COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Six Texas A&M athletic greats were inducted into the Texas A&M Letterman's Association Hall of Fame while a dedicated couple and a longtime athletic department worker were inducted into the Texas A&M Hall of Honor. One of Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's Junction Boys received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the 35th annual Burgess Banquet which was held Friday, Nov. 16 at the Zone Club at Kyle Field.
Texas A&M golf All-American Danny Briggs, stellar track and field standout and current Aggie assistant track and field coach Juan De La Garza, women's track and field All-American Melissa Gulli Cook, the all-time winningest baseball coach in Texas A&M history Mark Johnson, dual sport standout Lisa Langston from women's basketball and women's track and field, along with Aggie All-American defensive back and return specialist Jason Webster will join the Hall of Fame as the 2012 induction class.
In the Hall of Honor, Dorothy and Artie McFerrin are long-time Aggie supporters who can be seen at most every Aggie athletic event and have been instrumental in upgrading facilities across the athletics program and the overall university. Tedi Ellison was inducted into the Hall of Honor for her role serving as the academic advisor for women student-athletes from 1984 to 1989 and then her continued work as the Director of NCAA Compliance at Texas A&M from 1990 until 1999.
For the second consecutive year, the Letterman's Association has tabbed an outstanding person for the Lifetime Achievement Award and Billy Pete Huddleston received this honor. Huddleston was a member of the Aggie football team that Coach Bryant took to Junction and Huddleston survived and thrived being named the team captain in 1955. After earning his degree in petroleum engineering in 1957, Huddleston was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the United States Air Force and served from 1958-60. After starting with Marathon Oil Company in 1967, he established Huddleston and Company, Inc. and continues to serve as its chairman. As a co-founding member of the Texas A&M Letterman's Association, Huddleston has been a loyal supporter of the Corps of Cadets and also served on the Dwight Look College of Engineering Advisory Council. He taught in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering from 1981 until 1998 and he also received the Robert L. Whiting Professorship of Excellence in Teaching. Huddleston is originally from Iraan, Texas, and currently lives in Houston.
Danny Briggs '83, was a four-year letterman (1980-83), a three-time All-SWC selection and earned All-America mention three seasons for Coach Bob Ellis. Briggs helped the Aggies win the 1982 Southwest Conference Championship and he was crowned the individual champion. The Aggies would finish fourth at the NCAA Championships in 1982 and Briggs finished eighth individually as he carded a seven-under 65 in one round of the NCAA Championships. Briggs would go on to play on the PGA Tour from 1985-2000 and then again from 2004-05. Briggs came to Aggieland from Paris, Texas, and currently resides in Franklin, Tenn.
Juan De La Garza '85, came to Texas A&M from Wharton Junior College where he won the 1982 national championship in the javelin and earned All-American honors throwing the javelin in 1983 and 1984 for the Aggies and head coach Charlie Thomas. De La Garza would stay on as a graduate assistant before joining track coach Pat Henry at Blinn Junior College in 1986 and then went with Henry to LSU in 1987 and helped the Tigers win two national outdoor championships in men's track and field and four national outdoor crowns on the women's side in Baton Rouge. The women's team would also add a national indoor championship to the trophy cases. De La Garza continued to compete and won the 1987 Pan American bronze medal and won the Mexican national javelin championship 22 times. He owns the Mexican national record in the event at 260-6 and also is the A&M record holder (268-2 with the old implement). De La Garza earned two degrees from Texas A&M with an animal science degree in 1985 and a degree in range management in 1987. He continues to serve on Coach Pat Henry's Texas A&M track and field coaching staff helping the men's and women's track and field programs earn an unprecedented three-peat as outdoor national champions in both sports in 2009, 2010 and 2011. De La Garza and his wife, Kristie, and family live in College Station.
Melissa Gulli Cook '02, earned five letters in cross country and track and field and was the premier long distance runner for Coach Ted Nelson and women's head coach Ed Marcinkiewicz. She earned All-America honors in both the indoor and outdoor 5,000 meters in 2001 and earned All-America honors in the indoor 5,000 again in 2002 and 2004 while earning All-America accolades in the 10,000 meters in 2004. A four-time Big 12 champion in various long distance events, Gulli Cook was the NCAA runner-up in the 5,000 meters at the 2001 outdoor championships and was runner-up again in the 2002 NCAA Indoor Championships. Gulli Cook held the Texas A&M school record in the outdoor 5,000 meters and the 10,000 meters and the indoor records for 3,000 and 5,000 meters entering this past school year. (Current Aggie Natosha Rogers broke all four records this year.) In fact, she held the top five school marks in the indoor 5,000 meters and the top six marks in the indoor 3,000 meters before this season. Gulli Cook attended Klein High School before coming to Aggieland and currently resides in Flower Mound, Texas.
