LISD announces Athletic Hall of Honor class for 2017

LISD announces Athletic Hall of Honor class for 2017
Erika Valek (Source: LISD Athletics)
Erika Valek (Source: LISD Athletics)
Fred White (Source: LISD Athletics)
Fred White (Source: LISD Athletics)
John Cardinal (Source: LISD Athletics)
John Cardinal (Source: LISD Athletics)
Steve Coleman (Source: LISD Athletics)
Steve Coleman (Source: LISD Athletics)

Provided by LISD Athletics

The LISD Athletic Hall of Honor has formally announced the seven Lubbock ISD athletic greats that will make up their seventh class. The 2017 class will be inducted during a ceremony in June.

The seven-member group is a mix of players and longtime supporters from various LISD sports. The induction will include former Monterey High School baseball player Steve Coleman, former MHS baseball and basketball player Clint Bryant, former Lubbock High School tennis player Jill Philbrick Gentry, former Estacado High School football player Fred White, former Coronado High School basketball player Erika Valek, former Dunbar High School football and track star James Ray Jackson, and longtime LISD athletics supporter John Cardinal.

It is quite an honorable list of people who were involved in Lubbock area high school athletics.

Steve Coleman

Steve Coleman has spent the majority of his life on a baseball field. He played pitcher, catcher and third basemen on Monterey High School's team from 1979-1981. During Coleman's three seasons, he became the all-time leader in Monterey baseball history with a batting average of .542, 21 doubles and a RBI of 60. In 1980, Coleman pitched a no-hitter during the season, and the team made it to All-District. In 1981, Coleman led Monterey to a state championship win over defending champion Pearland High School. Other high school accolades included being named Texas High School Player of the Year, All-City, All-District, All-South Plains and 1st Team All-State, as well as inclusion in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game.

Coleman received a baseball scholarship to the University of Oklahoma. He transferred to Lubbock Christian University in 1982. From 1983 to 1985, he became a standout third baseman and catcher under Coach Larry Hays. The Chaps won the 1983 NAIA World Series, and Coleman was named Honorable Mention All-American. He would later be inducted into the LCU Hall of Honor in 1986.

After graduating in 1986, Coleman became the assistant baseball coach at Coronado High School until 1990. From 1991 to 1993, he was the head baseball coach at Frenship High School, with an overall record of 70-30. The 1991 season the team made it to the Regional Semi-Finals, 1992 the Area Finals, and in 1993 they were the State Runner-Up.

In 1994, Coleman moved to Odessa where he was the head baseball coach for Odessa Permian High School until 1997. His team made the playoffs twice.

Since 1997, Coleman has been the head baseball coach at Hardin Simmons University. His overall record is currently 442-352. He is the all-time wins leader at Hardin Simmons, and in the American Southwest Conference. The Cowboys have gone to the ASC playoffs 14 times under Coleman, and won the ASC West Title in 2008 and 2011.

Jill Philbrick Gentry

Jill Philbrick Gentry grew up in a tennis family. Her father was the Texas Tech Tennis Coach for 26 seasons, and her sisters and brother all grew up competing in tennis tournaments. In junior high and high school, Gentry was the Amarillo Tri-State Singles Champion, won the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation State Singles Title in 1960 and 1961, and was the Cotton Bowl Champion in both singles and doubles.

During Gentry's sophomore year at Lubbock High School, she placed second at the 4A State Tournament. Her junior year she was the runner-up at the Regional Tournament. In 1963, her senior year, Gentry won the 4A State Tournament. She became the first State Champion in tennis from Lubbock ISD.

In 1962 and 1963, she was selected to play on the Texas Junior Wightman Cup Team, competing in Intersectional Team Matches in Germantown, Pennsylvania and the National Girls 18 Championships in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After high school, Gentry went to college at Texas Tech University. In the summer of 1964, she was selected to play on the United States Tennis Association Junior Wightman Cup Team as the representative from Texas. She competed in the Grass Court Circuit in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She qualified to play in the United States Lawn Tennis Association Championships at Forest Hill, New York.

