Hall of Honor Class of 2003|
Oct. 30, 2003
Texas Tech's first National Player of the Year is among six people who are being inducted into the university's Athletic Hall of Honor Oct. 4.
Lady Raider Sheryl Swoopes joined 1993 national championship teammate Krista Kirkland-Gerlich, gutsy quarterback Rodney Allison, premier men's basketball player Will Flemons, playmaking safety-kick returner Tracy Saul and High Rider creator Joyce Arterburn as honorees at this year's Hall of Honor Banquet, which was held at the Lubbock Civic Center on Oct. 4.
All five former Texas Tech athletes are products of West Texas and all five are still involved in athletics today.
Swoopes, a native of Brownfield, caught the nation's eye when she sparked the Lady Raiders to the national championship in 1993, scoring a NCAA record 47 points in the title game. She was second in the nation in scoring average with over 28 points a game on her way to National Player of the Year honors. Her jersey #22 was retired in 1994. The two-time Southwest Conference Player of the Year's accomplishments have only continued to grow after college.
Her highlights include: member of the gold-medal winning 1996 and 2000 Olympic teams, MVP of the 2002 USA World Basketball Championship Team, twice the WNBA Player of the Year and three times the Defensive Player of the Year, and a four-time first-team All-WNBA selection since joining the league as one of its original players in 1997. The Houston Comets' star has a career scoring average of almost 18 points a game while leading her team to WNBA championships in 1998, 1999, and 2000.
Kirkland-Gerlich, a native of Spearman, was a key leader and three-point shooter on the '93 national championship unit. A three-time All-Southwest Conference selection, she set SWC records for three pointers made (220) and attempted (528) during her career. Her 553 career assists were second on the SWC's all-time list and currently second most in school history. Her jersey #21 was retired in December 1993.
After graduation, she began her coaching career as head girl's basketball coach at Lockney in 1993. Other stops were at San Antonio Taft (head coach for two years), UT-San Antonio (first assistant for two years) and San Antonio Reagan (head coach for one year). She served as a math teacher at Tahoka and Hereford while devoting more time to her family. In July, she accepted an assistant coaching position in the Lady Raider basketball program.
Allison, a native of Odessa, displayed uncanny quarterbacking skills in helping the Red Raiders to a 10-1 regular-season record and a top five national ranking in 1976. He established school single-game records for total offense and passing yards in a conference title showdown game against Houston. A first-team All-SWC selection, he was a strong Heisman Trophy and All-America candidate in 1977 before being sidetracked by an injury.
He played one year of pro football for Toronto in the Canadian Football League before beginning his 24-year coaching career in 1979 as a graduate assistant under Rex Dockery at Tech. He served as running backs coach for Dockery and Jerry Moore from 1980-83 before joining Steve Sloan's staff at Duke in the same capacity. In 1988, he began a five-year stint at Southern Mississippi where he crossed paths with current NFL great Brett Favre. Other coaching stints were at Auburn 1993-98 and Clemson in 1999-2002. Sloan hired him on Dec. 6 as the head coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga.
Allison was unable to attend the Hall of Honor ceremonies because of football obligations.
Flemons, a native of Paducah, was the Southwest Conference Player of the Year in 1992 and the league's Offensive Player of the Year in 1993. He played for Gerald Myers and James Dickey in 1989-93 and twice was a unanimous All-SWC selection and the league's leading rebounder. He holds school records for best field goal percentage in a season (62.2% as a senior) and blocked shots in a game (seven vs. A&M as a freshman). His 47 points vs. Oral Roberts as a senior is the second most ever scored by a Red Raider and he is seventh on the school's career scoring list with 1,604 points.
Flemons served as an assistant coach on Dickey's staff from 1994-97 and 1999-2001. He then helped Bucknell University to its first women's NCAA Tournament appearance as the team's No. 1 assistant coach before taking the same position at Southwest Texas State in 2002-2003. The team also enjoyed success, participating in the NCAA Woman's Tournament for only the second time in school history. In July, he was named head women's coach at Wayland Baptist.
Saul, an Idalou product, is the only Red Raider football player and only third SWC performer to be named first-team all-conference all four years. The other two were Bobby Layne and Doak Walker. He was All-SWC in 1989 and 1990 as a kick returner and in 1991 and 1992 as a defensive back. Among other honors was the SWC Sportsmanship Award as a senior and second-team All-America by The Associated Press as a junior. He set SWC records in career pass interceptions (25) and return yards (425) and is currently third on the school's career punt return yardage list with 902.
He signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears in 1993. He returned to Tech and earned a Marketing degree in 1994. He served as an assistant coach at Lubbock Cooper one year before joining Frazier Sports in Waco, which operates wholesale sporting goods warehouses. In 2000, Saul was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame.
Arterburn was a key creator and sponsor of the High Riders organization, which has been the primary spirit group for women's athletics at Texas Tech since 1976. A female version of the Saddle Tramps, the High Riders received no funding in the beginning but were able to provide needed support through cookie and candy sales, office cleaning projects, and the sale of items like dorm carpet, fireworks and game programs. Through Arterburn's leadership, the High Riders provided essential support in such areas as team airport transportation, campus tours, game management, and special event operations.
Arterburn recently retired from her Exercise and Sports Sciences teaching duties after 37 years at Texas Tech. Among here honors and awards are Texas Tech Woman of the Year, Texas Tech Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Sponsor of the Year, Outstanding Faculty Award, Faculty Recognition Award and Distinguished Service Award.