Trinity University Athletes Inducted into Hall of Fame

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James Hill ’76

Oct. 31, 2011

Trinity University Athletes Inducted into Hall of Fame

Nine honorees represent football, baseball, tennis, soccer, basketball, campus administration

SAN ANTONIO - Nine honorees had just been inducted into the Trinity University Athletic Hall of Fame, but it was former Tiger Jerry Grote who held current athletes spellbound for nearly an hour and a half spinning tales from his 16 seasons as a Major League Baseball standout.

During a reception in the Bell Athletic Center lobby, Grote shared experiences of baseball legends Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, and others while visiting primarily with the Tiger baseball team.

Grote played baseball for the Tigers in 1962, leading the team in five categories, including batting average and home runs. Grote went on to a 16-year career in the Major Leagues, including 12 seasons with the New York Mets. He was a two-time All-Star, and was part of the 1969 World Series championship team.

"It really made my day that the whole ball club would come in and visit with me," Grote said. "We are all now friends on Facebook. It's always a pleasure to visit with a bunch of young ball players. We had a great time."

The nine honorees, chosen nationwide by a selection committee as the seventh class, were inducted on Oct. 8, during halftime of the Tigers football game with Sewanee: The University of the South. They represented the sports of football, baseball, tennis, soccer, and basketball. A late administrator and coach were also inducted.

During the induction ceremony, University President Dennis A. Ahlburg, and Director of Athletics Bob King, chair of the selection committee, presented framed certificates to the new Hall of Fame members.

Just before the start of the game (Trinity won 27-9) former football star Truman Franks '68 executed the coin toss with the officials. Franks, a wide receiver, had earned Third Team Little All-America honors while playing for the Tigers.

Tanya Zwick Rinebarger '96, was a former Tiger women's soccer All-American, and had a large following in attendance. She was a two-time All-American, in 1994 and 1995, becoming the first Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference player - men's or women's - to achieve the honor.

Four players represented the rich Trinity tennis program, including John Newman '60, a member of the Tigers initial scholarship team from 1957-1960. Newman, the brother of Trinity's Director of tennis Butch Newman, reached the NCAA doubles quarterfinals with Jimmy Moses, and went on to coach the Tiger women's team to two national titles.

Stephanie Tolleson won the USTA Collegiate Singles Championship in 1975, and was a two-time All-American. As senior corporate vice president of International Management Group for 25 years, Tolleson was responsible for record-breaking sponsorship of female athletes.

Two former Tiger tennis players could not attend the event. Erick Iskersky won the 1979 NCAA Division I Doubles Championship (with Ben McKown), and later became a coach. Bill Scanlon captured the 1976 singles title, and was later ranked as high as No. 9 in the world. Butch Newman '65, a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2005, accepted the certificates for Iskersky and Scanlon.

Felix Thruston '71, a former Tiger men's basketball player, also could not attend the ceremony. Thruston, one of the top scorers in Tiger history, was represented by his teammate Larry Jeffries '69, a member of the inaugural Hall of Fame Class of 1999.

The late Libby Johnson, a coach and administrator, was a pioneer of Trinity women's sports. As women's director of athletics from 1972-1980, the budget for women's sports rose dramatically. In addition, Johnson coached volleyball, softball, basketball, and track and field. Her representative was Terri Hailey '81, who played basketball and softball for Johnson, and a 2005 Hall of Fame inductee.