Belton Journal Articles
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Roy Mitchell, a Belton native, pitched in pro baseball’s Major Leagues for seven years (1910-1914, 1918-1919), was a member of the 1919 World Series Champion Cincinnati Reds and later worked for several years as a minor league manager before his retirement. He returned to Belton where he died in 1959. Mitchell remains in 2001 the only ex-Belton athlete to play in the Major Leagues.
Albert Roy Mitchell was born on April 19,1885, in Bell County to James Edward Mitchell and Susan Amanda Lee Mitchell and was one of ten children. His mother was from one of Belton’s oldest families (her father, Edward F. Lee, came to Belton in 1853) and was born in 1855 in Belton. His older brother, James W. Mitchell, 29, was a Belton constable who was shot and killed in the line of duty in Belton on July 22, 1910, while answering a call. The murder led to a mob lynching of the alleged killer in Belton on the same day in an event that made state and national news. Roy and his siblings attended the Belton schools as BHS graduation records list his sisters Ethel (1907) and Ida (1908). Roy would have been 15 in 1900 and likely dropped out of BHS before graduation to play pro baseball. It is not known if BHS. had a baseball team during Roy’s high school days but, if not, he probably played on one of the numerous local amateur teams before he was “discovered” by pro baseball scouts. Mitchell was a 5'9" 170 lb. righthanded pitcher.
At least part of Mitchell’s minor league history is known as rosters/statistics do exist for the history of the Texas League and indicate that Mitchell pitched for the Temple Boll Weevils from 1905-1906; for San Antonio in 1908; Ft. Worth in 1909; and Houston in 1910. He won 20 games for Temple in 1905 and 16 games for Houston in 1910 before he was called up to the St. Louis Browns of the American League toward the end of the season. He had a 28-35 win/lost record while pitching for the Browns from 1910-1914 (a better winning percentage record than the team’s 273-593) as he was 4-2 (ERA of 2.60) in 1910; 4-8 (ERA of 3.83) in 1911; 3-4 (ERA of 4.65) in 1912; 13-16 (ERA of 3.02) in 1913; and 4-5 (ERA of 4.37) in 1914. Mitchell did not play in the Major Leagues in 1915-1917 but returned at the end of the 1918 season with the Chicago White Sox where he was 0-1 in 2 games.
Mitchell had his best year in the majors in 1919 as he was 4-0 with the AL pennant-winning White Sox with an ERA of 0.75 before he was traded to the NL pennant-winning Cincinnati Reds at the end of the year and was 0-1 in 7 games with an ERA of 2.32. He was one of 9 pitchers on the Red’s roster in the 1919 World Series against the White Sox but did not pitch in any of the 8 games. The Reds won the series 5 games to 3 in the World Series that became known as the “Black Sox” series due to a scandal in which several Chicago players took bribes to “throw” the series and were banned for life from baseball. During his 7-year career Mitchell won 32 games (with 5 saves and 7 shutouts) and lost 37 in 675 innings in 122 games and struck out 204 with an ERA of 3.43. He also hit .187 in 235 career at bats.
Mitchell did not retire after leaving the Major Leagues at the end of the 1919 season as records indicate that he pitched for the Dallas Steers in the Texas League from 1921-1924 and was manager of the team in 1924. He retired as a player after a 21-year career (1904-1924) and then managed several other minor league teams before he retired from baseball around 1933 and returned to Belton. In 1922 he married Bess Miller, the daughter of a prominent Bell County pioneer, C.W. Miller. Their 37-year marriage produced no children. Roy Mitchell was well known around Belton in the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's as he owned and operated the Live Oak Dairy, Belton’s largest dairy, and was a farmer and stockman and a director of the First National Bank in Belton for many years.
Roy Mitchell died in Temple on
Sept. 8, 1959, at the age of 74. He was survived by his
widow, Bess (who died on May 9, 1980, at the age of 90); by his brothers,
William Leslie Mitchell of Belton and Lee Milton Mitchell of Salado; by
two sisters, Mrs. C.W. Wilson of Temple and Mrs A.W. (Ida) Karrenbrock
of Nocona; and by a number of nieces and nephews.
Brigadier General/Dr. Howard T. Prince II, one of America’s leading experts on military and civilian leadership, graduated from Belton H.S. in 1958 and was the 2nd leading hitter on the Tiger baseball team that year. In 2001 Prince is director of the Center for Ethical Leadership at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT in Austin and lectures throughout the U.S. and the world on leadership education and development.
Howard T. Prince II was born on March 9, 1941, in Lawton OK to Howard T. and Blanch Evelyn Prince and is the oldest of four children: Howard, Judy, Robert (who died in 1991), and Linda. His father was a career Army master sergeant and Howard attended schools in Japan and Germany and in Belton in the 7th and 8th grade and for his last 2 & ½ years of high school. He won district in declamation and was the QB on the Tiger JV football team as a junior and was a reserve QB as a senior in 1957 when the Tigers went undefeated during the regular season. He was the starting second baseman for the Tiger baseball team as a soph in 1956 and as a junior in 1957 when the Tigers were bi-district champions. As a senior in 1958 he was the shortstop and 2nd leading hitter (.344 on the year and .417 in district.) for the 9-3 district runner-up Tigers.
Howard graduated 5th in his class from Belton High School in 1958 and attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1958-1962 , graduating 24th in a class of 601 in 1962. During his Army career he was an Olmsted Scholar at the University of Bonn in Germany in 1965-1967; received an M.A. in International Relations from American University in 1969; and received a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Texas in 1975.
Prince was promoted to Brigadier General upon his retirement in 1990 after a 28-year Army career and was presented with the army’s highest award for service, the Distinguished Service Medal. He held a variety of troop command and staff positions in the 82nd Airborne and 1st Cavalry divisions; was an Army Ranger and a senior parachutist; and received two Bronze Stars for valor, the Distinguished Flying Cross for valor, and the Silver Star for valor. He was wounded twice in a 6-month period in Vietnam in 1967-1968, receiving two Purple Hearts. The second wound, incurred when he led an infantry company against a fortified enemy position at Hue during the Tet offensive in 1968, led to his being hospitalized for almost a year.
Dr. Prince served on the faculty at West Point from 1978-1990 where he was the Head of the Dept. of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership and was a key figure in a program to prepare the faculty and cadets for the admission of women cadets. He developed both graduate and undergraduate programs in leadership at West Point and is considered a pioneer in the development of collegiate leadership programs. His textbook, Leadership in Organizations, has been widely used among the more than 900 leadership programs in colleges throughout the U.S. He was instrumental in reshaping leader development throughout the Army after the war in Vietnam, and, after retiring from the Army, served from 1990-1996 as the founding dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond in Virginia where he developed the first undergraduate leadership degree program in the world. Prince is currently the Director of the Center for Ethical Leadership in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and has an independent leadership consulting practice that takes him throughout the nation and world to speak to various police, business, and community groups about leadership principles.
Howard Prince, 60, and his wife, Susan (who directed the Head Start program in Bell County in 1998-99), live in Austin. Howard has 34-year-old twin sons from a previous marriage who are Baptist youth ministers, Brian in Gallatin TN and Jeff in Durham NC. Howard still visits Belton where his parents are buried and his sister, Linda Prince Etheredge, lives. Judy Prince Shine lives in Austin. On Nov. 11 our nation honored its veterans, many of whom gave the last full measure of devotion. Let us keep their service and sacrifices in mind throughout the year, especially those, like Howard Prince, from Belton and Bell County and all who serve now at Ft. Hood and around the world.
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
With Veteran’s Day approaching on Nov. 11 perhaps it is appropriate to remember former Belton High School Athletes who have served their country in the armed forces. I am reminded on Veteran’s Day in Belton of a veteran, teammate and good friend, Jim Evetts (BHS Class of 1957), a West Point graduate who served his country in Vietnam, Korea and Bolivia and who died in 1982 at the age of 43.
James K. Evetts, Jr., was born on Jan. 12, 1939, in Belton to James K. Evetts Sr. and Grace J. Evetts. His father was a 1925 graduate of Belton H.S. and, as a Lt. Col., served as an aide to Belton’s Gen. Walton H. Walker in World War II and was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge. He served as Bell County District Attorney in the 1940's and 1950's and as District Judge in the 1950's land 1960's. Jim’s mother, Grace James, was co-valedictorian of the 1930 BHS class and co-valedictorian of her Mary Hardin-Baylor class. Jim and his younger sister, Judy, were raised in Belton and attended Tyler Elementary, Belton Jr. H.S. and Belton H.S. where Jim graduated in 1957. Jim’s leadership skills were evident early as he became an Eagle Scout and was Lodge Chief of the Nine County Council of the Order of the Arrow and was President of the National Honor Society and a Boys’ State delegate. Jim was known in high school (and throughout his life) for his great sense of humor and was voted “Most Popular Boy” at BHS in 1957. He also represented BHS in UIL Declamation (advancing to the regional as a junior).
Jim was an end on the Tiger football teams of 1954 and 1955 as a soph and junior and played on the JV basketball team thru his junior year. As a 6'6" senior Jim was captain of the 1957 Tiger varsity team which was 19-7 (10-2) on the year and finished 2nd in the District. He was the team’s third leading scorer averaging 10 points per game and was a strong rebounder with a high of 23 rebounds in a district game against Taylor. He was hampered throughout his career (and later life) by a knee injury he received while playing football.
Jim attended West Point where he graduated in 1961 and then served 21 years (1961-1982) in the U.S. Army. During his army career he graduated from the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base and the Inter-American Defense College in Washington, D.C. and earned an M.A. in military history from Duke University in 1970. He was on the faculty at West Point from 1971-1974 and served overseas tours in Korea and Bolivia and two tours in Vietnam. In his first Vietnam tour he was in the Special Forces and was a master parachutist and a Ranger. He served with the 101st Airborne Division in his second Vietnam tour and was a military advisor in Bolivia for three years. Evetts won numerous medals for his bravery and leadership in combat including three awards of the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, and three awards of the Army Commendation Medal. He also served in the Pentagon and attained the rank of Colonel before his death from a brain tumor at the age of 43 on Sept. 8, 1982. Jim is buried in the North Belton Cemetery (in a plot adjacent to the Pavilion) by his parents who both died in 1994..
Jim Evetts married Nancy Bagly of LaGrange GA in 1963. Their daughter, Julie, was born in 1964, and Amy, in 1968. Jim is survived in 2001 by his widow, Nancy, of Washington DC; his daughters Julie Evetts Clarke, 37, of Washington D.C. and Amy Evetts Harders, 33, of Scottsdale AZ; his grandchildren, Nicholas Evetts Clarke, 4, of Washington, D.C and Grace Harders, 4, and Claire Harders, 3, of Scottsdale AZ; and his sister, Judy Evetts Roberts of Harker Heights.
On Nov. 11 Beltonians should remember Col. Jim Evetts, the son of the District Attorney/Judge, the Eagle scout, the Tiger basketball star, the West Point graduate and faculty member, the 21-year veteran of the U.S. Army and the war hero who died a premature death at 43 after a lifetime of service to his country!
This week is the 30th anniversary of the worst day in the history of Belton football as Harry Wilson was paralyzed while making a tackle at the Belton homecoming game on Nov. 5, 1971. Most Beltonians have noticed the sign on 6th avenue designating old Tiger Field as “Wilson-Kerzee Field” and many are aware that each year Belton gives the “Harry Wilson Defensive Player of the Year” award to the top Tiger defender. However, most know little about Harry Wilson and why he has been so honored.
Harry Lewis Wilson was born on April 25, 1955, in Temple TX to William Henry Washington and Mary M. Wilson. Harry and his twin brother, Barry, were raised in Belton with their older brother, Leroy, and younger sister, Marion. Harry attended the Harris School thru the fifth grade, Tyler Elementary, Belton Jr. H.S. and BHS where he was an early star in both football and track & field. As a soph in 1970 Harry “Wildhorse” Wilson was a 145 lb. honorable mention all-district starting defensive back for the Tiger varsity which was led by all-staters David Bartek and Jack White and was 8-1-1 on the year finishing 2nd in District 13-AAA. Also, as a soph, he was a member of the Tiger’s 1971 sprint relay team with Carlos Stewart, Willie Gene Knight and Randy Costello which won 1st at District in 43.7 and 3rd in the Region and the mile relay team which won 1st at District. His potential in track was unlimited as he ran under 50 seconds in the 440-yd dash as a freshman though his personal bests as a soph (4.3 in the 40-yd dash and a 50.1 in the open 440-yd dash) were limited by a leg injury.
Great things were expected from 16-year-old Harry Wilson in his junior year of 1971-1972. In Belton’s first seven games of the 1971 season the 6'0" 167 lb. Wilson was a starting offensive halfback, defensive back and special teams player (i.e, he was on the field for every play) and played alongside his brother, Barry, a 205 lb. starting FB. Coach J.A. Williams believed that Harry was one of the best athletes he had ever coached and expected him to make all-state as a junior or senior and he was clearly a Division I football prospect. However, Wilson’s career was cut short in Belton’s Homecoming game against Gatesville on Nov. 5, 1971, when he broke his neck in three places and was paralyzed after stripping the ball from the QB and making a tackle. Wilson was taken to Scott and White Hospital after the game where he remained until he was transferred six weeks later to the Texas Rehabilitation and Research Center in Houston. He returned to Belton and graduated from Belton High School in May of 1973 with his class with the help of his brother, Barry, who transported and cared for his brother in his final year of high school.
The Belton community rallied to support Harry. In the days after the accident supporters set up a visiting schedule to keep someone constantly at his bedside. A Harry Wilson Fund was established and several community benefits helped raise money for his care. Harry continued his education (with Barry’s help) and received an AA degree (summa cum laude) in business administration from Victoria College and a BA in business administration from the University of Houston in 1984. Barry received an award for “Family Member of the Year” from Bell County for his years of aid to his brother.
The Belton athletic department permanently retired Harry’s number (22). BHS began the “Harry Wilson Defensive Player of the Year” award with Harry personally presenting the first award in 1974. In 1998 old Tiger Stadium was named “Wilson-Kerzee” Field after Wilson and Richard Kerzee, a 15-year-old Belton soccer player who died during a 1986 practice. Over the years Harry has given numerous motivational talks to school and community groups in Belton where he lived until moving to Copperas Cover in 1991 to be closer to his work. He has been honored numerous times by Belton (i.e., Harry Wilson Day in 1976 and Harry Wilson Week in 1985) and Bell County and in 1998 was president of the Bell County Committee on People with Disabilities. During Harry’s 16-year civil service career he has been named four times as Ft. Hood’s Outstanding Handicapped Employee of the Year. In 2001 Harry Wilson, 46, lives in Copperas Cove with his mother (Barry lives in Houston and Marion in Belton) and is a management assistant to the assistant Chief of Staff, Resource Management and Cost Analysis Division at III Corp HQ where he is known for his computer expertise and devotion to duty.
Harry Wilson plans to live in Belton upon retirement and is proud of his hometown. After having met Harry and seeing his courage and positive attitude in facing adversity, I believe Belton should be proud of Harry as he is truly an inspiration to all he meets and “A Tiger to Remember.”
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Ray Mulhollan was an outstanding guard on Belton’s football teams of 1936-1938 and went on to play four years for Texas A&M. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and then returned to Belton to work as a mail carrier until his retirement in 1982. In 2001 Ray and Cora Mulhollan still live on Lake Belton.
Ray Mulhollan was born on Feb. 8, 1922, in Belton to Lee and Pallie McClure Mulhollan and was the third of four children (Mary Lee, Bill, Ray and JoAnn). He attended Tyler Elementary where he and his future wife, Cora Muehlhause, were the king and queen of Tyler School in the 4th grade (1932). Ray played basketball and football at Belton H.S. where he graduated in 1939. He was a top sub as a junior on the 1938 Tiger basketball team that was 30-5 and made the “final eight” at the state tournament. As a senior, the 6'0" Mulhollan was the leading scorer on the 1939 Tiger team that lost to Temple in the regional tournament. He was also Class President for all four years at BHS and was President of the Student Council as a senior.
In football Ray was a soph guard on the 1936 Tiger team under Coach Bob Safley that was 7-1-1 on the year and was led by QB Forrest Sherrod (who later became the nationally famous sports editor “Blackie” Sherrod) and HB Bill Mulhollan (Ray’s brother). Ray was a starting guard as a junior in 1937 when the Tigers were 9-1 on the year, won the district championship and lost to San Saba 33-7 in bi-district. The Tigers were undefeated (9-0) in the regular season averaging 36 points per game. The defense shut-out 8 of its first 9 opponents allowing only 6 points (to Georgetown) for an average of only 0.7 points per game. In Ray’s senior year of 1938 the Tigers were only 4-2-3 on the year including three scoreless ties. Ray Mulhollan and two other Tigers (end Jamie Wilson and guard Charles Miller) were chosen from all Class B teams in Texas (there were only B and A teams in 1939) to play in the “Oil Bowl” high school all-star football game on Sept. 4, 1939, at Wichita Falls.
Ray and two of his Belton teammates (Wilson and Miller) were recruited by Texas A&M for football. Ray was a freshman squadman on the 1939 Aggie team that was named the national champion after going 11-0 on the year and beating Tulane 14-13 in the Sugar Bowl. He was a soph on the 1940 Aggie team that was 9-1 on the year and was a 6'0" 185 lb. back-up to the Aggies’ All-American guard, Marshall Robnette. Ray was a starting offensive guard and defensive tackle for A&M in 1941 as a junior (when the Aggies were 9-2 and lost to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl) and as a 192 lb. senior in 1942 when the team was 4-5-1 on the year. Mulhollan was one of only three senior three-year lettermen on the 1942 Aggie and the 1942 Aggie media guide noted that he was “an excellent blocker and is good at backing up the line on defense. Not a spectacular player, ‘Mullins’ is nevertheless one of the most consistent guards on the team.” In 2001 (58 years after he left A&M) Mulhollan still has the greatest A&M football career of any Belton ex.
Ray was also in the Aggie military corps for four years and was company commander as a senior. He graduated from A&M in Jan. of 1943 with a degree in Fish and Wildlife Management and was immediately inducted into the U.S. Army. He made 2nd Lt. after OCS and was stationed in Ft. Benning before going overseas. He entered Europe with the 29th Infantry at Omaha Beach a few months after D-Day. After the war ended he was ordered to play on the 7th Army all-star football team which played a series of games against another Army all-star team that included Belton’s Vernon Barge. After discharge from the Army in May of 1946 Mulhollan was offered a $500 a year contract to play for the 1946 Chicago Bears but turned down the offer to return to Belton to be with his wife and child. Ray Mulhollan and Cora Muehlhause married in June of 1943 and their daughter, Paula, was born in June of 1944.
Upon returning to Belton in 1946 Ray organized a National Guard Unit and later served as Post commander. He became a partner with his brother, Bill, and father, Lee, in a Dodge/Chrysler dealership while all three also worked for the post office. Ray was appointed Postmaster in 1956 and served as a rural mail carrier before retiring in 1982 after a 30-year career. He also worked a second job as an administrator at Sewell-Long Clinic and served on the Belton School Board for 7 years in the 1960's. Ray and Cora are avid fishermen and hunters and organized the Belton Sportsman Club where Ray served as president for two years.
In 2001, Ray Mulhollan, 79, and Cora live on Lake Belton while their daughter, Paula (and husband, Jay) Holmes, lives in San Antonio. They also have two grandchildren, Clay Holmes, 31, of San Antonio and Jennifer Holmes Harding, 28, of Bryan, and three great grandchildren, Mark Harding, 4; Riley Holmes, 3; & Emily Holmes, 5 months.
Jason Bynum: A Tiger to Remember
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Jason Bynum, the defensive co-ordinator at Lampasas H.S. (Belton’s opponent this Friday night), and his wife are ex-Tigers. Jason was All-Centex in football and baseball for Belton H.S. in his senior year of 1987-1988. He held the Belton record for most home runs in a season (10) from 1988-1999 and later played football at Trinity Valley Jr. College and Southern Arkansas.
Jason Bynum was born on Oct. 23, 1969, in Osceola AR to Jerry and Judy Bynum. He and his older brother, Mike, were raised in Blytheville AR but moved to Belton as youths and attended Belton Jr. H.S. and Belton H.S. where Jason graduated in 1988. Jason participated in track and field, football and baseball at BHS.
As a soph in 1986 Jason finished 3rd in the discuss (127'8") and 5th in the shotput (47'5") at the District 4-4A track meet in Waco but decided to forego track for his last two years to concentrate on baseball. In football Bynum was a starter at tight end and defensive end for the 1985 Tigers who were 6-4 under Coach Dick Stafford. As a junior he was a starting FB and LB on the 1986 Tiger team that was 8-3 and was the team’s 4th leading rusher with 257 yards. He was named honorable mention all-district at LB. As a 6'2 214 lb. senior on the 1987 Tiger team that was 6-4 on the year, Bynum was a starter at FB and LB and was named the Harry Wilson Defensive Player of the Year; 1st team all-district; 1st team all-CenTex by the Austin American-Statesman; and 1st team all-Super CenTex by the Waco Tribune-Herald;
In baseball Jason was a soph catcher for the 1986 Tigers who were 14-12 in Coach David Tidwell’s first year and hit .335 with 23 RBI’s and 5 HR’s. As a junior in 1987 he played third base and pitcher for the 9-16 Tigers and was named honorable mention all-district after hitting .315 with 21 RBI’s and 6 HR’s. Jason had a “break-out” year as a senior in 1988 on the 15-12 Tigers as he hit .469 with 40 RBI’s and 10 HR’s (a school HR record until the 11 by Thomas Melvin in 1999); and was a unanimous 1st team all-district selection after hitting .512 in district with 6 HR’s and 25 RBI’s. He was named All-Central Texas by the Austin American-Statesman and was the first in a long line of stars to play under Belton coach David Tidwell from 1986-2001.
Bynum was recruited for football by the University of Arkansas, North Texas, Tulsa, East Texas State and Trinity Valley Jr. College in Athens TX. He was recruited for baseball by Baylor, Lamar University and McLennan County Community College but decided to sign with Trinity Valley for football where he was a two-time Texas Junior College Athletic Association all-conference LB in 1988 & 1989 and honorable mention all-american in 1989. He then played LB for two years (1990 & 1991) at Southern Arkansas. He graduated from UMHB in 1996 with a major in physical education and a minor in biology. Bynum started his coaching career in 1996 and was the LBcoach at Lampasas H.S. from 1996-1998; the defensive end coach at New Braunfels Canyon in 1999; defensive co-ordinator at Kermit in 2000; and, in 2001, was the defensive co-ordinator at Lampasas H.S.
Jason married Michelle Saxton of Belton in 1991. In 2001, Jason Bynum, 32, lived in Lampasas with his wife, Michelle, and children, Dalton, 8, and Brady, 5.
