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  • Alumni

McMurry Athletics Hall of Honor Adds 6 Individuals; 3 Teams

ABILENE, Texas – The McMurry University Athletics Hall of Honor added six individuals and three teams to its list of members on Saturday evening, at ceremonies in the Mabee Room. The following make up the Class of 2014:

BOB & CLARA BROWN INDIAN AWARD:  MARK MILLER (’78)

This award is named in honor of Bob and Clara Brown, who were major donors to McMurry University; not just Athletics, but the entire University. Their daughter, Barbara and her husband Bynum Miers, are both McMurry Alumni.  In 1998, the Indian Club wanted to begin recognizing those individuals, businesses, or families for their exceptional support of McMurry Athletics. Each year, the recipient is honored at this Hall of Honor Induction Ceremony.

This year’s award recognized a true gentleman who embodies the real spirit of McMurry University:  Mr. Mark Miller.  From Indians to War Miller’s support for McMurry University – and especially McMurry Athletics has never wavered.

Miller honed his life skills as a student at McMurry, graduating with a Business Management degree in 1978 after coming to Abilene from Clovis, New Mexico. He was a four-year letterwinner in football for McMurry, earning All-TIAA honors his senior season.  He played under both Don Newsome and Hall of Honor coach Spud Aldridge.

Miller was also very involved in other campus activities like IHR Men’s Social Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

After graduation, Miller worked in sales for Continental-EMSCO and also as a plant operator for the Mobil Oil Company. In 1987, he joined Edward Jones as a financial advisor and is currently a limited partner with the company, still today.

Mark spent a decade as a member of the Lion’s Founders Club in Abilene and was a member of the McMurry University Board of Trustees from 2003-2012. He attends Hillcrest Church of Christ in Abilene, where he serves as a Deacon.

What makes Miler so special is that he has consistently given of himself and his time – in addition to his resources – to better McMurry Athletics.  One would be hard-pressed to find a sport – or area of athletics – that has not in some way benefited from his generosity.  Most times he does not even need to be asked for help; rather it is he who has said “What Can I Do?”.  He truly is a “doer” and he has helped elevate the McMurry athletics program because of his caring heart for the school.

PAUL RANKIN (’62) – TRACK

Paul came to McMurry from Portales High School in New Mexico, where he played football and ran track as a prep.  At McMurry, Paul was a four-year letterman in track and ran under the guidance of head coach Grant Teaff.

During his career at McMurry – the seasons of 1958 through 1961 – Rankin ran several sprint events, but had his greatest successes as a member of the various McMurry Relay teams.

As a junior in 1960, Rankin and the rest of the Indians’ team won the college division of the West Texas Relays, marking the first time in school history that the track team had ever won a major meet.

As a senior in 1961, the mile relay set meet and stadium records at the McMurry Indian Relays and lowered that to 3:13.40 at the Kansas Relays. Rankin also ran the Sprint Medley Relay, the 880 relay and the open 440.  That season, the McMurry track team won six meet championships. Rankin ran on relay teams that earned medals seemingly wherever they ran: Texas Wesleyan Relays, Kansas Relays, West Texas Relays, the Border Olympics and the NAIA National Championships.

As further testament to his leadership ability, he was a two-year team captain for McMurry.

Rankin was involved in the KIVA Social Club, Intramural Council, Interclub Council and Circle K…outside of athletics. He graduated from McMurry with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in January of 1962.

Rankin joined the United States Navy, where he served with distinction from 1962-1972. He reached the rank of Lieutenant Commander, leading a fighter squadron! He flew 273 combat missions and logged 410 carrier landings as a Naval Flight Officer. He served aboard the USS America and the USS Constellation.

His unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation as the top Navy fighter squadron;  he earned 16 air medals…three with bronze stars for valor;  he was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for valor in combat, and;  he was twice awarded the Vietnam Cross for valor.

When his career in the Navy came to a close, Rankin then enjoyed a career as a Certified Public Accountant for 13 years, until his retirement in 2004.

