AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas football coach Mack Brown, former football stars Tony Brackens and Tom Campbell, tennis great Steve Denton, NCAA champ and Olympic swimmer Doug Gjertsen and vintage honorees Pat Rigby (baseball) and Larry Franks (basketball) were inducted this evening into the 50th class of the Longhorn Hall of Honor. The 50th anniversary banquet was held at the Four Seasons Hotel. The seven will also be honored at pregame festivities of the Texas-Oklahoma State football contest on Saturday.
Founded in 1957, the Longhorn Hall of Honor is one of the most cherished athletics traditions at The University of Texas. Inductees are a distinguished circle of individuals who have made a distinct and lasting contribution to The University of Texas.
The governing body -- the Longhorn Hall of Honor Council -- is made up exclusively of men who have lettered at The University of Texas. The Council is in charge of all arrangements for the vote of lettermen and for the installation banquet.
The 51-member Longhorn Hall of Honor court annually chooses four new members from a slate of 16 candidates. The candidates are presented by a nominating committee, which is composed of former athletes representing all nine Longhorn men's sports teams. To be eligible, a player must have finished their competition 10 years prior, and a coach or staff member must have been retired for five years.
The Vintage committee recommends the induction of no more than three players who competed at least 40 years ago. That committee also has the option to waive the rules to facilitate immediate induction of a deserving staff member who is still employed at UT, as is the case with Brown.
"…The recipient shall possess or shall have possessed in addition to outstanding ability in a sport, or sports, such qualifications as sportsmanship, character and integrity…and shall be one who has brought great honor and distinction to The University of Texas."
Mounted silver scrolls, which carry the announcement that they are presented 'In recognition of those qualities that brought credit and renown to The University of Texas,' are presented to the honorees. In addition, a large portrait of each honoree is hung in the athletic department on the second floor of Bellmont Hall.
TONY BRACKENS (Football, 1993-95)
A three-time All-Southwest Conference selection and All-American at defensive end in 1995, he was a member of the 1995 American Football Coaches Association Good Works team for his community involvement off the field as well. He played a major role in leading Texas to the final Southwest Conference Championship, a 10-1 regular season in 1995 and a Bowl Alliance berth in the 1996 Nokia Sugar Bowl. He was a second round draft choice of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1996 and played his entire eight-year NFL career with Jacksonville, earning Pro Bowl recognition in 2000. He was known as one of the quickest, hardest hitting Longhorns and caused five fumbles in his final season. For his career, he was credited with 24 sacks, which ranked eighth among all Longhorn defenders at the time. He retired from pro football after the 2003 season and now lives with his family on a ranch near his hometown of Fairfield.
MACK BROWN (Football Coach, 1998- )
Entering his 32nd year of coaching and his 23rd as a head coach, Mack Brown has returned Texas to the pinnacle of college football as he enters his ninth season with the Longhorns. Only Darrell Royal (20), D.X. Bible (10) and Fred Akers (10) have spent more time as the Texas head coach. His 90 victories in nine seasons rank second behind only Royal as the winningest coach in UT history. His .818 winning percentage is the best ever at Texas. His team entered the 2006 season as the defending National Champion following the victory over USC in the Rose Bowl, and riding a 20-game winning streak. Since October 11, 2003, his teams have posted a record of 38-3. Credited for rekindling the spirit of Texas, he has also stressed success in the classroom with 51 members of the 2005 team earning at least a 3.0 GPA, and 16 players graduating before the January 4, 2006 kickoff of the BCS National Championship game.