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
The 1988 Lady Tiger golf team won the Texas Class 4-A golf championship for the second time in three years when they defeated defending state champion Andrews by 64 strokes and came within 10 strokes of the state 4-A record. The championship team was coached by Ken Taylor and the five team members were seniors Kelly Klaus and CeCe Fisher, junior Shelley Yarnell, and sophs Jean Hamrick and Stephanie Guillen. Klaus became the first Belton athlete to play on two state championship teams as she was a freshman on the 1985 team and a senior on the 1988 team.
The 1985 & 1988 state championships were won during the 1981-1989 tenure of Belton golf coach Ken Taylor whose girls’ teams also finished third in the state twice (1983 & 1984) and second in 1987 (seven strokes behind the winner) and 1989 (two strokes behind). Coach Taylor’s boys’ teams won the regional twice and finished third in the state in 1983 and sixth in 1985.
Belton won the District 9-4A golf tournament in Waco by 253 strokes over 2nd place Leander (1042 to 1,295). and had the top six places in the individual competition. Kelly Klaus was the District medalist with a 86-79-93=258 and was followed by CeCe Fisher and Shelley Yarnell at 261, Jean Hamrick at 263, Stephanie Guillen at 284, and Sharon Barnes at 311. The Lady Tigers won the regional golf meet in San Antonio by 137 strokes over Uvalde advancing to the state tournament in Austin for the 6th time in 8 years. Belton had three of the top four individuals as Yarnell was second (tied for first but lost in a playoff), Fisher was third and Hamrick, fourth.
At the state tournament in Austin, Belton defeated defending champion Andrews (which beat the Lady Tigers in the 1987 tournament) by 64 strokes with a winning total of 671 strokes. In the individual competition, Shelley Yarnell (165) and Jean Hamrick (165) tied for 6th followed by CeCe Fisher (168), Kelly Klaus (173), and Stephanie Guillen (181). Jean Hamrick finished 8th (1987), 6th (1988), 3rd (1989) and 4th (1990) at the state tournament during her four years at Belton. Klaus was 6th at the state tournament as a senior and 10th as a junior. Yarnell was 6th at the state tournament as a senior in 1989 and 2nd in the regional and 1st at District as a junior.
Klaus and Fisher played together on Tarleton State University’s first women’s golf team in 1988-1989 under Coach Joe Cummings and Yarnell joined the Tarleton team the following year. Jean Hamrick played on the ladies professional “mini-tour” golf circuit in 1991 and was a golf pro at Barton Creek Country Club in Austin for six years.
In 2001 Kelly Klaus Morrison
and her husband, John, and son, Matthew, 3, lived in Belton where Kelly
worked part-time at Britt Drug. She graduated from Tarleton State
in 1993 with a degree in corporate fitness.
Rex Reid was one of three Tigers to make the 1969 3A all-state team after Belton’s 1969 “best ever” team went all the way to the state semifinals before losing to West Columbia. Rex Reid was born on Nov. 29, 1951, in Belton to Leslie P. and Bessie Louise Reid and was the third of four children (Leslie, an all-district guard on Belton’s 1958 football team), Elaine (Belton class of 1961), Rex, and Gary (Class of 1974). The Reids and Walkers (his mother’s family) have been in Bell County for three generations. Rex attended Tyler Elementary, Belton Jr. H.S. and Belton H.S., graduating in 1970. During high school he was a member of 4-H, FFA and played baseball and football.
Rex was on the “B” team as a
160 lb. soph guard in 1967 during Jack Meredith’s first year as head coach
Rex was a 5'8" 190 lb. senior guard on the 1969 Belton team that was 10-2-1 on the year, won District, and beat Gregory-Portland and Kerrville Tivi in the playoffs before losing to West Columbia 10-6 in the state semifinals. The Tigers dominated West Columbia statistically but failed by four inches on a 4th down rush near the end of the game. Rex was named co-captain of the team and was 1st team all-district in 13-3A on both offense and defense; 1st team All-Centex offense by the Temple Daily Telegram (who also named Reid the Centex Player of the Year in AAA) and the Austin American-Statesman; and 1st team 3-A all-state as an offensive guard by the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram and the TX Football Coaches. Two other Tigers, junior David Bartek and senior Charlie Griggs, also made the all-state team giving Belton three players on the all-state team for the first time in school history. Rex was also named the outstanding senior Tiger lineman at the annual football banquet.
Reid was recruited by Angelo State University and Abilene Christian College and signed with Angelo State but married fellow 1970 Belton High graduate Marsha Alford, the 1969 Homecoming Queen, in the summer after he graduated and decided not to play football in college. Marsha became a legal secretary for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and Rex became a police aide in Austin while attending St. Edwards University where he graduated in 1977 with a degree in criminal justice. He became a full-time Austin police officer in 1971 and served for 12 years (1971-1982) working in patrol, community relations and with the S.W.A.T. team. Rex taught defensive tactics and physical fitness his last 3 years on the Austin force and in 1982 won the National Title in the AAU National Power Lift Competition in Oklahoma City in the 220 lb. class, novice division. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Texas Police Athletic Federation and coordinated the 1982 International Police Olympics held in Austin.
Rex divorced in 1978 and married Diane Whitmore in 1982 after retiring from the Austin force. Rex and Diane, a race horse trainer, worked in Mexico for a year before moving to Alvaton KY in 1983. They purchased a 40-acre farm, Reid’s Livery, where Diane is a riding instructor and horse trainer and Rex is a full-time blacksmith/farrier. Rex and Diane travel to Crested Butte Colorado each year to deliver riding horses for the mountain trail riders and to give horsemanship clinics. Rex “shoes” for owners of Arabian show horses, cutting horses, and reining horses as well as several other disciplines such as dressage, western pleasure, and racing thoroughbreds. He has been “shoeing” for 15 years and his clients include world champion horses, the Barnum and Baily Circus and the Lippizan Stallion Tour.
In 2001 Rex Reid, 49, and his wife Diane live in Alvaton KY with their son Josh, 17 (a soccer player), and daughter, Megan, 15 (a championship rider). Rex’s son from his first marriage, Eric Reid, 27, graduated from the Naval Academy and is a Captain in the U.S. Marines in Quantico VA. His mother, Bessie Louise Gerstenburg, lives in Salado
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Jack White was an all-state tackle for the Tigers in 1970 and, as a junior, was a defensive stalwart on Belton’s “best ever team,” the 1969 Tigers who went to the state semi-finals. During his two years as a starter the Tigers were 18-3-2 and gave up less than 10 points per game to opponents.
Jack White was born on Aug. 2, 1952, in Bell County to O. B. and Dorothy White. His grandfather, Oscar White, came to Bell County in the 1850's and his father was in the BHS Class of 1933 (and was a guard on the 1932 Tiger football team) and his mother was in the Class of 1942. Jack and his older sister (Class of 1966), Mary, were raised in Belton and attended Miller Heights Elementary School, Belton Jr. High School and Belton High School, where Jack graduated in 1971.
Jack played on the Tiger B-team as a 225 lb. soph in 1968 and, as a junior in 1969, was a 230 lb. starting defensive lineman on what was arguably the “best ever” Tiger team that was 10-2-1 on the year, won District, and beat Gregory-Portland and Kerrville Tivi in the playoffs before losing to West Columbia 10-6 in the state semifinals. The Tigers dominated West Columbia statistically but failed by four inches on a 4th down rush near the end of the game. The team was led by three all-state players, junior David Bartek, and seniors Charlie Griggs and Rex Reid. White was named All-District at defensive tackle.
Jack was a 235 lb. senior offensive and defensive lineman on Coach Jack Meredith’s 1970 Tiger team that was 8-1-1 on the year and finished 2nd in District 13-AAA to Gatesville which defeated the Tigers 33-32. The Tiger defense led by LB Bartek, DT White and DE Warren Isaac (who all made 1st team all-district on defense) gave up only 87 points during the year for an average of 8.7 ppg and shut out three opponents (17-0 over Lockhart, 7-0 over Copperas Cove, and 29-0 over Lampasas).
White was named All District on offense and defense; 1st team All-CenTex by the Temple Telegram; All Super-CenTex by the Waco Times Herald; all AAA Cen-Tex and Super-CenTex by the Austin-American; and 2nd team all-state by the Texas Football Coaches Association. He and fellow senior David Bartek gave Belton two players on the all-state team after placing three on the all-state team in 1969. Jack was also named Belton’s top lineman at the annual football banquet.
White was recruited by the University of Houston, Angelo State, and Blinn College and signed with Angelo State before deciding against playing college football. He attended Blinn College for a year and a half before returning to Belton in 1973 to help run the family farm when his father had a heart attack.
In 1981 Jack White married Sheryl Rubac of Buckholts. Their four children in 2001 were Grant White, 25 of Taylor; Shana White, 24 of New York City; Shelly White, 15, a freshman softball player at BHS; and Elizabeth White, 11, a 6th grader and member of the band at Tarver Elementary School. Jack raises corn, oats, and cattle on the 450 acre family farm southeast of Belton (at Three Forks) that has been operated by the White family since 1916. He is on the boards for the Livestock Show of the Bell County Youth Fair and for the Bell County Farm Bureau. Sheryl is also a bookkeeper for Lott Vernon & Co in Temple. In 2001 Jack White, 49, attends all Tiger home football games and supports various Belton school activities (i.e, he and Sheryl are 4-H leaders).
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Billy Jack Rhoads won the 4-A pole vault championship at the 1982 state track meet in Austin as Belton finished third in the team competition. By 2001 he was an assistant fire chief at Ft. Hood and involved with security/support for President Bush at his Texas ranch.
Billy Jack Rhoads was born on Feb. 4, 1964, in Temple to Jack and Betty Rhoads and was one of six children (Barbara, Denise, Vicki, Billy Jack, and twins Jeff & Jay) who graduated from BHS. He was raised in Belton (his mother was a long-time secretary to D.A. Cappy Eads) and attended Southwest Elementary School, Belton Jr. High School and Belton High School, graduating in 1982.
Billy Jack was a defensive back and punter/kicker for the Tiger JV team as a soph (1979) and junior (1980) and scored all of his team’s points (via a kickoff return, pass reception, two extra points, and a FG) in a 17-0 victory over Midway in 1980. As a 5'11" 155 lb. senior, he started as a defensive back for the 1981 Tiger team that was 7-3 under Coach Hugh Sullivan. Billy Jack was also the team’s punter and placekicker and kicked a 44-yd FG against Waco Midway and a 78-yd punt (a school record) against Marlin.
Billy Jack began pole vaulting
in the 7th grade under the tutelage of Coach Bob Murphy who also coached
him thru high school. As a soph he was 3rd in the District behind
teammates Ricky Sanders and David Warehime and had a best vault of 14'0".
As a junior in 1981 he won District and was 3rd in the regional at 14'6".
As a senior Rhoads won 1st place in the pole vault at four meets before
the District; placed 7th at the prestigious Texas Relays; won 1st place
at the District11-4A meet in Gatesville at 13'6" and 1st place at the Region
III meet in Huntsville at 15'3" breaking a regional record.
He also vaulted 14'6" in a qualifiers meet at McGregor after the regional.
Rhoads won the 4-A pole vault championship at the state meet in Austin
with a vault of 15' and, after winning, attempted to break the state record
of 15'9". He cleared the bar on his third attempt but hit the bar
with his hand on the way down and thus “settled for” the state championship.
Rhoads was recruited for track by Texas A&M, Nebraska, Navy, and Abilene Christian and wanted to vault for Abilene Christian but since ACU was already “loaded” with pole vaulters he chose to sign with New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs NM hoping to attend ACU in his junior year. However, after vaulting for one year (with a personal best of 16'3") he dropped out of school and returned to Belton in1983 where he began an 18-year career at Ft. Hood with the federal government. He worked for four 4 years in public works before joining the Ft. Hood Fire Dept. in 1987. By 2001 Billy Jack Rhoads was the assistant fire chief and involved in training and fire/paramedic support for President Bush during his visits to his Crawford ranch (Billy Jack’s former coach, Bob Murphy, is athletic director at Crawford). His younger brother, Jeff, who was 4th in the state in the pole vault in 1988 (and had a personal best of 14'3"), is also a fireman under his brother at Ft. Hood. Billy Jack Rhoads, 37, is divorced lives in Florence TX. His oldest son, Joshua, 16, is a football/baseball/track athlete at Florence H.S. and his youngest son, Clay, 12, is a golfer in Florence.
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Charlie Griggs was one of three Belton players to make all-state in 1969 when the Tigers went all the way to the state semi-finals and had, perhaps, the best football team in school history. Charlie has deep Belton “roots” and has spent most of his 20-year teaching career in Belton.
Charles White Griggs was born in Belton on Dec. 9,1952, to C.V. and Cathryn Griggs. His father owned Griggs Equipment, Belton’s largest employer in the 1950's, and was mayor of Belton in the 1960's and on the school board in the 1950's. Charlie was the youngest of two boys (Clarence was one year older) raised in Belton and attended Mrs. Means’ private first grade, Tyler and Miller Heights Elementary, Belton Jr. H.S. and Belton H.S., where he played football and served on the annual staff and graduated in 1970.
As a 160 lb. soph in 1967 Charlie played on Coach Hugh Sullivan’s JV team that was 9-1 on the year, losing only to Killeen. He was a junior in 1968 on the Tiger team led by HB Robert Ford and coached by Jack Meredith that was 9-2 on the year, won district, and lost to Refugio 21-19 in the bi-district. Charlie, a 175 lb. center, was named 1st team all-district 13-3A and All-Centex 3rd team by the Temple Daily Telegram.
Charlie was a 210 lb. senior center in 1969 on what was arguably the “best ever” Tiger team that was 10-2-1 on the year, won District, and beat Gregory-Portland and Kerrville Tivi in the playoffs before losing to West Columbia 10-6 in the state semifinals. The Tigers dominated West Columbia statistically but failed by four inches on a 4th down rush near the end of the game. Griggs was named All-Centex 1st team by the Temple Daily Telegram, All-Super-Centex by the Austin American-Statesman, and 1st team 3-A All-State by the Texas Football Coaches Association. Two other Tigers from the 1969 team, David Bartek and Rex Reid, also made all-state in 1969 marking the first and only time Belton placed three boys on the all-state team.
Griggs was recruited by several outstanding Division I universities such as Notre Dame, Texas, and Arkansas but signed with Texas A&I where he decided in his freshman year that he didn’t want to play football and left school. He returned to the Belton area and worked in construction and ranching and then returned to college at Mary Hardin-Baylor where he graduated in 1980 with a degree in history.
In 1974 Charlie married Julie Stewart, the daughter of Col. (Ret.) J.T. Stewart and Ruth Vannoy Stewart (whose brothers, Rayborn and Richard Vannoy were star Belton football players in the 1930's). Charlie’s 20-year teaching career included 12 years at Belton High School (where he coached JV football under Coach Chuck Douglas) and 6 years at Belton Jr. H.S. where he still taught in 2001 at the age of 48. His wife, Julie, taught for 18 years at Leon Heights Elementary School in Belton and currently teaches at Jefferson Elementary School in Temple. Their children are Katie Griggs Ling, 26 (BHS Class of 1993), of Rowlett TX and Kris Griggs, 24 (BHS Class of 1995), of Temple. Katie played tennis and Kris played soccer at BHS.
Bill Ward is one of only two ex-Tiger basketball players to ever make 1st team all-state (the other was Richard Inman in 1959 & 1960) and was voted the top senior athlete at Belton High School in 1961 and the top senior athlete at S.M.U. in 1965 after leading the Mustangs to the co-championship of the Southwest Conference as a senior. He is one of only three ex-Tigers to make All-SWC.
William Charles “Bill” Ward was born in Greenville TX on Sept. 3, 1942, to J.T. and Hazel Ward and was the second of three children (Ken, Bill and Betty). His older brother, Ken, was Belton’s leading scorer in 1956 as a 6'6" center and still holds the school record for most points (33) in a playoff game. Bill moved from Florence to Belton in the second grade and attended Tyler Elementary School, Belton Jr. H.S. and Belton H.S., graduating in 1961. He was named Belton’s top athlete in 1960 for his prowess in basketball and track where he was a high jumper and ran the 440-yd dash and mile relay (which set a district record at 3:33.2 in 1961) on the Tiger track team. He was also president of the Student Council and a member of the National Honor Society (he was in the top 10% of his class) and a representative to Boys State.
As a 6'5" soph Bill was the top sub on the 1959 Tiger basketball team that was 29-4 on the year and lost to Buna in overtime in the region. He was a starter (averaging about 10 ppg) as a guard on the “greatest ever” Tiger team of 1960 which was 35-6 and was beaten in the semi-finals of the state tournament by Dimmitt. In his senior year, the 1961 Tigers (who moved up to 3-A) were 26-3 (the best percentage season record of any team in Belton history) and were co-champs of District but lost to Killeen in a District playoff game. During his three years Belton was 90-13—the best 3-year record in school history. Bill averaged 18 points a game on the year even though he played only 2/3 of most games that were “blowouts.”. Ward was called by several newspapers the “tallest guard in Texas” and was named to the Texas Sportswriters All-State 1st team in 1961. He played in the Texas Coaches Association All-Star game in 1961 and tied for high point man (with 12) for the South team in a 67-57 loss to the North team.
Ward was recruited by more than 30 schools including Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, LSU, TCU, Houston, Rice and SMU and signed with SMU. He was a 3-year starter for the Mustangs who finished 5th in the SWC in his soph and junior years and were co-champions in his senior year. SMU beat Texas in a one game playoff (led by Ward’s 26 points & 10 rebounds) and lost to Wichita State (which lost to champion UCLA at the Final Four) in the NCAA Tournament. Bill averaged 7.4 points (and 4.0 rebounds) per game in 24 games as soph; 6.9 points (and 4.0 rebounds) in 24 games as a junior; and 14.5 points (and 7.1 rebounds) per game in 27 games as a senior. For his 3-year career he averaged 9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in 75 games and shot 43% from the field & 75% from the free throw line. Ward was voted Co-captain of the 1965 SMU basketball team and was named the outstanding senior athlete at SMU for 1964-1965. The Waco Times-Herald named Ward 2nd team All-SWC and listed him as the SWC’s 10th leading scorer for the season (14.5 ppg) and for conference play (15.4 ppg) making him only the third ex-Tiger (with Earl Wayne Miller and Bernard Bartek) to make All-SWC. Ward was given the Bobby James scholarship award for graduate school (he pursued a graduate degree in business at SMU) and graduated from SMU in 1965 with a degree in business.
After college Ward trained in NYC as a stockbroker and became a money manager in the 1970's. In 2001 Bill Ward, 58, was president of Regal Asset Management and lived in Dallas with his wife Cindy. Their two children, are Will, 25, of Boston, and Katy, 22, of Dallas. Ward established a family foundation that supports many community organizations including the Ward Campus (athletic fields and a double gym) of the Shelton School which serves over 800 children with learning problems. Bill and Cindy also started a Dallas Chapter of Gilda’s Club to support familes with cancer victims and support research at Boston Children’s Hospital.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Randy Winkler was a “later bloomer” as he was only a 2nd team all-district and honorable mention SuperCentex tackle for the 1960 Belton Tigers but later was a two-time Texas All-College end at Tarleton State College. He is one of only three ex-Tigers to be included in his university’s Athletic Hall of Fame and one of three ex-Tigers to play in the NFL.
Randolph Stanley Winkler was born on July 18, 1943, in Temple TX to Paul A. and Ruth Winkler. His grandfather, Ernst Winkler, and two brothers came to Texas from Germany in 1859 and the Winkler family has lived in the Grove/Moffat area of Bell County for over 142 years. Randy was the oldest of three children (Randy, Rodney, and Janell) and attended St. Paul Lutheran School in The Grove, Belton Jr. H.S., and Belton H.S., graduating in 1961. He threw the shotput and discus on the Tiger track team in addition to playing football.
Randy was a 190 lb. soph tackle in 1958 on the 6-2-3 Tiger team that won district and lost to Brady 26-14 in Bi-District. He was a 6'1" 206 lb. starting tackle as a junior in 1959 on the 10-1 Tiger team under Coach John Hugh Smith that was ranked no. 3 in Texas before losing to Brady 66-8 in bi-district. Randy was named 2nd team all-district although he played most of the year with a cast on his broken hand. Randy was a 6'1" 210 lb. senior tackle on the 1960 Belton team under first-year Coach Cedric Bettis that played the school’s first year in 3-A and finished the year at 3-7. Randy was named the team’s most outstanding lineman; 2nd team all-district; and was honorable mention Super-Centex by the Waco Times-Herald.
Winkler was offered a football scholarship by Oklahoma University and several smaller schools and signed with Tarleton State University in Stephenville where he played for 4 years (1963-1966) after “redshirting” during the 1962 season. Randy grew to 6'4" & 240 lbs by the beginning of the 1963 season and became known at Tarleton as “The Jolly Green Giant” because of his “broad smile” and size. He was voted the varsity’s outstanding lineman as a freshman tackle. As a soph in 1964 he was named a tri-captain of the team after starting on both offense and defense and was named by the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram to the Texas All-College team (for NAIA and NCAA Div. II) at DE and NAIA #8 All-District at OT. As a junior in 1965 he was again named Texas All-College at DE and was voted the team’s MVP. As a senior the 6'4" & 250 lb. Winkler was moved to tight end and outside LB and was the only two-way (offense and defense) player on the 1966 Tarleton team that was 7-3 on the year (the first winning record since Tarleton became a 4-year college in 1961) and defeated a team of Mexican all-stars 42-8 in the Aztec Bowl in Mexico City’s Olympic Stadium. Winkler was named honorable mention (NAIA) All-American after his senior season.
Winkler was selected in the 12th
round of the 1966 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions (and by the AFL’s Miami
Dolphins) and played OT and OG at 6'5" and 255 lbs. with the 5-7 Lions
during the 1967 season alongside NFL greats Lem Barney and Alex Karras.
He played during the 1968 season with the 2-12 Atlanta Falcons (with Tommy
Nobis). Randy, a member of the Navy Reserve, was called to active
duty for two years (including the 1969 and 1970 seasons) and was assigned
as an assistant football coach at the Naval Academy on a staff that included
five (later) pro head coaches (Rick Forzano, Joe Bugel, Leeman Bennett,
Frank Gansz and Jim Stanley). After his discharge from active duty
Randy returned to the NFL and played with the 4-8 Green Bay Packers (with
Ray Nitschke and Bart Starr) for the 1971 season before ending his 3-year
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Booker Russell played four seasons in the NFL after being signed as a undrafted free agent in 1978. He was a “late bloomer” as he was only honorable mention all-district as a senior at Belton H.S. after the 1973 football season but received a football scholarship to SWTU. Booker died in Belton in 2000 at the age of 44.
