A total of 10 student-athletes makeup the 1960s All-Decade Team, two players from each of the five institutions that made up the membership during that period.
"It's great to recognize a group of players and coaches that really put the Southland Conference on the basketball map in its formative years," league commissioner Tom Burnett said. "When you go back through the annals of the conference, it's very obvious these were tremendous players that enjoyed success at all levels."
In addition to the selection of the 10 all-decade players, one of the picks, Larry Jeffries (1965-69) of Trinity University, was selected as the Player of the Decade after he became the first four-time all-Southland choice, a two-time Southland Conference Player of the Year, and a three-time All-American. Jeffries also led the Tigers to the Southland's first-ever berth in the 1969 NCAA University Division (Division I) Tournament.
The 1968-69 Southland Conference Basketball Records Book referred to Jeffries as Trinity's "nonpareil," or having no equal. The Alton, Ill., native also led Trinity to a third-place national finish in the NCAA College Division Tournament, and still ranks in the Southland's top 10 in five statistical categories.
Joining Jefferies on the all-1960s team was another two-time Southland Player of the Year, Jerry Rook (1963-65), of Arkansas State, and Rook's ASU teammate John Dickson (1963-67), another Southland Player of the Year. Lamar is represented on the all-1960s squad with standout forward Don Bryson (1963-65) and sharpshooting guard Earl Dow (1967-69), while Abilene Christian's John Ray Godfrey (1964-68) and Charles Cleek (1964-66) were also tabbed for the team. Trinity's Pete Ranucci (1963-65) also earned all-decade recognition, as did Texas-Arlington's Mike Nau (1964-67) and Eddie Stallings (1967-69).
The Co-Head Coaches of the Decade honor was shared between Abilene Christian's Dee Nutt and Lamar's Jack Martin. Nutt led ACU to three Southland championships and three NCAA Regionals during the decade, while Martin's Lamar team won the inaugural 1964 league title, advanced to a pair of NCAA Regionals, and led the nation's No. 1 ranked College Division Team in 1969.
A complete summary of all honorees is included in this release. The Southland Conference will continue to recognize All-Decade Teams through the 2000s during the remainder of the 2012-13 basketball season.
John Ray Godfrey, 6-3, Guard, Abilene Christian (1964-65, 1965-66, 1966-67, 1967-68)
A native of Aspermont, Texas, John Ray Godfrey is one of the greatest all-around players in school history, and is still the Wildcats' only first-team NCAA All-America basketball player. Godfrey, who led the 1966 Wildcats to the NCAA Division II national tournament, earned that honor in 1968 after averaging 23.8 points and five rebounds per game. A 1989 inductee into the ACU Sports Hall of Fame, Godfrey held the Moody Coliseum single-game scoring record with 41 points until Hunter Cooley scored 42 against Angelo State on Feb. 6, 1992. Godfrey, who ranks 10th on ACU's all-time scoring list with 1,467 points, played on three Southland Conference championship teams. He was unanimous all-Southland three times and was the league's most valuable player in 1967-68. He was named to All-America teams by the Associated Press, U.S. Basketball Coaches Association and United Press International, and he was invited to the 1968 U.S. Olympic trials.
Charles Cleek, 6-6, F , Abilene Christian (1962-63, 1963-64, 1964-65, 1965-66)
A native of Las Cruces, N.M., and a four-year starter for the Wildcats (1962-66), Cleek is one of the best big men in ACU history. He led the Wildcats to back-to-back Southland Conference championships (1964-65 and 1965-66), earning first team all-conference honors both seasons after earning second team honors as a sophomore in 1963-64. As a senior in 1965-66, Cleek was the leader of one of the great teams in ACU history, a squad that won the Southland Conference title and won the NCAA regional championship before losing to North Dakota, 63-62, in the national tournament. Cleek was selected a third team All-America by both the Associated Press and United Press International after averaging 17.3 points and 9.3 rebounds for a team that finished 21-7. Among those 21 wins was a 67-52 win at Oklahoma State (then Oklahoma A&M). Cleek still ranks ninth on ACU's all-time scoring list with 1,504 points and fifth on the all-time rebounding list with 899 career rebounds.
1960s All-Decade Co-Head Coaches:
Dee Nutt, Abilene Christian
A native of Clifton, Ariz., and a former All-American player for the Wildcats, Dee Nutt led Abilene Christian to 208 wins as head coach from 1955-56 through 1968-69, and during a brief return from 1988-90. During the concentrated six-year period of Southland Conference play in the 1960s, Nutt led the Wildcats to 83 wins, including a 31-17 mark in league games, three Southland Championships in 1964-65, 1965-66 and 1967-68, and three NCAA regionals in 1964, 1965 and 1966. The 1966 NCAA team won the South Central Regional and earned a berth in the national quarterfinals. Nutt was selected as the 1968 Southland Coach of the Year. He later coached the Mexican National Team in the 1971 Pan Am Games and the 1972 Olympics in Munich.