UTRGV announces 2022 athletics Hall of Fame class

Local Sports

EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Athletics Hall of Fame Committee announced on Tuesday the 2022 Athletics Hall of Fame class.

It includes the 1987-90 women’s cross country teams, former men’s basketball student-athlete Jim Board, former women’s tennis student-athlete Barbara (Barrera) Gonzales, and former baseball student-athlete Joe Hernandez. The committee also announced that former baseball student-athlete Rene Torres has earned induction into the Hall of Honor.

The Athletics Hall of Fame and Hall of Honor induction luncheon is scheduled to take place in the UTRGV Ballroom on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 11 a.m.

This class was initially chosen during the summer of 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the induction ceremony was delayed by one year.

Space is limited and those planning to attend are asked to RSVP in advance by contacting UTRGV Assistant Athletic Director for Development Rogelio Chanes at (956) 665-4069 or rogelio.chanes01@utrgv.edu.

1987-90 American South Conference Championship Teams

The 1987-90 women’s cross country teams won four straight American South Conference Championships. Head coach Reid Harter (Hall of Fame Class of 2012) was named American South Conference Coach of the Year each season.

The 1987 title was the first NCAA Division I conference championship in department history. Nancy Mireles (Hall of Fame Class of 2010) won the individual American South Conference Championship. Five student-athletes earned All-American South Conference honors, including Mireles, Debra De Los Santos, Diane Garcia, Shanna Hale, and Thelma Morales.

The 1988 team also took home team and individual titles, as Morales won the individual championship. Four student-athletes earned All-American South Conference honors, including Morales, De Los Santos, Garcia, and Hale. Harter also repeated as American South Conference Coach of the Year. Four of the top-six three-mile race times in program history were set during the season, including Hale with the program record (17:26.0) and sixth-fastest (then fourth at 17:50.7) times and Morales with the third (then second) and fourth (then third) at 17:40.6 and 17:42.0, respectively.

The 1989 team had five student-athletes earn All-American South Conference honors, including Laurie Arteaga, Garcia, Hale, Morales, and Sylvia Rodriguez. Two of the top 10 three-mile race times in program history were set during the season as Hale ran an 18:00.0, ranking ninth (then fifth) while Morales ran an 18:09.0, ranking 10th (then sixth).

The 1990 team saw Rodriguez earn All-District VI honors. Additionally, three student-athletes were on the All-American South Conference Team, including Rodriguez, Dimitri Pierce, and Debra Devine.

“It is an honor to be recognized with the talented and dedicated student-athletes,” Harter said. “It is truly unusual to be supported by such a driven group of athletes and coaches.”

1987 Roster

Debra De Los Santos

Debra Devine

Diana Garcia

Letty Gomez

Shanna Hale

Nancy Mireles

Thelma Morales

Vanessa Moreno

Cindy Pena

Yvette Portales

Lucy Ramirez

Sonia Rodriguez

1988 Roster

Debra De Los Santos

Debra Devine

Diana Garcia

Shanna Hale

Thelma Morales

Vanessa Moreno

Cindy Pena

Yvette Portales

Lucy Ramirez

Sonia Rodriguez

Sylvia Rodriguez

Valerie Soto

1989 Roster

Laura Arteaga

Debra Devine

Diana Garcia

Shanna Hale

Thelma Morales

Vanessa Moreno

Cindy Pena

Yvette Portales

Sonia Rodriguez

Sylvia Rodriguez

Valerie Soto

Cathy Tanner

1990 Roster

Laura Arteaga

Debra Devine

Dimitri (Pierce) Kennedy

Vanessa Moreno

Sylvia Rodriguez

Valerie Soto

Cathy Tanner

Head Coach: Reid Harter

Assistant Coach: Doug Erickson

Jim Board, Men’s Basketball, 1962-65

Jim Board took over as starting point guard in 1963-64, earning NAIA All-American Honorable Mention by leading the men’s basketball team to an NAIA National Runner-Up finish while averaging 9.0 points and 3.0 rebounds and shooting 47.2% from the field and 76.2% from the foul line. In 1964-65, Board led his team to the NAIA District Playoffs by averaging 10.9 points while shooting 36.6% from the field and 81.8 percent from the foul line. He was also part of the Hall of Fame 1962-63 NAIA National Championship Team. Board was inducted into the Hall of Honor in 2011 because of his philanthropic efforts on behalf of UTRGV Athletics.