RON HOLMES – MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH

Ron Holmes is synonymous with McMurry University men’s basketball to anyone who has followed the program over the years. He was head coach for McMurry from 1990 through 2010

Holmes completed his 20th season in 2010 and retired from coaching to begin a full-time role as McMurry’s athletics director from 2010 until January 2014.

As the head coach, he compiled a 347-185 record while at McMurry – a .652 winning percentage  – which is the highest winning percentage of any McMurry men’s basketball coach in school history. He ranks second to his mentor, Hershel Kimbrell, in total victories.  Coach Kimbrell is also a Hall of Honor member, as well as a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame.

Holmes led McMurry to five conference championships and had at least a share in seven ASC West Division titles, including his last during the 2008-09 season.

He coached the McMurry to six, 20-win seasons. His teams reached the NCAA Division III Elite Eight in 1999-2000 and Sweet Sixteen in 2000-01, in what is the most dominating back-to-back seasons in school history.  Those squads earned a combined record of 51-6 and only lost one regular-season ASC matchup in those two seasons.

Holmes-coached players and teams still hold a total of 51 records for McMurry Basketball, for single games, seasons and careers.  Among those records is most wins in a season and fewest losses in a season – both accomplished when his 1999-2000 Hall of Honor team went 27-2!  His teams have boasted statistical leaders, all-conference players and all-Americans.

In January of 2012, McMurry University honored Holmes by dedicating the Kimbrell Arena floor as “Ron Holmes Court,” recognizing his contributions to the university and his excellence as a coach.

Holmes, a native of Van Horn, Texas, received a Bachelor of Science degree from McMurry in 1977.  He also played four years of basketball under the direction of Kimbrell.  He was involved with KIVA, MSG and the FCA.

Holmes also earned a master’s of education degree from Abilene Christian University in 1984.

He played high school basketball for coach John Curry, a 1967 graduate of McMurry…who, himself, happened to play basketball for Coach Kimbrell. Ron was a member of the 1971 Van Horn state championship basketball team.

Before assuming the McMurry coaching reins, he also had stints as a prep coach in Midland, Lamesa and Brownfield.  He coached USA teams in Europe and Argentina, as well.

Holmes was a member of the NCAA Rules Committee, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, and the Texas High School Coaches Association.

KEITH WHITE (’82)  – MEN’S BASKETBALL

Keith White was an impact player for McMurry University basketball, virtually from the moment he set foot on the court. Among the numerous honors and achievements, White has the distinction being of being drafted in 1982 by the San Antonio Spurs out of McMurry!

White is another in the long line of quality basketball players – as well as quality individuals – produced by Hall of Honor coach Hershel Kimbrell. White played four seasons for the Indians from 1978 through 1982.

White came to McMurry from Houston’s Sterling High School.

It was no accident that the teams of which White was a part of all had winning records, earned four-consecutive conference titles and averaged 20 victories per season. All four teams also made NAIA playoff appearances.

By the time he had finished his playing career at McMurry, White ranked as the school’s all-time leader in rebounds with 1,096 and was No. 3 on the career scoring list with 1,822 points.  He holds the school record for most rebounds in a season, when he grabbed 361 boards in 1980-81.

He was an NAIA honorable mention All-American as both a junior and senior. Likewise, he was twice elected both All-District 8 and all-conference.

White earned his bachelor’s degree in Sociology from McMurry in 1982.

After graduation, White spent time in the U.S. Army from 1982-85 and, after that, worked for the Houston Chronicle newspaper. He then spent 10 years coaching at the Awty International School, followed by a number of coaching stints for some private schools.

In 2001, White co-founded Houston Hoopstars, an elite basketball training program in the Houston area. His organization has been responsible for more than 70 young men receiving college basketball scholarships and he also helped develop their first McDonald’s All-American!


MARK COX (’81) – FOOTBALL

Mark Cox was a member of the McMurry football program during what was – in terms of wins and losses – the greatest four-year span in the history of the program.

Cox came to the McMurry campus from Weatherford High School in 1977.

