Houston ISD Hall of Honor: Top Athletes Recognized

For many of us, the best thing about being a sports fan is witnessing spectacular feats of athletes.

The memories of those wonderful times are almost as satisfying.

In his acceptance speech at HISD’s Hall of Honor ceremony on Saturday, former University of Texas star pitcher Jim Gideon seemed to be heading in that direction with a story about when he first met his colleague. inducted Dave Elmendorf.

An All-American pitcher talking about a game against a rival high school and college All-American outfielder? Oh yeah.

Well, instead, Gideon took a detour to Memory Lane to relay an off-pitch memory that isn’t exactly bona fide.

Gideon, a Bellaire High School graduate who helped UT to the 1975 national championship with a 17-0 (1.80 ERA) record, said there was a chance that when he worked at a gas station near Westbury High, he met Elmendorf.

In humorous Longhorn-Aggie rivalry style, Gideon said Elmendorf would have pulled up in a maroon Texas A&M “loaner convertible.”

Score one for the burnt orange, but there were no losers in Saturday’s event at Delmar Stadium.

The second class of HISD winners was as impressive as the first.

As I said about last year’s inaugural class, we can debate who got kicked out or who should be next in, but we can’t discuss the elite who have already been chosen. .

“The Hall of Honor athletes are role models for our HISD students,” said HISD Superintendent Millard House. “The playground is a classroom that teaches valuable lessons. Our Wall of Honor inductees show that it is possible to succeed.

“(The winners are) proof of what happens when talent and hard work come together.”

The class of 2022 is made up of 12 individual athletes, a legendary baseball coach, one of the greatest basketball teams of all time, and a journalist who has spent his career chronicling sports. in high school.

Congratulations to the selection committee. When talking about HISD athletics, these names are almost certain to come up.

Ray Knoblauch, whose 25-year run at Bellaire baseball leadership included four state championships, and Bill McMurray, who covered high school sports for the Chronicle from 1960 to 1996 and literally wrote the history book. of Texas high school football, were the non-athletes among the selections. They were inducted posthumously. Knoblauch died in 2002, McMurray in 2019.

The class includes, Jackie Washington of Yates, arguably the greatest sprinter in HISD history, Eddie Owens of Wheatley, an early 1970s soft shooting superstar who would be a dominating scorer in any era, and Cynthia Potter de Lamar, a three-time Olympian and member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

A week after Worthing High School’s Cliff Branch received his long-awaited spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, two Colts were placed in the HISD room:

Mike Singletary, one of the greatest middle linebackers in football history, and Otis Taylor, who, 47 years after retiring, still leads all Kansas City Chiefs receivers in yards and touchdowns.

Gideon delivered the joke, but as with UT-A&M, the Aggies took the day with two winners, Elmendorf and Jacob Green.

Elmendorf, who was all-town in baseball and football at Westbury, was so good at both sports that he was an All-American at A&M in both. Although he was drafted in the first round by the Yankees, he opted to play safety in the NFL and started nine years for the Los Angeles Rams.

Green was a dominant defensive lineman at Kashmere, A&M and in the NFL with the Seahawks, who made him the 10th overall pick in the 1980 draft. Incredibly, he still holds the A&M record for sacks in a season with 20 in 1979, and he is one of 11 Aggies in the College Football Hall of Fame.

As far as memories go, Green’s classmates in Kashmere are at the top of my list.

The 1975 Rams basketball team was the second team placed in the hall of honor, following Yates’ 1985 state championship football team, which entered a year ago.

In 1975, Kashmere ended a two-year streak of dominance with back-to-back state crowns, a 78-game winning streak including an undefeated season, and a senior class of nine who all earned college scholarships.

With a pair of All-Americans — Karl Godine and Jarvis Williams — leading the way, the Rams were the No. 1 ranked team in the nation in multiple publications, but their games weren’t on YouTube. We had to listen to them on the radio.

My first visit to Delmar’s hot dog-shaped basketball court was to see Kashmere defeat the No. 1-ranked former Elk Grove (Ca.), which included 7-foot center Bill Cartwright.

I don’t remember anything from the game, but I remember dreaming of playing in this stadium one day because of the excitement surrounding this team. A high school team that in 1975 was as popular as the Rockets.

I finally did. I made a few shots, I missed a bunch of others.

Wrote a few stories from there which McMurray criticized. I sat down with Knoblauch as he tried to teach me what I didn’t know about baseball.

And I was on a special day there, where HISD’s best of the best were rewarded with their just due.

Another great keepsake for someone who is made by HISD.

Naomi C. Amerson