There’s nothing that will stop Paul Layne from attending a Southern Methodist University football game short of being sick — and when that happened, he still attended.
Layne’s diehard dedication to his alma mater’s football team was recently honored by the school with his own jersey and commemorative football marking his 500th consecutive attendance before the game against Houston Baptist. It was an accomplishment 46 years in the making.
“They introduced me down on the field, and to my surprise they gave me an SMU jersey, a blue one like they wear in the games. I may frame it and put it in my home office,” said Layne of the Layne-Rothwell Group in the Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate Intown office. “I was also interviewed on the radio at the start of the second half.”
His amazing achievement and dedication are highlighted by the press and SMU during landmark years and games. This year was particularly special and garnered him attention from Fox 4’s Good Day morning show, a selection of radio interviews and a spotlight from ESPN.
Layne’s legendary love of SMU football began when he was a child, his parents toting him along to games starting at 2 years old.
As an SMU student, he was writing about the games as a student reporter but was so excited in the press box that his editor suggested he be a cheerleader instead. That cemented his dedication, and he attended every home and away game, even after he graduated.
When he realized he had a streak going, he doubled down on his efforts, doing his best to attend even when he was sick.
“The one story people like hearing the most is the time I came close to missing a game,” Layne recalled. “I was 41, and I came down with chicken pox. I looked on the schedule and saw, luckily, we had a home game. It happened to be Halloween, so I sat on the upper deck of the Cotton Bowl by myself and dressed as a scarecrow.”
His real estate partner, Trina Rothwell, said his love of SMU football is so infectious that she’s also gone above and beyond to make sure Layne doesn’t miss a game.
About five years ago, both of them were indisposed — Rothwell with a thrown out back and Layne with a bad reaction to antibiotics he was taking for an infected incision from dental surgery. Layne told Rothwell he may have to miss the game.
“There I am with my back not being able to move, and I said, ‘Not on my watch,’ ” Rothwell said. “I drove him to the La Madeleine across from the stadium, and he attended the game.”
“I’m really proud of him, and it’s something he really enjoys,” she added.
Layne’s spirit and dedication to SMU football have benefitted his real estate career with the Layne-Rothwell Group. Layne helps incoming and outgoing coaches and staff with their home buying needs. Rothwell also agreed to cover for Layne during game days.
“The attendance streak has opened the doors for Trina and I to be their agents. It’s brought in a lot of business,” Layne said. “They know I’m loyal.”