From 1977 through 1980, McMurry football enjoyed four-consecutive winning seasons for the only time in school history!  Under the guidance of Hall of Honor coach Spud Aldridge, the program amassed a record of 30-12 during those seasons.

And no season was bigger than the 1980 campaign – with Cox as quarterback – to lead the Indians to a 9-2 record, the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship and a berth in the NAIA playoffs. The 9-2 mark still stands today as the best season in McMurry history in terms of both number of victories and best winning percentage in the modern era.

Not only was he a team captain for the Indians, but he twice earned TIAA Offensive Player of the Week recognition and was once the NAIA national Player of the Week.

The defining game of that year came in the regular season finale, which was a rematch versus rival Austin College. In that game, Cox threw for six touchdown passes and had 539 yards in total offense, both school and TIAA conference records at that time. McMurry scored a 47-39 win to claim its first TIAA crown.

The six touchdown passes was almost unheard of at that time.  In fact, on that very same day, Boise State quarterback Neil Lomax – who would go on to play in the NFL for the then-St. Louis Cardinals – also threw six touchdowns, making Lomax and Cox the first two quarterbacks in NCAA history to have thrown for six touchdowns in a single game.

Cox graduated from McMurry in 1981 with his Bachelor’s degree in history. He would also go on to earn his Masters of Education degree from ACU in 1988.

Armed with some great examples of coaching from Spud Aldridge, Tommy Estes and Dwayne Finnley, Cox then began his own journey as a high school football coach.

Some of his own professional highlights include serving as a head coach for the Greenbelt Bowl all-star game in 1989 and serving on the 1994 selection committee for the Texas High School Coaches Association South All-Star game, to name a few.  At South Garland, his 2012 team was a UIL state playoff qualifier and he was elected the District 11-5A “Coach of the Year”.

From 1988-90, Cox returned to his Alma Mater as the Indians’ head coach for three seasons, as well.

BOBBY CAMPBELL (’86) – FOOTBALL & TRACK

Whether it was a football as a wide receiver or a baton in the track relays, Bobby Campbell was grabbed hold and ran with it!  The native of Moody, Texas, established himself as one of the best two-sport athletes in McMurry history.

On the football field, it was the Homecoming game of 1982 – during Campbell’s freshman season – that gave the best glimpse of what was in store.  With McMurry being shut-out by Sul Ross State, he caught a pass over the middle and raced 82 yards for a touchdown that ignited the home crowd and put his speed on display, and opposing defensive backs on notice. As a matter-of-fact, his first two catches at McMurry both went for touchdowns!

By the time Campbell was done with his football career, he had amassed 106 receptions – 14th on the all-time list.  He rolled up 1,791 receiving yards, which ranks #5 all-time in McMurry history. His average of 24.4 yards per catch, as a freshman in 1982, is also a school season record that still stands today!

He earned three All-Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association honors in 1982, 1983 and 1985, earning 1st team accolades as a senior.

On the track, he was a part of back-to-back TIAA championship teams in 1984 and 1985, as McMurry beat out Tarleton State for the crown each year behind Coach Larry Shackleford.

Specializing in the open 400 meters, as well as both the 400 and 1600 meter relays, Campbell was a key cog in what was McMurry’s emerging track dynasty. For his part, he was an All-TIAA performer and an NAIA All-American each year.

In 1986, Campbell grabbed hold of the most important thing from McMurry: his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education.

In 1990, Campbell began a teaching and track coaching career that has spanned 24 years. Among his teaching/coaching assignments has been Temple, McGregor, Fairfield, Itasca and, currently, the Italy ISD.

Campbell’s teams have won a total of five district titles: two at McGregor, one at Fairfield and two with Itasca.

1961 TRACK & FIELD

While the 1960 team opened some eyes by winning the West Texas Relays, just a year later the 1961 team made believers out of most in a big way!

Under the tutelage of Grant Teaff, the team won 6 meets that season: Ft. Worth Recreation Meet, the West Texas Relays, the North Texas Relays (where John Dale Lewis was the “Outstanding Performer” after running a 9.2 wind-aided 100 yards), the McMurry-Hardin-Simmons dual meet (Bill Miller took the lead in the broad jump for the state of Texas that day with a leap of  25’4”), the McM-Arlington-HSU Triangular Meet and the McMurry Indian Relays (which they won for the 3rd-consecutive time). The team was also 3rd at the Laredo Border Olympics.

