Women's Hall of Honor welcomes fifth class of inductees
AUSTIN, Texas — At the fifth annual UT Women's Athletics Hall of Honor luncheon on Friday (Nov. 5), six new members were enshrined at the awards ceremony with more than 400 in attendance. The event, held at the Lone Star Room in the Frank Erwin Center, saw four distinguished former Longhorn student-athletes, one former national championship coach, and a special Legacy Award recipient all recognized for their tremendous achievements at UT and beyond.
The new inductees bring the total of Women's Hall of Honor members to 30. This year's class ranges from the Hall's first "Legacy Award" winner (Myrtle Mathisen Westerfeldt, who competed as a "T Girl" in the 1920's - in volleyball, riflery and swimming – prior to organized intercollegiate athletics for women and the use of the nickname "Lady Longhorns" to "Longhorns"; to basketball player Cathy Steinle Self-Morgan, who captained UT's first varsity basketball team and played from 1974-77 before going on to a distinguished Texas high school coaching career at nearby Westlake High School and now Duncanville High School).
Two standout inductees starred in the late AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) era and early NCAA days – current LPGA golfing great Cindy Figg-Currier, who starred at UT from 1978-92, and Robbin Coleman-Bell, a sprint and relay star on the track and field squads (1979-82) who won five AIAW titles and who continues to hold the school record in the 600-yard run – 22 years after finishing competition.
The Class of 2004 extends to two more prominent Longhorns from the 1980's: former swim head coach Richard Quick, who burst onto the UT scene in 1983 and, five years later when he moved to Stanford University, had directed his Longhorns to five consecutive NCAA national championships while developing 25 NCAA individual champions and 17 Olympic swimmers in the process; and, former All-America shooting guard Bev Williams, a key contributor on Jody Conradt's NCAA championship team in 1986 who helped UT compile a stunning record of 125-8 during her tenure from 1984-88.
The six 2004 inductees were nominated this spring, and selection was conducted by the 21-member UT Women's Athletics Hall of Honor Selection Committee, chaired by Myra McDaniel. The Women's Hall of Honor began five years ago as part of a celebration of 25 years of women's athletics at The University of Texas.
Both the UT Women's Hall of Honor and UT Men's Longhorn Hall of Honor held their induction ceremonies on November 5, as ceremonies were held in conjunction with the November 6th Texas-Oklahoma State football game. All the Hall of Honor inductees will be honored at the UT-OSU football game.
And, although these six honorees came from different eras and from diverse sports such as track and field, basketball, swimming, golf, and, in the case of the Legacy Award winner – riflery, volleyball and swimming – the words and themes they talked about Friday afternoon were similar.
Over and over, those gathered heard:
"it's a beautiful and proud day to be a Longhorn";
"I am so blessed at the opportunities which came my way at UT";
"receiving this honor makes me feel old – but so appreciated";
"Texas Women's Athletics taught me about pride, tradition, and being the best in all that you do";
"no one in Texas Women's Athletics would settle for anything less than us being great athletes, great students, and great people, all at the same time";
"it is the characteristic of this (women's athletics) department to take care of its student-athletes in a unique, caring and distinct way"; and
"there were so many great people – coaches and staff members – who encouraged me and helped all of us women understand what it meant to push ourselves, and what excellence really means".
There were many great words of appreciation, reflection and insight from the Hall of Honor inductees. Below are some of their thoughts as they spoke to the gathering on the day of their enshrinement into the Hall of Honor.
Thoughts from the Hall of Honor Class of 2004
"I'm from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, a town which is about half the size of The University of Texas! I remember when I was looking at schools, my mother wanted me to stay close to home and go to Michigan State. My dad told me to take opportunities given me, to get outside of my comfort zone and get out and see other places. When I came here on my recruiting visit in the spring of 1983, I met so many great people and felt everyone's pride in this University. It was the pride to become the best at everything you did. If I had to do it all again, I would – I would come here to Texas. There were visionaries here, like (former UT Women's AD) Donna Lopiano and great coaches; they all shared this vision of striving for excellence. UT is about producing strong graduates, not just athletes."
"I'm honored to be part of this Class. In 1981, Dr. Lopiano took a chance on a young, less-than-mature coach – and I thank her for that! It is the characteristic of this (women's athletics) department to take care of its student-athletes in a unique, caring and distinct way. Everyone was always interested in having our student-athletes be successes as human beings, not just as athletes ... As a coach, you can never say 'thank you' enough to the athletes you've had the privilege of working with, and I say 'thank you' today... What really counts is having an athletics department like this women's department where they are intent on building the lives of student-athletes. Although I am not in Austin anymore – once you are a Longhorn, you are ALWAYS a Longhorn."
"I'm 49 years old, and lucky to have opportunities throughout my life. My message is to take every one of the opportunities you have and run with them. When I was in sixth grade, I discovered basketball – I was skinny, with braces and low self-esteem, and basketball gave me the self-esteem I needed ... What I learned best from (her former coach) Jody Conradt was how important it was to network through women's sports and take care of what we have going, and I learned from her and others here at UT about professionalism and to give back to basketball ... To the young ladies here playing for UT – you are blessed. Recognize the gifts you are given and be grateful – and give back."
"Upon my mother's death in 1999, I came across in her possessions what I call her 'treasure box'. In it were photos, letters, newspaper stories, scrapbook materials – all about her and her activities at Texas. We never ever knew about them, and they were waiting to be discovered. How sad to find this after she died and never have the chance to share it with others. My father, Wilbur Callan "Westy" Westerfeldt, was track captain here for Coach Clyde Littlefield. He was on the Men's Hall of Honor nomination committee for quite a while, and, he never felt comfortable having himself nominated. When he left the committee, there was no one left from his era to nominate him! And now, it's my mother who enters the Hall of Honor. How ironic life can be... My mother was ahead of her time, with an attitude of absolute equality ... Now, I get to receive this award for her. Thanks for acknowledging her achievements, and thanks for fixing my heart."
"I thank everyone here for the opportunity to play at this great University. I am the first one to graduate from a university in my family – and my mom has my diploma at her home and won't give it back to me! I love this place, and was given a great opportunity to succeed ... I have fond, fond memories of my days at UT. It doesn't matter when you went to school here, you never change – you are always a Longhorn."