Athletics Hall of Fame Committee sets new date at a new location

Athletics Hall of Fame Committee sets new date at a new location
Posted on 04/19/2021
Athletics Hall of Fame Committee sets new date at a new locationAthletics Hall of Fame 2022

By Reesha Brown, with contributions by Kadey Heidrich & Rebeca Lazo

It’s taken almost a full year, but the show must go on. And on Thursday, April 28, 2022, the much anticipated Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame Induction ceremony will be back to induct the Class of 2020. The 2020 event was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

With so much uncertainty still surrounding COVID-19, program organizers felt it would be in the best interests of everyone involved to push back the date one more year and secure a location that allows for social distancing.

The event, which was previously held at Pasadena ISD’s Phillips Stadium since 2014, will take place next year at the Pasadena Convention Center.

“Our committee is planning a fun and safe induction banquet event for our honored inductees and guests. We appreciate the support and patience of our sponsors and ticket holders. This should be a great evening of fellowship and celebration of the inductees with Pasadena ISD leaders, alumni, friends, supporters from the business community and Pasadena ISD students,” said Bill Barmore, Hall of Fame committee chairman. 

The Athletics Hall of Fame banquet, now in its eighth year, will celebrate and honor the athletics achievements of 10 inductees, including five athletes, three coaches, a family and one team.

The inductees were selected for their exemplary athletics and coaching careers, in addition to inspiring the next generation of college and professional athletes and coaches.

With the change of venue, program organizers are optimistic that the event next year will be a chance to “go big” and do so in the safest way possible.

Here are the inductees:

  • Charlie Goehring – Track and Cross Country Coach (1971-2007)
  • TJ Mills (deceased) – Football Coach (1977-2005)
  • Wilburn Raby – Track Coach (1952-1980)
  • Steve Prentice – Swimmer, South Houston H.S. (Class of 1970)
  • Bryan Willingham – Football, Pasadena H.S. (Class of 1971)
  • Ron Schroeder – Golf, Sam Rayburn H.S. (Class of 1975)
  • Marlen Esparza – Boxing, Pasadena H.S. (Class of 2007)
  • Bo Snelson – Football, Pasadena Memorial H.S. (Class of 2009)
  • Snelson Family, including Billie (deceased), and her two sons John and Andy
  • J. Frank Dobie H.S Girls Softball Team, 1993 State Champion

Charlie Goehring – Track and Cross Country Coach (1971-2007)

An alumnus of Pasadena High School, Charlie Goehring coached track and cross-country in Pasadena ISD for well over 30 years. While     attending PHS, Goehring earned two varsity letters in football and was a wide receiver on the Eagles’ state runner-up team. After graduating from the University of Houston, Goehring coached at various schools throughout Pasadena ISD and spent 16 years as the head boys’ cross country and track coach for South Houston High School and 10 years coaching boys’ cross country at Pasadena High School. Goehring retired in 2008 and was inducted into the Hall of Honor of the Gulf Coast Scholastic Track Coaches Association in 2009.

T.J. Mills – Football Coach (1977-2005)

As head coach of the Sealy Tiger football team, T. J. Mills became one of only two 11-man coaches in Texas HS football history to lead a team to four straight state titles from 1993 to 1997. The Tigers were 63-1 during that time, with a streak of 24-straight playoff victories. The four-peat consecutive winning streak produced 20 first-team All-State players. His Sealy team reached the title game again in 1999. Mills coached the Tigers for 14 years before continuing his coaching career at Odessa Permian High School and then La Porte HS. While Mills retired in 2005, he continued to earn multiple accolades including Coach of the Year by the Texas Sports Writers Association, also a four-peat victory. He was later enshrined in the Texas High School Coaches Association’s Hall of Honor in 2014. Mills graduated from Pasadena High School in 1972 and played quarterback, receiver and defensive lineman on the football team, in addition to playing baseball and basketball. He married his high school sweetheart and classmate Becky Chambers Mills.

Wilburn Raby – Track Coach (1952-1980)

Wilburn “Willy” Raby coached track and cross country in Pasadena ISD for 27 years. While growing up in Corsicana, he played football and basketball during high school. After bravely serving in the Navy during World War II, he attended Navarro College and Daniel Baker College, playing football for both schools. Raby went on to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Sam Houston State and began his Pasadena ISD coaching career in 1953 with a two-year stint at Jackson Junior High. Raby spent 14 years as the head track and cross country coach at Sam Rayburn High School, leading the Texans to two district titles and one regional team title.

Bryan Willingham – Football, Pasadena H.S. (Class of 1971)

Bryan Willingham, a graduate of Pasadena High School, was the go-to receiver for the Eagles football team. While playing in the 1971 Texas Coaches Association All-Star Game, Willingham set a record with 11 catches for 166 yards and three touchdown grabs. After high school, Willingham attended the University of Houston and lettered for three years as a receiver. He performed exceptionally well during his junior year of college, catching an impressive 83-yard touchdown pass and completing 16 catches for 328 yards.

