The Harris County – HSA Insider
Former Texan Andre Johnson headlines the nominees for the 2018 Texas Sports Hall of Fame
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The moment of the week?
That belonged to Earl Campbell when his eyes popped as he opened the box that held the ring commemorating his place in the inaugural class of the Houston Sports Hall of Fame. Hakeem Olajuwon’s smile – to Earl’s left – wasn’t bad either. Nor was Reid Ryan’s grin as he stood in for his dad Nolan at Monday’s ceremony.
It was a heck of a way to kick off not only the Houston Sports Hall of Fame, but a week of Hall of Fame talk.
A day after Houston’s legendary 34s slipped on their rings and uncovered their plaques on the Walk of Fame, the selection committee for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame met in Waco to determine the 2019 ballot nominees. That ballot, too, has a nice Houston vibe.
Former Texans receiver Andre Johnson, Oilers linebacker and 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Robert Brazile, former UH golfer Bruce Lietzke and Houston-area Olympians Christa Williams and Chad Hedrick join former Texas Longhorn and Golden State star Kevin Durant and former Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo and Jason Witten on this year’s ballot.
There are 20 nominees on the primary ballot and 12 on the veterans ballot. Johnson, Romo and former Green Bay Packers and Houston Milby star Donald Driver were automatically on the primary ballot based on 2018 voting. Brazile, former Oilers and Cowboys receiver Mike Renfro and former Texas lineman Jerry Sisemore were the veteran’s holdovers. Veterans must be at least 20 years removed from his/her last competition or coaching stint.
Other players on the primary ballot are former Sharpstown High and Texas pitcher Greg Swindell, Texas women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky, gymnast Carly Patterson, former Texas A&M coach Jackie Sherrill, Dallas Diamonds and current Sacramento Kings assistant coach Nancy Lieberman, former Baylor star Sophia Young and former runner and former Southwestern track coach Francie Larrieu-Smith.
Rounding out the primary list are former Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree; Bob Brock, who coached softball at Texas A&M, Sam Houston State and Baylor; former Dallas Stars coach Ken Hitchcock and former Baylor tennis coach Matt Knoll.
The veteran’s list, led by Brazile and Renfro, has a strong Houston presence, too. Former Lamar High School diver and 1976 Olympic bronze springboard medalist Cynthia Potter; former Brenham star and former Astros manager Cecil Cooper and the late Judge Roy Hofheinz, who brought the Colt .45s/Astros to Houston are on it.
Other veteran nominees are former Texas and Gregory Portland quarterback Marty Akins, deceased tennis star Maureen Connolly-Brinker, former UT football player Hub Bechtol, Texas A&M kicker Tony Franklin, Arkansas defensive lineman Loyd Phillips and the late Gabe Rivera from Texas Tech.
The 34s are all members of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and Houston was well represented at the 2018 induction in April with former Texans and Denver coach Gary Kubiak and legendary Texas quarterback Vince Young and the late Texas A&I running back Johnny Bailey heading that class.
Kubiak went to St. Pius X high school, then on to Texas A&M and the Broncos. Young graduated from Madison, led Texas to a national title and played his first five NFL seasons for Tennessee. Bailey led Yates to the 1985 state championship and led Division II rushers three of his four years at A&I (now Texas A&M-Kingsville).
A maximum of 10 honorees can be elected to each class. A minimum of six come from the primary ballot and two from the veterans.
The public can also cast votes along with current members of the Hall of Fame and the selection committee, but individuals must sign up was a voter by July 1. To sign up or get more information on the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, go to www.tshof.org.