Booker Taylor Russell was born in Belton on Feb. 28, 1956, to James T. and Mittie Pearl Nelson Russell and was one of seven children. He attended Harris School thru the second grade and then (after integration ) Southwest Elementary, Belton Jr. High School and Belton High School, graduating in 1974. He was a halfback in his sophomore football season of 1971 on a 6-4 Belton team and in his junior season of 1972 when the Tigers were 9-3 and District Champs, losing in Bi-District to Brenham. In his senior season of 1973 the Tigers were 12-1 and District and Bi-District champs, losing in the quarterfinals to Henderson. Booker made honorable mention all-district on offense (six Tigers were named all-district on offense and four were all-district on defense) but was not a “star” at Belton as a 6'0" and 175 lb. senior offensive and defensive end. He was not named Belton’s top back or lineman in 1973 as his brothers, Lee (1975) and Willie (1979), were later. Booker was also the Tigers’ leading scorer in basketball as a senior and was on the 440-yd relay team that won district in his last two years.
Booker Russell was considered to have “potential” coming out of high school and received a football scholarship to play at Southwest Texas State University. He played at SWT from 1974-1977 playing cornerback as a freshman and halfback and tight end as a soph and junior. He lettered his last two years and rushed 22 times for 116 yards as a junior. A pro scout told the speedy 6'2" & 233 lb. Russell during spring training before his senior year that he had a chance to make the pros if he “changed his attitude.” Russell took the advice and started at halfback as a senior helping the Bobcats contend (at 5-2) for the Lone Star Conference title. He rushed 66 times for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The Oakland Raiders signed Booker Russell as a free agent running back in 1978 and he played seven years in the NFL (1978-1984). He played two seasons (1978 & 1979) with the Oakland Raiders under Coach John Madden as a tight end and running back but was mostly a special teams player. His highlight game as a Raider came in 1979 when he rushed for three touchdowns on three carries for the Raiders in a Monday night game against the San Diego Chargers. Booker played one season (1980) for the San Diego Chargers and one year (1981) with the Philadelphia Eagles (where he was a lead blocker for Wilbert Montgomery). During his 4-year NFL career he played in 59 games rushing 90 times for 419 yards (a 4.7 average) and scoring 8 touchdowns. He ended his 6-year pro career with two seasons (1982-1983) as a starting fullback with the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL.
After leaving pro football after
the 1983 season, Russell returned to Belton to complete his degree at the
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. He worked for the Temple
Parks and Recreation Department and served as a volunteer assistant
football coach with the Mary Hardin-Baylor football team. Booker
Russell died of natural causes at the age of 44 on March 9, 2000.
His survivors in 2001 include his parents, James T. and Mittie Russell
of Belton; four brothers, James W. Russell of Dallas, David Marcus Russell
and Willie H. Russell of Belton and Lee A. Russell of San Antonio; and
two sisters, Amanda Juanita Russell and Vera LaVerna Russell of Belton.
His grave marker at the Belton Cemetery has a replica of a football with
the inscription “NFL” and “32" (his number with Oakland Raiders).
“Stories about Russell’s charm and generosity go back more than 20 years.”
At a memorial service for Russell speakers told of his “smile and positive
attitude which rubbed off on others—both on and off the gridiron.”
After the 1979 Monday night game when he scored three touchdowns, he gave
the game ball he had been given to owner Al Davis whose wife had just had
a serious heart attack. Mary Hardin-Baylor Coach Pete
Fredenburg noted that Russell had a strong positive influence on many of
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Bryan Sweeney was voted Belton’s top male athlete in 1975 as he was an all-district running back, the top scorer on the basketball team, and won three bronze (3rd place) medals at the state track meet. He went on to play on two national (NAIA) championship teams at Texas A&I and was drafted by Detroit of the NFL.
Bryan Sweeney came from a long “family line” of great athletes as his uncle, Charles Sweeney (1953) was considered the greatest athlete in the history of Belton’s Harris H.S. where his mother, Connie (1955), and father, Elbert (1957), also played. His brother, Marion Demerson (1976) and sister, DeeDee Sweeney (1979) played at Belton H.S. where DeeDee is considered one of the greatest female athletes in school history. His mother, Connie Demerson, a leader in the Belton Afro-American community, traces her Bell County ancestry to the Mt. Zion church established in Daingerfield in 1844.
Bryan was part of one of Belton greatest senior classes in Tiger history (9 of whom made all-district) which included all-state center/kicker Ted Williams, all-state LB Robert Dominguez, Super-Centex RB David Roepke, and Super-Centex DB Johnny Faulk. The Tigers were district champions in each of Bryan’s three years at Belton as they were 9-3 in his soph year of 1972 losing in bi-district, 12-1 in his junior year of 1973 losing in the state quarterfinals, and 10-1-2 in his senior year of 1974 losing in the state quarterfinals. Bryan, a 170 lb. running back, made all-district but got lost in the “recognition race” in the multitude of stars as all four of Belton’s offensive backs made all-district.
Bryan was voted the most outstanding Tiger athlete at the end of his senior season in 1975 due to his prowess in football, basketball and track. As a 6'0" guard he was the Tiger’s leading scorer in basketball for his senior season of 1975 when the Tigers ended the season at 18-7. He scored 345 points in Belton’s first 25 games (13.8 ppg )and shot 52% from the field and 64% in free throws. He made a field goal with three seconds left to defeat Lampasas 64-62 and preserve an 8-0 record in district play. Bryan was named to the all-tournament teams at the Robinson and Gatesville tournaments and was All-Zone. He was also a starter on the Tiger basketball team as a junior and was a pitcher on the baseball team as a soph.
In track and field as a junior in 1974 Bryan led Belton to the District Championship with three 1st place finishes: the high hurdles (14.7); the intermediate hurdles (40.2); and the mile relay (3:25.0). He then led Belton to a 3rd place finish at the regional with a 1st in the intermediate hurdles (39.4); a 2nd in the high hurdles (14.5); and a 1st in the mile relay (3:27.7). The mile relay team of Sweeney, Bryan Hargrove, David Murray and Mike Miller finished 3rd (at 3:26.1) at the state track meet. As a senior in 1975 Bryan won 1st place in the high hurdles and low hurdles at District and at the Regional (at 14.1 and 39.2) and was 3rd at the state meet in both the high hurdles (14.1) and intermediate hurdles (38.4).
Bryan was given a football scholarship by NAIA national champion Texas A&I and was a four-year letterman for the Javelinas in 1975-1978. He played on Lone Star Conference championship teams in 1975, 1976 and 1977 and on national (NAIA) championship teams in 1975 and 1976. He also ran on the Javelina track team as a freshman. Again, Bryan got lost in a multitude of stars and didn’t make all-conference but the pros recognized his talent and he was drafted by the Detroit Lions of the NFL. He was in pre-season camps of the Lions (1979), NY Jets (1980) and Atlanta Falcons (1981) but did not make a final roster.
After leaving pro football in
1981 Bryan worked for Sun Oil in Louisiana for three years before he started
his own business, “Just Cruzin,”an auto body shop in Houston. By
2001 Bryan, 43, also operated a used car dealership in Humble where he
and his wife, Sheila, lived with their five children, Brandon, 20; Brianna,
15; Bronwyn,13; Bryan, 9; and Jasmine, 9.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Kelly Brooks, the 1977 valedictorian of Belton High School, was state 3-A champion in the shotput in 1977 and went on to UT where he was an NCAA All-American as a junior and senior (the only ex-Belton athlete to be named a collegiate All-American in any sport). In 1984 he was an Olympic Trial qualifier, broke the legendary Randy Matson’s stadium record at the Texas Tech Relays and had a career best throw of 66'1".
Kelly Brooks was born on Sept. 30, 1958, in Canyon TX to Joe Wayne and Donna Brooks and is one of four children (Mark, Rhea, Rachel and Kelly). His father was an All-American guard at West Texas State in 1956. The family lived in Hereford until Kelly was 8 years old and moved to Belton where his father joined the coaching staff of Jack Meredith. As a youth he enjoyed considerable success as a catcher in youth baseball but gave up the sport as a freshman in favor of track & field to be with his father, the head track coach.
Kelly was a football star at Belton H.S. and as a 6'0" 175 lb. soph was a back-up to Robert Dominguez and Jay Warrick on the 1974 team that was 10-1-2 on the year, won District, beat Navasota 17-0 in bi-district and lost in QF to Jacksonville 15-7. In 1975 he was a 6'0" 185 lb. all-district offensive guard as a junior for the Tiger team that was 5-4-1 (2nd in N. Zone) on the year. Kelly was a 190 lb. senior on the 9-1 (2nd in N. Zone) 1976 Belton team and was co-captain, all-district as an offensive guard and as a defensive LB, and All-CenTex. He was voted the top BHS lineman and won the scholastic award at the annual football banquet.
Kelly benefited from some excellent coaching in track from Tommy Hood, his Belton Jr. High shotput coach; from his father (the head track coach at Belton H.S.) and Coach Hugh Sullivan; from Richard Inman, Belton’s national high school shotput champion in 1960 and a volunteer coach; and (later) from UT’s Tim Hamilton. As a junior Kelly had a season best of 55'9" in the shotput and was 2nd in District (at 54'8") and 5th in the Region As a senior in 1977 he won district at 60'5" and set a regional record of 58'11" before winning the state 3A shotput title at 60'4".
Kelly was recruited for football by Princeton, West Texas State, Austin College and Howard Payne and played one year (1977) of football at Howard Payne University earning a varsity letter as a 205 lb. wingback and tight end. He also threw the (16-lb college) shotput 52'9" and was voted the most outstanding field event athlete.
In 1978 Kelly transferred (as a “walk-on”) to UT where his brother Mark was the head track trainer and redshirted during the 1979 track season. As a soph in 1980 he was one of three Longhorns to throw the shotput 60 ft. and won a partial (expanded in senior year to a full) track scholarship. As a junior in 1981 he finished 2nd to SMU’s Michael Carter at the SWC indoor and outdoor meets and was 6th (63'3") at the NCAA meet qualifying him as an All-American. He was voted team captain and track MVP and won the Leadership Award. As a senior in 1982 Brooks finished 2nd to UT’s Oskar Jakobsson at the SWC indoor and outdoor meets and 5th at the NCAA indoor meet and 6th (with a season best of 64'4") at the NCAA outdoor meet to again qualify as an All-American. He was also named UT team captain and again won the Leadership Award. As far as is known, Kelly Brooks is the only ex-Belton athlete to make All-American in his sport in college.
Kelly Brooks graduated from UT in 1982 with a BBA in finance and worked at a bank in Lubbock for three years while continuing to compete in track with Athletes in Action. He won the 1984 Open Div. of the Texas Relays (65'4"), the 1984 Texas Invitational (with a personal best of 66'1"), and the Open Div. of the 1984 Texas Tech Relays where he broke the legendary Randy Matson’s stadium record. Kelly was an Olympic Trial qualifier and finished 14th at the U.S. trials in Los Angeles. In 1985 Kelly moved to Ft. Worth and worked in the construction bond business. He married Pamela Sassin of SugarLand in 1990 and the couple lives in Houston in 2001 with their two children Emily 6, and Angus, 3.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Alana Jones became the first Belton High School female athlete to make all-state when she was selected to the state-wide all-star team chosen by the Texas Volleyball Coaches in 1975. At this time there was no state-wide “all-state” team but Alana was one of 20 seniors selected from throughout the state from UIL schools of all classifications to participate in an East/West all-star game in Brownwood.
Alana Jones was born on March 7, 1957, in Belton to Glen and Estelle Jones. She was fourth of six siblings (Aubrey, Linda, Nancy, Lisa, and Esther) and was raised in Belton. Alana attended Miller Heights Elementary School in Belton and Holland Jr. H.S., before moving back to Belton in the 9th grade to attend Belton H.S. where she graduated in 1975.
Alana began playing volleyball in the 9th grade under Belton Coach Janice Douglas and was known for the extra practice time that she devoted to the sport as she often worked out during her lunch hour and after school. The Tiger volleyball teams won District for seven straight years from 1972-1978 including the four years (1972-1975) that Alana was on the team. Alana at 5'8" was a “hitter” (called a “spiker” in those days) and relied upon her “setters” in the 5-1 or 4-2 offense utilized by the team. The Lady Tigers competed in the regional tournament at San Jacinto College in Houston in each of Alana’s four years on the team. In 1974 the Tigers were defeated by the eventual state champions, Houston ChannelView, by the close scores of 16-14, 15-17, and 18-16. The Belton girls also played together “out of season” in United States Volleyball Association tournaments under Coach Douglas.
Alana lettered on the team as a freshman and was named 1st team all-district in 12-3A in her sophomore (1973), junior (1974) and senior (1975) years. She made all-tournament six times (at Killeen High, Killeen Ellison, UMHB, Rosebud-Lott, and Temple) in her four-year career, was captain of the Belton volleyball team in her senior year, and was named Belton High School’s Outstanding Female Athlete in 1975.
The East/West all-star game was played on July 14, 1975, at Howard Payne University at the conclusion of the Texas Volleyball Coaches Clinic. Alana was accompanied to Brownwood by Coaches Janice Douglas and Glenda McKee. Alana worked out for a week with the West all-stars who defeated the East (of I-35) all-stars in a best of five game match on July 14. The week concluded with an Honor’s Banquet.
Alana later played volleyball at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor from 1977-1980. In 1978 as a soph she was selected MVP in the St. Edward’s Volleyball Tournament in Austin. In her senior year of 1980 UMHB was runner-up in the small college division at the St. Edwards volleyball tournament to champion SWT.
Alana graduated from UMHB in 1980 with a degree in Education, specializing in Elementary Physical Education. She married Gunar Otwell of San Antonio in 1980 and taught physical education for four years in Belton Elementary Schools until the birth of her first child. She and Gunar have four children, Leah, 17, twin sons, Russ and Brett, 14, and Matt, 12. The family moved to Rockdale in 1992. In 1993 Alana Jones Otwell founded the Milam County chapter of Christian Home Educator’s Fellowship (CHEF), a support group for Christian homeschoolers. The family moved to Cameron in 1999.
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Anitra Davis was the greatest female athlete in the history of Belton High School. She became the first Belton girl to make all-state in basketball and the first Belton athlete, male or female, to be named 4-A all-state as a freshman when she was selected to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ all-state team in 1992. Davis also made all-state as a sophomore and junior at Belton before transferring to Houston Madison where she was all-state in 5-A and was voted 5-A player of the year by the Coaches Association. She was also a Parade Magazine and Kodak All-American (and one of USA Today‘s top 25 recruits in the nation) as a senior in 1995. She became one of the few athletes in the history of Texas (and the first in Belton) to be named all-state for four straight years. Anitra starred at Stephen F. Austin University from 1996-1999 and was the leading scorer and rebounder in the conference as a senior.
Anitra Davis, the daughter of Laura Murray, was raised in Belton with her brother, John, and sister, Amber and attended BHS thru her junior year. She was also a volleyball star as she was a starter as a freshman and made all-district as a sophomore. As a junior she was named the MVP of the District in Volleyball and the outstanding female athlete at BHS. Davis was a 6-ft. freshman forward on the Lady Tiger basketball team in 1992 that finished second in District 18-4A and became the first team in the school’s history to make the playoffs. The Lady Tigers under Coach Chris Bentley were 19-13 on the year (a marked improvement over the 7-21 record in 1991) and lost 49-46 in Bi-District to Corsicana. Davis averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game on the season and had a career high 42 points against Copperas Cove. She was named to the 3rd team 4-A All-State team selected by the Coaches Association and to the 1st team All-Regional Team.
Anitra was named 1st team all-state by the Texas Basketball Coaches Association in her sophomore year of 1993 after averaging 24 points and 13 rebounds per game for the 18-14 Lady Tiger team who tied for 2nd in the District and lost to Georgetown in a District playoff game. In Anitra’s junior season of 1994 the Lady Tigers dropped to a 14-16 record and finished 3rd in District. However, Anitra averaged 27.8 points and 15 rebounds per game and was again named 1st team all-state by the Basketball Coaches. Before her senior season she was listed by Street and Smith’s basketball magazine and by USA Today as one of the top high school seniors in the nation for the forthcoming year. Anitra transferred to Houston Madison for her senior year and averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots per game leading the Lady Marlins to a “final four” appearance in the 5-A state tournament where Madison was beaten by Austin Westlake. Madison was ranked no. 1 in the state and 13th in the nation (by USA Today) before its semi-final loss and finished the season at 33-2. Anitra was named the MVP of District 17-5A, and to the 1st team all-Houston Area team. She was named to the 1st team 5-A all-state team selected by the Texas Sports Writers Association and 1st team all-state by the Basketball Coaches Association which also voted her the 5-A player of the year in Texas. Anitra was also named to the Parade Magazine high school All-American 3rd team; to the Kodak All-American team; and was ranked by USA Today as one of the 25 top players in the U.S. Anitra was one of four Texans to play in the Foot Locker Girls All-America Game in Altoona PA.
Anitra was a 6'1" forward at Stephen F. Austin University from 1996-1999 and averaged 14.4 ppg during her career (8.4 ppg as a freshman, 14.0 as a sophomore, 15.9 as a junior and 19.6 as a senior) and shot 52% from the field, 70% at the free throw line and 26% from the 3-point line over her four years. She was 1st team All-Southland Conference as a junior and as a senior led the conference in scoring (19.6 ppg---21st in the nation) and rebounds (9.1). She was also 2nd in the conference in FG’s at 52%, 4th in FT’s at 75%, and 6th in blocked shots at 0.8. She had a perfect game on Jan. 2, 1999, when she shot 10 of 10 from the field and 9 of 9 from the free throw line. Anitra graduated from SFA in 1999 with a degree in criminal justice and played pro basketball in France for a short time in 2000. In 2000-01 she played for the semi-pro Houston Jaguars of the National Women’s Basketball League and taught and coached at Dowling Middle School in Houston.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks
In 1953 Earl Wayne Miller became Belton’s second all-state football player since the beginning of the selection of all-state teams by the Texas Sportswriter’s Association in 1951. He later played at Baylor and in 1957 became the first of two ex-Tiger football players to make all-SWC in football.
Earl Wayne Miller was born in
Belton in 1934 to Clarence and Lillian Miller. He and his younger
brother, Billy, attended Tyler Elementary, Belton Jr. High and Belton High
School where Earl Wayne graduated in 1954.
Earl Wayne was a three-year starter in basketball as a 6'2" forward and finished his career in the old wooden gym that was torn down after his senior season. As a soph he was the team’s fourth leading scorer and he and Penny Vann played with seniors Jerry Adkisson and Edgar Barnett. As juniors they played with LeRoy Johnson and Owen Carpenter, and as a seniors, with Fred Tulloch and Wayne Jackson. The team was 4th in the District in 1953 and 3rd in 1954. In track Earl Wayne ran the 440-yard dash and mile relay and threw the discus. The Tiger mile relay team of Miller, Rex Chatwin, Gibby Bailey and Penny Vann placed third in the district in his sophomore year. He won fourth in the discus in his senior year.
Miller was a four-year letterman in football and was a 160 lb. starter at end in his sophomore season of 1951 when the Tigers were only 2-8 in their first year in Class AA and were led by the passing combination of sophomore QB Penny Vann to sophomore end Miller. He was second team all-district in his junior year when the 6-5 Tigers were District Champs, beat Lockhart 18-0 in Bi-District and lost to Killeen 19-0 in the Regional.
The Tigers were 7-3 and District Tri-Champs in 1953 and Miller, a 178 lb senior end, was voted 1st team all-district, 1st team all-state by the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, and 1st team all-state by the Texas Sportswriters Association. Miller became the second Belton football player (Benny Bloomer was the first in 1952) to be voted all-state by the Texas Sportswriters Association which began selecting all-state teams in 1951. Earl was recruited by several SWC schools but chose to attend Baylor (Penny Vann chose to play at Columbia University in NYC).
At Baylor Miller, a 6-2" 185 lb. end, started on both offense and defense in his junior and senior years. As a soph on the 1955 Baylor team that was 5-5 he was the team’s 2nd leading receiver with 10 catches for 153 yards. He was 4th in receiving (4 for 33 yards) as a junior on the 1956 Baylor team (led by Del Shofner) that was 9-2 and finished 11th in the nation after upsetting No. 2 Tennessee (led by Johnny Majors) 13-7 in the Sugar Bowl. As a senior he tied for the team lead in receiving with 249 yards on 16 catches on the Baylor team that was 3-6-1. Earl Wayne was named all-SWC (with SMU’s Don Meredith) after his senior year of 1957 and became the first of two ex-Belton football players to make all-SWC in football (Bernard Bartek of TCU was the second in 1962). He was also named honorable mention All-American and was taken in the 12th round of the 1958 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers but did not make their final roster in 1958 (injury) or 1959.
Earl Wayne graduated with a B.B.A. from Baylor in 1958 and has since worked for Upjohn Pharmaceutical and L.L. Sams. He married fellow Baylor student Carole Estes of Big Lake TX in 1960. In 2001 Earl Wayne, 66, and Carole Miller lived in McGregor TX as did their oldest daughter, Melissa Kay Goff Miller, 36, and her two children, Jennifer Lee Goff, 15, and Meghan Elizabeth Goff, 11. Their youngest daughter, Merideth Carole Miller Chambers, 33, lives in Lufkin with her husband, Les, and three children, Mallorie Carole Chambers, 7, Natalie Ruth Chambers, 6, and Emilie Nicole Chambers, 4.
Bernard Bartek was an All-Centex and All-State tackle as a senior in 1958 and, after his senior season at TCU in 1962, played in the North-South Shrine college all-star game and was named an all-SWC guard becoming only the second ex-Belton football player to make all SWC (Earl Wayne Miller was the first in 1957).
Bernard was an outstanding all-around
athlete (and four sport letterman) at Belton High School from 1956-57 to
1958-59. As a senior in 1959 he placed 2nd in the shotput and 3rd
in the discus at the District track meet. He was a 3-year starter
on the Tiger baseball team as a third baseman and pitcher as the Tigers
won district and bi-district in his soph year and went to the regional
finals in his senior season. He was the Tiger’s top pitcher as a
junior but an injury hampered his pitching as a senior. He was also
one of the team’s leading hitters. Bernard was a three-year
starter as a 6'2" guard in basketball and was the Tigers’ 3rd leading scorer
as a soph on a 19-7 team that finished second in district. As a junior
he was a starting guard on the 1958 state championship team and made the
shot that tied the score at 50-50 with 53 seconds left in the championship
game against New London. As a senior he was captain and a starter
on the 29-4 Belton team that beat district opponents by an average of 50
points per game but was beaten 63-60 by state champ Buna in the region.
Bartek was recruited by TCU, Texas, A&M, Rice Baylor, SMU and the U. of Houston and signed with TCU where he started as a 190 lb. guard and linebacker for the 1959 freshman team. As a 230 lb. soph in 1960 he played on the same line as (future) Dallas Cowboy all-pro Bob Lilly and, as a junior in 1961, started on the Frog team that upset No. 2 Kansas (with Gayle Sayers) 17-16, tied highly ranked Ohio State 7-7, and upset No. 1 Texas 6-0, costing the Longhorns the national championship. Against Kansas Bartek blocked a FG attempt to preserve the victory and made a saving tackle at the 2-yard line against Texas.
