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How Henryetta shaped Troy Aikman

Moving from California to the small Oklahoma town helped make Aikman a Hall of Fame quarterback instead of a professional baseball player.
By Mike Baldwin Published: October 30, 2012

A decade after his family moved to Henryetta, Dallas drafted Aikman No. 1 overall.

A six-time Pro Bowler, Aikman helped lead the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles.

On Tuesday, Aikman told an auditorium full of students that Henryetta was instrumental in his journey.

“The person that I ultimately have become, things that helped me do some things I've done athletically were really shaped here in this town,” Aikman said. “I learned about hard work. I learned about integrity. I learned about character. I learned about your word meaning something.

“In the process of all that it was supported by this wonderful community. I've said many times I wish that every child had an opportunity to really experience what I got to experience in a small town. There are a lot of good people here.”

The Hometown Hall of Famers program honors the hometown roots of the sport's greatest players and coaches. Henryetta is the 43rd high school nationally to have one of its former players or coaches honored.

George Veras, president and CEO of Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises, presented Aikman with a plaque that will permanently be displayed at Henryetta High School.

“I've been honored more than a person should ever have a right to be honored, I really have,” Aikman said. “I'm appreciative of that. I'm embarrassed by that. But this is not one of those times. This wasn't so much about honoring me as much as honoring Henryetta.”

Aikman told students he hopes the plaque serves as inspiration.

“It's OK to dream,” Aikman said. “If you're willing to pay the price and put in the time and work hard and do the right things those dreams can come true. ... In 1979 I thought, ‘Wow, my dreams have just ended.' Little did I know they didn't end, they were just beginning. ...

“A piece of Henryetta goes with me everywhere I go.”