Gentry went on to teach elementary school, retiring after 30 years of service. She currently lives in Austin with her husband, Adrian, where she continues to play tennis for fun and in USTA tennis leagues.

John Cardinal

John Cardinal has been a longtime supporter of Lubbock ISD athletics. He is the founder of Cardinal's Sport Center, and has always looked for ways to help the school district.

Cardinal is a 1943 graduate of Floydada High School. He joined the Navy and was deployed to the South Pacific during World War II as part of the first task force to enter Japan. Following his discharge from the Navy in 1946, he enrolled at West Texas State College (now West Texas A&M). He was offered a football scholarship after the WT Football Coach noticed Cardinal playing intramurals.

After college, Cardinal became the assistant football coach at Snyder High School from 1950-1951. From 1951-1952, he was the head football coach at Springlake-Earth High School. He went on to coach at Canadian High School, where he later was the principal from 1956-1959.

Cardinal moved from education, into business. He joined Buck's Sporting Goods in Amarillo in 1959, where he spent the next ten years as a salesman working with schools throughout West Texas.

In 1969, Cardinal purchased a sporting goods store in Lubbock that would become Cardinal's Sport Center. Cardinal's has had a business relationship with Lubbock ISD since 1969, and has continually supported the district through advertising and other fundraisers.

In 1986, Cardinal became an integral part of developing a group of companies, under the name Sports, Inc., into a billion-dollar corporation. He served as president of their athletic division for 6 years.

While developing his business, Cardinal still made time for student athletes and coaches. He made available the opportunity for local retired coaches to share coffee on Tuesday mornings. This led to charity work by the group, and Cardinal's "Turkey Project," which benefited many LISD families.

Indicative of his work, he was inducted into the Texas High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor in 2004. Cardinal was also awarded the Greg Sherwood Service Award by the ASCO West Texas Football Classic in 2014.

Cardinal married his late wife Kathleen Grady in 1948. They have three children and eight grandchildren. Two of their children and six of their grandchildren graduated from Monterey High school. The Cardinals were actively involved in LISD football, basketball, tennis and golf.

Fred White

When Estacado High School opened in 1967, Fred White was an incoming junior. He played middle linebacker on the 1968 3A State Championship Team. He was All-District, All-City, and became one of Estacado's first All-State athletes when named to the 3A All-State Team as a linebacker in 1968, along with teammate James Mosley.

White played in the middle of the defensive line. The coaches let him wear a blue helmet, while all the other players wore silver. To this day, people still call White by his nickname, "Blue."

During the 1968 season, several of the state's premier offensive players lined up against EHS, including two-time All-State Running Back Joe Wylie (Henderson High School), Eugene Lewis (Refugio High School), Tim Peden (Kermit High School), A.G. Perryman (Lubbock Dunbar High School), Aubrie McCain and Benjie Kemp (Sweetwater High School), and Jimmy Carmichael (Brownwood High School). Each of these reputable players were held to season lows in offensive performance, citing Fred White as the main reason. The entire defense was good, but White was the catalyst.

Coach Jimmie Keeling said this about White – "Fred was the best defensive player on any team I ever coached in 35 years of high school coaching. If Fred had come along a little later, he would have been one of the most recruited kids in Texas. Even one year later, that had all changed a lot."

White received an athletic scholarship to play football at Howard Payne University. He was a part of the 1971 team that won the Lone Star Conference Championship. That year's team also won the Cowboy Bowl in Oklahoma.

After college, White went to work for Xcel Energy. He has served as Chairman of the Deacons at Community Baptist Church, volunteered for the 19th of June Celebration, and served a term on the City of Lubbock Zoning Board. White has been married to his wife Lucy for over 40 years.

Erika Valek

Erika Valek has had an illustrious basketball career, which began at Coronado High School in 1997. As a point guard, Valek was named four-time All-Area, four-time All-District, and four-time All-Region. She was also named three-time 1st Team All-State selection.

Her many other high school accolades include being named to Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's West Texas All-Century Team, being ranked as the number one point guard in the nation by Women's Basketball News Service & All-Star Girls Report, ranked number four overall prospect by All-Star Girls Report, and number 23 in the nation by Blue Star. She was a NIKE/WBCA All-American, First Team Parade All-American and Second Team USA Today All-American.

