Every year administrators, coaches, athletes, and fans come together to honor past Javelina sporting greats and all their achievements from times past.
This year’s Hall of Fame class will include Track & Field and cross country star Andrea Ratkovic, baseball player Steve Foley, former NFL player Roberto Garza and the 1996-97 Javelina basketball squad.
During a stellar run in the mid-80’s, Andrea Ratkovic took part on the Lone Star Conference champion 1986 cross country team (for which she was inducted as member of in 2014) and dominated in long distance track events.
“She probably pulled off one of the greatest feats in the history of college track,” said Fred Neusch, former Sports Information Director and current member of the Hall of Fame committee.
“She has won the 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 run all in one meet.”
In 1987, she set conference record marks in the 5,000 (17:26.83) and 10,000 meters (35:59.79), which she still holds today, and is second all time in the 1,500 (4:37.13).
Ratkovic also set a school record in the indoor mile with a time of 5:15.30.
When the TAMU-Kingsville track and field program was suspended the following year, she transferred over to Oklahoma University and set the school indoor mile record there.
Much like Ratkovic, two-year letterman Steve Foley set many of the school’s highest marks.
“He’s one of our all-time best baseball players” Neusch said.
In 1998, the Toronto native set the team single season records in batting average (.479), home runs (15), hits (102) and runs (85).
He holds the record in career marks for batting average (.427) and is second all-time in home runs (24) and total bases (267).
Also within the class is perhaps the best known and most decorated of the 2016 inductees, former Chicago Bear, Roberto Garza.
From 1998-2001 he collected 11 All-American honors for both his performance on the football field as an offensive lineman and as a thrower on the track and field team.
He was named to the All-LSC first team for three straight years and was named Lineman of the Year in 1999 and 2000.
Garza won national championships in both indoor and outdoor shot put in 2000 and holds the school’s shot put record at 60-0.
The Atlanta Falcons drafted him in the fourth round of the NFL draft in 2001, but he made his name with the Chicago Bears where he spent the final nine years of his career and made a Super Bowl appearance in 2007.
Even after his collegiate and professional career, Garza accumulated accolades, being inducted into the Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame, and even having December 2nd named “Roberto Garza Day” by his hometown of Rio Hondo, Texas.
He and his wife, former Javelina volleyball player and track athlete Ashley Golden, have exemplified themselves as contributors to society.
“They have done a lot of work in the Chicago area helping the youth,” Neusch said, of his work for the United Way.
Last, but not least, 1995-96 Lone Star Conference championship basketball team.
They are only the second team to win a LSC title after the 1991-1992 team (which has also been inducted in the hall of fame).
The Bill Carter-led team went 23-6 overall and was spearheaded by the play of All-American DeRon Rutledge who scored 619 points and shot 62.3 percent from the field.
Current Javelina Basketball head coach Johnny Estelle shined, winning the LSC Tournament MVP award and setting a team single-game record of nine three-point shots made versus Central Oklahoma.
Chris Walker was also named the LSC Defensive Player of the Year.
“This is a great induction class,” Neusch said, “they have names that people know and they did great things that still stand in the record books.”
The Inaugural Hall of Fame and Champions Banquet will be held Friday, September 16th at the Memorial Student Union Ballroom and will begin at 6:00 P.M.