The teams being honored include the 1968-69 men's basketball team that set what was then a school record with 18 wins, the 1980 TIAA championship football team and the 1999 men's and women's track and field teams (being honored together for laying the foundation of what has become a McMurry juggernaut in the sport).
Individually, Naldie "Doolie" Hale ('29) a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and track) is being inducted posthumously. Also being honored is track All-American Craig Jones ('84), former quarterback Brett Lang ('80), as well as two-sport stars Raquel "Rockie" Oliver ('94) - volleyball and track - and Elliott Park ('92) - track and basketball.
Abilene native and PGA professional golfer Bob Estes will receive the Bob and Clara Brown Award, given annually to an individual whose contributions have had a lasting impact on McMurry's athletics department.
"This is an outstanding class of inductees," McM director of Athletics Ron Holmes said. "When you look at the individuals and teams being honored, it is a true cross-section of the history of our program. Each team and individual being honored has - in their own way - made a significant contribution to McMurry Athletics."
Below is a brief biography for each team and individual being honored:
1968-69 Men's Basketball Team
The 1968-69 Indians basketball team was the 10th team coached by McMurry's legendary Hershel Kimbrell and is the second squad from the Kimbrell era - along with the 1974-75 squad - to be recognized by the Hall of Honor. The team posted a record of 18-9 and, at that time, set the school record for victories in a season. The team featured the 1-2 scoring threats of Randall Caussey, 512 points, and Jimmy Adams, 503 points. It was just the second time in school history that teammates had both eclipsed the 500-point plateau in the same season. Caussey's and Adams' totals that year rank 23rd and 25th, respectively, on McMurry's season scoring chart. Both men also can be found on the program's career scoring leaders with Adams at #12 with 1,485 points and Caussey #13 with 1,450 points. Max Mainord set a school season record for rebound average at 12.6 boards per game. The team had signature wins over Abilene Christian - twice - Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, Hardin Simmons and Texas Tech to its credit.
1980 Football Team
The 1980 team will forever stand as the first McMurry University football team to go the post-season playoffs, winning the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship and advancing to the NAIA Division II playoffs, emulated this past season by the 2011 War Hawks...as the school's only other team to qualify for the football post-season playoffs. The 1980 squad culminated a rebuilding process by head coach Spud Aldridge begun in 1976, when his first McMurry team went 3-8. Aldridge - who is already in the Hall of Honor as a coach and administrator at McMurry - now also is enshrined with his 1980 team that rolled up quality victories over Tarleton State, Austin college and two wins over Sul Ross State and is still the only McM team to post nine wins in the regular season (the 2011 team also had nine wins, with one coming in the post-season). The team still owns the school record for rushing yards in a season with 2,756. The 1980 McMurry team had 15 of its members named to the All-TIAA post-season teams. Four team members - Luke Taylor, Dudley Woodard, Ricky Nolly and LeRoy Duncan all received various All-American honors. Woodard, Taylor and Nolly are also individual members of the Hall of Honor.
1999 Men's & Women's Track and Field Teams
All that can be said to the members of the 1999 McMurry women's and men's track and field teams is: "Now see what you started?" After a seven-year hiatus of track and field on campus, the 1999 teams - and then "rookie" McMurry coach Barbara Crousen - not only brought back the sport...but did so in a manner that started a landslide of success that has continued to the present day. Since those 1999 teams both won their respective American Southwest Conference championships, the McMurry men have not dropped the baton...winning 14-consecutive ASC crowns! The McMurry women added nine more titles since 1999's team got things going for 10 total titles! The 1999 teams set the bar pretty high, too, no pun intended. The women got an All-American finish from the 4x100 relay team of Talitha Belcher, Kelly Brown, Jennifer Solis and Sabrina Griffin. Additionally, Belcher was an All-American in the 100 meters, as was Ann Rhiddlehoover in the discus. Rhiddlehoover and 400 meter hurdler Yvonne Silva both established school records that stand to this day. On the men's side of things, the team produced a two-time national champion in Brad Parris for the indoor and outdoor pole vault. Chris Rodgers ran his way to a pair of outdoor All-America awards in the 100 and 200 meter races. John Rhiddlehoover set the men's discus record and Mitchell Wolowicz established the men's 10,000-meter standard, marks that stood until this current season. Coach Crousen also picked up the first of 14 men's and 10 women's "coach of the Year" awards from the ASC.
