Tyler ISD Athletics

The seventh class of the Tyler ISD Athletic Hall of Fame will be inducted Saturday prior to the Robert E. Lee at John Tyler football game at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, TISD athletic director Greg Priest said.

The class includes a state championship winning coach, a four-sport letterman and state championship athlete, four two-sport stars, a state finalist team and a huge contributor to the Tyler school district.

The 2019 inductees are:

Kelli Fitzpatrick Armstrong, Tyler Lee (Class of 1997, volleyball, soccer)

Hayden Moore, John Tyler (Class of 1959, basketball, baseball)

Mike Owens, Tyler Lee (1996-2010, head football coach/campus coordinator, led Red Raiders to 2004 state championship)

Ray Thompson, Contributor (Christus Trinity Mother Frances, instrumental in renovation of Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium)

Melvin Waits, Emmett J. Scott High School/Tyler Lee (Class of 1971, football, track)

David Warren, John Tyler (Class of 1997, football, basketball, baseball, track, member of 1994 JT state championship football team)

Doug Wyatt, John Tyler (Class of 1965, football, basketball, baseball)

The 1976 John Tyler state basketball finalist team (finished runner-up in the 4A state basketball tournament).

A reception for Hall of Fame inductees, family and their invited guests is scheduled at the South End Zone of Earl Campbell Field at 5:30 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m. inductees are asked to make their way to the press box sideline for the ceremony.

Kelli Fitzpatrick Armstrong, Tyler Lee (Class of 1997, volleyball, soccer) — Fitzpatrick Armstrong was a standout in both volleyball and soccer for the Lady Raiders. She was a freshman starter on the bi-district championship volleyball team as well as being named District 15-5A Outstanding Freshman, eventually earning first-team all-district her next three seasons on the volleyball squad as well as All-East Texas. She was a four-time first-team all-district soccer player, leading the Lady Raiders to four district championships. Fitzpatrick Armstrong was a class favorite her sophomore, junior and senior years. Her senior year she was Homecoming Queen and runner-up for Miss Robert E. Lee. She earned a scholarship to Louisiana Tech where she was setter for four years and was a two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week. She is the former volleyball coach at Bishop Gorman and also coaches club volleyball and club soccer. Among her many volunteer duties, she was Co-Chair of Heart Ball, Komen Race for the Cure and Cattle Barons.

Hayden Moore, John Tyler (Class of 1959, basketball, baseball) — While at JT, Moore was a star on the basketball court and the baseball diamond. He lettered all three years in both sports and was all-district first team in basketball his senior year, leading the Lions to the district championship. Moore also helped the Lions win the annual TJC Basketball Tournament, where he was named all-tournament. He was a three-year starter in center field. He is still active in ranching today at age 78.

Mike Owens, Tyler Lee (1996-2010, head football coach/campus coordinator) — Coach Owens is the winningest football coach in school history, leading Lee to its only state football championship in 2004. He is also the longest tenure coach of the Red Raiders (15 years). Coach Owens and his staff brought a culture of discipline, structure and respect to the program, both on and off the field. He coached Lee from 1996 until 2010, leading the Red Raiders to 13 playoff appearances and five district titles, along with the state championship. In 30 years of coaching at Port Arthur, Lee and Frankston, he compiled a record of 196-137-2, leading his teams to 19 playoff appearances and six district titles. At REL, he had a record of 113-67 and leading the Red Raiders to all four double-digit wins totals in school history as well as all the school’s district titles in football.

Ray Thompson, Contributor — Thompson was instrumental in renovation of Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. He was also extremely committed to the Tyler Independent School District, primarily its athletic programs. Both of his sons, Eric and Brian, attended and played sports at Robert E. Lee High School and nothing brought Ray more enjoyment or pride than watching them on the field or court. For 20 years he committed his time, effort, money, and leadership to TISD athletics. Thompson was a leader in building new, modern athletic facilities for both Robert E. Lee and John Tyler high schools. His efforts led to the Trinity Mother Frances sponsorship of Rose Stadium, leading to important renovations and updates to the field, facilities and infrastructure of the stadium in 2014. He was instrumental in the creation of Earl Campbell Field to honor Campbell and his legacy to East Texas athletics.

