach, but I never imagined what an icon she would become," Browning said. "The connection that she had with all her players was something special. That is what really stands out about her. I call her maybe once or twice a year, and when I do, it's like no time has passed at all."
Conradt isn't the only person Browning keeps up with from her days at UT. Retha Swindell, who played from 1975-1979, nominated Browning for the Longhorn Hall of Honor.
"I talk to Retha Swindell frequently," Browning said. "She was the first person I called (with the Hall of Honor news). Retha was the one who started the whole nominating process, so I had to share it with her."
Even though Hattie Browning's records are a key achievement of her days at UT, she feels the lessons she learned while playing for Texas are more important.
"Never say 'never'," Browning said. "Sometimes in life, you think you can't do things. Nothing is unachievable, you just have to set your mind to it and put effort behind it."