Naldie "Doolie" Hale - Class of 1929
Football * Basketball * Track
Naldie "Doolie" Hale truly was a pioneer of the McMurry University's athletics program...as well as of the University, in general. Hale was not only a part of the original athletics teams, but also began attending McMurry in the Fall of 1923...when the school itself was in its embryonic juncture as an institution of higher education. Hale was a native of Bradshaw, Texas, came to McMurry from Abilene High School. Once on campus, he established himself as a three-sport athlete in the sports of football, basketball and track...three programs that still thrive today on campus and - perhaps as a fitting tribute to Hale's induction - all three of those sports either won championships and/or went to the NCAA post-season in 2011-12! Hale has the distinction of being a part of what was McMurry's first-ever championship - of any kind - for athletics when the 1927 football team won the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association title. His piercing eyes and chiseled features made him the perfect representation for McMurry's upstart athletics program and growing University.
Craig Jones - Class of 1984
Track & Field - 1981-84
Craig Jones competed for McMurry University's track and field program for four seasons as a stand-out middle distance runners. He competed under former coaches Don Eiland and Larry Shackleford. To this day, Jones remains the War Hawks' record-holder in the 800 meters...a sterling time of 1:50.43 run in 1984 at UT-Arlington. Formerly, he also held the school records in the 1500 meters and as a part of the 4x400 relay team. Jones also left his mark on other school's record books, as well, setting the meet record in the 800 at the Tarleton Relays. Jones earned all-conference and "Outstanding Track Performer" at the 1984 TIAA Conference championships. His stellar senior season included an NAIA All-America award by virtue of his third place finish at the national meet in the 800, while also earning team accolades as the top male track athlete, Captain's Award and Carl Herod Award. He helped the 1982 1600 meter relay quartet to a sixth-place NAIA national finish and, in 1984, helped McMurry's team win the TIAA Conference team title...breaking Tarleton State's seven-year stranglehold on the title! The native of Dimmitt, Texas, graduated with his BBA degree from McMurry in Business/Finance in 1984. He is the owner of Summit Auto Tint in Abilene and also competes in cycling road races. He is married to the former Kristina Horn, also a McMurry alumnae, Class of 1992.
Brett Lang - Class of 1980
Football - 1976-79
Brett Lang was a decorated quarterback for McMurry University's program in the mid-to-late 1970s. The Borger, Texas native was a member of Coach Spud Aldridge's first McMurry football team in 1976 and the turnaround for the program that he engineered then, was very much similar to what has occurred in the program over the past four seasons recently. McMurry was 3-8 during Lang's freshman campaign, but improved each season to culminate with an 8-3 mark his senior year...helping to pave the way for the 1980 team, also recognized with Hall of Honor induction. Individually, Lang received post-season accolades three seasons, earning TIAA honorable mention as a sophomore, second team as a junior and first team as a senior. In 1979, he was also a Little All-America honorable mention. A two-time team MVP in 1978 and 1979, Lang's first start early in 1977 led to a 40-0 win over Panhandle State and - in his final career game - McMurry got a 14-10 win over rival Tarleton State. After receiving his Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education and History from McMurry in 1980, Lang enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a high school educator and coach, retiring in May of 2011. Among the high schools where he has impacted the lives of young people are Weatherford, Graham, Mineral Wells, Glen Rose and Brownwood. While listing all of his accomplishments would take too long, some of the highlights include being selected as the 2003 AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year, the Mineral Wells VFW Teacher of the Year in 2006 and earning back-to-back Texas High School Powerlifting Association Region VI "Outstanding Coach" award in 2006 and 2007. In 1996, he was selected as an assistant coach for the Oil Bowl (the Texas-Oklahoma All-Star Game), as well as a 2010 assistant coach for the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Game. Since his retirement from teaching and coaching, Lang has worked as a San Angelo/Concho Valley area representative for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He and his wife Stephanie have been married since 1979 and have two children, a son Ty Lang and daughter Charity Bassano...with a grandchild on the way!
