Among the women profiled in 75th Miss Texas Celebration: A Dream As Big As Texas by Randy E. Pruett (’77) are the three Miss Texas winners who became Miss America: Tyler’s Jo-Carroll Dennison in 1942 and then two of UNT’s own, Phyllis George in 1971 and Shirley Cothran in 1975.
George went on to fame as a sportscaster, television personality and entrepreneur. In the book, she recalls getting a rocky start to her reign as Miss America when the crown fell to the floor.
“Stones went flying, the banner dropped, my hair was sticking up; I looked like a ragamuffin,” she says, but adds that it was a good ice breaker with the press and public.
Cothran (’73, ’74 M.Ed.), who married her college sweetheart, Richard Barret (’74), used her scholarship money to earn a doctorate in education.
“It had always been a life goal,” she says, “and I was determined to honor what was important to me.”
The book chronicles all 75 Miss Texas winners, and a DVD includes crowning moments and talents through the years. Pruett, who has judged state pageants and other competitions, was inducted into the Miss Texas Hall of Honor in 2005.