62nd annual Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame set for Sunday


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62nd Annual Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Amarillo Civic Center’s Grand Plaza room.

Note: Admission is free to the public.

Local icons who made sports history and those who recorded its impact will headline the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon at the Amarillo Civic Center Grand Plaza.

Four new inductees into the PSHOF, along with coaches and athletes of the year from 2019 will all leave their mark in Texas Panhandle history.

PSHOF 184th inductee, Gene Arrington

Arrington was a selection from the veterans committee, which considers coaches and athletes whose achievements were 50 years or more ago. Arrington began playing basketball at Amarillo High in the mid-1950s, but was on the first basketball team at Palo Duro when the new school opened its doors in 1955.

It was one of the most remarkable debuts by any high school team in Panhandle history. The 1956 Dons won the Class 3A state championship in its first year of existence, and Arrington led the way by averaging nearly 20 points a game. PD defeated Beaumont French, 59-51, in Austin in the state title game.

He was the only Texan invited to play in the 1956 Cage Classic in Murray, Ky. That summer, he scored the first points in the new Lubbock Municipal Coliseum in an all-star game. That new coliseum was to be his basketball home for the next four years as he followed an old high school rival, Gerald Myers of Borger, to play for coach Polk Robison at Texas Tech.

At 6-foot-4, Arrington would be a three-year starter for the Red Raiders from 1957 to 1960. In 71 games for Tech, he scored 652 points and pulled down 409 rebounds. As a senior, he averaged 12.8 points and led Tech in rebounding at 6.7. Arrington was named to Look Magazine all-star team and NABC all-district team. Arrington is the father of U.S. Congressman Jodey Arrington. He lives in Plainview.

PSHOF 185 inductee, Mike Scroggins

Scroggins has been a fixture on the Professional Bowling Association tour and the PBA50, the seniors division, for more than 30 years. Scroggins, 55, bowled collegiately at West Texas State in its nationally competitive program. He turned professionally not long after that.

During his PBA career, against the best bowlers in the country, Scroggins, a left-hander, won eight titles, including two majors. His first tournament win came in his third year on tour in 1992 with the Sacramento Open. His final tournament win would be 18 years later in 2010 in the Etonic Don Johnson Eliminator in Columbus, Ohio. That year, Scroggins finished in a three-way tie for PBA Player of the Year points.

His two major tournament wins were the USBC Masters in 2005 and the Lumber Liquidators 66th U.S. Open in 2009. In the latter years of his career, he competed on the PBA50 tour where he won three titles, all in 2015.

Scroggins bowled 39 perfect 300 games in sanctioned PBA events. He finished with $1.45 million in career PBA earnings. He was elected to the PBA Hall of Fame in 2016, and inducted in 2017.

PSHOF 186th inductee, Wardell Gilbreath

Gilbreath burst to prominence in track at Amarillo High in the early 1970s. He won the 5A state championship at UIL state track meet in Austin in the 220 in 1972, running the half lap in 21.0.  That would be the lone individual state title on the track for AHS for the next 44 years.

Gilbreath would go on to compete at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs. At NMJC, he won the national junior college title in the 220 in 1973 in 20.6 seconds. Since meters would soon become the accepted distance, Gilbreath set a national junior college record in the event that won’t be broken.

In his time at NMJC, he was also runner-up in the 100, and ran a leg on the mile relay that finished third nationally. Gilbreath was one of the first NMJC sprinters to compete in multiple USA and World University Games. He was the Junior AAU International champion in the 220 in 1973. Gilbreath was inducted into the NMJC Hall of Fame in 2018.

Gilbreath signed with the University of Arizona where he was third in the NCAA championships in his specialty. He was a two-time All-America with the Wildcats in 1974 and 1976. In the Olympic year of 1976, he was ranked No. 1 in the world in the 200 for half the year.

Projected to make the 1976 Olympic team, Gilbreath pulled a muscle while leading the semifinals in the U.S. Olympic Trials that year that prevented him from making the team. His 20.2 seconds was still the third-fastest in the world.

Gilbreath continued to shine internationally over the next four years, including running a leg on a winning 400 relay in the Pacific Conference Games – competition between five Pacific nations – in hopes of making the 1980 Olympic team, but the U.S. boycott ended that dream.

Gilbreath and wife Audrey own one of the largest and oldest African-American marketing agencies in Houston, Gilbreath Communications.

PSHOF 187th inductee, JaNeen Eudy

Eudy ended a 41-year volleyball coaching career when she retired from Bushland in 2018.  A native of Hermosa Beach, Calif., she graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State in Weatherford. She spent 17 years coaching in the Ector County ISD in Odessa before making her way to the Texas Panhandle.

Amarillo High coach Jan Barker hired her as an assistant coach in 2000. She spent 12 years as the top assistant for the Lady Sandies where AHS won five state crowns during that period.

In 2013, she became a high school head coach for the first time when she was named to lead the Bushland program. Eudy made a late splash in her career, guiding the Lady Falcons program to unprecedented heights.

In her first year in 2013, Bushland won the 2A state title. The second state championship for the growing school district was the 4A crown in 2016. In Eudy’s six seasons, her teams compiled a 217-32 record, an .871 winning percentage. Her teams never lost a district match, going 48-0 in her span as head coach.

Here are the complete list of honorees:

2019 PSHOF Awards

Coaches of the Year

Baseball: Mike Fuller, San Jacinto Christian Academy

Basketball: Jeff Williams, Amarillo High

Cross Country: Terry Davis, Gruver High School

Football: Aaron Dunnam, Dumas High School

Golf: Meredith Jameson, West Texas A&M

Soccer: Charles Johnson, Jr., Canyon High School

Softball: Michael Rose, Bushland High School

Tennis: Cody Crouch, Hereford High School

Track: Ray Baca, Canyon High School

Volleyball (co): Catherine Forrester, Hereford High School; Haleigh Burns, Randall High School

Wrestling: David Quirino, Randall High School

Athletes of the Year

Baseball: Rhett Maynard, Amarillo High

Basketball: Zayla Tinner, Amarillo High

Cross Country: Ezekiel Kipchirchir, West Texas A&M

Football: Joseph Plunk, Tascosa High School

Golf: Loukyee Songprasert, West Texas A&M

Soccer: James Pacheco, Palo Duro High School

Softball: Candain Callahan, Canyon High School

Tennis: Tauber Short/Jackson Harwell, Amarillo High School

Track (co): Audrey Hughes, Canyon High

School; Breanna Stuart, Canyon High School

Volleyball: Emerson Solano, Amarillo High/Texas Tech

Wrestling: Seth Dixon, Hereford High School

Special Achievement Awards

Fatim Affesi, women’s track, West Texas A&M

Johnathon Ortegon, wrestling, Randall/University of Nebraska

Heston Kjerstad, baseball, Randall/University of Arkansas

Ben Crockett, Six-man football, McLean High School

Lou Ann Garrett, PSHOF service award , Amarillo

Super Team Award: Amarillo Sod Poodles, Texas League baseball champions

Big Play Award: Taylor Trammell, 9th-inning grand slam in deciding Texas League championship fifth game

Dick Risenhoover Award: Norman Grimes, track, Canyon HS/Texas Tech

Dee Henry Inspiration Award: Ryan Quaid, basketball, West Texas A&M

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