News Archives: Athletics

Improvements made at HPU’s Mamie D. McCullough Athletic Center

BROWNWOOD – November 26, 2018 – Howard Payne University’s Mamie D. McCullough Athletic Center underwent improvements to its facilities during the summer. The developments were made possible due to donations from Bruner Toyota, through the Toyota Dealer Match Program, and HPU alumnus Jarod Root ’03.

In addition to their financial support of HPU, Root serves on the HPU Alumni Association Board of Directors, while Greg Bruner, of Bruner Toyota, is a member of the HPU Board of Trustees.

Improvements to the building included the installation of new flooring, the painting of hallways and office doors and the placement of new signage for offices. The McCullough Athletic Center houses offices for the HPU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and athletics training facilities.

“Projects such as this really help bring a spark of new excitement to our university, our athletic department and, most importantly, our students,” said Hunter Sims, HPU athletic director. “We are extremely thankful for people like Jarod Root and organizations like Bruner Toyota who believe in the mission of HPU.”

For more information about HPU, visit www.hputx.edu.

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Cutline: HPU’s Mamie D. McCullough Athletic Center underwent renovations supported by donors Jared Root and the Bruner Auto Family.

Garland’s Marvin “Doc” Utecht named to HPU’s Sports Hall of Fame

Marvin Doc Utecht for webBROWNWOOD – October 29, 2018 – Marvin “Doc” Utecht of Garland has been named to Howard Payne University’s Sports Hall of Fame. He is among eight who will be honored during HPU’s Homecoming 2018 festivities, November 2-3. Additional honorees are listed at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

Utecht and the other honorees will be recognized during the Alumni & Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, November 2, beginning at 5:45 p.m. The honorees will also be featured in the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, November 3, beginning at 10 a.m. Ticket information for the banquet and a full schedule of the weekend’s events are available online at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

Utecht graduated from HPU in 1970 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He went on to complete a Master of Education degree from Stephen F. Austin University and received his Mid-Management Certification from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University – Commerce).

At HPU, he was a four-year basketball letterman (1965-1969), a track letterman for two years (1969-1970) and a letterman on the football team during the 1969 season. He played basketball for Coach Glen Whitis and was an integral player on some of the most recognized teams in HPU history. The 6’7” Utecht was a great shooter, known for his leaping ability.

During his basketball career, the Yellow Jackets won the Lone Star Conference championship and the teams on which he played were nationally ranked in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). After completing his eligibility in basketball, he joined the track team for the 1969 season participating in the javelin, hurdles and jumping events. He won numerous times and set the HPU record in the javelin. Utecht also set a record in the 440 intermediate hurdles with a time of 52.3.

He went on to compete at the national level at the 1970 NAIA National Championships in Billings, Montana, where he competed in the ten-event decathlon. Utecht earned the honor of being fourth in the nation just behind the eventual Olympic champion, Bruce Jenner. During that decathlon event, he broke a NAIA decathlon record in the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 14.8.

Utecht also joined the football team during his fifth year at HPU, lettering as a wide receiver.

He has served as a teacher, administrator and as an assistant superintendent at various school districts in Texas and coached high school football, basketball, track and golf. In 2001, he retired from Garland ISD as the executive director of building and construction. He then went on to serve on the Dallas Appraisal District for Dallas County for 10 years.

“I came to HPU as a very shy young man with few experiences beyond the small town in which I lived all my life,” he said. “College opened up a whole new world of possibilities and, for the first time, I could see myself having an opportunity to be whatever I chose to be. My HPU coaches helped me to become the leader for students who I would teach and coach in the future years as I became an educator.”

He and his wife, Julie Utecht, attend First Baptist Church of Garland. They have two children and five grandchildren.