Raquel "Rockie" Oliver - Class of 1994
Volleyball - 1991-93; Track - 1991
Raquel "Rockie" Oliver was a dominating player for McMurry University volleyball on the early-to-mid 1990s. On the court, Oliver earned All-TIAA honors all four seasons. As a senior in 1993, Oliver earned the TIAA "Player of the Year" award. She was also the McMurry team "MVP" her sophomore through senior seasons. In track, one can only wonder "what might have been?", since she only had one season of competition - in 1991 - before the sport was discontinued. In her lone season of track, Oliver earned All-TIAA honors, was voted McMurry's best runner and team MVP. She qualified for the NAIA nationals in the triple jump...on her very last attempt at the 1991 TIAA conference meet! After graduating from McMurry in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Business Administration, Oliver continued to play volleyball in USAV and Coed tournaments. She attended Hardin-Simmons graduate school and earned her Master's in Sports and Recreation Management in 1998...also coaching the HSU men's club volleyball team for two years. She has also worked for Abilene Regional Medical Center's Cardiac Rehab as a fitness specialist and as the Sports and Recreation Director& Fitness Center Director at Cameron University. From 1999-2005 she was a regional director for Health Fitness Corporation. Since 2005, she has served her community as a member of the Dallas Police Department, receiving numerous awards and commendations during her career. Oliver gives much of her personal time outreach programs with the Duncanville Church of Christ, as well as to the Dallas Police Department's "Police Athletic League" activities and efforts for youth. She has three children: a daughter Kirsten, who will be attending McMurry in the Fall of 2012, as well as twins Mason and Madison.
Elliott Park - Class of 1992
Basketball - 1987-90, 1991-92; Track- 1987-91
Elliot Park spent four years each competing for McMurry's men's basketball and track and field teams. As a junior, he was a second team All-TIAA selection in basketball. While he had a creditable career on the hardwood, Park made a name for himself in track and field. He twice earned honors as the top field event performer and was the track team's MVP as a junior and senior, as well. He was also the team's "Most Inspirational" award winner as a senior. Park was a three-time NAIA national qualifier, earning All-America accolades in both 1990 and 1991. As a senior in 1991, he earned the bronze medal in the grueling decathlon at the NAIA Championships...after taking up the decathlon just a year prior...and set personal records in nine of the 10 events! Park set a McMurry school record of 6,858 points at those NAIA Championships...a mark that still stands today. Additionally, at that same meet he set the NAIA national record for the discus in the decathlon competition. The native of Clyde, Texas, earned his Bachelor's degree in Graphics/Painting in 1992. After graduation, Park went on to an illustrious career in graphic design, having done work for such notable clients as the American Airlines, Chili's, Dale Ernhardt Foundation, Major League Baseball, Hasbro and Dr. Pepper. While that list of accomplishments is impressive on its own, Park decided to also pursue a career as a songwriter and owns a recording studio, having taken up playing the piano while a student at McMurry. Park's special musical gifts came to fruition when the very first song he ever co-wrote - "I Loved Her First" - went on to become a #1 hit on both the Billboard and R&R charts in October of 2006! Since then, Aaron Watson recorded his song "The Road" and Josh Turner performed his tune "Your Smile" on Late Night With David Letterman. In 2007, he was awarded the coveted "Top Ten Songs I Wish I'd Written" from the National Songwriter's Association and is a member of the Academy of Country Music. Park and his wife, Pamela, have four children: John, Anna, Autumn and April.
Bob A. Estes - Bob & Clara Brown Award
Most people probably know Bob Estes for his 24-year career as a professional golfer on the PGA Tour. However, those of us in the Abilene area have been privileged to watch one of our "favorite sons" hone his skills at Cooper High School, before going on to an All-American collegiate career at the University of Texas. As a senior at Texas, he was named "Player of the Year" by both Florida Golfweek and Golf magazines, as well as taking home the Fred Haskins Award and Nicklaus Trophy as the nation's top golfer. He has gone on to win four PGA tournaments and was the 1989 PGA "Rookie of the Year". But we at McMurry have an even deeper and longer relationship with Bob Estes...you might even say he was born to be a part of our athletics program. His father, Tom, was not only a longtime coach at McMurry, but lived on campus with his wife Bobbi and were "Dorm Parents"...making our campus Bob's playground as a youngster. Over the years, Bob's generous financial support has benefited no only McMurry's golf teams, but every one of the University's intercollegiate programs...and he has done so in a quiet and unassuming manner. Some of his other charitable work includes sponsoring the Tom Landry FCA Golf Tournament in Austin and the Aaron's/Bob Estes Golf Tournament in Abilene each year. He has previously enjoyed induction into the University of Texas Athletics Hall of Fame, the Cooper High School Hall of Fame and the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame.