People, Places and Things – August 2020

Montgomery Lake Creek HS principal Phil Eaton has recovered after spending three weeks on a ventilator due to the Covid-19 virus. He was not feeling well while watching his boys’ team play in the 5A regional tourna-ment but thought it was a sinus infection or his allergies. A week later he was unconscious and fighting for his life. After 51 days in the hospital he was welcomed back by parents, students, and teachers. He continues to attend rehab as he works to get back to full strength. Phil started his coaching career at a middle school in Pas-adena where he grew up. After successful coaching stints at Pasadena HS and Humble HS he moved into the administration in Spring ISD before moving to Montgomery HS and opening Lake Creek.

After 25 years as head boys’ basketball coach at Reagan County, Ken Campbell has retired. However, he did-n’t stay retired for long. Ken is the new boy’s assistant coach at Gatesville where he will work with his son Brit Campbell, the head boys’ coach. District 6-4A needs to watch out for the Campbell coaching combo.

Wayland Baptist University’s J.J. Culver scored 100 points in a Sooner Athletic Conference win over South-western Adventist. He had 34 field goals including 12 for 33 behind the arc. His brother Jarrett led Texas Tech to the 2019 NCAA title game and was the sixth pick of the NBA draft by the Timberwolves.

Legendary girls’ basketball coach Joe Lombard retired after 42 years – the past 35 at Canyon HS. His first seven seasons at Nazareth he won six state titles and then added thirteen more at Canyon. Joe’s career record is 1,379-133 (91.2%), and his seven cross-country state champions gave him 26, the most in UIL history. He was inducted into six Halls of Fame and the Canyon gym is named in his honor. Joe and his wife Babs have been married 45 years. Babs won a state title of her own at Hale Center the same year Joe won his first at Naz. But don’t cry for Canyon as Joe’s son Tate will take over the reins after serving as Joe’s assistant this past sea-son. Tate has won two state titles at Wall so don’t expect a drop off in Lady Eagle success. Daughter Lindy, who played for her dad, also lives in Canyon so there will be plenty of Lombard support. And with all but one player returning from a 31-2 regional semi-finalist team, Canyon will continue the tradition. Well done Joe!

Cameron Ward, a four-year starter on the Columbia varsity basketball team, scored 2,131 career points. He was selected first team all-district four times, offensive player of the year three times and MVP for Southern Brazoria County. Cam will attend the University of the Incarnate Word on a football scholarship. The coach at Columbia H.S. is Henry Valladares.

In Memoriam

Mike Ray died in Huntsville, Texas July 10th at the age of 61. A graduate of Archer City HS he played bas-ketball at Wayland Baptist and Midwestern State. Known for his shooting ability, Mike scored 53 points in a game. In the district eight tournament he hit a buzzer-beater against Paul Quinn, but the shot was waived off due to a time out. He then hit the same shot again and the feat remains a part of Midwestern basketball lore. His 25-year coaching career included successful stops at Jersey Village, Coppell and Duncanville before mov-ing to administration.

Lou Henson, who won 779 college games at New Mexico State and Illinois, passed away July 25. Don’t for-get that he started in Texas as head coach at Hardin-Simmons University from 1962-66. In the spring of 1966 Coach Henson had just signed a hot shooting guard fresh off a state championship and state tournament MVP season from Gruver. But the Greyhound guard never got to play for him because the next week Lou signed on with New Mexico State. That guard was Sam Tipton, and Sam almost got to play for two Hall of Fame coach-es. Sam’s father Wayne won state at three schools including Gruver. Sam is the TGCA Executive Director.

Harley Redin grew up in Silverton, Texas playing basketball during the 1930’s at Tarleton and North Texas before joining the Marines. After the war he came home and was the only physical education professor at Wayland Baptist where he also coached men’s basketball from 1948-56. Beginning in 1955 he started a wom-en’s team that made history. Between 1955 and 1973 the Flying Queens had a 429-63 record that included six AAU national championships. They had a 131-game win streak and proved that women could play basketball. Harley was inducted into the High School Hall of Fame even though he only coached college and national teams. He was instrumental in changing the women’s game from 6-on-6 half court to the 5-on-5 game that we know today. Harley died on August 1, less than a month shy of his 101st birthday. A high-five to Harley, the ex-marine who impacted girls’ hoops.

Tricia Mize died peacefully on April 22 after a courageous battle with liver cancer. She started her coaching career at Clear Creek ISD and Humble before taking over at New Caney in 2014. Her first season yielded only two wins, but she coached her team to the playoffs in both 2017 and 2018 before this year’s 27-8 team secured New Caney’s first playoff win in 15 years. Tricia was a graduate of Amarillo Highland Park H.S. and The University of Houston. She was 48 years old.

Terry Priest passed away on May 29, at the age of 76, after a long and celebrated career. Terry graduated from Hutto HS and played collegiately at Henderson County JC and Abilene Christian. His first year as a high school head coach brought him a state championship at Aspermont HS before being drafted into the army. Af-ter serving his country, he continued his 30-year coaching career at ACU (grad assistant), McCullough HS and The Woodlands where he coached both Lance Blanks and Chris Beard. He finished his career as Assistant AD at Fort Bend ISD, retiring in 2009.

Bobby Craig died in his sleep on June 29 at the age of 68. A native of El Campo, he graduated from Angelo State where he played basketball. His 45-year coaching career included stints at Lockhart, El Campo, and 37 years at Tuloso-Midway where he had a gym named in his honor. He is survived by his wife Melissa, daugh-ter Brittany and son Dobie.

Lloyd Johnson passed away peacefully on July 8th. A graduate of Mississippi State, he coached in Houston ISD for 39 years serving as head basketball coach at Sharpstown HS. He was 85.

James Roe passed away in April after over 40 years in education. After graduating from North Garland HS and East Texas State, he began his teaching and coaching career at Lake Highlands. He was also head basket-ball coach at Carrollton Creekview and Lewisville before getting his doctorate and moving into administration.