(Texas Tech Press Release: Matt Dowdy)
LUBBOCK, Texas – Gabe Rivera and Zach Thomas highlight a list of eight former Texas Tech student-athletes who will be inducted into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame this fall. Gerald Myers and Polk Robison, meanwhile, will be inducted as student-athletes, coaches and administrators.
Rivera and Thomas join fellow Red Raider greats Michi Atkins (women’s basketball), Amanda Banks (track and field), Clint Bryant (baseball), Krista Kirkland-Gerlich (women’s basketball), Bubba Jennings (men’s basketball) and Dub Malaise (men’s basketball) as Southwest Conference Hall of Fame inductees.
The SWC Hall of Fame is one of four separate halls of fame housed within the Texas Sports Hall of Fame which is located in Waco.
Members of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame are automatically included in the SWC Hall of Fame. Former men’s basketball standout Rick Bullock and Lady Raider basketball player Carolyn Thompson were previously inducted into the SWC Hall of Fame.
The group will be inducted into the SWC Hall of Fame on Aug. 30 at a luncheon prior to the Red Raider football season opener against Central Arkansas. The luncheon will run from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the City Bank Room at United Supermarkets Arena.
For tickets, please contact the Red Raider Club at 806-742-1196.
Michi Atkins was a member of the Texas Tech women’s basketball program from 1992-96 and, as a freshman, was a key contributor off the bench for the 1993 national championship team. She was named All-Southwest Conference each of the next three seasons including Southwestern Conference Tournament MVP in 1995. Atkins averaged 20.9 points per game her senior season en route to Southwest Conference Player of the Year and first team All-American honors. Atkins was named a Kodak honorable mention All-American as both a junior and senior. She garnered first team All-American honors from Basketball Times and the United Press International as a senior. Atkins finished her career as one of the Southwest Conference’s all-time leading scorer with 2,134 points which ranks third on the school’s career scoring list. She is also among the Texas Tech all-time leaders for points per game, field goals made and rebounds. Atkins was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 2006.
Amanda Banks was a member of the Texas Tech track and field team from 1987-90 and was one of the most dominant women’s triple jumpers in the Southwest Conference. She won the 1988 and 1989 SWC triple jump titles and still owns the four longest indoor and three longest outdoor jumps in school history. She earned indoor and outdoor All-American recognition as a senior, highlighted by a second-place finish in the 1989 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Her outdoor school record jump of 42-11 3/4 is almost two feet longer than any other jump in Texas Tech history. Following her impressive collegiate career, Banks jumped professionally for 10 years, rising as high as high as No. 4 nationally. She was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 2004.
Clint Bryant played baseball for Texas Tech from 1993-96 and is the most decorated All-American in Texas Tech Baseball history. He was named All-Southwest Conference in three of his four seasons, won SWC Player of the Year twice (1995 & 1996), and was named SWC Male Athlete of the Year for the 1995-96 school year. During his junior and senior seasons, Bryant became the first Red Raider to ever earn first team All-America honors in back-to-back seasons. He remains Texas Tech’s career leader in nine offensive categories, including hits (341), home runs (44), doubles (73), RBI (271), and runs scored (271). Behind Bryant’s steady bat in the lineup, the Red Raiders went 171-64 overall during Bryant’s four seasons while collecting the SWC regular season and tournament championships in 1995. Texas Tech advanced to the postseason in each of Bryant’s final two seasons, falling a win shy of the College World Series in 1995 before falling to Southern Cal in the NCAA Central Regional a year later hosted in Lubbock. Off the field, he excelled in the classroom being named the Baseball Academic All-American of the Year in 1996. Bryant’s No. 23 jersey is one of four numbers retired at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park and one of just two retired for a former player. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 1996 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies. Bryant was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 2006.
Krista Kirkland-Gerlich was the starting shooting guard on the 1993 Texas Tech National Championship team. During her stellar playing career from 1989-93, Gerlich was a three-time All-Southwest Conference selection as well as a member of the SWC All-Tournament team in 1993 and an honorable mention All-American that year. She helped lead the Lady Raiders to a pair of Southwest Conference titles in 1992 and 1993 as part of her playing career that included 96-consecutive games in the starting lineup. She played in a total of 126 games over four seasons, missing only two contests during her freshman season. She finished as the Texas Tech and Southwest Conference all-time leader in three-point field goals made (220) and three-pointers attempted (528). She still ranks among the Texas Tech all-time leaders in both scoring and assists. Gerlich dished out 553 assists during her career which was the most in school history at the conclusion of her career. Texas Tech retired Gerlich’s infamous No. 21 jersey on Dec. 5, 1993. She is one of four teammates from the 1993 National Championship team that was part of the Lady Raider All-SWC Team that was announced prior to the conference’s closing in 1996. The nearby Sudan, Texas native has gone on to a successful coaching career, spending three seasons under Marsha Sharp on the Texas Tech bench before taking over as the head coach at West Texas A&M. Gerlich was named the head coach at UT Arlington prior to the 2013-14 season. She was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 2003.
Bubba Jennings played four seasons for the Texas Tech Basketball team from 1980-85 and is one of the most decorated players in program history. Jennings led the Red Raiders to the Southwest Conference regular season and tournament championships during his final season in 1985 en route to earning SWC Player of the Year as well as honorable mention All-America honors. The Clovis, N.M. native was also named the SWC Tournament MVP, the SWC Athlete of the Year and the Francis Pomeroy Naismith Award which is presented annually to the nation’s top player under six-feet-tall. Jennings started all 117 games of his Texas Tech career, finishing with 1,760 points which at the time was the most in school history. He still ranks among the top 10 for several statistical categories, including scoring and free throws. Jennings was known for his accuracy from the charity strip as he totaled a .851 career free throw percentage that easily the highest in program history until Alan Voskuil broke the record in 2008. He was drafted with the 86th overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks. Jennings went on to a successful coaching career which included 12 seasons on the Texas Tech bench as either an assistant coach or video coordinator. Jennings was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 1995.
