Nobody knows Gatesville sports better than John Frank Post.

For 43 years, Post covered the Hornets and Lady Hornets as sports editor at The Gatesville Messenger, witnessing virtually every major moment in the school’s athletic history.

This weekend, he becomes entrenched in it.

The inaugural Gatesville Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet will be held Saturday with Post being recognized as a member of the introductory class.

For the 91-year-old, it is an honor he never expected.

“It was certainly a surprise,” Post said. “It staggered me that they would pick me. … It feels very good. I can’t find the words to say how good it makes me feel.”

Joining Post are two of the school’s most decorated athletes, whose careers he saw firsthand.

Francis “Cotton” Davidson and Dora Jean Patterson Dyson are also being honored at the event after each became national standouts following impressive tenures at Gatesville.

As a Hornet, Davidson competed in a pair high school state track meets and landed on the all-district team in football, basketball and baseball before graduating in 1949.

But that was only the beginning.

An All-Southwest Conference quarterback at Baylor, Davidson led the Bears to a No. 3 ranking in 1953 and played in a pair all-star games before being drafted by the Baltimore Colts with the fifth overall pick in 1954. He spent a total of 12 seasons in the NFL, including two with the Dallas Texas, becoming the franchise’s original starting quarterback, and played in two AFL All-Star games, winning the MVP in 1961.

In the midst of his professional career, he was drafted by the U.S. Army in 1955, and was named All-Army Quarterback in his first season with the team.

Upon retiring, Davidson joined the Baylor coaching staff, remaining with the Bears for 22 years.

While humbled to be included in the inaugural class, Davidson is equally excited for those who will one day join him.

“I am so honored to be in the first selection for this and just to be a part of it,” he said. “I’m so proud that the community is going to have this available through the years to remember people by.”

Patterson was an all-district first-team selection in girls basketball at Gatesville every season from 1959 to 1961. Simultaneously, she was a standout track and field athlete, winning numerous gold medals and becoming a charter member of the Texas Track Club in 1960.

Her skills took her all over the county and internationally as she set national records in various events and fell just shy of competing in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, finishing fourth in the Olympic Trials. The U.S. only took two athletes due to a shortage of funds, but there was no shortage of coverage on her accomplishments.

Dyson has graced the pages of magazines, such as Texas Parade and Sports Illustrated, along with being featured in national newspapers.

While her talent set her apart, Dyson believes her upbringing in Gatesville allowed her to excel.

“This is a wonderful honor, and I am very humbled by it,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been very, very blessed. I have a wonderful family who has supported me and given me opportunities. I had a wonderful school, good leaders, good teachers, good coaches and a community that loves and supports each other.”

And through it all, Post, who played defensive and offensive end for the Hornets in 1937 and 1938, was there to document it for the home-town fans.

“I’m in the company of some gifted athletes and great people,” he said. “Dora Jean was one of the most determined athletes I’ve ever met. She was just committed to being the best she could be, and she obtained it. And Cotton’s career proved what a great athlete he was.”

Contact Clay Whittington at

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.