Dr. Clinton Rudolph Hackney affectionately referred to as Sam Houston University's "Mr. Music," brought great distinction to the Department of Music during his tenure there. As its first chairman and band director, he arrived on campus in 1937 to find a faculty of two. During his 20-year dynamic leadership, the department grew continually and gained recognition as one of the outstanding music schools in the state.
Born in Wortham, Texas, on May 8, 1905, Dr. Hackney was the only child of Charles Clinton Hackney and Zena McLelland Hackney. As a child, he enjoyed hearing his father, uncles and cousins rehearsing to play in the Wortham Municipal Band, and his mother practicing piano to accompany the church choir. As a teenager, he joined his musical family in performing in the community band.
He entered Texas Christian University as a freshman in 1922 and received a B.B.A. degree in 1926. During his college years, he played cornet in the band for four years under the aegis of TCU Bandmaster J. E. King, who strongly encouraged him to become a bandmaster and teacher. Colonel R. J. Dunn of Texas A&M University also encouraged him to make teaching music his lifetime vocation. Sports also figured prominently in his life. He was an avid tennis player and a member of the TCU track team.
His first job out of college was at Teague High School for a semester. Then he returned home to Wortham to become principal and coach of the high school. It was here that he met and married the math teacher, Eva Mae Halbert. In 1929 he and his bride moved to Caldwell where he taught and served as bandmaster. The young couple became the parents of Clint, Jr. and John during the Caldwell years which ended in 1936 when he moved to Mexia to teach and serve as bandmaster there. After two years in Mexia, the family relocated to what was to become their permanent home in Huntsville when Dr. Hackney joined the faculty of Sam Houston State Teachers College (later Sam Houston State University).
Dr. Hackney received his Bachelor of Music degree from VanderCook School of Music in Chicago in 1937. His M.A. was awarded in 1939 from Sam Houston, and his thesis was a valuable documentary on A HISTORY OF THE TEXAS MUSIC EDUCATORS ASSOCIATION. In 1951, he was honored with an honorary Doctor of Music from Southern College of Fine Arts. In 1994 he received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Sam Houston. In 1988, he was named to the Texas Christian University Homed Frog Band Hall of Fame, honored for "having a major influence on high school and university music throughout the state."
When he joined the Sam Houston Music Department it flourished, and a new music building was erected in 1951. From 1937 to 1948, Dr. Hackney directed both the famous Bearkat Marching Band and the concert band. In 1940, the Twirling and Drum Major Schools were organized and established on campus. The first session in 1940 had 25 students. By 1967, the school accommodated more than 600 students. In 1947, the first Cheerleading School in the United States was founded by Dr. Hackney on the Sam Houston campus. During his chairmanship of the Sam Houston Music Department, four national music fraternities were petitioned and established on campus.
During the years of World War II, Dr. Hackney organized an All-Girl Swing Band and toured Army and Navy bases in the state, playing special programs and dances for servicemen. The band received national attention when they were flown by special charter to Kearne Army Air Force Base in Nebraska by an Army C-47. Also under his direction, the Houstonians, the college stage band, was formed. For two summers during the war years, he also directed the Sam Houston-Mexican Field School in connection with the University of Puebla.
Dr. Hackney has served as President of the Texas Association of Music Schools, as Chairman of the East Texas Bandmasters Association and has been a noted adjudicator throughout the state of Texas. In 1961, the Executive Board of the United States Twirling Association unanimously selected him to receive an honorary lifetime membership. This association also presented him with an honorary degree, "Doctor of Baton Twirling" and gave him lifetime membership. In 1972, the International Twirling Teachers Institute honored him in Italy.
The author of Marching Maneuvers Series published by Remick Music Corporation, he was also author of Colonel Irons, published in 1937, which is said to be the first drum ensemble published.
He is a member of the TMEA, TSTA TCTA, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Kappa Kappa Psi.
Dr. Hackney stepped down as Chairman of the Music Department in 1957 to resume full-time teaching duties and retired from the faculty in 1968 to devote himself to other interests. In 1946, together with his wife and brother-in-law, Maurice Halbert, he formed H&H Music Company in Houston which eventually grew to a chain of more than 11 music stores in the Houston area headed by his son, Clint Hackney, Jr. The stores were sold in 1983.
Dr. Hackney has been involved in many activities in Huntsville, including President of the Rotary Club, member of the City Council, member of the Official Board of the First Methodist Church, the Wesley Foundation and the Methodist Men's Organization. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the First National Bank of Huntsville and on the Conference Board of World Service and Finance of the Methodist Church. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of H&H Music Company and is a past member of the Board of Directors of The Methodist Hospital of Houston.
In recent years, Dr. Hackney has devoted his time to gentleman ranching and to spending time with his four grandsons, Clint III, Steve, Malcolm and David, and to great grandsons, Travis and Bryce.