As a senior in 1962 Bartek was voted lineman of the week by the Frog Club for his play in a 28-26 victory over Baylor and was called “the most under-rated football player in the SWC” by Ft. Worth Star Telegram editor Bill Van Fleet. He was named All-SWC by the Dallas Morning News after TCU’s 6-4 season and played in the Shriners’ North-South College all-star game in Miami where he played on the South team with future All-Pro Baltimore receiver Willie Richardson and against future All-Pro Kansas City LB Bobby Bell.
Bernard received a BBA degree from TCU in 1966 and served two years in the U.S. Army in 1967-1969. He was the pitcher for the Ft. McClellan AL post championship fastpitch softball team in 1967 (the team was runner-up in 1968). Bernard later took courses required for accounting at UTA and worked as an accountant for 30 years in the Ft. Worth area. In 2001 Bernard, 60, is semi-retired working as a Ft. Worth ISD substitute teacher (his wife is also a teacher), preparing clients’ tax returns, and maintaining his rental properties in Ft. Worth and Aledo. He married Suzanne Herring of Houston in 1966 and the couple has two children. Their daughter, Tracie Bartek Digilormo, 32, and her children, Tarah, 15, and Devin, 10, live in Aledo. Their son, Clinton Bartek, 20, lives in Ft. Worth and attends UTA. Clinton “matched” his father’s 1958 state championship as he was a starting all-district guard on the 1998 Aledo Bearcats Div. 1 AAA State Championship football team.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Tommy Lee, an all-district athlete in three sports at Belton High School in 1967-68, was named to the 3A all-state football team after the 1967 season and went on to start at LB for the 1970 National Champion Texas Longhorns, the 1971 UT team that was 8-3 and the 1972 UT team that was 3rd in the nation after beating Alabama in the Cotton Bowl.
Tommy Lee was born in Belton on June 7, 1950, to B.J. and Wilma Hillard Lee and was one of four boys (Tommy, Keith, Van, and Kris). The family moved to Ft. Worth in 1951 but returned to Belton when Tommy was 11 and he attended Southwest Elementary, Belton Jr. H.S., and Belton H.S., graduating in 1968. He was an outstanding weightman for the Tiger track team, and in his senior year of 1968, won District 13-3A in both the shotput (54'11") and discus (149'10") and placed 2nd at the Regional in the shotput (54'5") and 6th in the discus (134'4"). He placed 6th in the shotput at the state 3A track meet.
In basketball Lee was a 6'2" soph backup post player on the 1966 Tiger team that won District and was 19-9 on the year. In 1967 as a junior he was the 3rd leading scorer at 7 ppg on the 11-13 Tiger team that featured the prolific scoring of all-state Tommy Grant. He was the leading scorer (17.2) as a senior on the 1968 Tiger team (17-10) that tied for the North Zone Championship and was named 1st team all-district.
In football Tommy was the starting FB as a 6'2" 188 lb. soph on the 1965 Tiger team that was 4-6 under Coach Mack Birtchet. As a 202 lb. junior in 1966 Lee started at both FB and LB on the Tiger team that was 6-4 under new Coach Spike Dykes. He was named 2nd team all-district as a FB.
As a 210 lb. senior in 1967 Tommy was a FB on offense and LB on defense on the 1967 Tiger team that was 5-5 under new coach Jack Meredith. He was named to the 1st team 13-3A All-District team as a FB and LB; the All-Centex team by the Temple Daily Telegram; the Texas High School Coaches 3A All-State 2nd team as a LB; and the consensus High School Football Super Team (Friday Night Heroes) by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine. He was named Belton’s Male Athlete of the Year and the Outstanding Senior Back.
Lee was recruited by Arkansas, Baylor, LSU, Oklahoma, SMU, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Texas and was the first boy signed by Texas Coach Darrell Royal after the 1967 season. He played FB and LB on the 1968 UT freshman team and then redshirted the 1969 season. He worked his way into a starting role at LB as a soph in 1970 on the 10-1 Texas team that won its third straight SWC championship and was named the National Champion by the UPI and Football Foundation. Tommy broke a hand during the 1971 season but still started several games for the 8-3 Texas team.
Tommy started at LB as a senior in 1972 when the Longhorns went 10-1 and were ranked third in the nation after defeating a Bear Bryant led Alabama team in the 1973 Cotton Bowl. The highlight of his senior season was his being mentioned as SWC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Texas Tech. The 1972 UT media guide for his senior year indicated that he was a 6'3" 214 lb. LB and was “one of most improved linebackers on squad...no. 1 strong linebacker...missed final spring game with broken hand...meets blockers as well as any linebacker on squad...has good size and quickness.”
Tommy graduated from the University of Texas in 1973 with a BA in Economics and began his career with A.H. Robbins Pharmaceutical Co. He has held executive management positions with several healthcare companies and is currently Director of Business Develoment for M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston TX. Tommy married Karen Hampton of Houston in 1974 and they and their three children, Rob, 21, Tiffany, 18, and Austin, 14, live in Spring TX.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Dale West was the dominate “inside” player on what are arguably the three best basketball teams in the history of Belton High School: the 1958 State AA championship team, the 1959 team that was 29-4 and the 1960 team that was 35-6 and lost in the state semi-finals to Dimmitt. He was 2nd team all-state as a senior, played in the Texas H.S. Coaches All-star game, and later played at the University of Texas.
Dale West is the son of Emmit and Clara West and he and his older brother, Mack, were raised in Belton attending Tyler Elementary School, Belton Jr. H.S. and Belton High School where Dale graduated in 1960. His father was Coach Mack Birtchet’s partner in the cattle business. Dale’s athletic skills were not limited to basketball as he was a starting tackle/end on the Tiger football team as a junior (he did not play as a senior) and was a three-year starter at first base for the Tiger baseball team. He led the 1959 Tiger team that lost in the regional in home runs and RBI’s. In his senior season he was the team’s top pitcher and led the team in hitting (over .500), home runs, RBI’s and hits. In 1957 he played on a Babe Ruth League All-Star team made up of players from Belton, Moody and Holland that was beaten in the state finals by Austin whose pitcher, Ray Culp, went on to win 20 games in one major league season for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Belton was only 6-8 before District play began in 1958 but then won 17 straight games to win the state AA championship. It was no coincidence that the team “took off” once Dale became the starter at center in the third district game. Though he started only 14 games he still scored 350 points on the year for an average of 11.3 per game and was the team’s leading rebounder and third leading scorer. He scored 10 points and had 16 rebounds in the championship game against New London and grabbed the key rebounds that allowed the Tigers to come back from an 8 point deficit in the last 2 & ½ minutes of the game.
As a junior Dale’s 14 ppg was second to Richard Inman’s 22 ppg for the 29-4 Tiger team that defeated its district opponents by an average of 50 points a game but was beaten in the region by Buna. He scored 36 points against Cameron to break the school single game scoring record of 36. Dale was named All-Super-Centex by the Waco Times Herald and honorable mention all-state.
As a senior Dale was Belton’s leading scorer at 15.7 ppg (612 points in 39 games) and was the 4th leading scorer in Central Texas according to the Waco Times Herald which listed six Tigers (West, Dennis Watson, Richard Inman, Bill Ward, Willie Garner and Neal Chaney) as scoring over 250 points on the year. The 1960 team was very well balanced with 4 players who made all-state in 1960 (West and Inman) or 1961 (Bill Ward and Neal Chaney), a fifth starter (Watson) who played in college, and had two substitutes (Garner and Chuck Fath) who were later the leading scorer for Temple Junior College. Dale and the other starters played only half the game in the numerous “blowouts.” Dale had a personal best of 30 rebounds against Rosebud though he played little more than half the game and had high point games of 35 against Lampasas and 32 against South Houston..
Dale played in the Texas H.S. Coaches All-Star game and was recruited by several Division 1 universities including Baylor TCU and Texas.. He signed with Texas and was the 2nd leading scorer and leading rebounder on the UT freshman basketball team and hit .300 for the UT freshman baseball team. Dale was “redshirted” as a soph and decided to end his playing career before his junior year to concentrate on his work toward a degree in pharmacy.
West was an A student in H.S. and graduated from U.T. in 1965 with a degree in Pharmacy. He owned and operated West Pharmacy in Mineral Wells for 30 years (1968-1995). Dale married Helen Loerwald in 1965 and the couple has three children, Roger Dale West, Jr., of Proctor TX; Denise West Moffat of Wichita Falls; and Debbie West Hickley of Cheyene WY; and two grandchildren, David Douglas Moffat and Benjamin Dale Moffat. In 2001 Dale, 59, and Helen ran a ranch outside Mineral Wells that specialized in embryo transfer.
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Ted Williams, a 228 lb. senior and the son of head Coach James A. Williams, was named as an all-state center and kicker in his senior year of 1974 and was a three-year starter on the Tiger teams that won District championships in 1972, 1973 and 1974 and were 31-5-2 during his high school career advancing to the state quarterfinals in two of the three years. He later played football at Lamar University for two years and was named the university’s outstanding alumni for 1995.
Ted Williams was born on Jan. 8, 1956, in Crosbyton TX to James A. and and Frances S. Williams. He and his two sisters followed their coaching father to homes in Lorenzo, Petersburg and Hereford before moving to Belton at the age of 10 in 1966 when his father was named assistant coach under new coach Jack Meredith. In 1971 James Williams became head coach of the Tigers and in seven years compiled a win/loss record of 60-16-3 including four district championships and two 2nd place finishes.
As a soph in 1972 Ted was a 195 lb. starting center for the 9-3 Tiger football team that won District and lost to Brenham 14-10 in Bi-District. He was a 212 lb. junior in 1973 as Belton was 12-1, won District, beat Houston Carver in Bi-District, and lost to Henderson 15-10 in the state quarterfinals. In Ted’s senior season of 1974 the Tigers were 10-1-2, won District, beat Navasota 17-0 in Bi-District, and lost to Jacksonville 15-7 in the state quarterfinals. During his three seasons as a starter the Tigers were 31-5-2 with three district championships. Ted was part of perhaps the greatest senior class in Tiger history as 12 of the 19 Tiger seniors made at least all-district. The twelve were all-state C/K Ted Williams, all-state LB Robert Dominguez, Super-Centex RB David Roepke, Super-Centex DB Johnny Faulk, and all-district players LB Jay Warrick, RB’s Bryan Sweeney (who later played in the NFL) and Eric Nelson, QB Roy Steger, E’s Bryan Hargrove and Ernest Brenek, G Rex Melvin and T Matt Bush.
Ted was the Tiger placekicker during his three years on the varsity and during his career made 111 of 118 PAT attempts and 17 of 36 FG attempts including 6 of 10 as a soph, 6 of 17 (with five attempts over 50 yards) as a junior and 5 of 9 as a senior. In his senior year he kicked a school record 44-yard FG against Navasota, a record which held for 18 years until broken (at 48 yards) by all-state kicker Jason Ward in 1992. His last second FG against top District rival Taylor in 1974 gained a 10-10 tie. Williams was also known as an exceptional blocker with good quickness who studied game films to figure out how to out think his opponents.
Ted was named All-Zone at center as a soph; All-Zone as an offensive center as a junior, and as a 6'2" & 228 lb. senior center in 1974, was named by the Texas Sports Writers Association to its first team Class AAA All-State offensive team as a center and kicker. Belton LB Robert Dominguez was selected to the first team all-state defensive team marking the second time in school history that two Tigers had made first team all-state (Junior David Bartek and Senior Charlie Griggs were first team All-State in 1969). Williams was also named to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram’s Super All-State (which included classes 1A-4A) first team offense at Center and to the AAA All-Centex team by the Austin American-Statesman. Ted also was the starting center and kicker for the South team in the 1975 Coaches all-star game.
Ted signed with Lamar University of Beaumont (a member of the Division I Southland Conference) where he started two games as a freshman and was a two-year letterman before a shoulder injury ended his career. He turned his attention to academics (he had been Academic All-Conference as a freshman) and graduated with honors with an accounting degree in 1979. After four years with Ernst and Whinney, he joined his present firm of Cook Shaver Parker & Williams of Beaumont. Ted’s three children are Lacey Robison, 22, of San Antonio and Terese Williams, 10, and James Williams, 7, of Orange TX He and his wife, Patrice, now live in Beaumont with his two stepchildren, Hayley, 12, and Alex, 11.
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
In sports we recognize supreme performance rather than supreme effort and deride such “motherly” encouraging words as “nice try.” Winning is what counts and it matters little if the winning effort was produced by an under-achieving or over-achieving athlete. The focus on winning rather than effort violates the Biblical lesson of the Parable of the Talents as most winners are “five-talent” athletes who performed at a five-talent level but who “won” more because of greater talent than greater effort. Yet for every winning five-talent athlete there are scores, perhaps hundreds, of “two-talent” athletes who “tried just as hard” but performed at a (non-winning) “two-talent” level and are not recognized because they were not “winners.”
There is one Belton football
award that recognizes supreme effort rather than performance, the Fighting
Heart Award, which goes annually to “the boy who rises above any natural
limitations he may have in ability.” Past recipients are not
well known but were considered in “their year” as the player who “tried
the hardest” or most personified the “fighting heart.” The recipients
since 1969 are:
I want to recognize the above “fighting hearts” but I also want to nominate another boy from my era who —rather than any of the all-state/state champions on the Wall of Honor—is the Belton athlete I most admire because he personified the concept of “fighting heart.” My nominee is “Jimmy” who loved to play sports, especially football, but he had a double disadvantage—he was small and slow. He was only 5'3" and 110 lbs. as a soph and 5'6" and 130 lbs. as a junior and was relegated to the B-Team where he was still too small to be a star. Unlike the other “little boys” who became discouraged languishing on the B-team and quit football, Jimmy “stayed with it” and became one of only seven seniors on the 1958 Tiger football team that was 6-2-3 & District Champs.
Jimmy “worked construction” to “bulk up” during the summer before his senior year and, because he was a senior, was placed on the varsity football team and listed in the program at 146 lbs. The pre-season newspaper article about the 1958 Tigers didn’t even mention his name as a prospect for a starting position and yet by the second game he was starting at middle-linebacker on defense and halfback on offense. The coaches discovered that Jimmy was “quick” and a “hitter” and they couldn’t take him off the field because he hustled and ran and hit harder than anyone else (in today’s terms he had a ”motor”). Jimmy played on all the “special teams” and even returned punts and kickoffs—in short he played every play! By the end of the year he was the team’s leading tackler though the defense included two superstars, Bernard Bartek and Richard Inman. The team voted Jimmy and his best friend, All-State tackle Bartek, as co-captains and Jimmy was named by the District coaches as 2nd team all-district. At the annual football banquet Jimmy was given the “top senior back” award and stood side-by-side with Bartek, voted the top senior lineman, for the award photo. Through perseverance and sheer effort the “littlest” boy at 5'9" and 146 lbs., who had a “Rudy” (the movie) type year, had become a star!
But Jimmy’s “star,” like that of other “fighting hearts,”quickly disappeared into history. He worked his way thru college as a fireman, served 4 years in the Marines and worked 30 years for Frito-Lay in Dallas before retiring in 1999. On May 27, 2001, Jimmy will be 60 years old. Happy birthday, little brother! Surely Jimmy Wilbanks, like the other “Fighting Hearts” listed above, deserves to be “A Tiger to Remember!”
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
David “Bull” Bartek was arguably the best football player in the history of Belton High School. There is little argument that he was the best player on Belton’s best ever team that reached the state semi-finals in 1969. David was named 1st team all-state in his junior (both at FB and LB) and senior years (at LB) and later played three years at the University of Texas as a backup FB to two all-americans.. He was also named all-state in track and field throwing the shotput over 60 feet and twice finishing second in the state.
David was born in Belton on Aug. 23, 1952, to Ben and Agnes Bartek and grew up in Belton as the youngest of four children. As a 200 lb. sophomore in 1968 David was a 1st team all-district LB and 2nd team all-district FB on the Tiger team that was 9-2 and 13-3A District Champs, losing in Bi-District to Refugio. He rushed for 475 yards on 96 carries and scored 9 TD’s during the season.
Bartek was named 1st team all-state on both offense (FB) and defense (LB)as a junior in 1969 after leading the 10-2-1 Tigers to the District championship and losing in state semi-finals to West Columbi 10-6. He was named 1st team Super-Centex on offense and defense by the Temple Daily Telegram, the Austin-American Statesman and the Waco Tribune Herald (which also named him Player of the Year). He was named 1st team 3-A all-state on both offense and defense. Sr. Charlie Griggs also made the 1st team all-state team on offense giving Belton two players on the all-state team in the same year for the first time in school history. For the season David rushed for 1,620 yards on 261 carries (6.2 yards per carry), 19 TD’s and scored 126 points.
The Tigers were 8-1-1 in David’s senior season of 1970 and finished 2nd in the District as he rushed for 1,158 yards on 244 carries (4.7 yards per carry), 16 TD’s and scored 119 points. During a three-year career Bartek rushed for 3,253 yards on 601 carries (5.5 yards per carry), and scored 44 TD’s and 301 points. Playing on a weaker team as a senior, David was asked to “do more” and responded. For example, in the Del Valle game the Tigers trailed 20-0 at the half but he carried 46 times for 202 yards, scored 3 TD’s and kicked 3 extra points and the team won 21-20. He was again selected all-district at LB and FB and was named All-Centex again by the Temple, Austin and Waco newspapers and was named MVP by the Austin paper and AAA Player of the Year by the Temple paper. He was again named as an all-state LB and was selected to Texas Football Magazine’s SuperTeam (11 boys regardless of class of school) and to Sunkist’s Coach and Athlete All-American team. David was selected to play in the Texas Coaches Assoc. all-star game and made 13 tackles at LB in the South’s victory.
As a sophomore Bartek won district in the shotput at 55'1" and was 2nd at the Texas Relays and at the state meet (at 56'9"). In his junior year of 1970 he won district in the shotput (59'9") and was second in the discus (at 148'4"). At the regional he won the shotput at 58' (breaking old record of 57'1") and was third in the discus at 150'7". He finished 2nd again in the shotput at the state track meet at 60'5"' and was named to the All-state track team announced by the Texas Sportswriters due to his 4th best throw in the state (regardless of class). Senior Tim Brown won the 3-A discus title and the Belton team finished fifth in the state with 24 points. As a senior in 1970 Bartek had a season best in the shotput of 60'3.75" and finished 4th at the state meet (59'9"). He had a season best in the discus of 162'3" at the state meet finishing 5th.
David was president of his senior class and graduated from Belton H.S. in 1971. Though recruited by several SWC schools, David chose to attend the University of Texas because he wanted a UT degree. He was the starting FB (5.6 yards per carry) on the 1971 freshman team and was a 2nd team LB on the varsity as a soph in 1972 before a knee injury ended his season. He was moved to FB as a junior and was a back-up to All-American FB Roosevelt Leaks in 1973 but had outstanding games against Wake Forest (85 yards in 12 carries) and A&M when Leaks was injured. As a senior in 1974 he was a back-up to All-American Earl Campbell.
David received a B.B.A. from
UT in 1975 and worked as a sales representative in Austin for several years
before moving to Las Vegas in 1997 where he worked thru 2001 as a casino
host supervisor at Fitzgerald’s Hotel & Casino. In 2001 David
Bartek, 48, and his wife, Jen (the former Jen Brandes of Temple) lived
in Las Vegas. A plaque honoring David Bartek will be included on
the planned (Oct., 2001) Belton High School Wall of Honor.
All “A Tiger to Remember” articles are on the Internet at:
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Neil Hickerson was the Texas 4-A state golf champion in 1983, went on to earn all-SWC and honorable mention All-American honors at Texas A&M, and played professional golf for a short time. In 2001 he continued to play as an amateur and still holds the course record at two local golf courses.
Neil Edward Hickerson was born on Dec. 12, 1964, in Germany to Mac and Jane Hickerson. He was the fourth of five children and moved to Belton with his family at the age of 11. His father was born and raised in Belton, graduated from Belton H.S. in 1948 and from A&M in 1952, and served in the U.S. Army (as a pilot) for 25 years beginning as a 2nd Lt. in the Korean War. He retired as a Lt. Col. and coached golf at Mary Hardin-Baylor from 1980-1999. All five Hickerson children graduated from Belton H.S. (Buddy, 1976; Joel, 1978; Dani, 1980; Neil, 1983; and Sander, 1984). Neil was VP of his junior class and an honor student.
Neil took up golf at the age of 13 while in Belton Jr. High under the tutelege of Coach Ken Morgan. He made the Tiger varsity golf team as a freshman and finished 3rd in District as a freshman, sophomore and junior. As a 5'10" & 130 lb. senior he won 1st in District and was 3rd in the region but qualified for state as the Belton team was 2nd at the region. Belton finished 3rd in the state team competition under Coach Ken Taylor and Neil and two other golfers tied at 149 for individual medalist honors after two rounds at the state tournament at Austin’s Morris Williams Municipal Golf Course. Neil captured the gold medal on the third hole of the play-off after hitting his first shot within six feet of the pin.
Hickerson won a golf scholarship to St. Thomas University of Houston and played there for the fall semester before transferring to Texas A&M. He “redshirted” for one year and then played on the varsity golf team at A&M for three years, 1985-86, 1986-87, and 1987-88. He was third on the Aggie team as a sophomore at 73.7 strokes per round. As a junior he had three top ten finishes in collegiate tournaments and was 7th in the SWC tournament as the Aggies captured the team championship.
As a senior Neil averaged 73.26 strokes per round; won the Woodlands Intercollegiate Tournament; finished 2nd at theTrans-Mississippi Amateur Golf Championship (with 180 golfers); was 5th at the Texas Amateur at Houston; won the Torreon, Mexico, amateur tournament over top Mexican and American amateurs; and finished 2nd at the SWC tournament at 139 (70, 69). Neil was selected as 1st team all-SWC as a junior and senior and was chosen by the Golf Coaches Association of America as honorable mention All-American and all-regional (e.g., District 6) after his senior season.
After graduating from A&M in 1988 with a degree in agricultural economics, Neil played professional golf for 2 & ½ years on the Asia Tour, the Space Coast Tour, the Hogan Tour, etc. Highlights of his pro career included a 5th place finish at the Indian Open at New Delhi and 36th at the Lee Trevino Texas State Open.
After retiring from pro golf in 1991, Neil worked for Curtis 1000 for two years and in insurance and annuities for two years before he began selling pharmaceuticals in 1996. In 2001, Neil Hickerson, 34, was engaged to Chris Baker of San Antonio and lived in Austin. He continued to play golf (as an amateur) and still holds the course record at two local golf courses (63 at Mill Creek in Salado and 59 at Sammons Park in Temple). He formerly held the course record at Wildflower in Temple.
