McMurry's Parris Family to Receive 2017 Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame Legacy Award

  Gary Ellison
  Thursday, January 19, 2017 10:14 AM
  Archives 2014 - 2015

Abilene, TX

McMurry University’s “first family of track and field” – Rickey, Pug and Brad Parris – will be given the 2017 Legacy Award by the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame, it was announced today. The 16th annual Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame banquet is set for Monday, May 1 at the Abilene Convention Center.

The Legacy Award is given to an individual or group, either living or deceased, who has made a lasting contribution to sports in the Big Country.

“The Parris Family has shaped countless lives at McMurry and all across the Big Country,” McM Director of Athletics Sam Ferguson said. “This prestigious honor is an appropriate one for Rickey, Pug, and Brad. That remarkable family boasts nine individual national championships between Brad and Ricky. Pug is an incredible educator who has dedicated her life to adding value to others through her work in the classroom and beyond. The Parris Family is well-deserving of this honor and everyone at McMurry is thrilled to hear that they are being recognized with this tremendous honor.” 

Rickey Parris was a four-time NAIA national champion in the pole vault at McMurry in the early 1970s. In addition to his four NAIA titles, Rickey had another all-American finish to his credit. His stellar career included three Lone Star Conference championships (1970, ’71 and ’72) and he has the distinction of being the first-ever athlete in both the LSC and NAIA to clear 17 feet in the pole vault. Rickey won a total of 34 pole vault competitions and set 22 meet records in doing so. He earned the LSC’s Outstanding Field Performer in 1970 and the McM Athlete of the Year in 1971-72. He is also a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, as well.

Pug Parris has taught at McMurry for nearly 40 years, currently serving as McMurry’s Director of Inter-Disciplinary Studies. She is the former chair of the kinesiology department. Additionally, she has a long career of volunteering her time for the McM track and field program and – to this day – does the public address announcing for the War Hawks’ home meets.

Their son Brad Parris is now the head track coach at McMurry and was instrumental in, literally, vaulting McMurry's track and field program into the national spotlight. Brad earned a total of five NCAA Division III national championships in the pole vault, right when the track program was just being re-introduced as a sport on campus. Brad still holds the McM records for the pole vault, both indoor and outdoor. He was voted the "Outstanding Performer" award at the 2000 indoor championships, also earning the ASC Male "Athlete of the Year" accolades that same season.

But as high as Brad sailed over the bar in the pole vault, he set an even higher standard in the classroom where he graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. Immediately upon graduation, he became an assistant coach to legendary McM track coach – and Big Country HOF member - Barbara Crousen, a position he held until 2014 when he succeeded Crousen as the head coach upon her retirement.

Rickey, Pug and Brad Parris are also all members of McMurry University’s Hall of Honor.  Rickey was inducted into the McMurry HOH in 1989 and Pug earned the “Bob and Clara Brown Award” for her contributions to McM Athletics in 2003. Brad was enshrined in 2015.

Tickets for the banquet are now on sale. Individual tickets are $65 each. Tables of 10 can be purchased for $800 and include the VIP reception prior to the banquet. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling (325) 668-3685. Proceeds from the banquet will go to college scholarships. Twelve $1,000 college scholarships will also be awarded again this year at the banquet to graduating student-athletes from the 19 counties in the Big Country.

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Gary Ellison