Written by | Dakota Kessler
The Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame has been an institution in Amarillo since 1958, recognizing sports-oriented individuals and inducting them into the hall. It once was located in the second floor lobby between Parcells Hall and the Byrd Business Building at Amarillo College, and the annual ceremony took place in Ordway Auditorium. This year, the hall has relocated to the Kids Incorporated Warehouse at 2201 E 27th Avenue, and the Feb. 14 ceremony took place in the Grand Plaza of the Amarillo Civic Center.
Four more people entered the Hall of Fame this year as the 167th, 168th, 169th and 170th inductees. The 167th inductee is James Mayberry, who had a stellar career with Tascosa, the University of Colorado and in the NFL. In 1973 and 1974, Mayberry eclipsed 1,200 rushing yards both seasons, including 347 total yards and four touchdowns against Amarillo High. Playing at Colorado from 1975 to 1978, he finished as the Buffs’ No. 2 all-time rusher with 2,550 yards.
In 1978, Mayberry earned All-Big Eight honors with 1,299 rushing yards, including seven 100-yard games. He set a University of Colorado school record with 40 carries against Kansas State and gained 250 yards against Oklahoma. Taken in the third round of the 1979 NFL draft by Atlanta Falcons, Mayberry played three seasons, gaining 347 yards as a reserve back and playing on special teams. Today, he is a care provider in Amarillo for mentally handicapped adults.
“It’s a great honor to be inducted, and I send all the glory to God,” Mayberry said. The 168th inductee is Jack Wilson, who led Dumas to five state volleyball titles over an 18-year span. A Dumas native, Wilson was promoted to the job from the junior high in 1988 and took the Lady Demons to three consecutive titles from 1988 to 1990. He added state titles in 1998 and 2006. In his 24 years until his retirement in 2012, Wilson’s teams compiled a record of 713-211. In addition to the five state titles, Dumas made nine state tournament appearances, and 15 times Wilson’s teams went to the regional tournament.
“When you get something like this, you feel so undeserving, because there are so many people involved,” Wilson said. “But I’m so grateful.” The 169th inductee is Heather Murrell Houston, who became the first high school track
athlete in Texas Panhandle history to win four state titles in the same four individual events while competing for Spearman in the 1980s. The sweep of the Class 2A 400 meters came from 1986 to 1989. Her first state title as a freshman, despite qualifying seventh out of eight, came near midnight in the weather-delayed state meet.
She ran the race in 58.1 seconds. For the next three years, she dominated the event, winning all three times in the mid-55-seconds. Houston’s 55.4 best is the second-fastest time by a girl in area history. Houston was among the first class of women to receive track scholarships at Southern Methodist University. She set five school records at SMU, and her 2:06.7 time in the 800 meters was a provisional time for the 1992 NCAA meet and U.S. Olympic Trials. She lives in Houston with her husband David and two young sons.
“It’s such a nice honor, and I’m so excited to be here,” Houston said. “I look so fondly back on my track days in Spearman.” The final inductee for this year, the 170th into the Hall of Fame and the first chosen as a part of the veterans’ selection for athletes and/or coaches who competed at least 50 years ago, is Clayton “Mack” Carter. Carter earned the veterans induction as one of the top basketball players from the Panhandle in the 1950s.
As a 6-4 post, Carter led the Borger Bulldogs to consecutive berths in the Class 4A state tournament, and his 75 points in the 1952 tournament was a record. Carter had 27 points – more than half the Bulldogs’ total – in a 56-51 loss to Fort Worth Poly in the 1952 state title game. Carter went on to play at Oklahoma A&M, now Oklahoma State, under legendary coach Hank Iba. He started all three years for the Aggies as they went to the NCAA tournament in 1954 and NIT in 1956.
Carter was second-team All-Missouri Valley Conference in 1955 and a first-team selection in 1956, when he averaged 15 points and 6.3 rebounds. He was drafted by the Rochester Royals of the NBA. Carter has spent much of his adult life in California and lives in San Clemente. More than 30 family members came from California and other states for the Feb. 14 ceremony. “Thank you to all the people who are responsible for this,” Carter said. “I’m glad to be here, and I want to thank this hall.” All four inductees received blazers provided by Raffkind’s at a news conference Feb. 13 at Kids Inc.