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Paul Quinn Prez Michael Sorrell Says the Downtown YMCA Changed His Life

The building is set to be sold and torn down.
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Photo courtesy Michael Sorrell

Paul Quinn is the oldest historically Black university west of the Mississippi. Michael Sorrell stepped in to run the place in 2007, when the institution was in sad shape. He got things turned around, and Zac wrote about all that in a profile of Sorrell for D CEO in 2021. In this episode of EarBurner, we talked some about how Paul Quinn has continued to thrive despite Sorrell’s job having been made more difficult by the attitudinal changes created by the pandemic. Oh, and we talked about the time Sorrell died and was brought back to life, making him the first undead guest ever to join us on the podcast.

But the main reason we invited him to the Old Monk was to talk about basketball. As you might have heard, the downtown Dallas T. Boone Pickens YMCA is about to be sold and torn down. After having a presence in downtown since 1885, the Coppell-based YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas is planning to abandon the city’s core, which is more than a shame. Sorrell played basketball in college and says he wouldn’t today be the president of Paul Quinn if it weren’t for the pickup games he played at the Y. It’s a special place where people of different races and socioeconomic standings come together as they too seldom do in this city. Toward the end of the episode, Sorrell posed a great question: how can Dallas be a great city if it doesn’t have a downtown Y?

Use the player below to listen to one of my favorite episodes yet of EarBurner. Or use whichever podcatcher puts the bounce in your ball. If you need to fast forward to the conversation about the Y, it starts at the 29:06 mark. And remember: print makes the podcast possible. Consider subscribing to D Magazine.


Tim Rogers

Tim Rogers

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Tim is the editor of D Magazine, where he has worked since 2001. He won a National Magazine Award in…

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