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Cutline: Marvin “Doc” Utecht of Garland has been named to HPU’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Kerrville’s James Williamson named to HPU’s Sports Hall of Fame

James Williamson for webBROWNWOOD – October 26, 2018 – James Williamson of Kerrville has been named to Howard Payne University’s Sports Hall of Fame. He is among eight who will be honored during HPU’s Homecoming 2018 festivities, November 2-3. Additional honorees are listed at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

Williamson and the other honorees will be recognized during the Alumni & Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, November 2, beginning at 5:45 p.m. The honorees will also be featured in the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, November 3, beginning at 10 a.m. Ticket information for the banquet and a full schedule of the weekend’s events are available online at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

Williamson graduated from HPU in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He was a student in HPU’s Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom (now the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy) and was active in student government, serving terms as class president and class treasurer. He was also a Student Supreme Court member and a Democracy in Action committee member, and he represented HPU at the Dallas Council on World Affairs. Additionally, he was listed in the “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities” publication and in the “Outstanding College Athletes of America” publication.

Williamson, a four-year football letterman, was a record-setting punter for the HPU Yellow Jackets. In an era before specialized kickers, Williamson went on to hold Lone Star Conference records in punting in 1966, 1967 and 1968. During his freshman year at HPU, he was named “Texas Punter of the Year” by the Dallas Morning News and in 1966-67 was named the “All-Texas Punter of the Year.” During his senior year in 1969, he had the longest punt in the history of HPU (79 yards). This record was not broken until 2012.

Williamson’s punting average was among the top in the nation every year. He holds HPU’s single-season punting average record of 45.5 yards per punt (58 attempts) set in 1967. He also holds the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national record for total number of punts (277) and total yardage (11,849).

He signed a free-agent contract with the New Orleans Saints in June 1970. He also played the 1972 season with the Omaha Mustangs, a semi-pro team, booting 13 punts 568 yards, setting a league record with an average of 43.5 yards.

Williamson is a past member of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy Board of Directors and served as president of HPU’s Alumni Association. He created the James L. Williamson Endowed Scholarship for students in HPU’s School of Business.

“HPU prepared me for future successes by instilling in me a respect for the Constitution, love of our country and honor for our military,” he said. “I learned right from wrong and was taught that work is good and giving is too.”

In addition to a stint as HPU’s vice president for development, Williamson has served many years in the insurance field. He and his wife, Jeanie Lambert Williamson, celebrated 50 years of marriage in May 2018. They have three children and six grandchildren.

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Cutline: James Williamson of Kerrville has been named to HPU’s Sports Hall of Fame.

HPU alumnus Eddie Nelson inducted into basketball coaches hall of fame

Eddie Nelson with Drummond and SimsBROWNWOOD – November 8, 2017 – Eddie Wayne Nelson, a 1972 Howard Payne University graduate, was recently inducted into the 2017 Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.

Nelson, who also received an associate degree from Lon Morris Junior College and a master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University, began his career as an assistant coach at HPU. The remaining years of his coaching career were spent as head basketball coach for Bay City High School. He retired from the Bay City Independent School District in 2012. In his 36 years with the district, he led the Bay City Blackcats to 16 district championships, 13 bi-district championships, 12 area championships, five regional championships, six regional finalist appearances, five state appearances, four state semi-finals appearances, one state semi-final championship and, in 1985, one state championship for an overall record of 745-357.

Nelson was 16 times named Coach of the Year and was designated most victorious in a decade for 80 district games in a row. Among numerous other honors, he received a certificate of Special Congressional Recognition and Excellence by the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate.

“Eddie Nelson is a Texas legend,” said Hunter Sims, HPU’s athletic director. “He has been extremely successful throughout his entire career. We are blessed that Coach Nelson is an HPU alumnus. Coach Nelson has represented HPU extremely well as a professional throughout his life.”

Nelson and his wife, Mary Helen, have one daughter, Marcy Wilson (wife of Patrick Wilson), and one granddaughter, Paige Wilson, all of Houston. He is the son of the late Lallie Ray Nelson of Mineral Wells. He is the son-in-law of Ella B. Jones and the late Albert Jones Jr. of Brownwood.

