SSN: Donovan Pitts Feature

Tristan Fluhr

A Texas–Sized Personality

From Texas Football, SWAT to HSE


The University of Texas in the 1980’s had a cast of characters and a mix of different ideologies. From lingering racial tensions on campus to having some of the biggest and brightest young personalities in the United States. One of the Longhorn’s biggest personalities was wide receiver Donovan Pitts. Donovan Pitts’s eccentric charisma carried him through college and he detailed his journey from going into the Dallas SWAT team and then being an Instructional Assistant at HSE after being shot in both knees in a SWAT mission.

“Everyone at UT was at the same playing level,” Pitts said. “You had to practice your best and do all of the extra things to be a starter.”

Pitts explained that as a player he learned the lessons of hard work and always giving your best. He also developed his fun-loving and great attitude there, which has carried this attitude into his job as an Instructional Assistant.

“He is very upbeat and positive,” Exceptional Learners Department Chair Tricia Randall said. “He really cares about the students and their well-being.”

Pitts explained that his adjustment from being on the SWAT team to being an Instructional Assistant was a challenge.

“Going from the SWAT team to HSE was a change,” Pitts said, “With the SWAT team you work with the worst of the worst, and here you work with the nice of the nice… I had to change my language.”

His time at the University of Texas and the SWAT team will always be a part of him, but no doubt about it, he’s an Instructional Assistant who loves life and what he does.

Story by Tristan Fluhr