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2017 MPFL CHAMPIONS
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The Shanklin brothers were called two of the greatest athletes that played under Johnny Allen Sr. during his coaching tenure at Carver High School.
Donald and Ronnie Shanklin were named one of the 20th Century’s Top 100 Sports Legends of The Panhandle by The Globe-News in 2000.
Donald “Don” Shanklin was born Nov. 3, 1946, in Amarillo. He attended Carver High School, where he ran track and played football.
At that time, Amarillo was segregated, with blacks attending Carver.
“We never understood that,” Shanklin said. “How when we all played Kids, Inc. and YMCA football together during grade school, then suddenly you couldn’t play with each other in high school? We had friends at Amarillo High and Tascosa. Carver had everything they had at Amarillo High and Tascosa. It made no sense to us.”
Don Shanklin was extremely thankful for his Carver High mentor, coach Johnny Allen, according to AGN files.
Allen not only coached all sports at Carver and knew strategy, he “taught me everything I ever learned. He started coaching me when I was in Kids, Inc. We were well-schooled,’’ Shanklin said in a Dec. 30, 2007, AGN report.
After graduating in 1965, Don Shanklin went on to attend and play football at Kansas University.
Don Shanklin’s professional football career spanned 10 years, beginning in 1969, when he was a 10th round draft pick for the Philadelphia Eagles. He played in the Canadian Football League, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the World Football League.
In his later years, Don Shanklin was a professional golfer.
Don Shanklin remains on the list of greatest football players in Amarillo history. He was named second team All-Big Eight running back in 1966, and led KU in total yards in the 1966-68 seasons. He also was awarded Most Valuable Player of the 1969 Orange Bowl.
As the oldest of 12 brothers and sisters, Don Shanklin wanted to be an example for his siblings by getting an education and striving for greatness.
“I wanted to be a role model for my brothers and sisters, because I had learned the way to get out was to get an education,” Shanklin said. “You had to focus on what you are doing.”
And according to past AGN files, younger brother Ronnie Shanklin followed in his big brother’s footsteps.
Ronnie Shanklin attended school at Carver High School in the 1960s and excelled in track, basketball and football. He earned a track scholarship to North Texas State University after graduating in 1966, but ended up playing football.
He was the school’s all-time leader in career receiving yards, and his 31 touchdown receptions still stand as the North Texas record. He still ranks among the top 10 in seven other school receiving lists — a rare feat in the current era of pass-oriented offenses, according to AGN files.
Ronnie Shanklin was the second selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970 NFL draft.
He went on to earn All-Pro honors and a place in the Pro Bowl in 1971. He also helped the Steelers to a world title with a 16-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IX.
He retired from the NFL with the Chicago Bears in 1976, and would later coach at North Texas State and the University of Houston.
Shanklin was twice named All-Missouri Valley Conference and was inducted into the North Texas Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986.
Ronnie Shanklin, died on April 17, 2003, at the age of 54.
Donald “Don” Shanklin, died on Aug. 30, 2009, at the age of 62.
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