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Cutline: HPU alumnus Eddie Nelson, center, was recently inducted into the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. He is pictured with Troy Drummond, head men’s basketball coach and head golf coach at HPU, and Hunter Sims, HPU’s athletic director.

HPU students and employees share in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

Baseball team hurricane relief group photo for webBROWNWOOD – November 3, 2017 – Many Howard Payne University departments, teams, students and personnel were recently involved in various projects to benefit those adversely affected by Hurricane Harvey in the Texas coastal areas. Three projects in particular – the supply collection and fundraiser by the HPU baseball team, the Department of Music hurricane relief concert and the stuffed animal/small blanket drive by the School of Education – were part of campus-wide efforts to help those in need in southeast Texas.

At the Saturday, September 2, supply and donation drive, the HPU baseball team partnered with Weakley-Watson Ace Hardware of Brownwood and collected 1,000 cases of water and hundreds of other items including money, cleaning supplies, hygiene items, tools and pet food. The weekend after the collection event, 41 HPU baseball players, five coaches, the athletic director and then-alumni/development director traveled to First Baptist Church Port Lavaca to deliver the supplies. While there, the team of volunteers provided assistance with unloading donations, tree and brush removal, fence and roof repair as well as general clean-up efforts. The team clocked an estimated 1,060 hours of volunteer service for hurricane relief.

Choir at benefit concert for webAcross campus, HPU’s Department of Music also wanted to help those affected by the hurricane. The department presented a hurricane-related benefit concert on Thursday, September 14, that was titled “The Sounds of Restoration” and featured many of the university’s musical ensembles. Admission to the concert was by donation and all proceeds went to the organization Texas Baptist Men for hurricane relief and recovery. Approximately $3,000 was collected that evening at the door and more was collected online.

HPU’s School of Education came up with another creative way to assist in relief efforts. The school coordinated a “Comfort for Kids” drive throughout September, collecting stuffed animals and small blankets to comfort children whose families may have lost all of their belongings. The school was able to collect 50 stuffed animals and 30 small blankets for the children. Dr. Sam Goff, minister of missions at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church, delivered the items on behalf of HPU to the greater Beaumont area on October 4. Goff is the husband of Dr. Kylah Clark-Goff, dean of the School of Education.

Stuffed animal and blanket drive for web“None of these hurricane-relief efforts could have been done without the support of the people in Brownwood and the surrounding areas as well as the HPU community,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. “It is wonderful how all involved came together to be a blessing to those devastated by the recent hurricane and flooding in southeast Texas.”

Those interested in assisting with ongoing relief efforts may donate to Texas Baptist Men’s hurricane relief and recovery fund. Visit www.texasbaptistmen.org/Give-Now to donate online and find instructions to give by check, phone or text. Texas Baptist Men is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that operates in cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist General Convention of Texas and associations, Southern Baptists of Texas and associations as well as other Great Commission Christians.

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Cutlines: (1) HPU’s baseball team and staff are shown at First Baptist Church Port Lavaca where they assisted the people in that area affected by Hurricane Harvey.

(2) HPU’s Concert Choir is shown performing during the benefit concert presented by the Department of Music’s various ensembles.

(3) HPU’s School of Education hosted a stuffed animal/small blanket drive benefiting children affected by Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent flooding.

Stacey Blalock of Magnolia among HPU Homecoming 2017 honorees

Stacey BlalockBROWNWOOD – October 19, 2017 – Stacey Blalock of Magnolia has been named to Howard Payne University’s Sports Hall of Fame. She is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s 2017 Homecoming festivities, October 20-21. Additional honorees are listed at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

Blalock and the other honorees will be recognized during the Alumni & Sports Hall of Fame Banquet this Friday, October 20, beginning at 6 p.m. The honorees will also be featured in the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, October 21, beginning at 10 a.m. Ticket information for the banquet and a full schedule of the weekend’s events are available online at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

Blalock graduated from HPU in 2008 with a degree in elementary education. She received many honors as a Lady Jacket basketball player and was a member of HPU’s 2008 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III National Championship Team.