Individually, Bill Miller won the first of his three Broad Jump titles at the Texas Relays, while the 4×110 relay team of John Dale Lewis, Bud Morgan, Bill Miller and Mike Stell set a school record of 40.8 at the Houston AAU meet. The Mile Relay team ran a record time of 3:13.40 at the Kansas Relays, as well.

The 1961 team still has two other records – in addition to John Dale Lewis’ 100 yard time and the 4×110 relays – on the McMurry books still today. Bruce Land ran a time of 20.90 for the 200-yard dash…and the 4×220-yard relay team – John Dale Lewis, Jimmy Drake, Bud Morgan and Mike Stell – has a best time of 1:25.50.

 
1997 VOLLEYBALL

The 1997 McMurry volleyball program was flat out a juggernaut.  The team accomplished what was – at the time – a school record for victories in a season by amassing a record of 23-6 overall.

But it was how they handled the American Southwest Conference that drew attention. The ladies rolled through the ASC like Sherman through Atlanta!  McMurry was not just 12-0 versus the ASC competition, they did not even lose a game along the way. They defeated each foe 3-0 and claiming the title in just the second season as a member of the league!

Cammie Petree was in just the second year of her second stint as McMurry’s head coach back then, as well.

Two of her players – Mandy Findley and Tracee Nielsen – earned first team all-conference honors.  Three others – Sony Papion, Amy Jo Williams and Sabrina Griffin – were honorable mention.

Findley still owns the McMurry record for best Kills Percentage in a match, with an .818 versus the University of Dallas that year. She also ranks 5th on the all-time kills list and Griffin, who was a sophomore in 1997, ranks 3rd.

Tracee Nielsen remains the career leader with 199 service aces and is #2 in assists- 3,032, 990 of which came during the 1997 season.

Amy Jo Williams – a senior in 1997 – is third in career digs per game at 3.64.

But numbers and honors to not do justice to what this team accomplished in the hearts and minds of McMurry followers. Perhaps this exert from the 1998 “Totem” best describes the entire impact this team had on McMurry University athletics and the campus:

“They stand as leaders today!  …..this Lady Indian Volleyball team Captured the Spirit for students, alumni, and all else to cherish. When all is said and done and we look back on all the memories, the memories we are most proud of will include those of a conference championship, those of Maroon Pride, and those of a volleyball sweep! The future has yet to be written, but expectations run high…”

2001 BASEBALL

The 2001 McMurry Baseball program – in just the sixth year of the program’s existence – earned the second American Southwest Conference championship for the school.

Under the leadership of head coach Lee Driggers, McMurry not only won the ASC West Division and the ASC championship…but also qualified for the NCAA Division III regional tournament.

The defining moment for the team came in early April, as it traveled across town to face Hardin-Simmons University for a three-game series. McMurry swept all three games and that seemed to draw the group together. The McMurry team clinched a conference title by sweeping a doubleheader from Mary-Hardin Baylor.

McMurry was 26-17 overall and 16-8 versus the ASC.

The 2001 club still has several team pitching records on the books, including:  Lowest Team Season ERA- 4.02;  Fewest Earned Runs Allowed- 146;  Fewest Hits Allowed- 330, and;  Fewest Wild Pitches- 12. This was accomplished with hurlers like Ernest Herrera…who still holds the season record for lowest ERA at 2.43.  Ernest was 3-1 that year, as well.

Josh Duwe led the team with a 7-3 record and sported a 3.15 ERA; Josh Lee was 4-3 with a 4.12 ERA.

But while the pitching was spectacular, the team could hit, too. As a unit, the Indians had a .296 batting average. Chris Fritsch led the group with a .361 average and 8 homeruns.

Andrew Cox was #2 in the ASC for Triples and also #4 for times Hit by a Pitch in the season stats.