Floods of cherished memories came rushing back as the 2019 Class of the Tyler ISD Athletics Hall of Fame stood on the turf of Earl Campbell Field Saturday night.
There were handshakes, hugs, smiles, laughs, waves and a few tears as the seventh class was inducted before 11,000 fans at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
The new inductees, along with family and friends, celebrated their inclusion into Hall of Fame with a reception before the Robert E. Lee and John Tyler football game. They were then honored with plaques from Tyler ISD athletic director Greg Priest after TISD student-produced videos about each inductee were shown on the big screen.
Also prior to the game, a video tribute to Tylerite and Lee graduate Dr. Bryan C. Jack and victims of 9/11 was shown. Dr. Jack, whose parents were longtime teachers at Boulter Middle School and John Tyler High School, was on the plane that hit the Pentagon.
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).
The late Mr. Thompson, who was a force behind athletics in Tyler, was represented by his widow Marilyn and his sons, Brian and Eric.
“This is such an honor for my father,” said Brian Thompson, a former Lee football standout. “My father loved helping people have the opportunity to be involved in athletics.”
For the late Royce Franklin it is the third time he has been inducted into the Hall of Fame as he was head coach of the 1976 Class 4A state finals basketball team. He was an assistant coach on John Tyler’s 1973 state football championship team that was honored in 2013 and he was inducted as an individual in 2017. Coach Franklin was represented by his widow Shirley and his son Kenn.
Members of the 1976 team in attendance were assistant coach Jimmy Franklin of Sugar Land, Quinton Washington of Houston, Eloys Bowser of Tyler, Bobby Mobley of Tyler, Ricky Callier of Tyler and Darrell Phillips of Tyler.
This was the second induction for Warren, who resides in Keller. The former two-time Texas Sports Writers Association Defensive Player of the Year was also inducted with JT’s 1994 state championship team.
For Owens, the longest tenured coach at Lee who led the Red Raiders to the state football title in 2004, is also has a second time honoree as he was the 2004 team was inducted in 2014.
Armstrong said it was a blessing to be honored as well as Moore, Owens, Waits and Wyatt.
To be considered for the Tyler ISD Athletic Hall of Fame, an athlete, coach or contributor must be nominated.
To nominate someone for the 2020 class, visit http://tylersports.rankonesport.com. Nomination forms must be received by June 1, 2020. Athletes, coaches and contributors must have graduated or no longer be a part of the school district for at least five years before being considered. Tyler High, Emmett Scott, John Tyler and Tyler Lee graduates are eligible.
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 volleyball 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 Tyler Lee, 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 the 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 byHerbert 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 helped 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, statistician 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.
Earl Campbell — John Tyler High School Class of 1974, Football
Mike Carter — John Tyler High School Class of 1968, Baseball
Clifford Gregory — Tyler High School Class of 1930, Football
Billy Hall — Tyler High School Class of 1956, Basketball, coach and principal at Robert E. Lee High School, and former TISD Athletic Director
Daniel Hernandez — John Tyler High School Class of 1994, Soccer
Charles Milstead — Tyler High School Class of 1955, Football
Kristee Porter — John Tyler High School Class of 1998, Volleyball
Aaron Ross — John Tyler High School Class of 2000, Football
Robert Taylor — Emmett Scott High School Class of 1968, Track
Dayna Reed Westbrook — Robert E. Lee High School class of 1987, Basketball
Allen Wilson — John Tyler High School, Head Football Coach
1973 John Tyler State Football Champions
Todd Bricker — Robert E. Lee High School Class of 1992, Swimming
Fred Coleman — Robert E. Lee High School Class of 1993, Football
Jana Crosby Russell — Robert E. Lee High School Class of 1986, Basketball
A’Quonesia Franklin — John Tyler High School Class of 2004, Basketball
Dick Hightower — Tyler High School Class of 1948, Football
Ronnie Lee — John Tyler High School Class of 1975, Football
Alan Shumate — Contributor, public address announcer for REL in both football and basketball.
Johnny “Red” Stidger — Coach: John Tyler High School, Football, Baseball, Golf
1930 Tyler High School State Football Champions
1994 John Tyler State Football Champions
2004 Robert E. Lee State Football Champions
Willie Campbell — Emmett Scott High School Class of 1965, Football
Bob Faulkner — Contributor, Tennis
Danny Palmer — John Tyler High School Class of 1967, Football, Basketball, Baseball
Edwill Rollins II — Robert E. Lee High School Class of 1973, Track, Football
Harry Shuford — Tyler High School Class of 1932, Football
Matt Flynn — Robert E. Lee High School Class of 2003; Football
Dr. Theodore Henderson — Emmett Scott High School Class of 1960; Football, basketball, baseball
Wanda Sowell Hendrix — Tyler High School Class of 1956; Golf
Alfred “Al” Humphrey — John Tyler High School Class of 1971; Football
Carl Love — John Tyler High School basketball coach
Larry Jones — Robert E. Lee High School basketball coach
Juli Murphy Collins — Robert E. Lee High School Class of 1998; Soccer
William “Travis” Wallace — Emmett Scott High School Class of 1960; basketball, baseball
1959 Robert E. Lee Golf State Championship Team
Morgan Denson — Tyler Lee (Track, Cross Country, Swimming)
Royce Franklin — John Tyler (Coach, Football, Basketball, Track)
John “Mutt” Heller — Tyler High, John Tyler (Football, Basketball, Track)
C.M. Marks — Emmett Scott (Coach Football, Basketball, Baseball)
D’Angelo Newsom — John Tyler (Track)
Clayton Stanley — Tyler Lee (Tennis)
Dr. Ken Talkington — Tyler High (Football, Basketball, Baseball)
1967 & 1968 John Tyler Baseball State Tournament Teams
Gary Baxter — John Tyler (football, 1997)
James Warren Davis — Tyler High (football, baseball, 1956)
Gary Don Johnson — John Tyler (football, 1975)
Marianne Jones — Tyler Lee (girls basketball coach, 1983-98)
Billy Lawson Sr. — John Tyler (boys basketball coach, 1978-88)
Corey Mayfield Sr. — Tyler Lee (football, 1988)
Laura Hanna Waits — Tyler Lee (tennis, 1980)
1968 Emmett Scott Basketball Team (Prairie View Interscholastic League 3A state champions)