Athletic achievements and contributions, over the span of four decades, will be recognized when the 2016 Hall of Fame Class is honored this coming February.
On Nov. 3 the full list of individuals and single team was announced via the UTRGV Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. The group, which decides the inductees, is made up of former athletes, many already in the Hall of Fame, as well as some long-standing staff members.
Heading into the Hall this year are a wide range of sports. One of the highlights of the list is Christie (Schindler) Montgomery, the first volleyball player to be inducted. Montgomery competed from 1972 to 1974 and was a dual- sport athlete who also played on the women’s basketball team. The Edinburg High alum stood tall at 6 feet 5 inches and competed for Pan American University, prior to affiliation with the University of Texas System.
Brian Merri weather, a men’s basketball star from 1997 to 2001, will be added as well. Merri weather holds the program record for most three- pointers made, with 332 while on the team. He also sits third,all-time, on the scoring list with 1,738 points.
Men’s soccer standout Mario Ribera, who played from 1992 to 1994 was also chosen for the selected group.Ribera
was named the 1992 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year. The striker from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, contributed greatly on offense, setting conference and program records. His 2.42 goals per game were fourth all-time in NCAA history. Contributing to these averages, Ribera was part of an unbelievable match against Schreiner University where he tallied six goals and six assists. The final score was 16-0.
Also in the class is career home run record-holder Mitchell Moran, a member of the UTPA baseball team from 1981 to 1983. The slugger ranks second in program history in single season home runs. He hit 20 in the 1983 season That Bronc baseball team competed in the NCAA regional tournament and had a 64-19-1 record under Coach Al Olge tree.
Robert Barron enters the Hall of Fame as the only runner in this year’s class. The distance runner competed in cross- country and track and field from 1985 to 1990. At the time of his departure from Pan American, he held the indoor and outdoor track and field program records for the 3,000-meter run. Barron also held the record for the fastest mile, finishing in 4:17.96.
Also joining the 2016 class is the entire 1983 baseball roster. This team is historic in the program,holding the best overall record to date,winning 64 games and losing 19. The team set records in home runs, runs, walks, double plays, innings pitched and more.
This is also the second induction for a few of the 1983 baseball team members. Don Guillot, speedster and former USA baseball team member, was added to the HOF in 2013. Jim Hickey, who pitched to All- American honors in the 1983 season and has been a longtime pitching coach in the majors, was inducted in 2010.
Mitchell Moran is also being inducted as an individual this year with the 1983 team.
Two baseball coaches from the staff are double dipping with inductions: Reggie Tread away, entering in 2008, and of course, Al Ogle tree, the great longtime coach with Pan American. Ogle tree was part of the first HOF class, back in 2007.
The final inductee is UTRGV Associate Athletic Director Jim Lancaster.
“It’s pretty special, I think what I try to do as I go through the processis,Isetagoa land that’s to be a part of something, being a part of the university and being a part of this program,” said Lancaster, the longtime trainer. “It’s not so much the Hall-of-Fame type of thing as it just that you meant something and that’s probably what means so much to me.”
Lancaster has been head trainer for 36 years. Since age 22, he’s served at the position and has seen many of the athletes that are heading into the Hall of Fame when they might have been injured. Lancaster,who has been a backbone in the program for years, spoke behind the philosophy of sticking around.
“You find a good place, you stick with it and make the most of it and you become part of it. I thought that’s just what you did,” the University of Texas graduate said. “If the program means something to you, you’ll suffer through the bad and enjoy the good. I’ve always said, ‘Win, lose or draw, that’s still my team.’”
The ceremony is scheduled Feb. 20 in the UTRGV Ballroom. For more information, call UTRGV Athletics at 665-2221.