Dub Malaise averaged over 20 points per game during his career as a member of the Texas Tech Basketball team (1964-66) and is known as one of the Red Raider’s most prolific scorers in program history. He earned first team All-Southwest Conference honors in each of his three seasons and was named the Southwest Conference Player of the Year as well as an All-American in 1965 after averaging 23.8 points per game. Malaise still holds the school record for most points in a game with 50 against Texas in 1966. He holds the school record for most free throws in a season with 191 and is second in several school categories such as career free throws made (452), career scoring average (20.3), and single-season scoring average (23.7). Malaise helped the Red Raiders to their first SWC title in 1965. The conference title was later forfeited due to an ineligible player. Malaise was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 1984.
Gerald Myers is synonymous with Texas Tech and the Double T after spending the majority of his life as a student-athlete, coach or administrator. Myers earned three letters as a member of the Red Raider basketball team from 1957-59, the first three years of Texas Tech’s tenure in the Southwest Conference. Myers became Texas Tech’s first All-SWC performer in any sport in 1958 when he helped lead the Red Raiders to a 15-8 record and third-place finish in the conference standings. He was also named a first team All-American by United Press International for players under six-feet-tall. Myers later went on to become the winningest men’s basketball coach in Texas Tech history after posting a 326-261 record during his 20 seasons leading the Red Raiders. Myers led Texas Tech to two SWC Championships, four NCAA Tournament appearances and one NIT appearance. He was named the SWC Coach of the Year five times during his career and was also recognized by his peers who elected him president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Myers later served as Texas Tech’s director of athletics from 1996-2011 where he helped the school transition from the SWC to its current home in the Big 12. During his tenure as athletics director, Myers helped generate more than $250 million in new facility construction and renovations while significantly raising the yearly athletics budget as well. His guidance benefited each sports program as Texas Tech boasted several of the top athletics facilities in the country, including United Supermarkets Arena which was built early in Myers’ tenure. The new athletics facilities built across campus is considered the largest facility upgrade in school history. Myers’ success at Texas Tech also led to national recognition and responsibilities as he served on the NCAA Golf Committee and the Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee. He also served two terms on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee. He received the Gen. R. Newland Outstanding Athletic Director Award and the NABC Metropolitan Award during his tenure. Myers was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Honor in 1969. He is also a member of the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame and the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame. Myers continues to serve the university as athletics director emeritus.
“Señor Sack” played for the Texas Tech Football program from 1979-82, finishing his four-year career with 321 tackles, 34 tackles-for-loss, 14 sacks, 11 pass deflections, and six fumble recoveries. Combining his incredible 300-pound frame with 4.8 speed, Rivera earned honorable mention All-American honors as a sophomore before being recognized as a consensus first team All-American and the Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. Rivera was the first Red Raider in program history to ever be named a consensus All-American. He would later be named to the Southwest Conference All-Decade team, the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. He was selected 21st overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1983 NFL Draft. Rivera was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 1993. He will become the fourth Red Raider to be enshrined into the prestigious Texas Tech Football Ring of Honor on Sept. 13 when the Red Raiders host former SWC foe, Arkansas, at Jones AT&T Stadium.
Polk F. Robison
Polk Robison spent 41 years at Texas Tech as a player, coach, athletics director and later as its business manager. He was the head coach of the Texas Tech men’s basketball team from 1942-46 and again from 1947-61 before serving as the university’s athletics director from 1961-69. His success in the Border Conference, where he won three conference titles, played a pivotal role in Texas Tech’s admission into the Southwest Conference. He was named the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year in 1960 before leading the Red Raiders to their first SWC Championship a year later, his final season as head coach. Robison, who lettered at Texas Tech from 1933-35, closed his coaching career with a 248-195 overall record and a .563 winning percentage that was boosted by 13 winning seasons. His 248 career victories were the most in Texas Tech history at the time of his retirement. Robison played a role in designing the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, which was the home for the Red Raiders from 1956 until United Supermarkets Arena was built in 1999. He was honored by the naming of the Polk Robison – Jeanne McHaney Hall of Champions in United Supermarkets Arena featuring a bronze bust pedestal of him as basketball coach. Robison was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 1976.
Zach Thomas became one of the most infamous linebackers to ever wear a Red Raider uniform from 1993-95 where he recorded 390 career tackles, including 131 during his senior season alone. Thomas, a Pampa, Texas native, earned first team All-America honors during his junior season before becoming just the second Red Raider all-time to be named a consensus first team All-American a year later. Thomas, a two-time All-Southwest Conference selection, was the SWC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior following one of the most impressive defensive campaigns in program history. Thomas became a household name that year for his game-winning interception against Texas A&M where he picked off Corey Pullig’s pass and darted 23 yards into the endzone in one of the most memorable plays in Texas Tech history. The interception, which came with just 30 seconds remaining in the game, pushed the Red Raiders to a 14-7 victory over the rival Aggies, a moment that is still replayed to this day. He would later be named a finalist for the Butkus Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top linebacker. Thomas’ 390 career tackles were third-most for a Red Raider during the Southwest Conference era. He still remains among the school’s all-time leaders for tackles, ranking fifth in the category heading into the 2014 season. Thomas was drafted in the fifth round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. He went on to become one of the greatest players in Dolphins history as he was named to the All-Pro Team seven times in his 10 seasons in Miami, the most ever for a defensive player in franchise history. Thomas was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 2006.