Jim Swink grew up in Rusk, Texas, which led to his nickname, “The Rusk Rambler.” He is remembered as one of the all-time greatest running backs in Southwest Conference history, and he led the Horned Frogs to consecutive conference championships in 1955 and 1956, which resulted in trips to the Cotton Bowl Classic. While he was named an All-American as a junior and senior, his best season came as a junior in 1955. That year, he rushed for 1,283 yards, which was second-best in the nation, and led the country with 125 points scored. His best game came against rival Texas in Austin, when he rushed 15 times for 235 yards and scored 26 points in a 47-20 rout of the Longhorns. That year, he finished second to Howard Cassady of Ohio State in the voting for the Heisman Trophy.
After finishing his degree at TCU, he decided to forgo playing in the National Football League and instead went to medical school. In 1960, he joined the American Football League’s Dallas Texans for their inaugural season. He later practiced medicine in Fort Worth as an orthopedic surgeon. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980, and in 1982 was presented with a Silver Anniversary Award by the NCAA for career achievements outside of football. In 2005, he was awarded the Doak Walker Legends award.