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December 27, 2007

Stan Binion, R.I.P.

12th%20green%20fr%202nd%20green3.JPGHouston lost one of the true gentlemen of the Houston legal community on Christmas Day.

Longtime Houston trial attorney, Stan Binion, died on Tuesday at the age of 71. Stan was a charming man who was a fixture of the local trial bar over his 40+ year legal career, primarily on the defense side in business cases. I met Stan as a young attorney back in 1982 shortly after I started my original law firm with a couple of other young friends, and he could not have been more gracious and supportive. Over the years, I worked on the same side and against him in several cases, and it's a tribute to Stan's fine character that he was just as cordial and professional to me when he was opposing counsel as he was when we were co-counsel.

Born in Brownwood in West Texas, golf actually brought Stan to Houston. An outstanding high school golfer, Stan was recruited to the University of Houston by the legendary UH golf coach, Dave Williams. Stan sunk a key birdie putt late in the final round of an NCAA Golf Championship in helping the Cougars to one of their record 16 NCAA National Championships that they won under Coach Williams.

After graduating from UH, Stan became one of the finest amateur golfers in the area and one of the best players at Champions Golf Club, which is saying something. Over the years, Stan and stout local amateur John Paul Cain won several Champions Cups, the annual amateur golf tournament at Champions that consistently generates one of the best fields in amateur golf. Stan also qualified to play in the US Senior Open and several US Senior Amateurs.

Stan graduated from UH with a business degree in 1960, obtained his law degree from UH Law Center in 1962 and went on to become a tireless supporter of his alma mater. He was a former president of the UH Alumni Association and a lifetime member of the H Association of former UH letterman -- in fact, I bumped into Stan at most UH football and basketball games that I have attended over the years. Stan also donated his time in helping fellow UH golf alums Jim Nance (the CBS sports announcer) and PGA Tour pros Fred Couples and Blaine McCallister in developing and putting on their successful Three Amigos Charity Golf Tournament, which raised funds for the UH Athletic Scholarship Fund and other charities.

Finally, one anecdote sticks out in my mind in remembering Stan. In the mid-1980's, Stan donated his time in representing the UH in connection with an NCAA Infractions Committee investigation and subsequent hearing. In the 1990's, when Stan found out that I was involved in representing a UH coach in a UH-related NCAA Infractions Committee investigation, he called me and offered to provide any help, insight and background information that I needed. We were able to resolve that investigation favorably for the University, so I didn't need to call on Stan's assistance. But I deeply appreciated his offer -- it says much about the kind of man Stan Binion was.

A Memorial Service for Stan will be conducted this Saturday at 2 p.m. at George Lewis & Sons at 1010 Bering and the family will receive friends at a reception afterward. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made payable to "University of Houston" with "Stan Binion Memorial Fund" on the memo line addressed to the UH Athletic Department, 3100 Cullen Blvd., Houston, Texas 77204-6002.

Posted by Tom at December 27, 2007 12:00 AM |

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