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks
In 1952 Benny Bloomer became Belton’s first football player to make the Texas Sportswriter’s Association Class AA All-state team which began with the 1951 season. Bloomer also became the first Tiger to play in the Texas High School Coaches’ all-star game and won a football scholarship to Texas A&M but finished his career at Texas A&I. He coached for 34 years until his retirement in 1991.
Benny Bloomer was born in Belton on July 27, 1935, to John P. & Helen Bloomer and was the oldest of two boys. His paternal grandfather came to Belton in 1888 and his father graduated from Belton H.S. in 1927 and Texas A&M in 1931. His family was very “musical” and Benny was in the high school band by the 7th grade playing the baritone & sousaphone. He was an excellent swimmer as a youth but his interest soon turned to football.
Benny smarted as a 181 lb. soph on the 1950 Belton team that was only 2-7-1. He was a 217 lb. junior all-district tackle on the 2-8 Tiger team that moved up to Class 2A in 1951. As a 5'10", 217 lb. senior he was the anchor of the Tiger offensive and defensive lines on the 1952 team that was 6-5 and won District for the first time since in 14 years. The Tigers beat Lockhart 18-0 in Bi-District and then lost to Killeen 19-0 in the Regional. The 1952 Tigers became only the second Tiger football team (the first was the 1924 team) to go as far as the regional game in the state playoffs. Bloomer was again voted to the all-district team; was chosen as the district’s best lineman and as Belton’s best lineman; and was selected to the All-Central Texas Team. He was named to the Class 2A all-state team named by the Texas Sportswriters Association (which began selecting all-state teams in 1951), becoming the first Belton player to make all-state. Benny also became the first Belton player chosen by the Coaches Association to play in the annual summer all-star game which had been held since 1935 and played tackle on the winning (13-7) South team led by Temple QB Doyle Traylor.
Benny was also a track and field star as he won the District title in the shotput for three years (as a soph, as a junior at 42'2", and as a senior at 46'3"). He also won the discus (124'5") at the District meet as a senior and placed third in the shotput (48'1") and discus at the regional meet. Benny graduated from Belton H.S. in 1953 and attended Texas A&M on a football scholarship. After playing (with Jack Pardee) on the 1953 Aggie freshman team, Benny transferred to Texas A&I following the Javelina’s new coach, Gil Steinke, who left A&M upon the arrival of Coach Bear Bryant in the spring of 1954. Benny was a starting guard at 221 lbs. on Steinke’s 1955 team (4-6) & 1956 team (7-3) and was the first of a long line of Belton football players who played at A&I (ex-Javelinas Bloomer, Jarrell Hayes, and Charlie Williams) are on the Belton Wall of Honor).
Bloomer graduated from A&I with a BS in Ed. in 1958 and an MS. in biology in 1962. He married Peggy L. Williams of Temple in 1955 before moving to Kingsville and served as a volunteer coach at Riviera where Peggy taught while Benny attended A&I. He began his 34-year football coaching career in 1957 with seven years (1958-1965) at Riviera and then coached seven years at Rockport-Fulton (1966-1972). He moved on to LaGrange (1972-1975) where his 1974 team made the 2A semifinals and his 1975 team was state 2A champion leading to his selection as Central Texas Coach of the Year and the Kellogg Coach of the Year. He moved on to 5A Spring Woods H.S. where he coached for 14 years (1976-1990) and finished his 33-year high school football coaching career at 179-138-14 (with 19 winning seasons). Bloomer also served on the board of the Texas High School Coaches’ Association and on the advisory board of the Henry Frnka Football Clinic. He closed his coaching career with one year as an assistant coach at Sam Houston State in 1990-91.
In 2001 Benny and Peggy Bloomer lived in retirement on Lake Limestone and enjoyed spending time with their three children, Helana Barmore of Houston, Bradley Bloomer of Sugarland and Bill Bloomer of Arlington and 8 grandchildren, Benjamin, Amanda, Sarah, & Alex Barmore and Brianna, Brice, John Paul and Jeffrey Bloomer.
Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Watching the District 17-4A district
track & field meet at Belton on April 11-12 reminded me that Belton
High School has a long tradition of champions in track and field beginning
with the state championship team of 1909. The Tigers
came within one point of a state championship in 1993 and would have won
the 1982 state title but for a dropped baton on the sprint relay.
Belton has had 19 individual state champions in track and field (and 7
state records). The state champs were:
After the 1909 state championship Belton’s track program was dormant for many years as the next Tigers to make it to the state track meet were Ted Whitlow and Edmund Iverson in the mile run (they finished 1st and 2nd at District and the Regional) in 1948 (39 years later) but they failed to place in Austin. Bobby Cline became the first Belton state champion in 46 years when he won the shotput in 1955.
Some of the best performances short of a state championship were Tommy Cox’s 6th place finish in the 220-yd dash in 1950 when the top 6 runners broke the state A record of 22.2; David Bartek’s 2nd place finishes in the shotput in 1969 (56'9") and 1970 (60'5"); Charles Estill’s 3rd in the 880-yd dash (1:56.9) in 1970; Chris Franklin’s 3rd in the 440-yd dash (47.8) in 1982; Brent Brentham’s 4th in the long jump (22'5") in 1986 (he scratched by ½ inch on a 23'6" jump that would have won 1st); and Josh Tubb’s 1st place in the discus (170'9") at the Texas Relays in 1998. Three other Tigers also won championships at the prestigious Texas Relays---Cline in the shotput (55') in 1956, Inman in the shotput (57') in 1960 and Williams in the discus (178'11") in 1993.
Here are the current Belton H.S. record holders in boys
track and field for each event.
The only multiple current record-holders in individual events are J. Kyle Banks in the 100, 200, & 400 and John Thompson in the long jump and high jump. Banks holds six school records—three individual events and three relays (400-meter, sprint medley, and 4 x 200). Thompson later attended San Angelo State on a basketball and track scholarship. Banks, the grandson of Dr. Glenn Lowe who served as Belton High School Principal from 1956-1969, is currently on track scholarship at the U. of Texas at San Antonio.
The oldest record is the shotput mark
of Richard Inman which was set 41 years ago when Inman won the national
high school shotput championship (his throw of 62'8" is two feet better
than the second best throw in history). Arthur O’Connor’s 880-yard
run record of 2:11.2 set in 1909 held for 44 years until it was broken
in 1953 by the 2:08 of Ken Chatwin. The 2nd and 3rd oldest
records are the 880-yd run record of Estill in 1970 and the mile run record
of Schodlbauer in 1971. The state champions and school record
holders are “Tigers to Remember.” All “A Tiger to Remember”
articles are on the internet at:
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks
Bobby Cline won Belton’s first state championship in track and field in 45 years (since 1909) when he won the Class A state shotput championship in 1955 as a junior and became the first of four Tigers to win state in that event. He was also All-District in football and later started two years at tackle for Texas Tech.
Bobby Cline was born in Dandridge TN in 1938 to W. Byrl and Agnes Cline. The Cline family moved to Belton when Bobby was in the second grade and he and his older sisters, Shirley and Myrna, attended Tyler Elementary, Belton Jr. High School and Belton High School, where Bobby graduated in 1956. Bobby had a Temple Telegram morning paper route all through high school and thus had to “start early” each school, weekend, and summer day.
Cline was a starting tackle as a 188 lb. sophomore in 1953 on a 6-5 Belton team that was District co-champion. In 1954 he was All-District as a 225 lb. junior tackle on the 7-3 District Champs. In 1955 he was a 246 lb. senior tackle (and co-captain) and again was named All-District for the Tiger team that was 7-3 and third in the District. Cline was known for his speed (he ran an 11 flat 100 yard dash barefeet in “sweats”) as well as his size and was faster than all but two of the backs on the Belton team.
Bobby Cline is known best for his track and field exploits. As a sophomore in 1954 he won the District shotput title at 46'6" (breaking the district record) and finished second in the discus and went on to finish fifth in the shotput at the state track meet. As a junior in 1955 he won both the District shotput at 49'5" (breaking his own district record of 46'6") and discus at 146'6" (breaking the district record of 131'10") and went on to win the regional shotput at a record 50'10" and placed second in the discus. He then won the Class A state shotput championship at 54'1" but failed to place at state in the discus.
Bobby was on track for a second state shotput championship as a senior in 1956 but, due to a scheduling mix-up at the state track meet in Austin, he arrived after the competition had ended and was not allowed to compete. He had thrown a personal best of 55'4" in the regional meet (after winning district at 53'5) and had the best Class A throw in the state going into the state meet. The event was won in 53'1", two feet short of Cline’s best toss. Earlier in the year he was second in the shotput at the Border Olympics at Laredo at 53'4" and broke records in both the shot and discus as the Cameron Relays. He won the Texas Relays on April 7, 1956, with a toss of 55' that was the third best throw in the meet’s history. The 55' throw was the best since 1949 and was not matched at the Relays until 1960 when fellow Belton athlete, Richard Inman, won with a throw of 57'.
Bobby was recruited by several SWC schools but chose to attend Texas Tech and was a starting tackle at 6'1" and 235 lbs. for the Red Raiders in 1959 & 1960. He played with All-American Center E.J. Holub and Dick Stafford (his roommate and later Belton’s coach) on the first Tech teams to play in the SWC. Cline participated in track and field as a freshman and threw the 16-pound shotput 46'2" in Tech’s first SWC competition after the Red Raiders were admitted to the conference in early 1956. He did not compete in track after his freshman year.
Bobby Cline married Nancy Coyne
of Temple in 1958 while a student at Texas Tech. After college Bobby
worked as a construction superintendent in Lubbock (until 1968) and in
the Burleson/Ft. Worth area building fast food restaurants (i.e., McDonalds,
Taco Bell, Pizza Hut). Bobby died of an aortic aneurysm on
Memorial Day, 2000, at the age of 62. His survivors in 2001
include his sister, Myrna Cline Baker, of Abilene TX; his widow, Nancy
Coyne Cline, and his children, Craig Cline, 40, Steve Cline, 38, and Cadi
Cline Reid, 33, all of Burleson. His grandchildren are Doug Cline,
18, Stephanie Cline, 21, Lindsay Cline, 9, Emily Reid, 6, Abby Reid, 5,
and Sarah Reid, 1, all of Burleson. A plaque honoring Bobby
Cline will be included on the Belton High School Wall of Honor. All
“A Tiger to Remember” articles are on the internet at:
Dr. Billy Wilbanks (4/10/2001)
Robert Ford was an all-district and all-Centex running back for Belton as a senior in 1968, went on to become the University of Houston’s top receiver and return specialist, and coached in three Super Bowls during his 10-year coaching career in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.
Robert was a 3-sport letterman for three years at Belton H.S. and graduated in 1969. He was a 3-time All-District outfielder on the Tiger baseball team, ran the sprints and sprint relay for the Tiger track team for three years and was a 3-year starter at running back in football. As a senior Ford won the District in the 100-yd dash (9.9) and 220-yd dash (22.0) and anchored the winning 440-yd relay team (43.2) that included Preston Clemons, Cleveland McBride, and Jim Stewart. Because of an injury, he played only 5 games at running back as a junior but gained 551 yards at 6.8 yards per carry.
In his senior year, the 5'6", 160 lb. Ford was the leading rusher (1,011 yards on 144 carries for a 7.0 average), leading receiver (288 yards on 12 passes for 24 per catch average) and scorer (142 points) for the 1968 Tiger football team that was 9-2 under Coach Jack Meredith and was champion of District 13-3A. The Tigers lost 21-19 to Refugio in Bi-District (Refugio went on to state finals and lost to Lubbock Estacado). Ford closed out his career against Refugio with 115 yards in 15 carries and scored twice, once on a 68-yard run. He was named 1st team All-District; 1st team 3-A All-Centex by the Austin American; and was named Captain and started on both offense and defense for the South team in the Texas Coaches Assoc. All-Star game.
Ford attended the U. of Houston on a football scholarship and started at running back and/or receiver on the 1970 team (8-3), the 1971 team (9-3) and the 1972 team (6-4-1). He was MVP of the freshman team and MVP of the 1972 varsity team as a senior. He still holds an NCAA record as the only player to catch two 99-yard TD passes during his career (against Syracuse in 1970 and San Diego State in 1972). As a senior at the U. of Houston in 1972 Ford was a 5'7" 165 lb. split end and was the team leader in pass receiving (538 yards on 35 receptions—the 8th highest in UH history) kickoff returns (331 yards on 14 returns—7th highest in UH history) and punt returns (236 yards on 23 returns—6th highest in UH history). Since Houston was an independent in 1970-72 Robert missed the opportunity to make all-conference.
The U. of Houston press guide noted that Ford was “one of major college football’s smallest starters” at 5'7" and 170 lbs. Robert also won an “Outstanding Achievement Award for Community Service” while at the U. of Houston for his volunteer work.
Robert received a B.S. in Ed. from Houston in 1973 (and an M.A. in Athletic Administration from Western Illinois U. in 1974) and then coached at Saginaw MI High School (1 year); Western Illinois (2 years); the U. of New Mexico (3 years); Oregon State (2 years); Houston Gamblers of the USFL (1 year); Kansas (6 months); Texas Tech (2 years); Dallas Cowboys (as tight ends coach) from 1991-1997; and Miami Dolphins (as receivers coach) from 1998-present. During his tenure with the Cowboys the team made the playoffs in 6 of the 7 years, won 5 Division championships, and three Super Bowls. Ford has been a receivers coach during most of his coaching career and has coached several All-American receivers and all-pros (i.e., Cowboy tight end Jay Novacek) and was a receivers coach for QB’s Jim Kelly, Troy Aikman and Dan Marino. Ex-Belton Tiger Ricky Sanders was one of his receivers for the Houston Gamblers.
Robert and his three siblings
were raised by their mother, Bernice Ford, in Belton. In 2001 Robert
Ford, 50, and his wife, Janice Renee, live in Miami FL. Their two
grown sons are Robert L. Ford, II, 25, of Dallas and Jason Alan Ford, 23,
of Pembroke Pines (who played on the Coppell TX state championship baseball
team as a junior). Robert has a brother, Cedric Ford, 40, who lives
in Belton and two sisters, Mary Harrison, 56, of Dallas and Margheret Thomas,
55, of Los Angeles.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (4/3/2001)
Longtime sportswriter Blackie Sherrod is perhaps the best known sports figure to have played high school sports at Belton H.S. Sherrod became famous as the sports editor of the Dallas Times Herald in the 1960's and 1970's and in 2001 still writes a column for the Dallas Morning News. Sherrod is the best known sports writer in the history of Texas and has been named several times as the Texas and national sportswriter of the year. He was also part of what Tom Brokaw has called “the greatest generation” for his service during World War II and career after the war.
William Forrest Sherrod, the only child of Marvin and Leola Sherrod, was born in Belton on Nov. 9, 1919. His father was a barber and his mother was a music teacher. Forrest was an outstanding 3-sport athlete (and sports writer for the Belton Tiger ) during his years at Belton High School. Though his major sport was football, he was also a starter as a senior on the 1937 Tiger basketball team that won an 8-county “district” tournament before losing to Temple in the regional. He also ran track and won first place in the District in the 880-yd dash in his senior year and finished second in the same event as a junior.
Forrest Sherrod was the starting quarterback as a junior for the 1935 Tiger football team and led Belton’s first undefeated team to an 8-0 record in the regular season and the first District championship in 11 years before a 6-0 Bi-District loss to Lockhart. The Tigers shut out their opponents in 6 of the 8 regular season games as the opposition averaged only 2.5 ppg.
The crucial game that decided the 1935 District championship was the 7-0 victory over Cameron. The only touchdown of the game was scored by Sherrod in a memorable play he described in his 1975 book, Blackie Sherrod: Scattershooting. After the Tigers had marched down the field running the ball and reached the five yard line late in the fourth quarter, Sherrod, incredibly, called a pass play requiring a back with a broken hand (Rayborn Vannoy) to throw him a pass “over the middle” that could have been easily intercepted. The play was successful and Belton won the game and the District championship----but Sherrod concedes to this day that it was a foolish call and could have easily made him the “goat” of the football season.
The next season the senior Sherrod quarterbacked the 1936 Tigers to a 7-1-1 record (the tied game was with Cameron, the District champion) and second place in the district. Sherrod and two other Belton backs (Richard Vannoy and Bill Mulhollan) made All-District as the Belton offense dominated District play scoring 171 points to 19 for opponents. Sherrod’s “biggest game” was the 48-0 District victory over Thrall in which he scored four touchdowns in the first half.
Sherrod attended Baylor University for one year (1937-38) before transferring to Howard Payne where he played one season (1938) of college football as a wingback but, by his own admission, he “wasn’t big nor gifted enough” to continue playing. During that one year of college football he was nicknamed “Blackie” by an assistant coach and the name “stuck.” Sherrod graduated from Howard Payne in May of 1941 with B.A. in English.
Forrest Sherrod joined the U.S. Navy shortly after the beginning of World War II and spent most of the war as a “torpedo plane gunner in the Pacific,” flying 22 missions and winning three medals. After the war, Blackie Sherrod worked first as a sportswriter with the Temple Telegram in 1946 and then for 10 years (1947-1957) with the Ft. Worth Press and 26 years (1958-1984) with the Dallas Times Herald (where he was sports editor and columnist). For the past seven years he has been a columnist with the Dallas Morning News.
By 2001 Blackie Sherrod had been a sportswriter for almost 54 years and had received every award in the field. He was named Texas Sortswriter of the Year 17 times; National Headliners Club National Sportswriter of the Year; Red Smith National Sportswriter of the Year; and is a member of the National Sportswriter Hall of Fame. He was awarded an honorary Ph.D. by Howard Payne University in 1997 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in the early 1970's. Sherrod has co-authored books with Darrell Royal and Freddie Steinmark and has published collections of his article/columns in Blackie Sherrod: Scattershooting (1975) and The Blackie Sherrod Collection (1988).
In 2001 Blackie Sherrod lives
in Dallas with his wife, Joyce. He has two grown stepchildren,
Rebecca Pearce of San Antonio and Kimberly Wilson of Dallas.
A plaque honoring Sherrod will be included on the planned Wall of Honor
at Belton High School. All “A Tiger to Remember” articles
are on the internet at:
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (3/28/2001)
In 1974 Belton Senior Robert Dominguez, though “undersized” at 5'11" and 175 lbs., was named All-State and All-Centex on both offense and defense and was named Class AAA Player of the Year in Central Texas by the Austin American-Statesman. He was named by the Texas Sports Writers Association to its first team Class AAA All-State team as a linebacker and to the second team as an offensive guard and to the second team defense on the Super All-State (regardless of class) team. Belton Center/kicker Ted Williams, 6'2" and 228 lbs., was also selected to the first team all-state team on offense marking the second time in school history that two Tigers had made the first team all-state team (Junior David Bartek and Senior Charlie Griggs were first team All-State in 1969). Dominguez was a first team Class 3-A All-Centex and Super-Centex selection on both offense and defense by the Austin American-Statesman and was named the Class 3-A Player of the Year. He was one of three Tigers selected to the District 12-AAA North Zone All-Zone first team on both offense and defense and he and Jay Warrick were voted “Defensive Tiger.”
Robert was a starter on offense and defense for three years at Belton High School and played on three District championship teams. The 9-3 Tigers won district but lost in bi-district in his sophomore year. Belton was 12-1 in his junior year (when he was also All-Zone and All-Centex on offense and defense and made the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram’s all-state team) and lost in the state quarterfinals. In his senior year the 10-1-2 Tigers won district and again lost in the quarterfinals. The Dominguez/Warrick-led Tiger defense allowed opponents only 2.8 points per game (with 8 shutouts) in 1974 and 3.7 points per game (with 7 shutouts) in 1974.
At the annual football banquet Coach J.A. Williams declared that because Robert was a two-way starter for three years on Tiger teams that played 38 games, he “probably played more varsity football for Belton than any other player in school history.” Robert and the other 18 seniors on the 1974 team had a record of 31-5-2 and lost only two regular season games in their three years on the varsity. Robert was also a 3-year starter in left field for the Tiger baseball team and played in the school band.
Sports writers often commented on the “undersized” Dominguez who played offensive guard and linebacker “like a 200 pounder.” One reporter commenting on a 29-0 Tiger victory over Gatesville said that “Belton’s mixmaster defense, a gang of redhatted assassins led by linebacker Robert Dominguez, blitzed, branded and hogtied the Hornets. Like a loco bull, Dominguez punished everybody in a Gatesville uniform, assaulting ball-carriers behind the line, intercepting a pass and blocking a punt.” Robert had 126 tackles in 13 games in 1974 and in 2001 (28 years later) still held the school record of 21 solo tackles in a game.
Robert won a football scholarship to Texas Lutheran (larger schools thought he was too small to play Division I) and played on the freshman team for the 1975 season before returning to Belton to complete his education at Mary Hardin-Baylor with a degree in business management in 1980. He worked at the First Texas Bank in Belton from 1980-82 and at a bank in Gainesville from 1982-89 before returning to Belton in 1990. Since 1992 Robert has owned and operated his own construction company in Belton.
Robert Dominguez is the son of Robert and Rosie Dominguez and grew up in Belton with two brothers and three sisters. He attended Southwest Elementary, Belton Jr. High School, and graduated from Belton High School (in the top 10% of his class) in 1975. In 1982 Robert married Jane Pirtle, his high school sweetheart since their sophomore year. Jane and Robert have three boys, Adam, 15, Bret, 13, and Cole, 10. Adam is a quarterback on the ninth grade football team, Bret is a tight end on the seventh grade team and Cole is hoping to play when he is older. The proud grandparents are Joe and Mary Nell Pirtle and Rosie Dominguez of Belton. The planned Wall of Honor at Belton High School will unveil a plaque honoring Robert Dominguez in October of 2001. All “A Tiger to Remember” articles are on the internet at: www.drbillywilbanks.com
A TIGER TEAM TO REMEMBER
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks ( 3/22/2001)
The 1985 girls’ golf team at Belton High School won the Texas State 4-A golf championship becoming the first Tiger female athletes to win a state (individual or team) championship in any sport. On May 10, 1985, the five-woman Tiger golf team of Senior Susan Teas, Junior Amy Smith, Sophomores Shelley Roberts and Pam Bockhold and Freshman Kelly Klaus beat runner-up Sulphur Springs by 18 strokes with a winning total of 742 strokes (373 on Thursday and 369 on Friday) at the Morris Williams Golf Course in Austin. Teas was the top Tiger individual scorer with an 82-86=168 and finished 4th in the individual competition.
The Lady Tigers won a second state 4-A championship in 1988 (with Klaus, Shelley Yarnell, Jean Hamrick, CeCe Fisher and Stephanie Guillen) marking the first time Belton High School had won two state championships in the same sport. Kelly Klaus became the only Tiger athlete—man or woman—to play on two state championship teams (as a freshman in 1985 and as a senior in 1988). Klaus and the Lady Tigers came close to winning a third state title as the 1987 team finished second and was in first place until the last 9 holes but lost by seven strokes.