In 2007, she was named American Southwest Conference (ASC) First-Team All-West Division; ASC West Division Defensive Team; ASC Academic All-Conference; and D3hoops.com Third-Team All-South Region. In 2008, Blalock was named ASC All-Conference and West Division 1st Team; ASC West Division Defensive Player of the Year; ASC Academic All-Conference; ASC All-Tournament Team; and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Honorable Mention All-American.

Blalock received HPU’s prestigious Tami Pattillo Memorial Award in 2008. The award, which honors the memory and athletic/academic accomplishments of Pattillo, an HPU alumna who passed away at a young age, is given each year to an HPU female athlete who best represents the HPU spirit.

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Cutline: Stacey Blalock of Magnolia is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s Homecoming 2017 activities, October 20-21.

Marshall Davis of Austin among HPU Homecoming 2017 honorees

Marshall DavisBROWNWOOD – October 18, 2017 – Marshall Davis of Austin has been named to Howard Payne University’s Sports Hall of Fame. He is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s 2017 Homecoming festivities, October 20-21. Additional honorees are listed at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

Davis and the other honorees will be recognized during the Alumni & Sports Hall of Fame Banquet this Friday, October 20, beginning at 6 p.m. The honorees will also be featured in the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, October 21, beginning at 10 a.m. Ticket information for the banquet and a full schedule of the weekend’s events are available online at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.

Davis, HPU class of 1980, is the tenth-leading scorer in HPU men’s basketball history with 1,402 points. He was named to the All Lone Star Conference team three times and twice led HPU to a Lone Star Conference regular season championship. As a freshman, he made 2nd Team All Lone Star Conference and was named Lone Star Conference Freshman of the Year.

Remembered for his reliability and consistency, Davis was a starter for his entire career and, in four seasons, never missed a game. He was named team captain for three different Yellow Jacket teams and, at the close of his HPU career, was listed as the fourth-leading scorer in HPU men’s basketball history.

Davis, a traffic control specialist, is a member at Cottonwood Baptist Church in Austin. He enjoys giving back to others and working in areas in which he can help others excel in life.

“HPU prepared me for success by giving me the skills needed to complete all the tasks asked of me throughout my life,” he said.

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Cutline: Marshall Davis of Austin is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s Homecoming 2017 activities, October 20-21.

Community supports hurricane victims through HPU donation drive

HPU donation drive 1 for webBROWNWOOD – September 5, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Yellow Jacket baseball team hosted a donation drive for hurricane victims on Saturday, collecting approximately 1,000 cases of water and hundreds of other items including money, cleaning supplies, hygiene items, tools and pet food to deliver to the Gulf Coast and southeast Texas.

“We’re thankful to the many individuals and businesses in Brown County who have supported HPU’s efforts in providing relief to the victims of Hurricane Harvey,” said Stephen Lynn, head baseball coach. “Several groups brought trucks and trailers full of supplies to donate. It was great to see the community turn out to support those in need.”

HPU donation drive 2 for webThe team will partner with others on campus to deliver the items to the Gulf Coast this weekend. There, the group’s efforts will be facilitated by Joseph Jones, HPU alumnus and pastor of First Baptist Church of Port Lavaca.

Through Friday, September 8, Weakley-Watson Ace Hardware is discounting by 25 percent purchases listed as hurricane relief items. Once purchased, the items may be left at the store and HPU’s baseball team will collect them for distribution.

HPU donation drive 3 for webThose who were unable to attend the drive may coordinate with the baseball team to have donation items collected. For more information, contact Robert Anders, assistant baseball coach, at 972-322-4116 or randers@hputx.edu.

