Memories of 'Walter' Provide
Moving Theme to Sports Hall Banquet
Vic Woodard (center), brother of the late Walter Woodard, Vic's wife Claudette and other family members receive mementos from Athletics Hall of Fame President Bill Barmore on Saturday night as Walter Woodard is formally inducted into the hall.
Recollections – and even a few loving impersonations – of the Pasadena community’s greatest sports fan resonated through Phillips Field House on Saturday night during a gala banquet to induct seven new members into the Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame.
Walter Woodard, the last of the seven to be inducted, became the first ever honored for his contributions as a community supporter and fan.
A 1966 Sam Rayburn graduate and a fixture at sports events across the community until his death in 2009, Woodard was fondly remembered in conversations and comments, both informal and formal, among both attendees and those at the podium.
Master of ceremonies Bob Fawcett, speaking to a sellout audience, read a tribute to Woodard, at one point placing his hands on his hips and bellowing “Foul ball!” – one of Woodard’s cherished proclamations while pacing behind the backstop at baseball games.
Tears also mixed with smiles during the induction of the late Horace “Smitty” Duke, a 1960 Pasadena High graduate who went on to earn All-America honors as a pitcher for the University of Dallas before switching sports and competing in the 1968 Olympic Games as one of the top volleyball players of his generation.
Duke, who died in 2010, was represented by two brothers, James and Virgil, and two daughters, Teresa Belrose and Rusty Groby.
The five living inductees were all in attendance. Pasadena High was also represented by 1990 graduate Lilly Denoon, who went on to win All-America honors in volleyball at the University of Houston. Sam Rayburn was also represented by 1983 grad Brian Brazil, who went on to football stardom at TCU and today coaches the Lewis Hebron program, one of the best in the Dallas area.
Representing Dobie were two baseball standouts from the Longhorns’ long stretch of dominance in the mid-1990s. John Scheschuk, Class of 1995, and Shane Nance, Class of 1996, went on to stellar college careers, Scheschuk as a first baseman and team captain at Texas A&M, and Nance as a record setting-pitcher at UH. Both play pro baseball with Nance making it to the major leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks.
The first new inductee to walk the red carpet represented two high schools and two sides of athletics excellence. Donna Branch, a 1975 Sam Rayburn grad, was inducted for her sports achievements in high school, junior college and then at Texas A&M – and for her extraordinary 23-year career as head volleyball coach at Dobie.
Bill Worrell, the radio and TV commentator for the Houston Rockets, served as guest emcee for the event, which attracted more than 400 attendees, including school board members and Pasadena city government officials.
Scheschuk, speaking on behalf of all the new inductees, provided a moving account of his days as a youngster growing up in the Sagemont area. He paid tribute to several friends, teammates and former coaches in the audience – but saved his most heart-felt comments for his mother, Judy, who raised him and two older siblings alone after being widowed when Scheschuk was three.
“She invested in me daily,” Scheschuk said. “There is zero -- I mean zero -- chance that I would be up on this stage if it weren’t for the efforts of my mother. Mom, thank you for all that you have done and all that you continue to do.”
Worrell, a former UH pitcher and Houston native, recalled memories of the old sports rivalries in the area, especially the one between Pasadena High and Galena Park. Calling himself an “arts person,” he paid tribute to the Pasadena ISD’s tradition of excellence in both the visual and performing arts.
Four student scholarships and one teacher grant were presented. Sam Rayburn seniors Omar Perales and Elizabeth Rosenbaum each received a $2,500 scholarship from the Hall of Fame. Dobie senior Melany Menjivar and Memorial senior Caleb Reyes were recipients of $1,000 sports training scholarships from the Memorial Hermann Hospital System.
South Houston High boys basketball Coach Patrick McCoy received a check for $5,000 as the winner of the first Hall of Fame sports grant, funded equally by the Hall of Fame and the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation.
Local businessman Bill Barmore, presiding over his first banquet as the head of the Hall of Fame organizing committee, presented a plaque of appreciation to the outgoing committee president, Terry Brotherton.
Brotherton presided over the first four induction banquets from 2012-2015.
A total of 39 former Pasadena ISD sports greats, coaching greats – and one special fan – have now been inducted in the Hall of Fame. Their plaques form the centerpiece of the Hall of Fame Museum, part of the Phillips Field House facility.
Pasadena ISD Superintendent Dr. DeeAnn Powell presents guest emcee Bill Worrell with a plaque of appreciation.
Inductee Donna Branch with Dobie Principal Franklin Moses. Branch currently serves as an assistant principal on Moses's staff.
Inductee John Scheschuk with Board of Trustees member -- and Scheschuk's former Sagemont neighbor -- Fred Roberts.
Bill Worrell joins Lilly Denoon (right) and her contingent of fellow University of Houston graduates in a show of support for the Cougars.
Steve Martin, assistant principal at Pasadena High, holds up a gold football presented to the school by the NFL in recognition of Hall of Famer Bert Coan's participation in the first Super Bowl. The ball was put on display in the Hall of Fame Museum for banquet attendees.
Hall of Fame President Bill Barmore teams with Bill Worrell in presenting a plaque of appreciation to former organizing committee President Terry Brotherton.
Donna Branch / Sam Rayburn HS / Class of 1975
Horace 'Smitty' Duke / Pasadena HS / Class of 1960
Representing the late "Smitty" Duke: Brother Virgil Duke, daughter Rusty Groby, daughter Teresa Belrose and brother James Duke.
Brian Brazil / Sam Rayburn HS / Class of 1983
Lilly Denoon / Pasadena HS / Class of 1990
John Scheschuk / Dobie HS / Class of 1995
Shane Nance / Dobie HS / Class of 1996
Walter Woodard / Sam Rayburn HS / Class of 1966
Representing the late Walter Woodard: Brother Vic Woodard (center), wife Claudette and other family members.
New inductees and past inductees in attendance: (front) Vic Woodard, brother of Walter Woodard; Shane Nance; Lilly Denoon; Donna Branch; John Scheschuk; Brian Brazil; and "Smitty" Duke family members, Virgil Duke, Rusty Groby, James Duke and Teresa Belrose; (top) John Bryan; Milly Spencer, widow of inductee Mickey Spencer; Dave Friesleben; Bobby Allen; Lanny White; and David Webb.
SCHOLARSHIP & GRANT WINNERS
Athletic trainer scholarship recipient Melany Manjivar, Dobie HS
Athletic trainer scholarship recipient Caleb Neel, Memorial HS
Hall of Fame athletics scholarship recipient Elizabeth Rosenbaum, Sam Rayburn HS
Hall of Fame athletics scholarship recipient Omar Perales, Sam Rayburn HS
Athletics Hall of Fame Grant recipient Patrick McCoy (second from right), joined by South Houston HS football coach and campus AD Dwayne Lane, South Houston HS Principal Dr. Steve Fullen and Cindy Parmer, director of community relations for the district.
HALL OF FAME ALBUM