The 1985 & 1988 state championships were during the 1981-1989 tenure of Belton golf coach Ken Taylor whose girls’ teams also finished third in the state twice (1983 & 1984) and second in 1987 (seven strokes behind winner) and 1989 (two strokes behind). Taylor’s boys’ teams won the regional twice and finished third in the state in 1983 and sixth in 1985. Teas, Roberts, and Bockhold had Belton’s three best scores at the 1984 state tournament when the Lady Tigers were third in the state.
The Tigers won all the tournaments they entered in 1985 as they were first at the Austin, Belton, Bryan, Lampasas, San Saba, Brenham, and Waco tournaments (which included several 5-A teams) before District. The Lady Tigers won the District golf meet by default as no other school had an entry. Susan Teas was medalist with a 89-91=180, Kelly Klaus was second with a 89-98=187; Pam Bockhold was third with a 97-94=191; and Amy Smith was fourth with a 90-104=194. The Belton “B” team won second in the District and consisted of Sophomores Karen Teas, Julie Heartfield and Peggy Groves and Freshman CeCe Fisher and Sally Haugh. The depth of the Lady Tigers was also evident at the Belton Invitational as the team split into two (equal) teams and won first and second in the competition. At the Region 1-4A tournament at the Brownwood Country Club Belton tied Andrews in regulation play for the championship but won in a playoff to capture the regional title and advance to the state tournament.
All five women still play golf (Klaus played on the Tarleton State golf team with 1988 Belton teammates Fisher, Guiillen and Yarnell). In 2001 Pam Bockhold Harrison lives in Belton with her husband, Brian Harrison, and 10-week old daughter, Abby Nicole. Pam graduated from Belton H.S. in 1987 and is also a graduate of Texas A&M and the University of Houston College of Optometry. Pam and her husband operate Excel Eye Care in Belton. Amy Jo Smith Cunningham lives in Austin with her husband, Rob, and children, Finn, 3, and Barton, 5 months. She graduated from Belton H.S. in 1986 and also received degrees from Texas Christian University and (M.A.) The University of Cincinnati. Amy teaches Geology at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Kelly Klaus Morrison lives in Belton with her husband, John Morrison, and son, Matthew, 3. She graduated from Belton H.S. in 1988 and from Tarleton State University in 1993. She works part-time as a pharmacy technician at Britt Drug in Belton. Susan Teas Blaisdell graduated from Belton H.S. in 1985 and lives in Waco with her husband, Greg, and children, Emily, 11, and Caroline, 5. Shelley Roberts Cheatham graduated from Belton H.S. in 1987 and lives in Salado with her husband, Jeff, and two children, Barton, 6, and Bethany, 4. Coach Ken Taylor and his wife Sharon, and their children, Anna, 17, and Scott, 15, live in Denver City where Ken and Sharon are counselors with the Denver City schools.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (3/15/2001)
Roy E. Holcomb is Belton High School’s greatest forgotten sports hero! In 1909 in an era when all high schools in the state (regardless of size) participated in the same “class,” the Tigers won the state track championship by scoring 53 points (winning first in 7 of 13 events) to 28 for second place San Antonio, 20 points for third place Austin, and 16 points for fourth place Dallas. Holcomb scored 25 points (almost as many as the second place team) by himself with four firsts, two seconds, and two thirds and broke four state records. In 2004 he still held state record with 62 points (by the 2004 point scale) for the most points scored at the state track meet. Yet this remarkable athletic performance by Holcomb and the team was forgotten by Belton by the 1950's as the school declared that the 1958 Tiger basketball team had won the first state championship in school history.
Senior Roy Holcomb, 19, won first place in four events: the 100-yard dash at 10.8; the 220-yard dash at 23.4; the 440-yard dash at 56.4; and the 12-pound hammer throw at 111'. He was second in the 50-yard dash and ran on Belton’s second place 880-yard relay team; and was third in the 12-pound shotput and in the 120-yard low hurdles for a total of 25 points. He broke state records in four events (the 100-yard and 220-yard dashes, hammer throw and the 880-relay) and the Belton team “broke eight of thirteen State high school records” in the state high school track meet on Fri-Sat. and in the Monday duel meet with “academy champion” Allen Academy (which Belton lost 58-55).
Roy Holcomb’s athletic talent was not limited to track and field as the 1909 high school yearbook indicated that he also lettered in football, baseball and basketball. Holcomb was a catcher and outstanding hitter on the 1909 baseball team and a “speedy halfback” on the 1908 Tiger football team who was described as “easily the star high school football player of Central Texas” (the team played only 3 games).
Roy Holcomb lettered in track, football, and baseball at the University of Texas from 1909-1912. The 1912 Cactus reported that Holcomb (as a junior) won third place in the 220-yd dash, second in the 440-yd dash, and ran on the winning mile relay team (3:26.4) at the “Intercollegiate Meet” against A&M, Baylor, Southwestern, Daniel Baker, and Austin College. He also led the sophomores to the championship of the UT “Class Track Meet” in 1911 by winning the 100-yd dash (10.3), the 220-yd dash (22.4), and the 440-yd dash (54.4) and won the 100-yd dash and 220-yd dash as a freshman at the same meet in 1910. Also, he had the fourth highest batting average (.250) on the1911 UT baseball team which was 14-12-1.
Roy dropped out of UT after his junior year and joined the U.S. Army serving two years during World War I. He then taught school at “a little red schoolhouse” in Bell County for a short time before moving to San Antonio to coach at the Peacock Academy. He later worked for the Pacific Railroad in Bay City and managed car dealerships in San Benito and Brownsville before moving to Austin where he was a real estate broker until his retirement. Roy Holcomb died in 1969 at the age of 80 and is buried at Austin Memorial Park. In 2001 he was survived by his two daughters, Elizabeth Eberhard, 79, and Patsy Ann Acevedo, 69, of Austin; three grandchildren, Elizabeth Ann Acevedo of Austin, Susan Marie Savely of AK, and Jorge Michael Acevedo of Clovis CA; and three great grandchildren (the family knew little of Roy’s feats until contacted by this author).
Roy E. Holcomb was born on Oct. 15, 1889, in Belton to John A. and Emma Holcomb. He was the oldest of four children (Roy, Ernest, Eunice and J.C.) and grew up in “Midway.” His mother and father both died in Bell County by 1941, the four children moved away, and Belton forgot Roy Holcomb. However by 2002 the new Tiger Wall of Honor will include a plaque describing the heroic feats of Roy Holcomb, Belton’s greatest forgotten (no more) sports hero!
by Dr. Billy Wilbanks (3/7/2001)
The modern era of boys’ basketball at Belton H.S. began with the 1954-55 season when the Tigers opened the new gym with a new coach, Mack Birtchet, who brought in a new “run and gun” offense that emphasized the fast break. The 1955 team, led by 5'11" senior guard Fred Tulloch and 6'6" junior center Ken Ward, was 2nd in the District at 8-2 but “started something” as the Tigers then began a winning string of four district championships in five years (1956-1960) and played high scoring and exciting games that began attracting hundreds of fans (who had to arrive early to get a seat) who flocked to the games to see the team win and for the “event” which included the school band playing, (scantily-clad) majorettes twirling, and cheerleaders yelling.
Fred Tulloch “set the standard” for the flashy, long-distance-shooting guards who were so prominent in Belton’s “golden era of basketball” (1955-1970). Fred literally “grew into” his role as Belton’s “little guard” as he was a starter as a sophomore (at 5'5") and as a junior (at 5'8") on teams which were led by Earl Wayne Miller and Penny Vann. As a senior Fred averaged around 20 points per game (then the highest ppg average in Belton history) and was 1st team all-district; All-tournament at the Temple Tournament; and honorable mention all-state. Fred was from an “old-time” Belton family as his great, great grandfather, Magnus Tulloch, was a charter member (1860) of the First Presbyterian Church in Belton and four generations of his family have owned Tulloch Plumbing in Belton (since 1892).
Fred Tulloch was my idol as a 7th-9th grader and I patterned my game after him and chose to wear his number (44). In those days there were no basketball idols on TV and thus one’s heroes were local. My goal from the 7th grade on was “to be like Fred” and I worked long and hard in daily solitary practice sessions to accomplish that goal. My success with the 1958 state championship team was watched closely by several younger boys who, in turn, worked long and hard to become Belton’s next “little guard” and each one “fed off” the prior boys in a “string” of successive role models and thus Belton produced Dennis Watson and Willie Garner (1960), Bill Ward and Chuck Fath (1961), Bill Barge (1963), Larry Stewart (1965), Bob Sewell (1966), Tommy Grant (1967), Jay Taggart (1968), and John Messer (1970). I have been gratified to learn (at the basketball reunion on Feb. 9) that I served as one of the role models for these boys but I regret that the boys in the “string” knew little or nothing of Fred Tulloch---the boy who started the little guard tradition at Belton. The feats of Fred Tulloch are all the more remarkable in that Fred had no “flashy little guard idol” to emulate—he created the “type” that the rest of us tried to become in the new “run and gun” offense!
Fred’s career did not end after his senior season as he went on to play one year for Wharton Jr. College (ranked #6 in the nation in 1956) and Temple Jr College in 1957 (where he was named the outstanding player). Fred was also a 3-year starter in baseball as a shortstop and was co-captain of the 1955 Tiger team that was District Co-champion. As a freshman in 1952 he was runner-up in jr. boys singles in tennis and played on the football B-team.
Fred Tulloch received a B.A. degree in geology and business from Baylor in 1959 and went on to earn a Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1962. In 1978 he received a Dr. of Ministry degree from SMU and in 1985 a Ph.D. in Adult Education from Texas A&M-Commerce. He has served Presbyterian churches in Hot Springs AR, Dickinson and Dallas (18 years) and is currently in private practice in marriage and family therapy in Waxahachie.
Fred married Marianne Brevard of Temple and the couple has two daughters, Melanie Luna, of Grand Prairie, and Valerie Tulloch, of Arlington, and three grandchildren, Trey, Brandon, and Christopher Luna of Grand Prairie. Fred brought his two youngest grandsons to the Belton basketball reunion on Feb. 9 as he wanted them to see the tradition of BHS basketball. Perhaps this article will tell them what Fred did not tell them--that, in a real sense, their grandfather started much of that tradition. In my very personal view, Fred Tulloch will always be “The” Tiger to Remember! I hope his grandchildren realize that they will find no better sports or life role model to emulate than “Grandpa Fred”!
Bob Sewell became the smallest Tiger to make All-State in basketball when the 5'9" Sr guard made the 3-A All-State team in 1966. Since Bob graduated no Belton boy (in 35 years) has started on two District Championship teams in his last two seasons. He was also the District medalist in golf for two years.
Bob was the only sophomore on the 1964 Tiger basketball team (Belton’s first year in 3-A) that was 9-18 (3-9) under Coach Jack Worthington (who replaced the legendary Coach Mac Birtchet after the 1963 season) and was the 6th leading scorer on the team as an alternate starter. In Bob’s junior season the 1965 Tigers (12-16, 5-3) finished the regular season in a 3-way tie for the championship of District 13-3A and won a playoff over Gatesville and Lampasas for the title. The Tigers under Coach Jerry Blankenship were defeated 88-60 in Bi-District by (eventual) state 3-A champion San Marcos which had won District for 13 of the previous 14 years and defeated West Orange by 28 points and Waxahachie by 24 in the state tournament). Sewell was the 2nd leading scorer (behind Larry Stewart’s 13 ppg) as he averaged 11 ppg as a junior. He and Stewart were named 1st team All-District.
In Bob’s senior season the 1966 Tigers, who defeated the 4-A Temple Wildcats three times in pre-district play, were 19-9 (8-0) and won the North Zone Championship of District 13-3A. The Tigers were defeated 75-53 in Bi-District by the “towering” San Antonio Sam Houston Cherokees who finished the year at 27-4 after losing in the regional. Bob, a lefty known for his “long distance” shooting (in an era before the 3-point shot), was the leading scorer for the 1966 Tigers at 16.8 ppg on the year (with a high of 29 points) but averaged 18 ppg in pre-district games before opponents began double-teaming him forcing him to become more of a playmaker than scorer (leading to his 13.9 ppg during District). Bob was named to the 3rd team 3-A All-state team at the end of the 1966 season.
Bob Sewell was also an outstanding golfer and won medalist honors (i.e., 1st place) at the District meet and 4th in the region (just missing a trip to state) as a junior with a 36-hole score of 69-79=148. As a senior he again won 1st place in District (with a 27-hole score of 110) and again went to the regional tournament. He won several local high school and Jaycee golf tournaments as a youth.
Bob Sewell was an outstanding student at Belton H.S. and was named “Mr. Personality” and President of his Senior Class. He graduated from the University of Texas in 1970 with a degree in finance and worked as a national bank examiner from 1972-1974. He moved to Belton in 1974 and was a VP at Peoples National Bank from 1974-1979. As a board member of the Belton Chamber of Commerce he helped organize the 1976 Fourth of July (Bi-Centennial) celebration. In 1979 Bob founded the Equitable Bank in Dallas, serving as president and later as chairman of the bank before selling it to Compass Banks in 1996. Bob stayed on with Compass Bank for 4 years starting the SBA Lending Division (which became the 7th largest SBA program in the nation by 2000).
Bob Sewell is the son of Dr. Harvey and Charlene Sewell who moved to Belton from Wills Point in 1939 to open (with his brother, Dr. Julian Sewell) the Sewell Clinic which served Belton as the Sewell-Long Clinic until the mid-1980's. His mother, Charlene, operated the Salado Galleries in the 1960's and 1970's.
Bob Sewell married Luann Johnson
of Houston in 1973 and the couple has two daughters Stacy Sewell, 22, of
Dallas (who played on the UT golf team for four years) and Shelby Sewell,
19, of the U. of Mississippi. In 2001 Bob and Luann split
their time between Dallas and Marble Falls where the family owned the Ford,
Lincoln Mercury Dealership. Bob’s sister, Anne, is married to Clay
Johnson, George W. Bush’s roommate at Andover and Yale, who is currently
the Assistant to the President of the United States. (he was formerly Deputy
Chief of Staff for Gov. Bush). His older sister, Betty, lives in
Dallas and is in the antique business.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (2/23/2001)
Most Beltonians know Tim Brown in 2001 as a Bell County Commissioner but he was also a great athlete at Belton H.S. from 1967-1970 as he was the 3-A state champion in the discus as a Senior; an all-district basketball player as a junior and senior; and an all-district (and Super-Centex) end in football as a junior.
Sophomore Timmy Brown and freshman David Bartek led the Tiger B-Team to a 9-1 football season in 1967. As a junior the 209lb Brown was a tight end/tackle on the 1968 Tiger team which was 9-2 on the year; won the District Championship of 13-AAA; and lost 21-19 to Refugio in Bi-District. Tim was named to the 1st team All-District team and to the Temple Daily Telegram’s Super-Centex team (which also included his brother, Sr. Back Tommy Brown of Salado). Tim broke his arm during his senior season and missed seven games and thus made no all-star teams in his last season. However, the 6'4" 220lb Senior end did heal from his injury in time to help lead 10-2-1 Belton to its best playoff record in school history as the Tigers went all the way to the 3-A state semi-finals before losing 10-6 to West Columbia.
Timmy Brown was a 6' 4" postman in basketball and made 2nd team all-district in both his junior and senior seasons. He averaged 12 ppg as a junior on a team that was 15-12 (10-4) on the year and finished third in the District. Senior Tim Brown (13.3 ppg) and 5'9" Senior John Messer (15.4 ppg. & MVP of District) led Belton to a three-way tie for the District 13-AAA Championship in 1970 as the team finished the season 23-9 (11-3). Brown was noted as a tough inside player, a tenacious rebounder (he had more than 20 rebounds in one game several times) and occasional high scorer (with highs of 31 points as a junior and 36 as a senior).
Track was Timmy’s best sport and he improved markedly in the discus in each of his three years at Belton H.S. He finished 6th in the District as a sophomore and won the District as a junior with a district record toss of 164'10" before going on to finish 3rd in the Region at 151'5". As a Senior he won the district (174'11") and regional (178'0") discus titles with record breaking throws and his regional mark bested the old regional record by 16 feet. Brown and Jr. David Bartek (who broke the regional record in the shotput at 58'0") helped Belton to a 3rd place finish at the regional track meet. Brown had the 2nd best throw (183' 6") in the state (regardless of class) going into the state meet and won the 3-A discus title with a throw of 183' 10" (short of the state 3A record of 190'—but he broke the BHS school record set by the legendary Richard Inman by 23 feet). He was selected to the all-state track team by the Texas Sportswriters Association as one of four boys in the discus and was ranked among the top ten boys in the nation in the discus.
Timmy Brown is the son of Tom and MaryBelle Brown of Salado and grew up with an older brother, Tommy. Timmy transferred to Belton for the ninth grade while Tommy (a year older) remained in Salado and became a SuperCentex running back who gained over 6,000 yards during his high school career and later played football at Abilene Christian. Several Division I schools began recruiting Timmy for football after his junior year but “backed off” after his injury plagued senior season. However, he was recruited after his senior track season by such schools as Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, and USC. Timmy accepted the track scholarship from A&M. and threw the discus for three years for the Aggies.
Tim graduated from A&M in
1976 with a degree in Environmental Design and received an MS from A&M
in 1986 in land development. Since graduating from college
Tim has been self-employed as a designer/builder. He moved back to
Bell County in 1987 and was elected to the Commissioner’s Court in 1994.
Commissioner Brown spearheaded the construction of the Bell County Courts
Annex and the renovation of the Bell County Courthouse. He is currently
president of North America’s Superhighway Coalition and of the Central
Texas Council of Governments. Tim and his wife, Lana, live in Salado in
2001. One of their (grown) children, Roger Smith, also lives in Salado
while the other, Alexis Smith, lives in Lewisville. Tim Brown will
have a plaque on Belton H.S.’s Wall of Honor when completed in 2002.
The leaders of the 1969 Tiger basketball team are now leaders of the community
as Tim Brown is a County Commissioner and John Messer is chairman of the
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (2/16/2001)
Billy Carlock is the only Belton H.S. basketball player to make all-state in the past 34 years (since 1967). Billy, a 6'5" Senior Center, was a 2nd team 4-A All-State selection in 1988 and still holds the Belton Tiger record for most points scored in a season with his 809 points in 1988. His scoring average of 23.8 in 1988 is second only to Tommy Grant’s 24.1 in 1967 and his 39 points against Houston North Shore ranks third all-time in school history to the 44 by Grant in 1967 and the 42 by Bill Barge in 1963. Billy was the MVP of District 9-4A as he averaged 23.8 ppg; 11.8 rebounds (he had a 34 inch vertical jump); 3.4 blocked shots; and shot 62% from the field. He was selected to the all-tournament team at all three tournaments (at Belton, Brownwood, and Georgetown) the team entered and was voted MVP and “Mr. Offense” for the Tigers at season’s end.
The 1988 Tiger basketball team, led by co-captains Billy Carlock and Greg Ratcliff, won 27 games (27-7, 11-4), the 4th highest season total in school history (after the 35 in 1960, 30 in 1938, and 29 in 1959) and tied Pflugerville for second place in District 9-4A. The Tigers beat the Panthers 67-57 to win the second-place playoff spot as Carlock scored 25 points and had 14 rebounds. The Tigers then lost 65-63 in the first round of the playoffs to Cleveland which had been in the playoffs for nine straight years and was the state 3-A champ in 1986. Carlock was double and triple-teamed the entire game and the young Tigers (Belton started two freshman and a sophomore) were not able to overcome the “team defense” against Carlock who did manage to score 20 points and hit his only five shots in the second half.
Billy also played first base and pitched for the Tiger baseball team as a Senior but his season ended before district play began when he broke his ankle. Coach David Tidwell believed Carlock had great potential as a pitcher as he had shown great form in pre-district games.
Billy Carlock moved to Belton in 1986 from Pittsburg TX where he had averaged 18 ppg as a sophomore. Due to the death and illness of his parents, Billy and his 13 siblings lived with various relatives until Billy was taken in and eventually legally adopted by the Hibbs family (Jim & Judy and their children, Cavin, Keith and Cindy) which operated a barbeque restaurant in Pittsburg. Billy moved with the Hibbs family to Belton before his junior year but (at the urging of Pittsburg) was declared ineligible by the U.I.L. which suspected he was “recruited” by Belton noting that Billy was black and his “family” in Belton was white. Billy, barred from playing on the Tiger varsity team in 1987, averaged 25.2 and 14.5 rebounds for the junior varsity.
Several Division I schools (including Texas Tech) recruited Billy after his senior season but he chose to attend McClennan County Community College in Waco. MCC was 17-15 in his first year (1989) and was beaten in the first round of the NJCAA Region V tournament by Odessa College led by National Jr. College Player-of-the-Year Larry Johnson (later of the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks). As a sophomore in 1990, Billy was the leading scorer (17.8 ppg) and rebounder (8.7) on the 25-9 MCC team that again lost in the NJCAA tournament to Odessa. Carlock, who scored 42 points in the victory over Weatherford that clinched the Northern Texas Jr. College Athletic championship, was named to the All-Tournament Team of Region V.
Billy Carlock played one semester at Concordia Lutheran in Austin before dropping out of school. He returned to Belton in 1990 and began an 11-year career with the Belton Independent School District. In 2001 Carlock was Grounds Supervisor of the BISD. Billy is still single and is still part of the Hibbs family in Belton. His father, Jim Hibbs, died in 2000 but his mother, Judy, is a supervisor at Wal-Mart. His three siblings also remain in the Belton area.. Billy Carlock was one of seven Tiger All-state players at the Belton basketball reunion on Feb. 9, 2001. His name will appear on the planned Wall of Honor at Belton H.S. in 2002.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (2/8/2001)
Mack Birtchet was the most successful
coach in Tiger history as he was 217-54 (an average of 24-6 per year) during
his 9-year tenure as head basketball coach from 1955-1963. Birtchet
won one state championship, two regional championships, appeared in the
state tournament twice, won 4 District Championships, and finished second
five times. He developed four all-state players (Billy Wilbanks,
Richard Inman, Dale West, and Bill Ward) and three of those appeared in
the TX H.S. Coaches All-star game (the fourth, Inman, was in the football
All-star game). He coached the “greatest ever” Belton Tiger
basketball team---the 1960 team that was 35-6 (see Journal, Jan. 4); the
1959 team that had an average 50-point victory margin in 8 District games
& the 1958 state championship team.
After H.S. graduation in 1942, the 17-year-old Birtchet, part of what Tom Brokaw called “The Greatest Generation,” joined the U.S. Navy where he served in the Atlantic on “Liberty Ships” ferrying supplies to (then ally) Russia and in the Pacific at landings like Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During one stint in Boston in 1943 he won the 175 lb division boxing championship of the Pacific fleet. Upon discharge from the Navy in 1946 Birtchet enrolled at Southwestern University under the G.I.Bill where he played basketball and ran track (a 50 flat in the 440-yd dash) in the spring of 1947. He then transferred to Sam Houston State Teachers College (now SHSU) where he played on the 1948 basketball team (the co-champs of the Lone Star Conference) and was team captain in 1949 & 1950.