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Cutlines:

1. Members of HPU’s Yellow Jacket baseball team stack items at the team’s recent donation drive to assist with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

2. HPU baseball players unload cleaning supplies donated by a community member.

3. HPU’s baseball team collected approximately 1,000 cases of water during its recent donation drive.

HPU baseball partners with Weakley-Watson for hurricane relief

BROWNWOOD – August 30, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s baseball team is partnering with Weakley-Watson Ace Hardware of Brownwood to provide relief amidst the ongoing devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey along Texas’ Gulf Coast. The team’s efforts are bolstered by a variety of other campus groups and individuals.

HPU will host a donation drive this Saturday, September 2, from 9 a.m. to noon at the former Hastings’ parking lot, 600 N. Center Ave. in Brownwood. The following weekend, the baseball team and other campus volunteers will travel to southeast Texas to distribute items and money collected to those in need. There, the group’s efforts will be facilitated by Joseph Jones, HPU alumnus and pastor of First Baptist Church of Port Lavaca.

Donations most needed include personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, non-perishable foods, and new and used tools including crowbars, rakes, saws, shovels and other tools that can assist in cleanup efforts.

In addition to the donation drive at the former Hastings’ parking lot, Weakley-Watson Ace Hardware, 1414 Austin Ave. in Brownwood, will discount by 25 percent purchases listed as hurricane relief items. Once purchased, the items may be left at the store and HPU’s baseball team will collect them for distribution. Weakley-Watson will also serve as a donation drop-off location.

“HPU is blessed to be in Brown County, a place where businesses and individuals step up to help those in need,” said Stephen Lynn, head baseball coach. “We look forward to seeing the turnout at Saturday’s donation drive and we thank you in advance for your contributions.”

Those who prefer to offer financial support may mail a check, designated “Hurricane Relief,” to HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement, P.O. Box 2369, Brownwood, TX 76804 by Tuesday, September 5. As financial donations will go directly to those in need, they will not be considered tax-deductible gifts to the university and receipts will not be mailed.

Anyone unable to attend the drive may coordinate with the baseball team to have donation items collected. For more information, or to schedule a collection time, contact Robert Anders, assistant baseball coach, at 972-322-4116 or randers@hputx.edu.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, said the university is deeply saddened by the devastation along the Gulf Coast and in the other areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“We’re thankful that, through the leadership efforts of our baseball team and with support from other campus groups and the community, we can share resources with those in need,” he said. “Most of all, we pray for God’s comfort and protection over our friends, loved ones and all others impacted by this tragedy.”

HPU has created a Facebook group to host requests for hurricane relief assistance and offers for donations and volunteer hours. To join the group visit www.facebook.com/groups/hpu.hurricane.relief.

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First group of HPU students arrive on campus for fall semester

Callaway and FloydJohnson at Taylor Hall for web
Drills for web
Team Meetin g with Coach Harris for web

BROWNWOOD – August 8, 2017 – Approximately 130 new and returning Howard Payne University football players moved into residence halls Monday morning in advance of the fall 2017 athletic season. More students will arrive on campus next week, with classes beginning August 21.

The athletes will attend a variety of meetings and events as they get to know one another and the coaching staff. Football practice began Tuesday morning.

“We are excited about everyone being on campus now and starting the process of building the future of HPU football,” said Braxton Harris, head coach. “This is a great group of young men establishing the foundation of the program.”

More information about HPU’s athletic program, including the fall 2017 schedule of games, is located at www.hpusports.com.

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Cutlines:

Cameron Callaway, Jr., (left) of Gladewater and Terry Floyd-Johnson of Longview, both incoming freshmen, are among the 130 football players to check into HPU’s Thomas Taylor Hall and Jennings Hall.

New and returning HPU football players run drills during practice Tuesday morning.

Braxton Harris, head football coach, addresses the student-athletes during a team meeting.