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People From The Abilene Area Who Made It Big

There are many people that are from the Abilene area who’ve not only been able to get out of the ‘black hole’, but make a very successful life and career in the process. Rocker Vinnie Paul, MLB pitcher John Lackey and pop star Jessica Simpson are included in this list of several people from Abilene who have made it big.

Cris Judd

Cris Judd is an actor and choreographer, but he is probably best known for his brief marriage to pop star Jennifer Lopez. Judd was born in Abilene in 1969.


Ann Wedgeworth

Ann has played in several TV roles. However, I’ll always associate her with a show I used to watch called “Threes Company”. She was on that show and played this older sexy type lady that always wanted “Jack”. If you ever watched the show, you know that she was a regular for a while but then disappeared without a trace. We still had Suzanne Somers though so I wasn’t disappointed. It was later in life that I discovered she was like 50 something when she did that show. Ann was born in Abilene in 1935.


Danieal Manning

Danieal Manning is another person that has made it big. Born in 1982 in Corsicana Texas, he was a standout at ACU after transferring from the University of Nebraska. Manning has played for the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL. He currently plays for the Houston Texans, his second stint with the team.


Sammy Baugh

Pro football Hall of Famer, Sammy Baugh, was born in Temple Texas in 1914. He played High School football in Sweetwater where he was a standout for the Mustangs. His college days were spent at TCU where he was named All-American in 1935 and 1936. The thing about Baugh, was that he was talented in more than football. In fact, he almost made a career in baseball before hurting his knee sliding into second base and his scholarship was taken back. He later went on to play for the Washington Redskins. Sammy Baugh died in Rotan, Texas on December of 2008 but his name will forever be associated with one of the greatest in pro football, and another from the Abilene area that made it big.


Paige Moss

Paige Moss is an actress and probably best known for her role in the show “Beverly Hills 90210″. She was born in Maryland but raised in Abilene Texas. In fact, Shay Hill, from our sister station (KEAN), went to High School with Paige.


Randall “Tex” Cobb

Randal ‘Tex’ Cobb was born in Bridge City, Texas but raised in Abilene. He went to school at Abilene High School and spent his college days at ACU before dropping out to become a boxer. He won 13 straight fights after debuting in 1977. Later he would become an actor and star in films like ‘Police Academy 4′, ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective’, ‘The Golden Child’, ‘Liar, Liar’ among many other movies. He’ll always be remembered for the battle with Larry Holmes where he lost and later when asked if he would like a rematch, said, “I don’t think his hands could take it” Not only is Tex one tough dude, but he’s also very funny.


Jessica Simpson

Just about every red-blooded male knows who the beautiful Jessica Simpson is – especially if you ever watched the movie version of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’. Jessica is known for her acting as well as her singing as she was a pop star before making it on the big screen. It was well known that she was Dallas Cowboy quarterback, Tony Romo’s main squeeze for a few years starting in 2007. In fact, some say it was because of her that Dallas lost in the playoffs that year. Jessica was born in Abilene, Texas in 1980.


John Lackey

MLB pitcher, Johny Lackey, was born in Abilene in 1978. He starred at Abilene High School and later went to college at the University of Texas at Arlington. He was drafted by the Anaheim Angels (who later were the Los Angeles Angels), spent 4 years with the Boston Red Sox, and is the current pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals.


Megan Ewing

Megan was born in Abilene, Texas in 1984 and claims Brady, Texas as her home town. She has been featured in Abercrombie & Fitch as is the Guess jeans girl.


Colt Mccoy

Colt was born in New Mexico but went to school at Jim Ned, which is about 20 miles South of Abilene. He flourished as a quarterback for the Indians then later at the University of Texas. Colt McCoy was the starting quarterback for the Longhorns from 2006-2009 and won the 2008 Walter Camp Award and was the 2008 Heisman Trophy runner-up. He shattered many team records for the Longhorns and holds several NCAA records. Colt’s time in the NFL has been less than stellar as he’s traveled around a bit with a stint as a Cleveland Brown and as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
Currently, Colt is a backup for the Washington Redskins.