After graduating high school, Valek continued on to play basketball at Purdue University. She finished the 2000-01 season ranked in the Top Ten in steals (3rd), assists (5th), and 3-point field goals (8th) on the school Freshman Leaders List. During the 2001-02 season she scored in all 30 games that she started, reaching double figures 7 times. In 2002-03 she was named to the 1st Team All Big Ten by the Coaches, and 2nd Team All Big Ten by the Media. Valek averaged 14 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game, and ranked second in the Big Ten in steals. She was a NCAA East Regional All-Tournament Team pick.

In 2003-04, her final season at Purdue, she won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the Best Women's College Basketball Player Under 5'8." Valek had started in all 131 games of her collegiate career, with 1219 total points scored. She was drafted into the WNBA in the second round by the Detroit Shock and traded to the Phoenix Mercury.

Valek began her overseas professional basketball career in 2004 with the Kastoria Basketball Club in Greece. She would go on to play for the Botas Basketball Club in Turkey, as well as clubs in Zamora, Spain, Solna, Sweden, and Uppsala, Sweden. During this time, she was also playing in numerous professional competitions. She finished out her career at the FIBA South American Championship for Women with Club Estancia, leading the team to the silver medal in Quito, Ecuador. Her final season was playing in the Colombian Women's Basketball Professional League for Club Pabor in Neiva, Colombia.

Clint Bryant

Clint Bryant was an outstanding baseball and basketball player at Monterey High School from 1989-1992.

During the 1990-91 basketball season, Bryant was the MVP of the Borger Tournament, and was named to the Fina All-State Scholar Athlete Team. The 1991-92 season he was named All-District, City Player of the Year, South Plains Player of the Year, All Region 1st Team and Academic All-State. Bryant is still the all-time career leader in steals at Monterey, and is the only player in the school's history to have 7 steals in two different games. He was voted MVP by his coaches and teammates his senior year.

On the 1992 MHS Baseball Team, Bryant was named All-City (Player of the Year), All-District, All South Plains, and All-State. He received a scholarship to play baseball at Texas Tech.

Bryant played baseball for the Red Raiders from 1993-1996. He is the most decorated All-American in Texas Tech Baseball history. He was the Southwestern Conference Freshman of the Year, named All-Southwest Conference in three of his four seasons, and SWC Player of the Year in 1995 and 1996, as well as SWC Male Athlete of the Year. He was named 1st Team All-American in 1995 and 1996 – the first Red Raider to ever earn 1st Team honors in back-to-back seasons. In 1995, he was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the college player of the year. Bryant continues to be near, or at the top of nine different career-leader offensive stats.

In the 1995 season, Texas Tech was the SWC Tournament Champion. They advanced to the postseason in each of Bryant's final two seasons, falling a win shy of the College World Series in 1995.

After college, Bryant was a 7th round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies. He was inducted into the Texas Tech Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006, and the SWC Hall of Fame in 2014. His baseball jersey, number 23, is retired at Texas Tech.

James Ray Jackson

James Ray Jackson was an athlete at Dunbar High School from 1959-1963, a standout in both football and track. He ran the 100-yard dash, was on the 440-yard relay team and the mile relay team. He competed at the state track meet all four years in one or more of these events.

The 1960-1961 DHS track team was the district champion, and state runner-up. The 1961-1962 track team was both district and state champions. Jackson competed in three 1st place events: 100-yard dash (record 9.7 seconds), 440-yard relay (record 42.6 seconds) and the mile relay (3 minutes, 22 seconds). Jackson received the High Point Trophy (20 points) at the 1962 State Meet.

After high school, Jackson played football and ran track at the University of Oklahoma on a full scholarship. He set the Big Eight indoor record for the 60-yard dash at 6 seconds. He clocked in the 100-yard dash at 9.4 seconds. In football, he was named Big Eight Back of the week multiple times.

Jackson was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the fourth round, and played in the NFL for four years.