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Houston ISD recognizes athletics Hall of Honor 2022 class

Houston ISD honored some legends of its past at the district’s annual athletics Hall of Honor induction ceremony Saturday afternoon at Delmar Fieldhouse.

“This is our annual opportunity to memorialize some of the best people associated with HISD sports,” athletics director Andre’ Walker said in a press release. “They’re not just legendary athletes and coaches; they are people who have used their talents to guide others through life’s challenges.”

This year’s class was highlighted by Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary, who graduated from Worthing High School. Singletary, who played collegiately at Baylor, was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was a member of the Chicago Bears’ Super Bowl team since the 1985 season. Singletary was also honored as the NFL Man of the Year in 1990.

Fellow Worthing graduate Otis Taylor played his college football at Prairie View A&M before going on to a standout professional career with the Kansas City Chiefs. He is a member of the organization’s Hall of Fame and was a member of the Super Bowl championship team from the 1969 season. He was one of the most prolific receivers of his era and finished his career with 7,306 yards and 57 touchdowns.

Kashmere graduate Jacob Green was a star football player for the Rams before continuing his career at Texas A&M. He blossomed into an All-American in College Station and is second on the program’s all-time sacks list with 37. Green went on to play 12 seasons in the NFL, primarily with the Seattle Seahawks. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and is a member of the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor.

Westbury graduate David Elmendorf was a standout running back and baseball player in high school before earning All-American honors in both sports at Texas A&M. He then played nine seasons in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams for the 1979 season. Elmendorf is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and has been broadcasting Aggies football games for 30 years.

The late JV Cain, a Washington graduate, was an All-American during his high school days before a standout career at the University of Colorado. The star tight end was a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1974, but he tragically died of heart failure in 1979 at age 28 after collapsing during training camp. His No. 88 of him is retired by the Cardinals, Colorado and Washington High School.

Yates graduate Jackie Washington was a member of the United States Olympic team in 1984. The former track star won numerous gold and silver medals through international competition and now serves as the president of the United States Olympians and Paralympians Association Houston chapter. During her high school days, she was one of the most prolific sprinters in Texas and the country.

Lamar graduate Cynthia Potter was a three-time member of the United States Olympic diving team and won bronze in the 3-meter springboard competition in 1976. She also won bronze at the 1975 Pan American Games and silver at the 1978 World Championships. Potter is a member of the Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame after winning a record 28 national championships.

Bellaire graduate Debbie Sokol was a team captain and MVP in volleyball and continued on to a collegiate career at the University of Houston. Following her playing career, she was named the head coach at Rice at age 25. She guided the Owls for 13 seasons and was named Southwest Conference Coach of the Year in 1986. She is known nationally for her work as a volleyball trainer and coach.

Austin graduate Debra Williams was a high school standout before moving on to Louisiana Tech. She became one of the top scorers in program history, was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference Tournament Team four times and helped Louisiana Teach reach the NCAA national championship game in 1994. She played professionally in the WNBA and internationally in Italy, Greece and Israel.

Wheatley graduate Eddie Owens was a Parade All-American in high school before continuing his career at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He became the program’s all-time leading scorer during his playing days from 1973-77. Owens was a member of the “Hardway Eight” and helped the Runnin’ Rebels reach the NCAA Final Four in 1977. He was then drafted into the NBA by the Kansas City Kings.

Bellaire graduate Jim Gideon was a member of the 1971 state championship team in high school before continuing his career at the University of Texas. He was a two-time All-American for the Longhorns and helped his team win the national championship in 1975 with a 17-0 record on the mound. He was drafted in the first round of the MLB draft by the Texas Rangers later that year.

Lamar’s Julia Heymach is the youngest inductee after graduating in 2017. But despite her age, her list of accomplishments is long. Heymach won seven state championships in the 800, 1,600, 3,200 and cross country during her high school days. She continued her career at Stanford, where she became a seven-time All-American and Pac-12 record holder in the 1,500-meter run.

The late Ray Knoblauch guided the Bellaire baseball program from 1961-86, posting a record of 598-225 and winning state championships in 1962, 1971, 1978 and 1986. His teams reached the state tournament seven times overall. Knoblauch was one of the co-founders of the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association and is a member of its Hall of Fame. He died in 2002 at age 74.

The Kashmere boys basketball program left quite a mark on the sport, winning back-to-back Class 4A state championships in 1974 and 1975. The Rams won 78 consecutive games during their impeccable two-year run, led by head coach Weldon Drew. The 1975 team finished the season ranked No. 1 in the country, and nine players received athletic scholarships to play collegiately.

The late Bill McMurray was a sportswriter for the Houston Chronicle for 36 years. He was named Greater Houston Sportswriter of the Year 20 times and became one of the first writers to join the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in 1988. McMurry also received honors from the Texas High School Coaches Association and the National High School Coaches Association. He died at age 87 in 2019.

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