Stan Burnham never saw the Daniel Baker College aces Mac Miller and
Marvin Chambers play a game of basketball.
Their last time on the court as players, after all, was to claim the
Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association title for DBC in 1929 ‹ almost 75
Open the file folders Burnham's collected for the Hill Billies'
stand-outs and it's as if once again the round leather ball is pounding
against the high-gloss varnished gym floor, the rubber of the boys' shoe
soles are squeaking in an untimed rhythm, the fans are cheering and the
whistles and buzzers are sounding intermittently.
The TIAA title became the underdog Billies' in a 36-31 victory over the
West Texas State Buffaloes, marking the Buffs' first conference loss in
their two-year-old gymnasium, and one of the few of their history.
"Miller's goal shooting spree in the last half, the stellar and brilliant
play of Marvin Chambers, Hill Billy captain and guard . . . were the
outstanding features of the game," proclaimed Lee Moody, a correspondent for
A favorite clipping ‹ the date long cut off and Burnham said he believes
it's original printing was in the Fort Worth Star ‹ refers to the duo as
magical on the court.
"At DBC for the past four years, it has been the Marvin and Mac show in
basketball," the story goes "Together, the twin shooters had few equals. Some may have been as good, but none were better."
In the '20s football was played in the fall. Basketball began in true winter, shortly after the first of the year. And, Burnham said, it was a different game than modern-day basketball.
"They did a lot of things that slowed the game down," Burnham said. "For
one thing they played four quarters instead of two halves. For another, you
had a lot of jump balls. Jump balls started each quarter. They had jump
balls after every tie ball and I think they had jump balls after every
score. They've done away with a lot of that because it did slow the game
But one thing added, that was unheard of in 1929, is the three-pointer.
If it had been an option then, the Hill Billies' wins might have been
unbelievably lopsided. Miller and Chambers each seemed to have the knack for
finding the basket from near center court.
In "The Trail" DBC's yearbook, Miller was lauded as having the "ability
of thrilling the stands by shooting goals from any distance, angle or
position, (which) have placed 'Deadeye's' name in the Hall of Fame of Texas
Of his teammate, "The Trail" complimented, "Marvin astounds the bleachers
by dribbling through and around the opponents. If passing or dribbling are
impossible, Chambers takes long shots at the goal which often sink."
As it was the games weren't high scoring. In a looking-back column on the
Billies' magical season 23 years later, a columnist alluded that the games
were more physical and tougher-played. Also, in those days, size didn't
matter ‹ DBC's opponents were the big guys, usually, the likes of Baylor,
Texas Tech, Rice and the University of Texas. In 1929, UT beat DBC ‹ barely,
But the game against the Tech Matadors, a free throw in the last 8
seconds of play made DBC the victors. The game was deadlocked at 25-25 when
the referee called a double foul. The Tech man missed his shot, but DBC's
man Harry Johnson clinched it for the Billies.
". . . airtight play on the part of both teams and by the brilliant
guarding of Capt. Chambers of Daniel Baker, who so completely covered
Hodges, Tech's star forward, that he was not able to register a single field
goal. Hodges, it is recalled, is the lad who ran wild the previous night to
score 23 points," extolled the Bulletin's sports writer in its Feb. 4, 1929
If the TIAA championship did anything, Burnham said, it brought the boys
who played on "the hill" or in "Goatland" ‹ as sports writers frequently
referred to the DBC gymnasium ‹ national acclaim.
Both Miller and Chambers were born near May (Texas) and first played
basketball on a hard dirt courts shooting at hoops their fathers nailed to
the respective barn sides at the families' homesteads. One story in the
Brown County history books is how, when playing for May, Miller and Chambers
went to a high school tournament at Stephenville. At halftime the game score
was 62 to 0 and the only person to have scored was Miller.
The two boys finished high school in Brownwood, probably after some
coaxing from another former May resident and DBC alumnus, Coach Ed Blair.
About the time Miller and Chambers were graduating from BHS, Blair got
the head coaching job at DBC.
"Mac and Marvin could have gone to college anywhere and played ball, but
they chose Daniel Baker," Burnham said. "And the reason for that was Coach
The 1929 TIAA basketball championship trophy, went nicely into the trophy
case with the 1928 TIAA football championship and the 1929 baseball TIAA
championship trophies. As an aside, Miller also played football and baseball
and ran track, and in four years of college earned 16 letter sweaters.
Chambers will be posthumously inducted into the Daniel Baker College Hall
of Honor at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, in Constitution Hall at the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom, the building that was originally one of the main DBC buildings.
His teammate, Miller, was a charter inductee into the Hall of Honor in
2002. Miller's induction was also posthumous. He died of a brain tumor in
After their run at DBC, the men coached with each other for a bit at BHS
and against each other when Chambers was at Williams School and Miller was
in Graham. Miller gave up coaching and went full-time into raising Hereford
cattle in the late '40s.
Chambers retired in 1966 as superintendent of the Brown County Schools
after a 37-year career in education. He died in 1966. His children are Marva
Brim of Brownwood and Henry C. Chambers of May.