SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE HALL OF FAME
The next induction ceremony and luncheon recognizing members of the SWC HOF will be in downtown Fort Worth on Monday, October, 20th at 11:30 a.m. at the Omni Hotel, 1300 Houston St., Fort Worth, TX 76102. (817) 535-6664.
The Texas Sports Hall of Fame (TSHOF) is proud to announce nine new members into its 2014 class of inductees for the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame: Nolan Richardson (Arkansas), Walter Abercrombie (Baylor), Otis Birdsong (Houston), Harold Solomon (Rice), George McMillion (SMU), Jill Sterkel (Texas), Mark Johnson (Texas A&M), James Cash (TCU) and Andre Tillman (Texas Tech).
The inductees include:
Nolan Richardson of the University of Arkansas
Nolan Richardson was the men’s head basketball coach at the University of Arkansas from 1985 to 2002. During his time there, he took the program to the Final Four three times and went on to win the National Championship in 1994. Richardson was also named National Coach of the Year that same year. In 17 seasons, Richardson became the all time winningest coach in Arkansas history with a record of 389-169. Today he is recognized in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Walter Abercrombie of Baylor University
Baylor’s Walter Abercrombie first made his way into the record books after rushing for 207 yards in his initial game in 1978. After winning Southwest Conference Freshmen of the Year honors, he went on to become a two-time consensus All-Southwest Conference selection. Abercrombie was part of the ’79 Peach Bowl, ’80 Southwest Conference title, and the ’81 Cotton Bowl teams. He finished atop the university’s record books in yards rushed (3,665), rushing attempts (732), career 100-yard games (19) and yards per game (94).
Otis Birdsong of the University of Houston
As a freshman at the University of Houston, Otis Birdsong gave only a preview of what was to come as the third leading scorer averaging 14.3 points per game. The next season he became the first sophomore in school history to register 1,000 career points. He also led the league in scoring during Houston’s first year in he Southwest Conference. The 6’3” guard added to his 1976 All-Southwest Conference team honors by earning a place on the conference team again his senior year and receiving consensus All-American and Southwest Conference Player of the Year. In addition to various other records and honors, Birdsong was named Southwest Conference player of the Decade.
Harold Solomon of Rice University
Although he only spent two years at Rice, Harold Solomon undoubtedly left his mark on the university’s tennis program. He was part of the back-to-back Southwest Conference team championships and brought in the 1971 singles conference title as well. The political science graduate left as an All-American and went on to achieve a highly successful professional career before beginning the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute.
Coach George McMillion of Southern Methodist University
Coach George McMillion began his coaching career in swimming at SMU as an assistant from 1957 to ’71. He took over the head coaching position from 1971 to ’88. During that time, he led the swim team to eight consecutive Southwest Conference championships, had his teams finish in the NCAA top ten 14 times, and took home conference Coach of the Year honors four times. He also coached 78 All Americans, 15 NCAA Champions, and four Olympic medalists. McMillion was also an SMU swim team captain and record holder during his time as an All-American student-athlete. He is now part of the Texas Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame.
Jill Sterkel of the University of Texas
Jill Sterkel is regarded by many as the all time greatest women’s swimmer from the University of Texas. She claimed 16 individual national titles as a Longhorn and won multiple Broderick Awards. In addition, she was named the Nation’s College Female Athlete of the Year in ‘80/’81. She was named to the Southwest Conference All-Decade Women’s Swimming Team, the National High School Sports Hall of Fame, and Texas Women’s Athletics Hall of Honor. The four-time Olympian received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UT and went on to become the university’s women’s swim coach. She was a part of 13 out of 14 Southwest Conference Championships there as either a player or coach.
Mark Johnson of Texas A&M University
Mark Johnson served as the Aggies head baseball coach from 1985 to 2005. He led his teams to 13 NCAA playoffs and two college world series appearances. During the Southwest Conference days, Johnson coached three conference championship teams. His career record at the school was 876-433-3 while he earned six Coach of the Year honors and had 108 players drafted into the Major League. Through the years, Johnson has collected an array of honors including the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame, ABCA Coaches Hall of Fame, various coach of the year, and was the winningest baseball coach in Texas A&M history.
James Cash of Texas Christian University
James Cash lettered in TCU basketball from 1967 to ’69. During his collegiate career he recorded over 1,000 points and made his way into the top five of TCU career points and rebound leaders. He was also part of a Southwest Conference Championship and became an Academic All American. His excellence in the classroom allowed him to receive a bachelor’s degree in math from TCU before earning a master’s and Ph. D. from Purdue. Today, his #54 jersey is retired and he is a part of the TCU Lettermen’s Association Hall of Fame. Dr. Cash went on to become a full-time professor at Harvard Business School and continues his success in the business world - - including being part owner of the Boston Celtics.
Andre Tillman of Texas Tech University
Andre Tillman was an All-American tight end at Texas Tech University from 1970 to 1973. He made the Southwest Conference All-Freshmen team and was the Sun Bowl’s top receiver as a junior. The 6’ 5” force was an All-Southwest Conference selection who helped his team go 11-1 and win the Gator Bowl his senior year. He led the team in pass receiving with 26 catches for 428 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tillman finished his college career by playing in the Hula and Senior Bowl before getting drafted into the NFL by Miami in the second round. He played for the Dolphins for five seasons.
“We are delighted with this class of inductees,” said Carroll Dawson, president of the SWC Hall of Fame. “They exemplify the high quality of athletes and coaches found in the Southwest Conference. They were an essential part of the prestigious 82-year history of the conference.”
The Southwest Conference Hall of Fame is one of four separate halls of fame housed within the Texas Sports Hall of Fame’s physical structure. They include the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame, the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and now, the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame.
Media interviews with the inductees will be available before and after the luncheon.
The Southwest Conference (SWC) Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.