Marlen Esparza – Boxing, Pasadena H.S. (Class of 2007)

Marlen Esparza is a barrier-breaking Olympic boxer who won the bronze medal in the Women’s Flyweight Division at the 2012 Olympics in London. Esparza graduated from Pasadena High School in 2007, where she ran cross-country, participated in swimming and competed in debate. As a high school junior, Esparza won the bronze medal in the 2006 Women’s World Boxing Championship. Today, Marlen has a professional boxing record of 9-1 with Golden Boy Productions and she is a member of the PHS Alumni Hall of Honor.

Steve Prentice – Swim, South Houston H.S. (Class of 1970)

Steve Prentice is a graduate of South Houston High School’s class of 1970. While attending SHHS,  Prentice lettered in swimming all four years, earned All-American honors and was elected as the president of his senior class. After graduation, Prentice attended Texas A&M and quickly became known as one of the Southwest Conference’s most accomplished swimmers. He qualified for the NCAA meet in each of his four years. While attending A&M, he served as the team captain for three seasons and set school records for three individual events.

Ron Schroeder – Golf, Sam Rayburn High School (Class of 1975)

Ron Schroeder is a standout golfer who has played in amateur and professional leagues. During his high school career, Schroeder was known as the district’s top golfer and he was the Pasadena ISD individual champion, district champion and an all-city honoree. As an amateur, Schroeder won the Greater Houston Amateur Championship five times. While playing professionally, he has won multiple tournaments and was named the Southern Texas PGA senior player of the year in 2017. In 2018, he won the Texas open and in April of 2019, he won the PGA’s Senior Series for the second time.

Bo Snelson – Football, Pasadena Memorial H.S. (Class of 2009)

Bo Snelson lettered in football, track and baseball before graduating in 2009 from Pasadena Memorial. After his senior season of football, he was named an Old Spice Red Zone National Player of the Year, a title given to only 50 players throughout the U.S. Snelson attended the United States Naval Academy after graduating from high school and was the team captain of the football team, where he was known for his leadership skills as well as his statistical contributions.  After receiving his commission, Snelson graduated from the Marine Corps Officer’s School and he now serves as a Series Commander and Infantry Officer for the Marine Corps in San Diego.

Dobie Softball Team 1993 State Champion

Dobie’s 12-member 1993 Lady Longhorn softball team made history after winning the school’s first softball championship, 1-0, against     Tomball. Christa Williams, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and PISD Hall of Famer, led the Lady Longhorns to the title, pitching a three-hitter and striking out 11 -- outdueling an equally matched Tomball pitcher and scoring on a fielding error. Dobie earned a seat on the road to state after pounding El Paso Bel Air for 17 hits in a 10-2 victory in the semi-finals.

Snelson Family/Billie Snelson (deceased), and her two sons Andy and John

Billie Snelson – Former Basketball and Volleyball Coach

Billie M. Snelson graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1948, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She played basketball at Oklahoma Baptist University, using that background to coach basketball and volleyball during her 31-year-long career in Pasadena ISD.

Andy Snelson – Football, Sam Rayburn H.S. (Class of 1974)

Andy Snelson, a graduate of Sam Rayburn High School, was an All-State sprinter in track and three-year letterman in football, earning      multiple All-District awards. Andy’s record-breaking 9.4 seconds in the 100-yard dash and 21.6 seconds in the 220-yard dash are still among the top in Pasadena ISD history. At Sam Rayburn, he was coached by Odell Harrison and soon-to-be PISD Hall of Famer Wilburn “Willy” Raby. Coach Raby enjoyed taking his 1973 and 1974 track team all over the state, displaying the talents of his boys. After graduation, Snelson attended the University of Houston, where he sprinted for Coach Johnny Morris and Tom Tellez. He also attended Odessa College for one year under Coach James Segrest. Due to injuries, Snelson never finished up his career at University of Houston. He is now retired and resides in Pasadena.

John Snelson – Football/Baseball, Sam Rayburn (Class of 1986)/Memorial Football Coach

John Snelson’s Pasadena roots run deep. He graduated from Sam Rayburn High School with an impressive high school football resume. Coached under Charlie Lyles, John became one of the football program’s top players, starting three years. A four-year letterman in baseball, John was also a member of Rayburn’s 1985 baseball team that played for the Class 5A state championship under head coach Al Campo. From the gridiron to the sidelines, John channeled his experiences as a standout athlete into his coaching. He joined the Memorial Mavs’ coaching staff as the team’s defensive coordinator during the football program’s inaugural year in 2003. In 2006, Tom Ed Gooden stepped down from his head coaching position at Memorial and John filled in. With John at the helm, Pasadena Memorial’s football program was the first to advance to the third round of the playoffs for a district title since the 1960s in 2007, falling to Katy in the Class 5A Division II regional semi-finals. Memorial won their first district championship in 2009, going 6-1 in district 22-5A after winning against Pearland and La Porte. In 2006, John joined the Dickinson Gators football program as head coach, where he’s tallied 112-55, some of the most wins in Gator history.

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