Vinnie Paul

Vincent Paul Abbott (Vinnie Paul) was born in 1963 in Abilene. Together with his later brother, Darrell Lance Abbott (Dimebag) formed the heavy metal band Pantera in 1981. After Pantera broke up, Vinnie and his brother formed the band Damageplan. But, tragedy struck in December of 2004, when Dimebag was shot and killed on stage during a show. After Dime’s death, Vinnie Vinnie would later form the band Hellyeah with members of Mudvayne and Nothingface. That band continues to tour today.


Justin Snow

Justin Snow, a Cooper Cougar graduate, went to college Baylor University then went on to play in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts as a long snapper and backup tight end. He put in 12 years for the Colts before he was released and picked up by the Washington Redskins. Snow has not played in the NFL since being released by the Redskins in 2012. He currently lives in Ft. Worth, Texas with his wife.


Dominic Rhodes

Dominic Rhodes was a standout running back for the Cooper Cougars. He was an undrafted free agent that got his start in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts. Rhodes had 3 different stints with the Colts and also played for the Oakland Raiders before moving over to the UFL (United Football League). As a member of the Virginia Destroyers, he won a championship to become only one of four NFL players to win a Super Bowl and a UFL championship.


Billy Olson

Billy Olson graduated from Abilene High as a champion pole vaulter who later went on to star at Abilene Christian University. He just missed a chance at going to the 1980 Olympics because of a U.S. boycott in Russia. At the time, he was the 2nd ranked pole vaulter in the world. In 1984 he tore ligaments in his foot and was never the same after that. Today, he owns Billy Olson Bail Bond.


Jeff Ireland

Jeff Ireland is an NFL football executive who is probably the best known by Dallas Cowboys fans as the team’s talent scout from 2001-2005. Jeff went to Cooper High School and did well in football as a wide receiver and place kicker. After a stint with the Miami Dolphins and the Seattle Seahawks, Jeff is the current college scout for the New Orleans Saints.


Andrae Patterson

Andrae was born in California, but went to high school in Abilene at Cooper High School. He spent his college days at Indiana, and played in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves.


John Layfield

JBL was born just west of I-20 in Sweetwater, Texas. He played college football at ACU before starting his professional wrestling career, for which he is well known for. He is currently a color commentator for the WWE.


Shelby Miller

Shelby was born in Houston, Texas, but went to high school in Brownwood. In fact, he was drafted straight out of high school by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009. He is the current pitcher for the Atlanta Braves.


Case Keenum

Case was born in Brownwood, Texas but went to high school at Wylie where he took the Bulldogs to the Texas state football championship in 2004. Case stayed in Texas during his college career, playing for the University of Houston. During that time, he won several college awards before moving on to the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Houston Texans. Case currently is a backup with the St. Louis Rams.


Kenny Vaccaro

Kenny was born in Brownwood, Texas and went to high school there before transferring to nearby Early High School. He played college football for the University of Texas where he played safety and special teams. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2013 where he currently plays.


Charles Coody

Charles was born in Stamford, Texas which is about 40 miles north of Abilene. He went to college at Abilene Christian University before playing golf professionally. He has 14 professional wins including the 1971 Masters.


Don ‘The Lawman’ Slatton

Born in Cisco, Texas ‘The Lawman’ was actually a cop for 4 years with the Abilene Police Department before turning in a 20 year career in professional wrestling. After wrestling, Don started S.O.S Bail Bonds where he retired in 2007. Sadly, Don passed away in 2013.


Aaron Watson

Aaron is a country music artist who was born in Abilene, Texas in 1977. He went to Abilene Christian University where he studied how to play the guitar. Though he has been through a lot over the years, including the death of one of his 4 children, Aaron has persevered and now has 11 albums under his belt.


This is a list we’ll continue to update. So, let us know who we missed, and we’ll be sure to add them.

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