After graduating from SHSU in 1950 Birtchet coached for four years (1951-54) at Class B Tarkington Prairie H.S. where he won District each year only to lose in the regional to Dallardsville’s Big Sandy H.S. (made up of Alabama-Coushatta Indians) which was runner-up to State B Champion Cayuga in 1951, 1953, and 1954 and State Champs in 1952. Looking for a team where he would not have to face the “Indians” each year in the playoffs, Birtchet moved on to Belton in 1954 where he won the District Championship in 5 of his 9 seasons from 1955-1963 and went to the state tournament twice, winning the State AA Championship in 1958. He was the Tiger B-Team football coach from 1954-1962 and the head football coach in 1964 & 1965.
Birtchet retired from coaching in 1966 and became an administrator in the Belton schools for 3 years before his retirement in 1969. For the past 32 years Birtchet has remained busy “running” cattle and sheep on his ranch south of Belton. He and his wife, Frances, a school-teacher in the Belton schools for over 30 years, have five grown daughters, Katy, Cindy, Mary, Molly, and Amy, and 10 grandchildren (2 boys and 8 girls) who live near Belton.
The most lasting legacy of Mack Birtchet is not in games or championships won but in the indelible impression he left on scores of young men who played football and basketball at Belton H.S. from 1954-65. Many of “Birtchet’s boys” will tell you today that the man who had the greatest positive influence on their adolescent lives was Coach Mack Birtchet as he was able to instill in “his boys” a sense of self-confidence, self-discipline and “mental toughness”—traits that were responsible for their successes in high school athletics and in later life.
On Feb. 9 Coach Mack Birtchet, now 76, will be present at the Belton H.S. Basketball Reunion and will be photographed with a score of his “boys”—now in their 50's and 60's—who will tell innumerable “Birtchet stories” to anyone who will listen about the coach they feared, admired and worked so hard to please. Does anyone ever associated with Belton High School have such a legacy? I doubt it! Mack Birtchet is truly a “Tiger to Remember.”
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (2/01/2001)
Who was Belton H.S.’s all-time leading scorer in basketball. Most Beltonians would guess all-staters Richard Inman (1959-60), or Bill Ward (1961) or Billy Carlock (1988) who all played on outstanding Tiger teams. But the answer is Tommy Grant, a 6'1" Sr guard, who averaged 24.1 points per game on the 1967 Tiger team that was only 11-13 (6-2) on the year and was 2nd in the N. Zone of District. Tommy broke the all-time Belton scoring record for one game with his 44 points (15 field goals and 14 free throws) in a 74-56 victory over Temple in the 3rd place game of the Temple Tournament in 1967. During that tournament he scored 113 points (44, 38 & 31) in 3 tournament games for a 37.7 average.
Grant was averaging over 30 ppg in the early season but finished the season at 24.1 after opponents began double- and triple- teaming him since he was the only serious scoring threat on the Tiger team (the 2nd leading scorer was Terry Hood at 8 ppg). For example, Temple used the “box and one” defense tactic against Grant and Belton in a return game and held him to 18 points during a 51-48 victory. Grant scored 30 or more points 6 times during the season and saved his best games for the toughest opponents (i.e., he scored 44 against Temple, 38 against Waco Richfield, 36 against District champ Rockdale, and 36 against Clear Creek which won 3rd in the state in 1967).
Tommy Grant made the Texas Sportswriters’ 3rd team AAA all-state in 1967 and might have made 1st team if he had played on a stronger team. Tommy was also an excellent rebounder (7 per game) for a guard and was an good defender. His 38 points against Waco Richfield impressed the Richfield coach so much that he recruited Grant to be a part of his newly created team at McClennan County Community College the next season. However, Tommy dropped out during his first year in Waco and ended his basketball career.
Tommy’s success as a scoring phenom did not come easy or early. He was only 5'4" in the ninth grade but practiced long and hard to improve his scoring ability. Coach Jerry Blankenship noted that Tommy was an example of “excellence thru dedication” as he saw the 9th grader practicing alone on an outdoor court at an elementary school every day, even on cold, rainy days. Tommy made the Tiger JV team as a soph and was a part-time starter as a Jr. By his Sr year he had become (again after long solitary practice sessions) a “scoring machine” known as “Two-point Tommy” (the chant of the fans at home games). He shot 44.5% from the field during the season though he usually shot from “long range” (there was no 3-pt goal in 1967) and shot 87.4% from the free throw line.
Tommy also possessed an unusual skill—he was ambidextrous. As a Little League baseball player he would alternate pitching left-handed and right-handed and was a left-handed pitcher on the Tiger baseball team as a Sr in 1967 though he was predominantly a right-handed shooter in basketball. Grant’s defenders in basketball were constantly amazed at his ability to handle the ball and shoot equally well with either hand. Given the ambidextrous scoring ability of Grant, I would suggest a more appropriate nickname, “Two-Gun” Tommy Grant.
Records come and go and it is unusual for a record to last 5 or 10 years—but Tommy Grant’s 44 points in 1967 is still a Belton H.S. school record in 2004 after 37 years though Ramonce Taylor tied the mark with 44 in 2004. Grant’s 113 points and 37.7 average in the Temple Tournament is also still a record. And his 24.1 ppg in 1967 is still the Tiger school record and broke the 22.6 ppg record of Richard Inman in 1959. The closest anyone has come to Grant’s record was the 23.8 ppg of Carlock in 1988.
Tommy Grant, 51, still lives in Temple and is retired from a career with NationWay Freight. He and his wife, Becky, have two children, Gennifer, 26, and Guy, 22. Many older Belton sports fans have forgotten (or never knew of) the feats of Tommy Grant while younger fans have probably never heard of him or his records. Perhaps this article will remedy that injustice and ensure that “Two-Gun” Tommy Grant is not forgotten as he is truly a “Tiger to Remember” and an example of “excellence thru dedication.” In 2002 his photo/plaque will be on the (planned) “Wall of Honor” at Belton High School.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (1/18/2000)
Who was Belton H.S.’s greatest athlete ever? I would argue that no Tiger athlete can come close to the feats of Richard Inman in1957-1960 and that he, above all others, is “the” Tiger to Remember and the greatest Tiger athlete of the 20th century. Richard was all-state in three sports as both a junior and senior and was a high school all-american in two sports as a sr.
As a 6'0" 185lb soph Inman was all-district at end in football, won district in the shotput (49'-6" ), and was the second leading scorer (15 ppg), honorable mention All-Centex & 1st team all-state tournament for the Tiger basketball team which won the state AA championship in 1958. As a jr. Inman was a 1st team all-state end on the Tiger football team which was 6-2-3 and lost to Brady in Bi-District. He was 1st team all-state in basketball as he averaged 22.6 ppg on the Tiger team which was 28-4 and lost to Buna in overtime in the regional. He was also the state runner-up in the shotput (55' 5") as a jr. Richard was a catcher on the Tiger baseball team, hit over .300 as a jr, and was considered a pro baseball prospect.
As a sr. the 6' 0" 195 lb. Inman was again 1st team all-state in basketball though he was only the 3rd leading scorer (12.6 ppg) for the talent-laden and well-balanced 1960 Tigers (35-6) who lost to Dimmitt and Clear Creek at the state tournament despite Inman’s 17 point average in the two games. Belton upset perennial state champ Buna in the regional giving Buna its only loss in 29 regional and state tournament games between 1955-1963. He was named again to the AA all-state tournament team. Many consider the 1960 basketball team (35-6) the greatest in the history of Belton H.S. (see the Journal, Jan. 4, 2001). Of the five starters in 1960, Inman (1st team) and Dale West (2nd team) made AA all-state in 1960; Bill Ward was 1st team AAA all-state in 1961 while Neal Chaney was honorable mention; and Dennis Watson was on the Waco Times-Herald’s SuperCentex 2nd team as a jr and was the Tiger’s 2nd leading scorer (behind West) in 1960.
As a sr. Inman was again a 1st team AA all-state end on the 10-1 Tiger football team that lost to Brady in Bi-District for the 3rd straight year. He was also named to the Super-All State (top 11 boys in TX regardless of size of school) and All-American teams (he was one of only 6 TX players on one H.S. All-American team) as a sr. and played in the Texas H.S. Coaches All-Star game and the Texas-Oklahoma H.S. all-star game. He was one of the top football recruits in the state of TX before signing with the U. of Oklahoma where he was named the outstanding freshman on the Sooner freshman team in 1960. Unfortunately, a knee injury ended Richard’s football career after his sophomore year.
Inman’s most lasting legacy was in track as in 1960 as a sr. he became the first Texas boy to throw the shotput over 60 feet and won the state AA shotput championship with a throw of 62'8" (breaking a 10-year old state record by almost 3 feet) and the discus championship (160' 1") leading the Waco Times-Herald to assert that Inman “reached the heights of such schoolboy greats as Charles Parker, J. Frank Daugherty and Eddie O. Southern” (legendary TX H.S. track stars of the 1940's and 1950's). Richard went on to win the national H.S. shotput championship at the Golden West Invitational Track Meet in California with a toss of 62'11". While at Oklahoma Richard won the Big Eight shotput and discus championships as a soph and sr (he was injured as a jr) with bests of 61'11" in the (heavier) college shot and 188' in the discus.
Richard Inman received a pharmacy degree from Oklahoma in 1965 and returned to Belton where he owned and operated Inman Pharmacy in Belton for several years. He served as a voluntary weight coach for the Tiger track team in the late 1960's and early 1970's and helped develop two state champions (Tim Brown and Kelly Brooks) and one state runner-up (David Bartek). He also served on the Belton school board in the late 1970's and the early 1980's. Richard married fellow 1960 B.H.S graduate Jane Sandlin and the couple had three children (Wade, Kerri, and Bert). Both of his sons were pitchers for the U. of Oklahoma and Bert played minor league baseball in the Yankee organization. In 2001 Richard and Jane Inman lived in Salado.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (1/11/2001)
In 1982-83 Brett Stafford became the second (Richard Inman was the first in 1959-60) Belton Tiger to make all-state in three sports as he was an all-state quarterback for the 10-2 bi-district champion 1982 Tiger football team, won 1st place in the intermediate hurdles at the state 4-A track meet in 1982, and was all-state in baseball in 1983. He went on to start at QB for the U. of Texas for three years and held 14 school records when he graduated in 1988.
Brett’s father, Dick Stafford, was an assistant coach at Temple H.S. for 11 years before becoming head coach at Belton High School in 1982. Brett attended Temple schools thru his jr. year in football and then transferred to Belton at mid-term. He was the back-up QB for the Temple Wildcats in his freshman year when Temple won the state 4-A championship and was an all-district & all Cen-Tex QB in his soph and jr. years on the 1980 & 1981 Temple teams that lost in the regional and had a combined record of 21-3 over 2 years.
The1982 Belton Tigers, coached by Dick Stafford and with QB/DB Brett Stafford, were 9-1 in the regular season (losing only to Cameron 12-6) and won District 12-4A with a 7-0 record. The Tigers then beat Houston King 35-8 in Bi-District before losing to perennial 4-A power Bay City 6-0 in the regional game. Bay City went on to the state finals and lost to state champion Willow Ridge.
Brett was 1st team 4-A all-state; passed for 1,440 yards and rushed for 904 yards for a total of 2,344 total yards; was a Parade H.S. All-American QB; was considered one of 3 “blue-chip” QB’s in the state; and played in the TX H.S. Coaches All-Star game where he was a starting DB (he was all-district as a safety).
Brett had an immediate impact at Belton H.S. in 1982 after he enrolled at mid-term of his jr. season as he helped the Tigers win the district and regional track meets that May by winning the intermediate hurdles (an event he had run only 5 times by the District Meet) and running on the winning mile relay team. The Tiger track team tied for 3rd at the state track meet as Stafford won 1st (state champion) in the intermediate hurdles in 37.5 (the 5th best time in the nation) and ran a 48.3 opening leg on the Tiger mile relay team that placed 4th at 3:17.71 (a school record). Brett was named to the Parade H.S. All-American track team after his jr. son. He was on schedule to run a 36.6 in the hurdles at the 1983 state track meet in his sr season when he hit the final hurdle and fell to 6th. He ran a 48.5 anchor leg on the Tiger mile relay team that finished 5th at state.
Stafford was a center-fielder on the Tiger baseball teams of 1982 and 1983 and was named to the All-District and All-State teams in his sr season. His hitting skill (he hit over .400) and base running speed attracted pro scouts who offered him a sizable bonus to turn pro and forego college football.
Brett, a 6-1, 190 lb. QB, was a 3-year starter for the U. of Texas from 1985-1987 and held 14 school records after his sr season (e.g., for most yards passing, total yards). He was 2nd team all-SWC in 1987 and was voted the SWC offensive player of the week after UT’s 16-14 victory over Arkansas. By 2001 Brett’s 14 school records had been reduced to one---he still holds the UT record for most starts (34) at quarterback in a career. NFL scouts considered Stafford a pro prospect as a DB but he was not drafted after he indicated no interest in pro football.
Today Brett Stafford lives in
Temple where he has owned and operated Best-Way Carpets on Airport Rd.
for 11 years. He and his wife, Gail, have two boys, 3 & ½
and 4 & ½. He enjoys bow hunting (a sport he learned from
Arthur Potts while at Belton H.S.) and bass fishing (he is a part-time
professional earning top money at pro events and has been featured twice
on ESPN bass fishing shows).
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (1/4/2001)
Which Tiger basketball team was the school’s best team ever? You might be surprised to learn that the answer is not the 1958 team that won the state AA championship but the 1960 team that went 35-6 and lost in the state AA semi-finals. The 1958 team was 25-8 but had a losing record (7-8) before district play began and had “good timing” in that Buna, which won the state championship in 7 of 9 years, was upset in 1958 in Bi-District by Cypress-Fairbanks on a last second shot---the Tigers then won the “Buna-less region.”
The year before (1957) Buna won the the state AA championship with the Stanley twins (Pat & Don) devastating the competition (e.g., beating Rockdale—which won Belton’s district---by over 40 points in the regional) and is considered by some as the greatest team in the history of the state tournament. The only other year Buna did not win the state championship between 1955 and 1963 was in 1960 when Belton upset the perennial defending champs 43-41 in the regional (Buna’s only loss in 17 regional games from 1954-1963) only to lose at the state tournament to Dimmitt and Clear Creek.
The 1960 Belton team, which was led by 6 seniors who played on the 1958 championship team as sophomores, was almost identical to the 1959 Tiger team (only Sr Bernard Bartek graduated in 1959) which lost to 1959 state champion Buna 63-60 in overtime in the region—this was the narrowest (and only overtime) victory by Buna in regional (16-1) and state tournament games (14-0) from 1955-1963—their average margin of victory in 16 state tournament games from 1955-1963 was 16 points. During a two year span the Tigers were 29-4 (the 4 losses were by a total of only 7 points) in 1959 and 35-6 in 1960 and suffered only three losses in two years to teams that were AA or below (to Buna in the 1959 region & to Dimmitt and Clear Creek in the 1960 state tournament).
The 1960 team beat all AA and AAA teams it faced during the season and its only losses before the state tournament were to four 4-A teams (there was no 5-A in 1960). The Tigers “devastated” the opposition in District by going undefeated and beating opponents by 30-40 points per game and then beat 13-AAA champ San Marcos 84-48 in a warmup game before the bi-district game. Belton then got revenge from Brady for a 66-8 bi-district football defeat by beating Brady 102-50 in the bi-district basketball game. After defeating Buna 43-41 and Humble 56-42 in the region the Tigers lost to Dimmitt led by all-state Hal Ratcliff and Junior Coffey (later of the U. of Washington and the NY Giants) 65-62 in the semi-finals and Clear Creek 61-59 led by all-state Bennie Lenox (who was later an all SWC player at A&M) in the consolation game. Linden-Kildaire, 31-0, led by 6'6" soph John Beasley (who later was an All-American at A&M and played for the Dallas Mavericks), won the title with a 52-44 victory over Dimmitt.
The 1960 Tigers had three starting
players who (eventually) made all-state and a 4th who made honorable mention.
Richard Inman, a 6'0" Sr forward, made all-state tournament as a soph and
sr and was 1st team all-state as a jr and sr; 6'5" Sr center Dale West
was honorable mention all-state as a jr and 2nd team all-state a sr &
played in the TX H.S. Coaches All-Star game; 6'5" Jr guard
Bill Ward was 1st team all-state in 1961 as a sr and played in the TX
H.S. Coaches All-Star game; and 6'5" Jr forward Neal Chaney was honorable
mention all-state as a sr in 1961. The 5th starter was 6'2"
guard Dennis Watson, the team’s second leading scorer who was 2nd team
SuperCentex and 1st team AA All-Area as a jr and who later played at Howard
Payne. West later played at the U. of Texas, Ward was captain of
the 1964 SMU team, and Chaney played at Oklahoma (where Inman played football).
In addition, top subs 6'1" Jr Chuck Fath and 5'10" Sr Willie Garner were
later the leading scorers for Temple Jr. College (Garner in 1962 and Fath
in 1963) and Fath later played at North Texas State.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (12/21/2000)
Ed Franklin is remembered by many Belton H.S. exes as a kind and caring teacher at Belton H.S. for almost 40 years until his retirement in 1976. But Belton should also know and remember the Ed Franklin who was an athlete and coach who gave his all to establish the sporting tradition that still exists at B.H.S. Ed Franklin is a Tiger we all should remember!
Ed Franklin was born in 1906 in N. Bell County and was a football, basketball, and baseball star at Belton H.S. from1923-26. He and his older brother, Clarence, were the starting guards on the Tiger basketball teams of 1923 & 1924 and Ed was the right end on Belton’s 1922-24 football teams which beat arch rival Temple for the 2nd and 3rd times (1923 & 1924) in history. His 1924 Tiger football team was the first team to win District and lost to Waco in the playoffs.
Ed then played football, basketball and baseball at Southwestern University in Georgetown from 1926-1929 where he was 2nd team all-Texas Conference as a jr and 1st team all-conference as a sr end in football. The 1929 Southwestern team had four Belton boys in the starting lineup (Franklin at end, Martin Safley and Bob Safley at guard, and George Smith at fullback).
Ed returned to Belton as a coach for the 1930-31 school year (at an annual salary of $1,300) and coached the first night football game in the state’s history (Sept. 19, 1930, against Waco High). He moved on to coach at Georgetown from 1931-1934 but returned to Belton and coached for 12 more years (1934-1946) before retiring in 1946 to pursue a business career in Belton. During most of Ed’s 13 years as a football, basketball, and baseball coach he shared the coaching duties with Bob Safley, his high school teammate and college roommate and teammate. Safley and Franklin were often listed as co-head coaches at Belton and coached two of Belton’s eight undefeated (in regular season) teams, the 1935 team which lost to Lockhart 6-0 in Bi-District and the 1937 team which lost to 33-7 to San Saba in Bi-District. Charles “Steak” Miller, a guard coached by Franklin and Safley, was selected to the Waco Times Herald’s Class B all-state team in 1937 becoming the first Tiger to make all-state.
During Ed’s coaching years at Belton (the depression and war years) money was so scarce that the baseball season was canceled for several years for lack of money and the coaches had to repair old football uniforms and equipment, find rides to and from games and to and from practice for players, and work long hours at no extra pay. Bobby Carlisle and Arthur Potts recall that Belton was to have no basketball team in 1944 before Ed Franklin agreed to their plea to coach the team if they would provide their own shoes and balls. That 1944 team went on to win the District tournament. Coach Ed was always described by his players as mild mannered and supportive—an extension of his personality.
In 1950 Ed returned to teaching at Belton H.S. where he taught until his retirement in 1976. Ed Franklin was the Distributive Education “sponsor” for almost 25 years and taught a generation of Belton H.S. students about the world of work. It appears from records available that Ed Franklin had the longest tenure (13 years=1930-31, 1934-1946) of any coach in the history of Belton H.S and his association with B.H.S. as a student/athlete, coach, and teacher stretched over a period of 54 years (1922-1976).
In his retirement years Ed spent much time working as a deacon and elder for the Presbyterian Church, playing bridge, hunting and fishing, and playing golf where he “shot his age” (79) in 1985. Ed Franklin married his high school sweetheart, Burney Lois Vick, in 1931 and the two were married for 59 years until his death in 1991 (Lois died in 1996). They are survived by their son, Ed Franklin, Jr., 62, who resides in Temple and is retired from a counseling position at Scott & White Hospital.
TWO TIGERS TO REMEMBER
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (12/14/2000)
Oren Buckellew, 90, and Joe Barnes, 87, are the two oldest living recipients of the Rylander Cup which was awarded from 1915 to 1960 to the most outstanding athlete at Belton High School. Buckellew won the cup in 1929 after playing four sports for the Tigers in 1927-28 and 1928-29 and Joe Barnes won the cup in 1932 after playing on the Tiger teams of 1928-29, 1929-30, 1930-31 & 1931-32. Buckellew and Barnes will be the only representatives from Tiger teams of the 1920's to attend the Feb. 9 Belton High School Basketball Reunion which will bring together both men and women who played basketball for the Tigers from the 1920's thru the 1990's.
Buckellew was born (1910) and raised in Belfalls where he attended grades 1-9 before “boarding” in Belton for his jr. and sr. years. The 140 lb. Buckellew was a guard on the 1927 Tiger football team that was 7-3 on the year losing the Class B championship of District 9 to Itasca, 13-7, in the last game of the year and on the 1928 team which was 3-5. He was also a sprinter (100 yd. and 220 yd. dashes) on the track team, a 5'11" guard on the basketball team, and a pitcher on the baseball team. Baseball was his best sport and he was the top pitcher on the 1928 and 1929 Tiger teams and on the Texas A&M freshman team of 1930.
Because of the Depression, Oren left A&M after his freshman year to return home to Belfalls to help with the family farm. He married in 1934 and he his wife Ruth had a daughter, Bonnie, and a son, Oren Buckellew Jr., who was a pitcher for Temple H.S. and the U. of Texas in the 1950's. He has 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. In 1934 Oren entered the Civil Service as an agricultural aide for the Soil Conservation Service in Temple, served in the U.S. Army during World War II as an inspector for the Chief of Engineers in Washington D.C. and as a property officer in Memphis, and in the Personnel Office at Ft. Hood from 1946-1974 (he was Chief Personnel Officer from 1966-1974). His combined military and civil service career spanned 40 years. Since his retirement in 1974 Buckellew has kept busy building replicas (“miniatures”) of historic buildings which are displayed at the Belton courthouse and at the Bell County Museum and the Railroad and Pioneer Museum in Temple.