TOM CAMPBELL (Football, 1968-69)
A walk-on as a freshman, Campbell was named the Outstanding Defensive Player in the 1969 Cotton Bowl victory over Tennessee, was a key player in the 1969 National Championship season, and was selected as a consensus All-SWC defensive back that year. One of the twin sons of Longhorn defensive coach Mike Campbell, Tom finished his career with 13 interceptions, leading the SWC in this stat in 1969, and was spectacularly significant on specific plays in his two years as a starter. His two interceptions in the Tennessee game earned him the Cotton Bowl honor, but it would be two plays in the last two games of his senior season of 1969 which would alter the course of Texas football history. The first came after the Longhorns had taken a 15-14 lead over Arkansas in the "Game of the Century" matching the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country. As the Razorbacks drove for what could have been a game-winning score with 2:22 remaining, Campbell picked off Bill Montgomery's pass at the Longhorn 21-yard line, sealing the victory and putting Texas in the Cotton Bowl game against Notre Dame. In the Notre Dame game, Campbell preserved a 21-17 Longhorn victory with his interception of a Joe Theismann pass as the Irish were driving to a winning touchdown in the waning moments of the game. Currently, Campbell resides in Austin and is in private business.
STEVE DENTON (Tennis, 1976-79)
A hard-serving doubles specialist who also developed into one of the nation's top singles players as a pro, Denton earned All-America honors in 1978 by reaching the NCAA singles quarterfinals. He compiled an impressive 85-22 singles record at UT, which ranks third on the school's winning percentage list kept since 1972. He won the U.S. Tennis Association amateur indoor and Southwest Conference doubles title with Kevin Curren in 1979 and teamed with Curren to win the U.S. Open doubles crown in 1982. He won 20 doubles pro titles during his career. He was a finalist in both the 1981 and `82 Australian Open singles and reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1982. He was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup teams in 1982 and `83 and earned world rankings of No. 2 in doubles and No. 112 in singles. In 1984, Denton set a service record of 138 mph that would stand for 13 years until it was broken in 1997 by Mark Philippousis. He was inducted into the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame in the 1990s. Among Denton's professional victories were wins over Boris Becker, John McEnroe and Kevin Curren. Denton is currently the men's tennis Head Coach at Texas A&M.
LARRY FRANKS (Basketball, 1963-65)
As a sophomore, Franks was a key cog on the 1963 Southwest Conference championship team. As a senior in 1965, he earned All-SWC honors when his clutch shooting, passing and rebounding helped lead UT to another conference title. He scored 955 points in three seasons at Texas. He was a four-sport star at Nacogdoches High School where he earned 12 letters. He was All-State in football, basketball and track and was inducted into the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 1986. After graduating from UT, he served as a U.S. Naval officer and then went on to a banking career in Austin and San Marcos. In 1990, he was named Associate AD for External Services for the Men's Athletics Department and served in this position for two years. Franks died in 2001 and is survived by his wife, Kelly, and two daughters.
DOUG GJERTSEN (Swimming, 1987-90)
A three-time NCAA individual champion and an 11-time NCAA relay champion, Gjertsen was a member of the Texas Longhorn NCAA Championship teams of 1988, 1989 and 1990. He was elected tri-captain during his senior year. He was a two-time Olympic gold medalist in 1988 (Seoul), and an Olympic bronze medalist in 1992 (Barcelona). He was also a one-time world record holder as a member of the United States 4x200 freestyle relay. In his 13th year as head coach at Swim Atlanta, Gjertsen has helped over 75 athletes continue their swimming careers in Division I, II and III schools. During his tenure at Swim Atlanta, he has coached several athletes to top eight finishes at the U.S. Nationals and has had several Olympic Trial qualifiers. In the summer of 2004, he coached the U.S. National "Rookie of the Meet." Gjertsen and his wife and children reside in McDonough, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta.
PAT RIGBY (Baseball, 1960-62)
First-team All-America second baseman who led the 1962 Longhorns in hitting with a .371 average. He helped lead two teams (1961 and '62) to the College World Series, posting a team-best 43 hits in each season in an era when a regular season consisted of only 24 games. He earned first-team All-Southwest Conference honors at third base in 1961 and second base in 1962. He played four years of professional baseball in the Chicago White Sox organization after college, then entered private business in the Dallas area. Rigby returned to baseball in 1989, serving as a volunteer coach at Dallas Baptist University before being hired by the Texas Rangers as a scout -- a position he was holding at the time of his death in 1997. In 2003, he was inducted into the Texas Scouts Association Hall of Fame.
For more information on the UT Men's Athletics Hall of Honor, contact The T-Association.