Former managing editor and long time Daily Texan mentor, Robert Hilburn, far left, died Saturday, May 17 in Wichita Falls.

Photo Credit: Friends of The Daily Texan | Daily Texan Staff

Robert Edwin Hilburn, who worked as an editorial manager at The Daily Texan from 1966 through 1985, died on May 17.

Bob was born in Wichita Falls on Nov. 10, 1923, and received a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri in 1943. After graduating, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and was the youngest Marine correspondent in World War II. He worked as a White House correspondent for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram during the mid-1960s and then moved to Austin with his family to escape the hectic lifestyle of Washington, D.C.

Mary Jeanette Hilburn, Bob’s wife, said her husband’s background in the Marine Corps helped shape his life.

“To his dying day, he was very, very proud of being a Marine,” Mary Jeanette said. “The discipline and everything that he learned through that — it really guided him. … He was a real perfectionist in everything that he did, but he was a gentle soul.”

Sidney Hilburn, Bob’s daughter, remembers the many quirks her father had. Hilburn drove a British sports car, which had been restored to perfection except for the broken gas gauge.

“He would always, before driving it, take his bamboo stick out and stick it down into the gas tank to see how much gas was in there,” Sidney said. “He was a character.”

Bob began working at the Texan in September 1966.

“He could wake up in the morning, go swim at Barton Springs, do some yard work during the day, and then at five report to work [at the Texan],” Sidney said. “It was much more relaxed and calm [than Washington], and I think he really needed that at that point in his career.”

When Hilburn began working at the Texan, Frank Erwin had just become chairman of the Board of Regents. After the Texan reported that the University had broken Texas’ public information law, Erwin and other regents were angry with the students who ran the publication. The regents tried to censor the Texan and decrease funding.

Mary Jeanette said this controversy made Bob’s job difficult because, although he often agreed with the students, he had to balance their views with the administrators’ opposing views.

“The professors and different people [were] saying, ‘You know, we have to control The Daily Texan and not let this go and that go,’” Mary Jeanette said. “He kind of had to walk a middle line there with the situation. It was hard, but he handled it, I thought, beautifully.”

John Economidy, a criminal defense attorney in San Antonio who was editor-in-chief of the Texan when Hilburn became editorial manager, said he learned more about journalism from Bob than he did from his four years of journalism school.

“Just a total consummate professional,” Economidy said. “A gentleman to the core."

A memorial service will be held on June 14 at 10 a.m. at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden in Austin.


Texas Tech fired head coach Pat Knight Monday after another disappointing season for the Red Raiders.

“I appreciate everything Pat has done for our university, not only as a head coach, but also throughout his career as an assistant,” said Texas Tech president Guy Bailey in a prepared statement. “I wish him success and the best moving forward.”

Knight failed to lead the Red Raiders to the NCAA tournament in three full seasons and had one winning campaign (19-16 in 2009-10) since taking over for his famous father, Bob, at midseason in February 2008.

Knight went 50-60 in his first Division I coaching gig. He told reporters before the season that he didn’t deserve a contract extension if he couldn’t get Tech to the NCAA tournament this year.

He joined the Texas Tech staff as an assistant in 2001, when his father was the coach.

The Red Raiders went 5-11 in conference play and will face Missouri in the first round of the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday. Knight will coach Texas Tech during the tournament before stepping down, a school spokesman said.

<strong>Morris, Self win award</strong>

Kansas forward Marcus Morris and head coach Bill Self topped the list of Big 12 awards with the junior taking home Player of the Year honors and Self earning Big 12 Coach of the Year accolades for the third time.

Morris led the Jayhawks to another Big 12 regular season championship after averaging 18.8 points and 7.6 rebounds in conference play. The Philadelphia native shot 60.6 percent from the field in 16 conference games and had four double-doubles. Morris is the first Jayhawk to win the award since Wayne Simien in 2005.

Self coached Kansas to a 14-2 record for the program’s 11th Big 12 regular season title in the 15-year history of the conference. Self’s squad has 29 wins for the fourth time in five seasons and rebounded after a tough home loss to Texas on Jan. 22 to win the league crown and earn the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 tournament.

Morris also landed on the All-Big 12 First Team while his brother, Markieff Morris, highlighted the second team. Senior guard Brady Morningstar was named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team.

The conference’s head coaches voted for the awards but were not allowed to select their own players.

<strong>Dunn breaks scoring record</strong>

Baylor senior guard LaceDarius Dunn became the Big 12’s all-time leading scorer Saturday against Texas. Dunn broke former Texas Tech great Andre Emmett’s record with a first-half free throw before finishing with a game-high 22 points in his final regular season home game. It was the 113th time Dunn scored in double figures and he now has 2,274 career points.

Emmett’s mother read a letter of congratulations from her son at midcourt after the game.

Dunn came into the matchup with the Longhorns needing only five points to break the record and scored on Baylor’s opening possession to ignite the crowd.

Baylor’s tough loss, which may have cost them a chance at an NCAA tournament bid, overshadowed Dunn’s feat. Dunn and the Bears will have a chance to make a push for an at-large bid when Baylor takes on Oklahoma on Wednesday in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. If Dunn can guide the Bears past the Sooners, Baylor will get another shot at Texas Thursday in the quarterfinals.