Joe Barnes was born (1913) and raised in Belton. When Joe won the Rylander Cup (for the most outstanding athlete at Belton H.S.) in 1932 he was carrying on a family tradition as his older brothers, Orin and T.F., were stars on the Tiger teams of the 1920's and Orin won the cup in 1927. Joe was on the Tiger football teams of 1928-1931 and, as a 140 lb. QB, was captain in his sr. year. He was also a 5-10" G on the 1932 basketball team, played on the 1929 and 1930 baseball teams (he was offered a contract by the Houston Buffaloes in 1936), and was on the 1932 track team (winning the 120 yd high hurdles & mile relay at the County Track Meet).
Joe played football and basketball for four years at Southwestern University and was captain of the Pirate football team in his sr. year as a 170 lb. back. He was voted 1st team all-conference and the most outstanding player of the Texas Conference in football for the 1935 season even though he played on a losing team. He was honorable mention Little All-American in football and honorable mention all-conference in basketball in his sr. year of 1935-1936. Joe Barnes is in the Southwestern U. Athletic Hall of Fame and a plaque describing his feats is permanently displayed at the Athletic Dept.
Joe Barnes joined the U.S. Navy in 1942. He served first in the Navy’s athletic/exercise program before being assigned to the Navy’s Armed Guard for the merchant ships (e.g., tankers) in the Pacific and Atlantic. After the war he returned to his career of coaching and teaching (he been a coach/teacher at Little River-Academy, Hearne and San Augustine before the war) and served as a principal and superintendent in Georgetown (1947-1963), Aransas Pass, Lockhart, and Belton (1969-1977). His final job in a 35-year teaching career was in 1977 as principal of the Belton Middle School. Joe and his wife of 63 years, Lilla, live in Belton and have two grown daughters, Betty and Joelle, and a granddaughter, Amanda. Joe is still active at 87 and has won several medals in golf at the Texas State Senior Olympics held each Oct. in Temple.
Belton High School football teams have gone undefeated in the regular season eight times since 1907. The following is a review of the “Magnificent Eight.” Jay Warrick, current Head Coach, played on the only back-to-back undefeated teams in Tiger history.
1. 1935 Record of 8-0 in regular season–Coached by Bob Safley & Ed Franklin, the Tigers won the District championship in Conf. B & lost 6-0 to Lockhart in the Bi-District game. The Tigers gave up only 20 points in 8 games including 6 shutouts; led by B Rayborn Vannoy, E Richard Vannoy, B Forrest Sherrod and B Robert Smedley.
2. 1937 Record of 9-0 in regular season–Coached by Bob Safley & Ed Franklin, the Tigers won the District Championship in Conf. B & lost to San Saba 33-7 in Bi-District. The Tigers gave up only 6 points in nine regular season games (averaging 36.3 points to opponents’ 0.6); Led by E Jamie Wilson, G Ray Mulhollan, and All-State G “Steak” Miller.
3. 1957 Record of 10-0 in regular season–Coached by John Hugh Smith, the Tigers won District 20-AA and lost 7-6 to Brady in the Bi-District. The Tigers averaged 24 points to opponents’ 5.5 including 5 shutouts. The team was led by QB Jarrell Hayes, G Charlie Williams, G Bernard Bartek, RB Roy Northen and E James Brantley
4. 1959 Record of 10-0 in regular season–Coached by John Hugh Smith, the Tigers won District 19-AA and lost to Brady 66-8 in Bi-District. The Tigers were ranked 3rd in the state at the end of the regular season and averaged 39.4 points to opponents’ 7.7. The team was led by All-State and All-American E Richard Inman, T Calvin Hayes and HB Lynn Hargrove.
5. 1961 Record of 9-0-1 in regular season–Coached by Cedric Bettis, the Tigers were co-champs of District 9-AAA but lost right to playoffs to Cleburne after both teams tied at 0-0 with Cleburne winning on penetrations. The Tigers were led by All-State B Richard Stark, T Ken Gilliam, and RB Melvin Blair.
6. 1973 Record of 10-0 in regular season–Coached by J.A. Williams, the Tigers won the North Zone of District 12-AAA averaging 31.0 to 2.1 for their opponents. Belton beat Houston Aldine-Carver 5-2 in the Bi-District and then lost 15-10 to Henderson in the state QF. The Tigers were led by C Ted Williams, LB Robert Dominguez, & LB Jay Warrick.
7. 1974 Record of 8-0-2 in regular season—Coached by J.A. Williams, the Tigers tied Cleburne and Taylor during the season but won N Zone of Dist 12-3A; beat Taylor 21-14 in Zone Playoff; beat Navasota 17-0 in Bi-D; and lost to Jacksonville 15-7 in QF. The Tigers were led by QB Roy Steger, RB Bryan Sweeney, RB Lee Russell, and LB Jay Warrick.
8. 1978 Record of 10-0 in regular season–Coached by Hugh Sullivan, the Tigers won District 12-AAA and lost 20-0 to Brownwood (the #1 team in the state) in Bi-District. Belton averaged to opponents’ 4.3 per game. The Tigers were led by RB Ricky Sanders, E Dan Ritz and G Roy Thomas.
And yet only two of the above eight undefeated teams (the 1973 & 1974 Tigers) got beyond the bi-district game and thus the recent record accomplishment of the 1998-2000 Belton Tigers winning the Bi-District for three straight years is a remarkable achievement. Coach Jay Warrick in only three years has become the all-time Belton leader in playoff games (7) and playoff victories (4) and is the only coach in Belton history to have a winning record (4-3) in the playoffs. Below is a summary of the 10 Tiger teams since 1907 that---regardless of the regular season record---went beyond bi-district in the state playoffs.
1. 1924—6-3-2 on year defeating Caldwell 7-0 in Bi-District
and lost to Waco 26-0 in 2nd round
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (11/30/2000)
Jarrell Hayes grew up in Belton and, like many young boys, he had a lot of dreams. He dreamed of being on a state championship team; of leading his team to a national championship; and of marrying the Homecoming Queen. But for Jarrell all three of those dreams came true before his 21th birthday. He was a 6'2" Sr. forward on the 1958 Tiger basketball team that won the state AA championship and, as a 19-yr-old soph QB at Texas A & I, led his team to the NAIA national championship by throwing three touchdown passes in a 20-7 victory over Lenior Rhyne of NC . In 1959 he married his high school sweetheart, Peggy Ann Carpenter, who had been the 1957 Tiger Homecoming Queen.
Jarrell was an All-District quarterback on both the 1956 Tiger football team that was 9-1 and lost to Brady, 24-7, in Bi-District, and the 1957 Tiger team that was 10-0 and lost to Brady, 7-6, in Bi-District (Brady went on to the state finals in 1957, losing to Stamford). He was a back-up forward on the Tiger basketball team that won state in 1958 but was on the floor (All-tournament soph Richard Inman had fouled out) grabbing key rebounds during the memorable comeback in the double-overtime final game against New London when the Tigers came back from 8 points down with 2 & ½ minutes left in the game. Jarrell threw the discus for the Tiger track team and played catcher on the Tiger baseball team and, not surprisingly, was voted most athletic boy of his senior class.
Jarrell Hayes was the starting quarterback for Texas A & I for three years. The Javelinas won the Lone Star Conference championship in 1959 & 1960 and the NAIA national championship in 1959. In the championship game, a 20-7 victory over Lenoir Rhyne, Hayes threw three touchdown passes (32, 77 and 57 yards). Jarrell was on the 1960 and 1961 All-LSC squads and his younger brother, Calvin Hayes, a 235 lb. tackle, and his fellow 1958 BHS grad, 185 lb. guard Charlie Williams, also played with him at Texas A & I. Jarrell and Charlie were voted the most outstanding senior back and lineman in their senior year at BHS. Charlie also graduated from A&I in 1962 and became an attorney. He died of a heart attack in 1990 at the age of 50.
Hayes was later inducted into the Texas A & I Athletic Hall of Fame (a plaque honoring Hayes is still displayed at the Athletic Dept.). He graduated in 1962 with a BBA in Business Administration and began his business career after turning down several offers by pro football teams (e.g., the Houston Oilers of the AFL) to attend their training camps.
The successes of Jarrell Hayes did not end with his famed college football career. He moved to Houston and became a “Texas oilman,” heading several companies involved in the marketing and manufacturing of pipeline machinery. Until his retirement in 2000 he traveled extensively throughout the world for his multi-national oil company (LOR, Inc.) that manufactured oil tool equipment serving the oil and gas drilling industry worldwide. Jarrell, now 61, and Peggy Hayes now live in a lakefront home in Livingston Texas and still visit Belton where several relatives live and where three generations of his family are buried. Jarrell Hayes is truly “A Tiger to Remember” and proof that the dreams of young Belton boys can come true!
Pictured above are Charlie Williams (62) and Jarrell Hayes
(16) in their Texas A&I uniforms
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (11/23/2000)
Ricky Sanders, a 1980 Belton H.S. graduate, is a “Tiger to Remember.” He was a star receiver for the Washington Redskins from 1986 to 1993 and remains 5th in career receptions (414) and yards (5,854) for the Redskins. He caught 9 passes for 193 yards (a SuperBowl record) and two touchdowns (one for 80 yards equaling a SuperBowl record and the other for 50 yards) in Washington’s 42-10 SuperBowl XXII victory over Denver on Jan 31, 1988.
Perhaps a review of Ricky’s record while at Belton High School will help Beltonians remember “who he was” (in high school) as well as “who he became.” During the 1977 football season, soph Sanders was all-district as a defensive back (leading the team with six interceptions) and was the place kicker on the Tiger team that went 9-1 in the regular season and lost to Marlin 34-0 in bi-district. In the 1978. season, the jr. Sanders was an all-district running back, defensive back, punter and place-kicker on the undefeated 10-0 Tigers who lost in bi-district to Brownwood (the #1 ranked AAA team in TX) 20-0. Sanders “played hurt” (at running back, quarterback and defensive back) his entire senior season of 1979 for the 7-3 Tiger team and thus was not heavily recruited.
In Ricky’s senior year (1980), he led Belton to the District 14-AAA track championship by winning four events: the 110-meter hurdles in 14.03; the 300-meter hurdles in 39.71; the pole vault at 13'9", and ran on winning 400-meter relay at 42.77) and placing second in the broad jump (21'10"). He then led Belton to its first regional track title by winning the110-meter hurdles in 14.9 and the pole vault in 14'9" and finishing second in the long jump and 300-meter hurdles (13.9). In the state meet Sanders finished 4th in the 110-meter hurdles (14.08) and pole vault (14.7) and was 6th in the 300-meter hurdles (38.94).
Sanders was one of Belton’s leading scorers in basketball for three years (averaging 14 ppg as a soph) on teams that struggled to finish around 500. He was a three-year starter on the Tiger baseball teams of 1978-80 and one of the leading hitters.
Ricky Sanders went on to Southwest Texas State where he was two-time all Lone Star Conference running back on the Bobcat teams of 1981-83. After college he played briefly in the U.S.F.L. before joining the Washington Redskins in 1986.
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (11/16/2000)
Many Beltonians remember the 1958 Belton Tiger basketball team that won the State AA championship but few remember the feats of the 1938 team that made the “final eight” at the state tournament in an era when small schools like Belton competed against the largest city schools. Whereas Belton finished 1st among the 178 AA teams in Texas in 1958, the 1938 team made the final eight from more than 1,500 teams in the state that included large and small schools. The 1938 state tournament field included Dallas Woodrow Wilson, Houston John Reagan, El Paso Bowie, Kingsville, Abilene, Carey , Bailey, and Belton (thus three small schools made the “final eight”). In fact, small schools Cushing (1936) and Carey (1937) actually won the state championship during this era in a fashion similar to the movie, “Hoosiers,” about a small Indiana town winning the state championship over larger schools.
The 1938 Tiger squad, coached by Bob Safley, was 30-4 entering the state tournament and was beaten 43-24 in the first round by 30-0 Dallas Woodrow Wilson which went on to defeat Houston Reagan 29-28 in the semifinals and Abilene H.S. 41-27 in the final. Belton’s Jamie Wilson, a 6'2" forward, who scored 15 points in the final, made the All-Tournament team along with two players from Woodrow Wilson (two more Woodrow Wilson players made the 2nd team). Wilson had earlier won “all tournament” honors in the Central Texas Invitational and the District and Regional tournaments. In 1938 there was no (pre-state tournament) statewide “all-state” team and thus Wilson made the only all-state team that was chosen.
The members of the 1938 Belton Tiger basketball team are shown in the two photographs. In the photo of the starting five taken at old Hubbard gym in Belton (torn down in 1953) the players are: Jamie Wilson (38), Ray Stringer (33), Doyle McQueen (32), Joe Furnace (30), and Nick Furnace (36). The complete team photo includes (from left to right), Coach Bob Safley, Jamie Wilson, Ray Stringer (33), Robert Moss (37), Nick Furnace (3?), Joe Furnace (30), Carl Mulhollan (34), Doyle McQueen (32), sweetheart Eula Bea Howell, and Ray Mulhollan (36). All were seniors except Jr. Nick Furnace.
The team was known for its tenacious defense and for the rebounding and scoring of Wilson who averaged around 15 points a game though the team seldom scored 40 points (he scored 16 of Belton’s 24 points in the state tournament game against Woodrow Wilson). The team was not “deep” and the starting five played almost all of every game. In fact, in wins over Temple and Waco in the Central Texas Invitational in Jan., Wilson, Stringer and Joe Furnace scored all of the teams points (29 against Temple and 30 against Waco).
Belton began the year with no high expectations but surprised the experts by winning the 14-team First Annual Central Texas Invitational Tournament in Temple on Jan. 22 with victories over Mart, Hillsboro, Temple and Waco. Belton played the regular season as part of the newly formed Central Texas League that included Temple, Georgetown, Rosebud and Cameron and finished second in the league (to Temple) but league play “had no bearing on the state race.” Belton’s four losses during the year--to Temple, Waco and Rosebud (twice)---came early in the season before the team “hit its stride.”
I n 1938 at the end of the regular
season all schools participated in a county (or city) tournament, then
in one of 32 “district” tournaments, and a “regional” (4 district winners)
with the winner making the “final eight” in the state tournament in Austin.
The Tigers beat Cyclone 36-4, the “county rural champion,” in the Bell
County tournament and, then in the District 23 tournament (8 county champions
plus Temple H.S. and Austin H.S) at Georgetown, defeated Austin H.S. (the
3rd victory over Austin in 1938), Lampasas 34-25, and Georgetown
Jamie Wilson later played football (end) and basketball at Texas A&M for two years before being drafted by the U.S. Army in World War II. Ray Mulhollan played football (a 215 lb. guard) for four years for the Aggies including the national championship year of 1939, the 1940 Sugar Bowl and the 1941 and 1942 Cotton Bowls. Several other team members also served in the armed forces during World War II including Joe Furnace who was killed in combat in Italy.
Jamie Wilson, 80, of Sanger CA, who lived in Belton until 1960 and ran Wilson Brother’s Red and White grocery store, provided the team photographs. Ray Mulhollan, later a Postmaster and School Board member in Belton, and his wife, Cora, of Belton and Wilson were interviewed for this article while the “game information” was taken from old copies (on microfilm) of the Temple Telegram and Belton Journal. The Rylander Cup, given to Belton’s outstanding athlete each year, was awarded to Jamie Wilson in 1938 and Ray Mulhollan in 1939. Ray’s brother, Bill Mulhollan, won the Cup in 1937 and Cora’s brother, Edwin Muehlhause, won it in 1943.
The 1938 team photos will be
part of the Sports Team Display Project at Belton H.S. which will display
photos of Tiger (football, basketball, baseball, track, etc.) teams from
1900-2000 down a hallway at the school. If you have any old photos
or yearbooks with photos for the “early years” of Belton H.S. that you
would allow to be copied, please contact Linda Smith (254-939-5894) or
Billy Wilbanks (254-913-1213).
Photo: The starting five for
the 1938 Belton H.S. basketball team (30-5) that made the “final eight”
at the state tournament. Pictured at old Hubbard gym are: Jamie Wilson
(38), Ray Stringer (33), Doyle McQueen (32), Joe Furnace (30) and Nick
Photo: The 1938 Belton H.S. basketball team (30-5) that won the county, district and regional tournaments and made the “final eight” at the state tournament are pictured (from left to right), Coach Bob Safley, Jamie Wilson, Ray Stringer (33), Robert Moss (37), Nick Furnace, Joe Furnace (30), Carl Mulhollan (34), Doyle McQueen (32), sweetheart Eula Bea Howell, and Ray Mulhollan (36).
By Dr. Billy Wilbanks (6/15/2000)
For years Beltonians have believed that the 1958 Belton H.S. basketball team was the first Tiger team to win a state championship. However, I have recently “discovered” that the 1909 Tiger track team won the state track meet at Clark Field at the U. of Texas on May 7-8, 1909. I found records at the University Interscholastic League indicating that “Holcombe of Belton”held the first state record in the 220 yd dash and that “O’Connor of Belton” held the first state record in the 880 yd dash.
I then returned to Belton and found articles in local newspapers for 1909 indicating that Roy Holcombe and Arthur O’Connor were the two boys referred to in state records and that the Tiger team had actually won the team competition at the state track meet. I learned that Arthur O’Connor was a lawyer for many years in Belton and that his daughter, Dr. Patricia O’Connor, still lived in Belton. Patricia told me that she not only had a photo of her father but that she had a complete 1909 B.H.S. yearbook that included a photo of the entire track team and the “story” of the winning of state track meet.
The annual (called the “Bronco” ) indicated that a six-man BHS track team led by Coach Hamilton won 1st place in the team competition at the 1909 state meet with a total of 108 points of a possible 230 points. The Tigers competed against schools of all sizes including schools from Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. The Belton team had qualified for the state meet by winning the Central Texas championship with a total of 42 points over Temple (31), Waco (15), McGregor (6) and Corsicana (0). At that qualifying meet Holombe “broke two high school records–--the 100 yard dash and the 220 yd dash, making the 100 yard dash in 10.2 and the 220 in 22 seconds flat.” Pope “broke a record” in the 880 yard run (2:16.8) and the mile relay team of Pope, Shine, Dougherty and Holcomb “won by a wide margin.”
According to the yearbook, at
the state meet in Austin Belton “broke eight of thirteen State high school
The star of the 1909 state track meet was obviously Tiger Senior Roy E. Holcomb who won five “gold medals”----i.e., 1st place in the hammer throw, 100 yd dash, 220 yd dash, & 440 yd dash & ran on the winning 880 yd relay team (all but the 440 yd dash were state records). He also finished second in the 50 yd dash and third in the shotput and the 120 yd hurdles. Senior Arthur O’Connor won the 880 yd dash and ran on the winning 880 yd relay team. Senior Pat Daugherty won the discus throw and broad jump and finished second in the 100 yd dash and the 120 yd hurdles. Other known team members were Hudson, Pope, and Shine.
According to the Belton Journal-Reporter,
a rally was held in front of the courthouse to cheer the victorious state
championship track team upon its return to Belton. “Interesting speeches
were made, songs were sung, and school yells given. Quite a large
crowd of students and friends were present.” Unfortunately, after
a few years the achievement of the 1909 track team was forgotten and by
1958 (when Belton won the state championship in basketball) Beltonians
assumed this was the first championship in the history of the school.
Hopefully, this article will set the record straight and give recognition
to a small band of athletic heroes who comprised Belton H.S.’s first state
championship team and fulfill a prediction made in the 1909 BHS yearbook:
If there were a fan=s Hall of Fame in Belton Loyd Locklin would be the first inductee. Loyd passed away on April 15 at the age of 64 after a long fight with cancer. He will long be remembered by athletes and coaches at Belton H.S. as evidenced by the tribute paid to him before the Tuesday night Tiger baseball game against Bryan. Loyd=s cap and jacket were placed in his chair for the game and Coach Tidwell brought his family to home plate for a brief moment of silence before the anthem. Each Tiger who took the field in the player introductions held one finger high indicating that Loyd was Aup there@ watching from his new special seat.
Why such special recognition for someone who was Ajust a fan@? Loyd Locklin was more than Ajust a fan@Che was SuperFan and should have a place in the AHall of Fans.@ He moved to Belton from Sharp in 1959 and for 45 years attended almost every Belton football, basketball, baseball, and softball game and track meet. He went to home and away games to support Tiger teams whether they were 10-0 or 0-10. My best estimate is that he attended over 3,000 BHS games over the 45 years and that doesn=t count the numerous 7th and 8th grade games that he attended on Mondays and TuesdaysBTiger Aoff nights.@ He coached youth baseball for several years (his Lions won the state championship in the Texas Teenage League in 1984), and, like many parents, attended all the games involving his children, Ricky, Bradley, Michael & Lisa, and his brothers. But Loyd=s Afan interest@ did not begin or end with his children and family. He attended the state basketball tournament in Austin for 45 years and attended many UMHB and Temple College games. He wasn=t a great fan because he made a lot of noise or wore a silly costumeBhe was a great fan because he was always there! If you went to the Round Rock basketball tournament on a Friday morning you knew that among the 30 or so fans in attendance you would see a few player parents and Loyd. In recent years you could always spot Loyd in the stands sitting with friends like Bob Wilson, Carl Craft, and Don Lancaster.
Loyd continued to attend Ahis games@ for the past two years while fighting cancer and Afeeling low@ as he said this was what he enjoyed most and he didn=t want to just stay home and be sick and feel sorry for himself. His courage and devotion during this period inspired others. Coach Braeuer invited Loyd to speak to the Tiger basketball team. Loyd asked the team to Abeat Temple for me@ and when they did the players pointed to Loyd in the stands after the game saying AThis is for you!@ Matt Braeuer read a tribute to Loyd at the Sports Banquet and the team gave him an autographed basketball. A few days before his death, the UMHB softball team surprised him at home with a Abaloon tribute@ and a softball signed by every member of the team. Tiger coaches gave Loyd a red Acoaches jacket.@
Loyd took a personal interest in Belton kids and made it a point to know the names of the boys and girls he watched play. He often gave them words of encouragement such as Awork hard@ and Adon=t ever give up.@ Joe Pirtle remembers that Loyd never failed to ask him how his grandchildren outside Belton were doing in their games. When I returned to Belton in 2000 after being away for 40 years, Loyd introduced himself and others so I would feel at home at Belton games. I always looked forward to going to Tiger games and sitting with Loyd because he Aknew the game@ and the players and made you feel at home. And, though sick and in pain, he never complained as he just seemed to be happy to be alive and to be at the games he loved.
There were a number of young Tiger athletes at Loyd=s visitation and funeral on April 16-17. No one told them to be there. They just knew they should be thereCafter all, Loyd was always there for them. Life and Agames@ go on! Each year when our seniors graduate we wonder if the underclassmen will be able to replace the departing seniors. And inevitably they do. But Afandom@ is different. Loyd has graduated to another life and Belton won=t be able to replace himCthere will never be another Tiger fan like Loyd Locklin. Let=s just be grateful that he was here for 45 years to support BHS athletics. Thank you, Loyd----we will miss you!
Email: WilbanksWilliam@hotmail.com | Phone: 512-864-4756