Billy Ray Thompson was born February 9, 1947 in Monticello, Arkansas. He attended Davidson High School in Mobile, Alabama. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1969. He received his Master of Business Administration from Louisiana State University in 1974. He was a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Ray joined Mother Frances Hospital as an administrator in October, 1981. After 35 years, Ray retired from his position as President of CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System in 2016.

Thompson’s effort and expertise were instrumental in restoring the organizational health of Mother Frances Hospital by creating the first cardiovascular program in East Texas. Ray was a founding system executive of the Trinity Mother Frances Health System. Ray created Trinity Mother Frances Health System’s network of regional clinics, established an expansive emergency medicine program, and created one of the nation’s model sports medicine programs.

In addition to his professional contributions to the Tyler community, Ray was an active supporter of many professional and community organizations, including the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts of America, and Hospice of East Texas.

He passed away in 2016. He left a lasting impression on everyone who knew him. He had a big personality and an even bigger heart. He made monumental contributions to the Tyler Independent School District through his efforts at both Robert E. Lee and John Tyler high schools, and his work with the renovation and sponsorship of Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium and Earl Campbell Field.

Melvin Waits, Emmett J. Scott High School/Tyler Lee (Class of 1971, football, track) — Waits was a standout in both football and track for the Bulldogs and Rebels. He led both Tyler Scott and Tyler Lee to district championships in the 4x100 relay. He was a running back in Lee coach Don Barton’s wishbone offense. Waits ran both the sprints and relays for both schools. Waits, a Howard University graduate, was noted for being able to score from anywhere on the field. Many have described him as one of the best football players from the Rose City, with Earl Campbell the best, followed Herbert Campbell and Waits. He was a star at Emmett Scott before the school was closed in 1970.

David Warren II, John Tyler (Class of 1997, football, basketball, baseball, track) — Among the many achievements for Warren was helping lead John Tyler to the 1994 state football championship as a sophomore. He was first-team all-district and All-East Texas all four years while playing defensive end for the Lions. Warren was all-state his sophomore, junior and senior seasons as well as Texas Sports Writers Association Defensive Player of the Year in 1995 and 1996. During his time with JT, he blocked 19 kicks. He was USA Today National Defensive Player of the Year, two-time Associated Press Player of the Year and PARADE All-America. Warren was rated the No. 2 prospect in the state and signed with Florida State University. While a Seminole, he help his team win the 1999 national championship by defeating Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. He played professionally for the Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders and the BC Lions. Former JT coach Allen Wilson said of Warren, “He’s the best player I’ve been around.”

Doug Wyatt, John Tyler (Class of 1965, football, basketball, baseball) — A three-sport standout for the Lions, he was all-district in all three sports his senior season as well as All-East Texas baseball and was team captain in both basketball and baseball. He also excelled off the playing field as he was JT 1965 Class favorite and was Texas Optimist Club Young Texan of the Month. After graduating from JT, he earned a scholarship to Tulsa University where he was first-team All-Missouri Valley three straight years (1967-69). Wyatt was honorable mention All-America in 1967 and team captain in 1967. He played in the Hula Bowl in 1970. He was drafted as a defensive back by the New Orleans Saints in 1970. He played in the NFL with the Saints (1970-72), the Detroit Lions (1973-74) and the San Francisco 49ers (1975). In 2008, he was inducted into the Tulsa University Athletic Hall of Fame.

The 1976 John Tyler state basketball finalist team (finished runner-up in the 4A state basketball tournament) — The Lions are the only Tyler ISD team to play for a state basketball championship. Tyler ISD Athletic Hall of Fame Coach Royce Franklin led JT to the state Final Four in Austin. The Lions defeated Houston Milby in the semifinals before falling in the final period to El Paso Eastwood in the state finals at Gregory Gym on the campus of the University of Texas. It was the final high school basketball game at the historic gymnasium. Team members include: Quintin Biggs, Royland Black, Eloys Bowser, Richard Bradley, Tony Brown, Ricky Callier, Glenn Cooper, Jerry Dewberry, Dennis Gordon, Anthony Lee, Tyrone Smith, Quinton Washington, Paul Williams, assistant coach was Jimmy Franklin, statistican Bobby Mobley and managers Darrell Phillips and Bennie Jordon. The team won District 14-4A and had a season record of 30-5. Gordon averaged 30 points in the playoffs with Lee pitching in 25.1 per game.


Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

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