George “Tex” Nolan was born on July 13, 1941, to Emmitt and Myrtle Nolan in Shamrock, TX. He entered his heavenly home on January 17, 2021. Tex was baptized May 4, 1952, and was always deeply committed to his faith.
Services to celebrate Tex’s life will be at 2:00 p.m., January 21, 2021, at Hillside Christian Church to allow social distancing for the many that were friends to Tex.
Tex was a 1959 graduate of Lefors High School. He married Pat McDowell on June 18, 1960. They attended Oklahoma Panhandle State University where Tex graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education. He began his coaching career in 1963 at Robert E. Lee Junior High in Pampa. He always believed junior high was where the best coaches needed to be to make the biggest impact on students.
In 1966 he moved to Sunray ISD to become an assistant coach. Tex also taught history, a subject he took as seriously as athletics. He taught several classes and seldom if ever looked at a note. He later became the head track coach where his teams won three district championships and one regional championship. During that time, he received his master’s degree in education at Northeast Louisiana University in 1971.
In 1981, Tex moved to Dalhart ISD where he was an assistant football coach as well as the head track coach. There his teams won four district championships and three regional championships. While in Dalhart, Tex and Pat had a student who asked if he could live with them for his senior year due to instability at his home. Tex and Pat welcomed Charley Tiggs into their home for the year and enjoyed having a new edition to the family.
Charley said, “That year opened up possibilities that I’m not sure I would have ever considered.” Charley went on to Texas Tech University to run track and earned a bachelor’s degree in deaf education and a master’s degree in higher education/student affairs.
In 1989, Tex became assistant principal and then principal for Highland Park ISD. In 1991, he became assistant athletic director for Amarillo ISD, and in 1996 he succeeded Sonny Lang as athletic director. During his time as athletic director, he oversaw the renovation of Dick Bivins Stadium, which included the nation’s second FieldTurf surface as well as a new press box facility and dressing rooms.
On January 13, 2001, Tex suffered complete liver failure due to Hepatitis B. He was placed as priority one on the liver transplant list and received a liver transplant on Jan. 16, 2001. His donor liver came from a 13-year-old boy in Houston who had bacterial meningitis.
“I’m so thankful to that family and stay in contact with them,” Tex said. “Not a day goes by I’m not thankful.” He attributed his return to health and return to the job he loved to faith in God and the support of family and friends. Tex became a spokesperson for organ and blood donation by giving talks, attending blood drives to thank donors, and working with the donor registry.
In 2006, Tex was inducted into the Texas High School Athletic Director Hall of Honor. During Tex’s 13 years as athletic director, AISD teams won 16 state championships. Tex retired as AISD athletic director on June 30, 2009, totaling 46 years in public education.
In 2011, Tex was inducted into the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame as member No. 154. He was very proud of this honor to be included with other outstanding sports personalities from the Texas Panhandle.
Tex was a member of Coulter Road Baptist Church and served on several church committees. After retirement, Tex felt a strong need to give back to the medical community. He became a standardized patient for the Texas Tech Medical School and Pharmacy. He greatly enjoyed his days working with the future doctors and pharmacists. Tex also served on the WTSU College of Nursing and Health Sciences Advisory Board. He was impressed with the outstanding state and national recognition these programs earned.
Tex and Pat continued to attend AISD sporting events of all kinds. Tex followed all AISD student-athletes that went on to participate at the collegiate level and beyond. He was genuinely interested in the lives of every student he had known and was always so touched when a past student reached out to catch up with him or if he happened to randomly run into past students.
Tex Nolan loved life and made the most of every day. Nothing was dearer to him than his family. Sundays were for family lunch and an afternoon of fun with the grandkids. “Grandan” taught them to shoot marbles, throw tops, and play dominoes. The score card was proudly displayed on the refrigerator until the next week’s champion was determined. Some of his greatest joy was watching his grandchildren compete in athletics.
Tex is survived by his wife of 60 years, Pat, his daughter Kris and husband, Michael David, his son Dodd and wife, Jennifer Nolan, all of Amarillo. His grandchildren, Halie and Mitchell Sims, Micah and Brian Smith, Nolan and Lauren David, Samantha Nolan, Cole David and fiancée Abby Keister, and James and Carson Castleman and four great-grandsons: Zayden, Michael and Hunter Smith, and Paxton David, his sister-in-law Barbara and Butch Northcott of Canadian and several special nieces and nephews.
Tex is preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Oma Lee Brillhart, a brother, Gilford Nolan, and two nephews, Robert Sims and Mart Brillhart.
A scholarship will be established in Nolan’s honor and donations can be sent to Steve Brunson at First United Bank, 1 First United Bank Parkway, Amarillo, TX 79119 or LifeGift.—West Region, 5812 64th Street, Lubbock, TX. 79424
Use this link to live stream the service: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwxCSdC9KKslSEh3MxAy1pA/featured?view_as=subscriber