People are saying that the smile on Khalid Ansaar Hurst could mend a broken heart and that you could hear him before you would see him walk into a room. The way he lit up a party was infectious to say the least. But mostly it is his generosity and loyalty to his friends and family that stand out.

It’s been said that Khalid Ansaar Hurst was one of the greatest football players to ever play for the Santa Barbara High School Dons. But the number of touchdowns and yards rushed could never match the love he carried in his heart. There was also a level of confidence and bravery that made him very attractive. His opinion was always backed up with a loud shout and a well-trained laugh, a trait developed in his beloved Eastside neighborhood. His vibration promoted the spirit of what it really means to be born and raised in Santa Barbara. His soul was genuine, and essentially, he was a natural at whatever he touched.

Khalid Ansaar Hurst
Courtesy Photo

Being the son of a Mexican-American mother and African-American father proved to be a valuable fusion of cultures for Khalid. He celebrated his diversity through his ability to touch every level of society. He could be on Haley Street checking on the welfare of an old friend or at a mansion in Montecito toasting with a bunch of strangers who swear they saw him acting in a Hollywood movie. Either way, he would always put that famous grin on his face and raise his beautiful chin at you, acknowledging that he loved you. Khalid believed that by keeping it real, all things could be accomplished and celebrated with no regrets.

His competitive nature took him mountain-bike racing, snowboarding, hiking in the Utah desert, and some say he was on his way to become a scratch golfer. If you saw him walking down the street, you would have thought he was some kind of celebrity vacationing in Santa Barbara. He had that natural quality about him. But he was grounded by a deep emotional connection with his mother, Christine Palacio, and constantly humbled by the collection of true friends that he shared his life with.

You might remember Khalid from San Roque School, Cleveland Elementary, Santa Barbara Junior High, or the Eastside Boys & Girls Club. But it was on the football field at Peabody Stadium that he came away as one of the best running backs in Santa Barbara High’s storied history. A 1994 All-CIF selection, he was a special player and one of the Dons’ most athletic football players ever, according to his coach Lito Garcia. He went on to play two seasons for SBCC and could have played at the next level. But he opted to stay home rooting for the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco Giants. Khalid was a star in his hometown, a true talent who could run 40 yards in 4.5 seconds. He was Mr. Excitement and will no doubt be inducted into the Dons football Hall of Fame.

The Earth could not hold the spirit of Khalid Hurst any longer, and he died riding his motorcycle after he gave his helmet to his passenger. He came to us with a golden heart that was full of emotion and determination. He was rooted deeply in Santa Barbara’s old-school memorabilia. His father, Charles, was brother to another Dons legend, Grady Hurst. His passing has left us with so many great memories of him on the field. But his personality and love is what he gave to Santa Barbara. He was the perfect example of everything we exemplified as local kids who grew up with the dream of wearing the olive and gold colors of the Dons.

They say legends are born, not made, and this holds true for our brother Khalid Hurst, a one-of-a-kind individual heart who wore his emotions on his chest. He was an individual who touched so many people with his positive spirit. But knowing Khalid is to celebrate life by bumping some music, barbecuing, and toasting your cup; that’s how Khalid would have wanted it for sure.

A memorial service will be held Friday, August 30, at 10 a.m., at Our Lady of Sorrows Church.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.