Don Schlitz, wrote ‘The Gambler’

When Don Schlitz was a young man, a 1970 graduate of Durham High School studying at Duke University and working in the computer center there, his boss had some advice for him.

“If I didn’t have any family or ties, I’d go to Nashville,” Fred Crumpton said.

That’s what Schlitz did, and it turned out pretty well. His career as a songwriter found fairly early success when Kenny Rogers recorded “The Gambler” in 1978. That recording “allowed me to become an everyday songwriter,” he told The Herald-Sun’s Cliff Bellamy.

Schlitz’s songs also have been recorded by artists including Pam Tillis, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Randy Travis and The Judds. Earlier this year, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

And today, he’s the recipient of the Durham Grit Award.