Houston Athletics Announces Hall of Honor Class of 2010
April 8, 2010
HOUSTON - University of Houston Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades announced Thursday that nine former Cougar greats have been named as the UH Hall of Honor Class of 2010. Formal induction ceremonies will take place on Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Hyatt Regency Houston.
The Class of 2010 includes a consensus football All-America, a five-time NCAA diving champion and her world renown coach, a former member of Phi Slama Jama, a running back who led the Cougars to the 1976 Cotton Bowl, a three-time Conference USA Player of the Year, the starting centerfielder on the 1967 College World Series squad, the UH track program's first top-notch head coach and the 1962 NCAA individual champion in men's golf.
Two of the greatest female athletes in Houston history are headlining this year's class: women's basketball All-American Chandi Jones and diver Yulia Pakhalina, winner of five NCAA diving titles. In four seasons Jones etched her name in the UH record books and took the Cougars to a C-USA title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. As for Pakhalina, she won a remarkable 64 of the 66 diving events she took part in at Houston, including 36 straight over a one-year span, and captured four Olympic medals in three Olympic Games (2000, 2004 & 2008.)
"This class represents the rich tradition and history that is Cougar Athletics," said Rhoades. "Each of these individuals has made an indelible mark on the University and brought recognition and prestige to the Cougars, our fans and this fine institution. Because of their achievements and accomplishments, all are deserving inductees, and we shall always hold each of them in high esteem in the annals of our history and be grateful for their contributions to our program."
Offensive lineman Bill Bridges was a 1969 consensus All-American while serving as the key blocker for the Cougar offense which averaged 513.6 yards per game and finished the season 9-2, ranked No. 12 in the country. He will be joined on the dais by running Alois Blackwell, who spearheaded the Houston rushing attack in 1976, as the Cougars reached the Cotton Bowl during their first season in the Southwest Conference.
Longtime head diving coach Jane Figueiredo will enter the Hall as the most decorated diving coach in Houston history. A nine-time C-USA Diving Coach of the Year, Figueiredo was named the NCAA Diving Coach of the Year for second straight year in 2010 and fourth time overall. Figueiredo also was a decorated student-athlete, having competed for Portugal in the 1984 Olympic Games and being named an All-American five times.
Ike Lucas patrolled centerfield on the 1967 Houston Cougar baseball team. He led the team to a berth in the College World Series championship game that season en route to being named an All-American, setting a then-UH record for a season batting average at .398. Another standout from this era, the late Johnny Morriss, put the Cougar track and field program on the map by leading the 1960 men's cross country team to an NCAA Championship.
Phi Slama Jama captivated not only the city of Houston in the early 80s, but also a nation. Four members (Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon, Rob Williams and Michael Young) of that squad are members of the Hall of Honor and a fifth one will join them this fall. Larry Micheaux was the muscle behind "The World's Tallest Fraternity" and he was an integral part of the team's run to three straight Final Fours, starring in the 1982 and 1983 events.
Finally, former golfer Kermit Zarley enters the Hall of Honor, joining the long line of outstanding Cougars who have been honored with induction. Crowned as the 1962 NCAA individual champion, Zarley competed for almost 30 seasons on the PGA and Champion Tours. He becomes the 13th golfer to join the UH Hall of Honor.
The Class of 2010 Bios
Alois Blackwell (1975-77) As the Cougars' No. 1 running back during the 1976 and 1977 campaigns, Alois Blackwell blasted his way to 2,467 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns in just three seasons of play for Houston. In 1976 as Houston was blazing its way to the Southwest Conference championship in its first year in the league, Blackwell collected 934 yards and eight scores while racking up four 100-yard rushing games. More impressively, three of those four-century games came in the final three games of the regular season, when the Cougars needed three wins to capture the league title. In his senior year in 1977, Blackwell racked up six more 100-yard games, finishing the year with 1,169 yards rushing, which at the time was the fifth-best rushing output in Cougar history. Again, it was his play down the stretch, when Houston was in the running for a post-season bowl berth that brought the best out in Blackwell, as he rushed for 100 yards in the final four games of the season. A fourth-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in the 1978 NFL Draft, Blackwell played two seasons in the NFL. Blackwell later worked in the UH Athletics Department as both an academic counselor and later an assistant athletics director, before serving seven years as the Athletics Director at Texas Southern University.
Bill Bridges (1968-69) Bridges was the second consensus All-American at the University of Houston. The key blocker in Head Coach Bill Yeoman's explosive Veer-T attack, he served as a pulling guard to open holes for running backs and dominated any potential pass rushing threats. He was the Houston Chronicle Player of the Year following his 1969 All-America season and preceded that with a 1968 Honorable Mention All-America campaign. The Cougars averaged 339 yards on the ground and 537.8 total yards per game during his two years as a starter. The 1968 team remains the only team in NCAA history to average over 300 yards rushing and 200 yards passing per game.