“It’s certainly an honor,” Board said. “Being inducted with all the other great athletes is a real pleasure and a truly humbling thought. I appreciate everything that’s been done to establish the Hall of Fame over the years and I’m looking forward to the ceremony.”

Barbara (Barrera) Gonzales, Women’s Tennis, 1987-90

Barbara Gonzales is the third-winningest player in program history with 107 total career wins. She ranks third in program history in career doubles wins with 52 and fourth in career singles wins with 55. Gonzales recorded the second-highest single-season wins total in program history in 1990 with 39, including 18 doubles wins with Mary Jane Mayer, tied for the third-highest total, and 21 singles wins, tied for the fourth-highest total. In 1989, Gonzales earned 17 doubles win with Gail MacIssac, tied for the fifth-highest single-season total in program history. The 1989 team won the American South Conference Championship and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

“I would like to thank the Hall of Fame voters for their decision to induct me into the Hall of Fame,” Gonzales said. “Representing the university’s women’s tennis program is an incredible honor and privilege and an accomplishment that I will always cherish with great pride. This award is shared with Coach David Cross, my team, which was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020, my family, and Denver City, my hometown. All of them played an essential role in this honor and I just want to say thank you.”

Joe Hernandez, Baseball, 1974-75

Joe Hernandez was a 1975 NCAA and AABC All-American. He graduated as the program-record holder in career batting average (.371, now tied for third) while ranking fifth in stolen bases (47, now 10th). Hernandez set the single-season program records for hits (92), total bases (144, now second), RBI (69, now third), batting average (.400, now fifth), at-bats (230, now fifth), and home runs (11, now eighth). His 1975 stats also include 51 runs scored, 15 doubles, two triples, 29 stolen bases, 30 walks compared to 14 strikeouts, and a team-high .626 slugging percentage in 68 games. Hernandez was drafted by the Chicago Cubs as an outfielder in the 26th round of 1975 MLB Draft. He was part of the 1975 team that was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018 for posting the highest winning percentage (.900) in program history by going 63-7, the second-highest win total in program history and the third-lowest loss total. The 1975 team advanced to NCAA South Central Regionals, finishing runner-up to Texas. The team got off to 21-2 start and won program-record 20-straight game after starting 1-2 and featured eight other Hall of Fame players and coaches, including Ron EdquistJesse TrinidadJim ProctorJack EwingTommy SimpsonBobby RutledgeAl Ogletree, and Reggie Tredaway.

“I am truly blessed to be able to have an impact on teammates and family worthy of induction to the Hall of Fame both on and off the playing field,” Hernandez said.

Hall of Honor

Rene Torres, Baseball, 1966-69

Rene Torres attended Pan American College from 1966 to 1969 on a baseball scholarship. He set the program record for most consecutive games without an error at 46 and is currently tied for seventh overall while ranking fifth among pure outfielders. Torres made just one error in three years as the starting center fielder. He hit .700 during a 10-game hitting streak in 1969 and helped the baseball team to NCAA District Playoffs against Texas in 1968 and the NAIA playoffs against Tarleton in 1966. He also played on the freshman basketball team in 1966.

Of the field, though, Torres has made a major impact on the Rio Grande Valley. Over the last 20 years, he has spread the history of RGV baseball via oral presentations and exhibits throughout this region.  Some of his written work is housed at Texas State University under the Jaime Chahin Southwestern Writers Collection. He also loaned Coach Al Ogletree memorabilia to UTRGV Athletics for the Coach Al Ogletree museum during opening weekend of the 2020 baseball season.

For his work as a sports historian, Torres was inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Sports Hall of Fame, the Leo Najo Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Laredo Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame. 

Torres is a retired assistant professor from legacy institution The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College. He further demonstrated his commitment to education by serving six years on the Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees, and eight years with the South Texas Independent School District. 

In 2002, he was honored as a Notable Valley Hispanic by The University of Texas-Pan American Friends of the Library for his civic and humanitarian activities.

“It is a great privilege to join such a list of prestigious Hall of Honor inductees,” Torres said. “I have always dreamt of reaching this point, but I never envisioned that this would become a reality.”

For more information, visit the Athletics Hall of Fame and Hall of Honor.

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