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Houston Gamblers defensive lineman Fitzpatrick to emcee at PISD Athletics Hall of Fame, April 13

Houston Gamblers defensive lineman Fitzpatrick to emcee at PISD Athletics Hall of Fame, April 13
Posted on 02/12/2019
Houston Gamblers defensive lineman Fitzpatrick to emcee at PISD Athletics Hall of Fame, April 13

Tony Fitzpatrick

 Tony Fitzpatrick

By Reesha Brown

The Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame (AHOF) recently announced that Tony Fitzpatrick, former Houston Gamblers defensive lineman, will headline the 2019 AHOF induction ceremony on April 13 at Phillips Field House.

The Houston Gamblers were one of six expansion teams that competed in the U.S. Football League (USFL) in 1984 and 1985, with coaching legend Jack Pardee at the helm and Fitzpatrick as a star defensive lineman.

Once called “the rock of [University of] Miami’s defense” by the Hurricanes’ head coach Howard Schnellenberger, Fitzpatrick was a third pick in the seventh round (128th overall) of the 1984 USFL draft.

Fitzpatrick became an instant star defensive tackle, starting all 18 games and recording 13.5 sacks, 55 1/2, 20 assists and a single fumble recovery. The six-foot 260 lbs. defensive anchor sacked more tackles than any other Gamblers lineman, earning second team All-USFL by USFL writers and broadcasters in his rookie season.

In 1986, Fitzpatrick signed with the Ottawa Rough Riders, where he joined fellow Gamblers defensive lineman Lloyd Lewis. After only three games, Fitzpatrick returned to Houston to play for the Oilers in 1987, where he suffered a shoulder injury prior to starting his first game.

After his pro-career ended, he served as an assistant coach at the University of Houston, and was a regular on sports radio for the Greater Houston area.

Fitzpatrick is one of several celebrated names in sports to emcee for the Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame. Past emcees have included ABC Sports Broadcaster Dan Lovett, star quarterback for the Houston Oilers Dan Pastorini, voice of the Houston Astros Larry Dierker, Houston Rockets play-by-play voice Bill Worrell, and Fox 26 sports reporter Nate Griffin.

“We are very excited to have Tony Fitzpatrick headline the Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame Induction banquet this year,” Bill Barmore, Hall of Fame chairman said. “Tony brings a wealth of experience from his successful career as a college and professional football player and coach, and I know that our inductees and guests will enjoy his enthusiastic message.”

Tickets for this year’s banquet are now on sale at the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation Office, 1515 Cherrybrook Lane, Pasadena, Texas 77502. A limited number of tickets are available at $50 each. Full tables of 10 seats and sponsorships that include tickets are also available on a very limited basis.

The banquet will induct six new members into the Hall of Fame, including:

• Paul Ratliff/Pasadena HS/Class of 1962 – Former Minnesota Twins Baseball Player

• Wayne Adams/South Houston/Class of 1967 - All-District, All-Greater Houston and All-State Football and Track standout

• Don Key/Pasadena HS/Class of 1978 - Key signed with the University of Oklahoma and quickly became a standout during the Coach Barry Switzer era (a legend in college football).

• Karima Christmas-Kelly/Dobie HS/Class of 2007 - WNBA starting forward and double-digit scorer for the Dallas Wings/ Blue Devils of Duke University

• James “Jimmy” McNeil (deceased)/Pasadena HS/Class of 1947/Head Football Coach at Sam Rayburn – Lamar Cardinals Football Standout/Little All-American

• Bill Newcomb/Pasadena HS/Class 1956 / Head Football Coach at South Houston HS/ Pasadena ISD Athletics Director – Texas A&M/Fullback and Linebacker at Baylor University

For more information, please visit the Athletics Hall of Fame webpage: https://www1.pasadenaisd.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=80772&pageId=191894

Tony Fitzpatrick