Museum Grand Opening to Top Off Tonight's Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet

Museum Grand Opening to Top Off Tonight's Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet
Posted on 04/12/2014
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Pasadena ISD Hall of Famer George Cheshire pays a visit to the new Hall of Fame museum to donate his Baylor and Pasadena High letter jackets for display. Roneka Lee (at right), the assistant athletics director for the Pasadena ISD, is coordinating the collection of memorabilia.
newFor Pasadena -- and for the school district that serves the city and surrounding communities – the facility ranks as nothing less than a first-of-its-kind attraction to honor one-of-a-kind athletes.

The Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame Museum will open to the public on Saturday night at the conclusion of the Hall of Fame’s third annual induction banquet at Phillips Field House.

Banquet attendees will get a first-night look at the 3,000 square-foot museum, an extension to the Phillips complex that was included in renovations made possible by the 2011 Pasadena ISD bond vote.

The museum will honor 26 former Pasadena ISD athletes and coaches, six of whom will be inducted during the banquet. Twelve were inducted in 2012 and eight more last year while the museum was still under construction.

The list of previous inductees includes such multi-sports legends as Bert Coan and Mickey McCarty. It includes former major-league baseball players Bill Henry, Dave Freisleben and Fritz Connally; pro football veterans Randy Kerbow, Dan McIlhany and Mike Kirkland; former Doak Walker Award winner Trevor Cobb; and two-time Olympic gold-medal winner Christa Williams.

This year’s induction list includes the man for whom the field house is named -- the late Weldon “Stoney” Phillips, who served for 23 years as the district’s first director of athletics.

Phillips helped build Pasadena High into a state football powerhouse as the Eagles head coach from 1951 to 1957. In 1957, he moved to administration and helped establish athletics programs at three new schools in an 11-year period -- and oversaw the construction of a facilities complex that remains the foundation of Pasadena ISD sports.

Also slated for induction this year are:

* Lanny White, an all-state halfback and standout baseball player at Pasadena High in the late 1960s;

* Wes Hubert, a standout lineman for South Houston High who went on to earn All-Southwest Conference honors at the University of Texas in the late 1970s;

* John Holmes, a South Houston grad who ranked as one of the nation’s top distance runners in the 1980s;

* Alicia Mills Polzin, a state high-jump champion for Dobie High in 1988 who also starred on the volleyball court for both the Lady Longhorns and Long Beach State;

* And Gene McCarley, a basketball star at Pasadena in the 1950s who went on to play at Baylor and then coach in the Pasadena ISD.

Several inductees have donated memorabilia items to the new museum, everything from letter jackets to track medals to a 1950s-style Pasadena High football helmet, provided by Kerbow, who quarterbacked the Eagles to the 1958 state championship game.

Other museum features include all-sports murals at both entrances, video monitors for inductee slideshow presentations and a glass-wall display bearing the names of the Hall of Fame’s founding donors.

Plaques will also be included to honor the banquet’s first three guest emcees: former ABC sports broadcaster Dan Lovett, former Houston Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini and this year’s guest emcee, former Houston Astros pitcher, broadcaster and field manager Larry Dierker.

For the second year in a row, scholarships will be presented to two Pasadena ISD senior athletes. Recipients are Pasadena High distance runner Emely Morgado and Sam Rayburn High football player Jose Perales.

For the third consecutive year, the banquet is a sellout.

Guests will include 10 previous inductees: Henry, Freisleben, Kerbow, Kirkland, Cobb, Carl Choate, George Cheshire and Amanda Buffalo. Relatives of  McCarty and the late Mickey Spencer will also be on hand.

The banquet starts at 6 p.m. with an autograph and photo session to follow in the museum.

A reception will be held at 5 p.m. for inductees, school district officials and Hall of Fame donors. Tucker and Cheshire, both former Pasadena High track standouts, will cut a ceremonial ribbon and a contingent of current Pasadena ISD track athletes will take part in a “breaking of the tape” ceremony to open the Hall of Fame doors for the first time.

Plans are to open the museum to the public on football game days and other special occasions.

The gallery of inductee plaques awaits visitors in the new Hall of Fame.

Roneka Lee and George Cheshire marvel at some of the memorabilia donated by Hall of Fame inductees, including Randy Kerbow, who contributed his Pasadena High beanie and his helmet from the 1958 season. The 1958 Eagles are the only Pasadena ISD team to play in a state football championship game.