Section Image: Ann Bluntzer addressing the audience at the Legends in Energy Dinner

Ralph Lowe Energy Institute Inducts Four Sevens Oil Co. Executives as 2024 Legends in Energy Honorees

Larry Brogdon, Brad Cunningham, Hunter Enis and the late Dick Lowe changed the world, Fort Worth and TCU with their innovation and entrepreneurship in the Barnett Shale, one of the largest onshore natural gas fields in the United States.

April 12, 2024

By Ralph Lowe Energy Institute

Sonny Dykes, TCU football coach, and Daniel Pullin, TCU President, stepped on stage for a special occasion.  One big TCU name after another, took to the podium at the Legends Club at Amon G. Carter Stadium recently to honor the class of 2024 TCU Legends in Energy award recipients - Larry Brogdon ’72, Brad Cunningham ’89, Hunter Enis ’59, MA ’63 and the late Dick Lowe ’51.

TCU Football Coach Sonny Dykes addresses the Legends in Energy attendees

University leaders, family and friends took turns telling stories that were equal parts heartfelt and hilarious about the men of the Four Sevens Oil Co. They were inducted by the Ralph Lowe Energy Institute as the second Legends in Energy award class. Their stories focused on oil and gas, Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), football and friendship, business and loyalty.

The thread that held them together was belief, their belief in what George Mitchell started in the Barnett Shale as a pioneer wildcatter. It was also their belief that TCU deserved to play with athletic programs like University of Texas and Texas A&M University and, if given a chance, they would beat them. Their foundational belief was in each other.

“We really were a team,” Cunningham said. “We loved coming to work. We loved what we did.”

Larry Brogdon, Brad Cunningham and Hunter Enis

The irony is what bonded the Four Sevens forever is something many said could not be broken – the thick layer of Shale in the Barnett. You cannot tell the story of the oil and gas, the Barnett Shale, TCU Athletics or TCU without Brogdon, Cunningham, Enis and Lowe, but you also can’t tell the story of the Four Sevens without the Barnett Shale. Books have been written about the Barnett, because there is very little in the Fort Worth community that has not been impacted by the entrepreneurship and innovation it inspired.

“What we did here changed the world,” Brogdon said, “really and truly.”

The Barnett Shale is the birthplace of modern-day fracking. The Barnett Shale is why, if Texas were a country, it would be the world’s second largest natural gas producer. The Barnett also helped build the version of the Amon G. Carter Stadium in which the 2024 Legends in Energy class was honored.

“Everything you can see from this room, everything in this stadium started with them,” Flying T executive director John Denton said while introducing them at the celebration dinner. “They are great men and great Frogs.”

Mary Lowe with her Frog Up

Brogdon, Enis and Lowe all played football at TCU and, like many former athletes, they ended up in oil and gas for a reason. It is the same reason they make successful entrepreneurs. They are used to taking big swings. They are not afraid to fail. They learned how to pick themselves up after being knocked down.

They believe in team.

“Every morning, when we got to work, we talked Frog football,” Enis said, “then business.” They are why there is an endowed professor of petroleum engineering at TCU. They are a big part of the thriving NIL at TCU. These four men put back into this university what they horizontally drilled from the ground in an urban environment.

Every single part of that sentence is innovative, and risky and fabulous and legendary.

“What I know for sure is I am lucky enough to teach and run an energy institute at a university that these men love,” said Ralph Lowe Energy Institute Executive Director Ann Bluntzer. “There is hardly a place on campus that does not have their fingerprints. They are on the athletic facilities, in the halls of the College of Science & Engineering, on the NIL efforts, at Neeley, on the students they have mentored, classes taught, games attended, Horned Frog teammates from years ago.”

These men are indeed legends and their stories are legendary.