When Don Giddens started Maverick Jackets in 1998, he had just ended a thriving career in sales and venture capitalism. He could have never imagined that his retirement project would grow into what it is today.

“The challenge was to be involved in something that was fun and meaningful but not 80 hours a week,” Giddens said of the early days of the company, now called Maverick Awards. “That’s how this started, but it’s not how it is today because what happens is that anything that’s meaningful, ... you put yourself in it.”

Giddens, who was recruited to St. Edwards University in the 1970s to play college basketball, started the company with three clients: Southern Methodist University, Miami University and Indiana University. Those three schools were pivotal in connecting Giddens with decision-makers at other colleges and universities, who would eventually become clients.

“It takes a while for you to earn your chops, if you will, because there are so many people, especially in the athletic scene, that are flash-and-go,” Giddens said.

The company’s bread-and-butter offerings are still its custom-made varsity letter jackets, but Giddens said he has slowly added more products, including custom-framed awards, jerseys and diplomas; blankets; watches; graduation stoles; and four-year rings.

One of the keys to Maverick’s success is its ability to do business with as many schools as possible. The company’s roster of clients includes big names, such as The University of Texas at Austin, Stanford University and University of Southern California, but none of those schools represents even 1% of Maverick’s business, Giddens said.

“We are not beholden to any one, but we are so proud to be a part of all of them,” he said.

Maverick now works with 450 clients, including high schools, and ships an average of 1,000 orders per week out of its 18,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Plano. It is the leading manufacturer and supplier of athletics awards to colleges and universities across the country, including the majority of Division 1 schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Giddens said.

“You can call it what you want—tenacity, luck, hard work. You can say we’ve been super blessed. I think it’s all of that. We’ve been able to harness this market,” Giddens said.

Maverick Awards

610 Coit Road, Ste. 100, Plano



Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., closed Sat.-Sun.