Mark Johnson is the all-time winningest baseball coach in Texas A&M history and served as the Aggies' head coach from 1985 through 2005 compiling a record of 876-431-3 (.670) in Aggieland. Johnson came to Texas A&M and served as Coach Tom Chandler's top assistant in 1983 and 1984. Johnson led the Aggies to the College World Series in 1993 and 1999, won five conference championships, reached the NCAA playoffs 13 years and advanced to the regional championship 10 times. He was named the National Coach of the Year in 1993 by The Sporting News, coached the USA Baseball team in 1999, named a six-time conference Coach of the Year and coached 11 first-team All-Americans and 61 All-Conference selections. A member of the American Baseball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame (2001), Texas Baseball Hall of Fame (2002), FCA Baseball Jerry Kindall Character in Coaching Award in 2007 and inaugural recipient of the ABCA "Ethics in Coaching" Award in 2008. Johnson would go on to serve as the Sam Houston State baseball head coach from 2007-11 and led the Bearkats to three straight Southland Conference championships and to NCAA post-season play in 2007-08-09 and eclipsed the 1,000 victory plateau before retiring at the conclusion of the 2011 season. Johnson and his wife, Linda, currently call College Station home within easy driving distance of grandchildren.
Dr. Lisa Langston '86, was a two-sport standout as she was a four-year (1983-86) letter winner in women's basketball under the guidance of Coach Cherri Rapp and Coach Lynn Hickey and earned two letters (1986-87) in track and field under Charlie Thomas and Ted Nelson as well. She earned first-team All-SWC honors in 1985 and was the first Texas A&M selection as the SWC Player of the Week during the 1984 season. She was selected to play in the 1983 Sports Festival and was invited to the United States Olympic tryouts for the 1984 USA squad. Her name is found across the basketball record book as she finished with a 16.3 scoring average and totaled 1,615 points to go along with 236 steals and a 6.2 rebounding average. She also is found on the top 10 performers in the 100 meter hurdles in track and field and finished third at the 1986 Southwest Conference outdoor championships. Off the hardwood and the track, she was a 1986 SWC All-Academic team member and earned her bachelors of science degree with a minor in biology from Texas A&M in 1986 and then received her master's from Tarleton State in 1998 and her doctorate in 2010 from Texas Women's University. Langston came to A&M from Spruce High School in Dallas and she currently serves as an assistant athletics director for the Fort Worth Independent School District.
Jason Webster '00, an Aggie football All-American in the defensive backfield as well as a punt and kick returner, earned four letters (1996-99) for Coach R.C. Slocum. Webster received the top honor for a senior Aggie football player as his teammates voted him the 1999 Aggie Heart Award winner as well as the Wrecking Crew's MVP that same year. As a freshman in 1996, Webster was voted the special teams MVP and earned Academic All-Conference honors. In 1997 he led the team in passes broken up with nine as the Aggies won the Big 12 South division crown. The 1998 season would see Webster lead the team once again with seven breakups and two pickoffs as the Aggies won the South division and defeated top-ranked Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship game in St. Louis to advance to the Sugar Bowl. His first career punt return went for 55 yards against Oklahoma in 1998 for an Aggie touchdown. Webster would end his career with 27 passes broken up which ranked fifth all-time when he was drafted in the second round of the 2000 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers where he played through the 2003 season. He spent three years with the Atlanta Falcons and then finished by playing the 2007 season with the Buffalo Bills and the 2008 season with the New England Patriots. Webster came to Texas A&M from Willowridge High School in Missouri City, Texas, and currently spends time in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as the Houston area.
Nominees for the Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Honor must have made great and/or unusual contributions in personal time and effort, financial support and/or material and services over and above all ordinary expectations of the average supporter of Texas A&M athletics. The three recipients of the 2012 class are all extraordinary.
Tedi Ellison has served on numerous boards and committees around the Brazos Valley and Texas A&M University through the years. She came to Texas A&M to serve as an academic advisor for female student-athletes and played a crucial role as women's athletics thrived during her tenure. After her stint as academic advisor (1984-89), she moved to Director of Compliance and reported directly to the President of Texas A&M University from 1990 through 1999. Tedi and her husband Chuck live in College Station.
Dorothy and Artie McFerrin reside in Kingwood but can be seen at most every Aggie athletic event during the year. The couple has been a member of the 12th Man Foundation for over 25 years and Artie currently serves on the Executive Board, donating even more time and efforts to the overall welfare of Texas A&M University. When athletics and the 12th Man Foundation needed to upgrade facilities the McFerrin's stepped forward with the lead gift for the indoor football practice facility, the indoor track and field facility as well as the Cox-McFerrin Center for Basketball. The McFerrin's selfless service and support includes the Corps of Cadets and many programs across the campus. Artie was recently honored as a Distinguished Alumnus for Texas A&M.
2012 Inductees into the Texas A&M University Athletic Hall of Fame
- Danny Briggs '83, Men's Golf
- Juan De La Garza '85, Men's Track & Field
- Melissa Gulli Cook '02, Women's Track & Field
- Coach Mark Johnson, Baseball
- Lisa Langston '86, Women's Basketball & Women's Track & Field
- Jason Webster '2000, Football
2012 Hall of Honor Inductees
- Tedi Ellison '90
- Dorothy and Artie McFerrin '65
Letterman's Lifetime Achievement Award Winners
- 2012: Billy Pete Huddleston '56, Football
- 2011: Ed Kruse '49, Swimming & Diving