History Makers Inducted Into Aggie Hall of Fame at OPSU
Former Oklahoma Panhandle State University student athletes met in the Student Union Ballroom at their alma mater Friday night Sept. 7 to take their place in the Aggie Hall of Fame, and while there was plenty of reminiscing about games, individuals also remembered those who helped them along the way.
Carl Hamilton, an all-around athlete in the 1950s, played football, basketball, and baseball at OPSU, earning All-America honorable mention honors in 1954 for his work on the gridiron as well as a spot on the All New Mexico Conference team. The years fell away as the Goodwell native told a number of stories about football road trips, reminiscing about playing in the snow in New Mexico, and talking about his college classmates, some of whom were in the audience. After earning his degree at OPSU, he said he enjoyed a lifetime of teaching. In fact, Carl proudly reported that in his immediate family, there are 189 years of teaching experience, a tradition that continues today.
Another inductee, Julian "Jay" Miller, also known as Pee-Wee, also enjoyed a career in education, teaching and coaching high school in his hometown of Dumas before relocating to central Texas. Miller was a Dumas High School standout and has the added distinction of being only one of three Demons to play on the state high school football and basketball teams that earned state championships in the same academic year. The three-sport athlete also competed in football, basketball, and baseball at OPSU and was named All-Oklahoma Collegiate Conference second team quarterback honors in 1967 as well as All-American Honorable Mention. Jay remembered coaches Oscar Williams and Otis Sanders fondly as he described their inspiration in his life. Describing himself as a "glass half full" type of person, he and his wife, Kay, have been married 47 years and make their home in Whitney, Texas, when they aren't on the road in their recreational vehicle.
Current head men's basketball coach Jerry Olson talked about Bernard Hill, who was inducted in absentia. Hill led the Aggie men's basketball team that dominated NAIA's District IX and helped take the team to the national tournament where they lost to the College of Charleston in the second round, the team that eventually won the national title. The Spring Hill, N.Y. native was a second team All-American on the 1982-1983 Aggie team and was a ninth round pick of the Kansas City Kings of the NBA.
Four members of the 1993-94 women's basketball team attended the ceremony including Michelle Smiley-Conelly, Vernetra Allen, Tiphanie Looper Mathis, Raelee Olson Harrell, manager, and Angela Miller, who, coincidentally, is also Jay Miller's niece. Other members of the team include Vanessa Edwards, Kristee Dabovich Brower, Kewanna Harrell, Cyndee Gray Harness, Kaycee Hooper, Mercia Kerl, Sherida Valport, Stephanie Weilert, Student Assistant Christina Meyer Woody, and team managers Raelee Olson Harrell and Randa Olson. Jerry Olson, assisted by Stacy Nordquist, coached the team. The team placed fifth nationally in team scoring offense and seventh in team field goal percentage, making 1,052 two-point shots from 2,213 attempted. Edwards was in the final five for Kodak Player of the Year in the small college division, and Edwards and Allen were both named to the Daktronics All-American First Team. Nationally, Edwards was sixth in individual field goal percentage, 15th in individual scoring, and 11th in individual rebounding. Allen was 14th in individual scoring and 17th in individual field goal percentage. Stephanie Weilert finished fourth nationally in individual assists, dishing out 233 over 32 games for 7.28 per game average.