Jane Figueiredo (1983-86) Student-Athlete ** Competed at the 1984 Olympic Games for Portugal. ** 1984 Southwest Conference 3-meter springboard champion. ** Lettered at UH from 1982-86 and established herself as one of the finest divers in school history. ** Five-time All-American and NCAA national runner-up on the 1-meter springboard in 1984. Coach ** Coached divers in the last three Olympic Games and last two World Championships. ** Four-time NCAA Diving Coach of the Year and eight-time C-USA Diving Coach of the Year. ** C-USA Swimming and Diving Coach of the Decade in 2005. ** Guided 26 divers to the NCAA Championships. ** Coached nine divers to 30 All-America honors.
Chandi Jones (2000-04) Chandi Jones, who closed out her collegiate career in 2004, is heralded as one of the best basketball players ever, male or female, to attend the University of Houston. The 5-10 guard from Bay City, Texas, led the Cougars onto the national stage during her four-year career. She was named Conference USA's Female Athlete of the Decade in 2005 as well as the league's basketball Player of the Decade and earned a slot on the C-USA All-Decade Team. Jones was the school's first Kodak All-American in 2004 as well as three-time C-USA Player of the Year (2002, 2003, 2004). She earned First-Team All C-USA honors in each of her four seasons and is UH and C-USA's all-time leading scorer with 2,692 points. That mark is good for 15th on the NCAA career-scoring list. She led the NCAA in scoring average in 2003, averaging 27.2 points a game. Her career average of 23.6 points per game is the highest in C-USA history. Jones reached double figures in an NCAA-record 114-straight games, scoring in double digits every game she played in. Jones led UH to a nearly 70-percent winning percentage, as Houston was 88-38 (.698) during her career. She led UH to the 2004 C-USA regular season and tournament titles, both firsts for the Cougars. She earned MVP honors at the 2004 C-USA Championship. Her jersey was retired on Feb. 5, 2005, the first such honor for a UH women's player. She also became the first UH women's player to be selected in the first round of the 2004 WNBA draft when she was chosen eighth overall by the Phoenix Mercury.
Ike Lucas (1965-67) Manning centerfield for the Coogs, Lucas led the 1967 squad to championship game of the College World Series. His superb play didn't go unnoticed as he was named to the CWS All-Tournament Team, one of only two ever in the history of the program. The All-American set a then single-season record during his sophomore when he finished the season with a .398 batting average.
Johnny Morriss A native Houstonian, Morriss was the second track and field and cross-country coach at the University of Houston. He began the program in 1951 and retired after 15 successful seasons in 1975. Morriss helped bring cross-country to the region, and his teams excelled at the sport with the NCAA national championship in 1960. The cross-country teams finished in the top 10 with regularity and were the powerhouse of the region. His track teams finished in the top 15 at the NCAA Championships four times during his reign. Morriss was an accomplished athlete in his own right. He was a 1928 U.S. All American and set the world record for the 70-yard indoor hurdles in 1929. He was a member of the 1932 Olympics and won the national AAU hurdle championship with a world record time of 14.3. Among the notable athletes Morriss coached was Olan Cassell the 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 4×400m relay, and 1972 Olympian and Cougar alumnus Leonard Hilton. During his tenure at Houston, Morriss also served as president of the track coaches association from 1969-70.
Larry Micheaux (1979-1983) The Houston native was a stalwart of the Phi Slama Jama teams. Although he received less accolades than his high-flying brothers, Micheaux was a key cog of the dunking machine teams from 1979-1983. He started 107 games during that span which is good for seventh most in Houston history - and that stretch of time is unquestionably the strongest teams that Houston fans have ever seen. He was also the first player to start four years as a Cougar. Micheaux was a valuable member of the Cougars postseason runs, being selected to the 1982 and 1983 NCAA Regional All-Tournament Teams. His most memorable performance in a Houston uniform happened as he propelled the Cougars past Villanova in the 1983 Midwest Regional Championship by setting career highs in points (30) and blocks (6) while also pulling down 12 rebounds. The 6-9 center/power forward still resides in the top 10 lists for highest field goal percentages (fourth highest - .587), blocked shots (ninth most - 132), games played (ninth most - 123) and minutes played (ninth most 3,418). Micheaux was chosen as a 1983 All-American Honorable Mention as well as Second Team All-SWC. His 1,324 points stands as the 18th most in Houston history. Micheaux was selected as the 29th overall pick in the 1983 draft.
Yulia Pakhalina (2001-03) ** Established herself as possibly the greatest female student-athlete in school history. ** Set a school record in 2003 by winning her fourth and fifth NCAA individual National Championships. ** Won 64 of 66 collegiate diving events in which she entered as a Cougar with the only losses coming during the finals of the NCAA Championships. ** Put together 36 straight victories in all three diving events combined from Jan. 26, 2001 to March 15, 2002. ** 2004 C-USA Women's Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete Award winner. ** Never lost on the 3-meter springboard, winning all 32 events. ** Collected back-to-back C-USA Championships on both the 1-meter and 3-meter events in 2002 and 2003. ** Competed in three Olympic games, winning gold in the 3-meter synchronized diving in 2000; winning a silver and bronze in 2004 and winning silver in 2008.
Kermit Zarley (1961-63)
** Captured the 1962 NCAA individual National Championship and is one of only seven players in UH history to accomplish the feat.
** Ranks seventh in school history with a 71.97 average.