Athletics Alumni Celebrated at Legends Gala
Austin College celebrated the career achievements of former members of the Kangaroo family on Saturday night at its annual Legends Gala, with University of Texas-Pan American women’s basketball coach Larry Tidwell among those being honored as this year’s recipient of the Coach Joe Spencer Award for Meritorious Service and Lifetime Achievement in Coaching.
Tidwell, a 1975 graduate, lettered in football, baseball, and track and field during his time at Austin College and then went on to begin a coaching career that thus far has spanned 37 years. Over the course of that career, he’s amassed more than 800 head coaching victories in numerous high school and college sports. As an NCAA women’s basketball coach, he has been in 11 postseason tournaments, including making the national tournament eight times.
Tidwell has previously been named to the Austin College Athletics Hall of Honor and is a winner of the College’s Kedric Couch Alumni Coach of the Year Award, and in addition to his tremendous success on the court his teams have also recorded more than 15,000 hours of community service. His teams have also boasted a perfect 100 percent graduation rate for student-athletes who have finished their NCAA eligibility with his programs.
Mark Kellogg, a 1998 graduate, was named the Kedric Couch Alumni Coach of the Year for the second time after guiding his West Texas A&M women’s basketball team to a 32-3 overall record and a trip to the NCAA Division II National Championship game, finishing as the national runner-up and ranked No. 2 in the country. He was named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Region 6 Coach of the Year and was a finalist for national coach of the year accolades.
Kellogg led his team to a 15-1 record in the Lone Star Conference, and his Lady Buffs captured both the regular season and postseason tournament championships in the LSC. He was named the LSC Coach of the Year, and his team led the nation in field goal percentage, three point percentage, and assists-per-game.
Five former athletics standouts were also inducted into the Athletics Hall of Honor, including former football and track athlete Charles Wayne Arledge, women’s soccer player Nicole Christy, men’s soccer player Zack Meyers, basketball and baseball player Tom Skipworth, and basketball, volleyball, and track standout Lorraine Vassberg.
Arledge, a 1958 graduate, was a team-captain for the ‘Roo football team for two seasons and was named second team All-Southwest during his career. After earning a degree in business, he began work with Sun Oil Company and advanced in the business, and in 1988 as the company name changed to Oryx Energy, he became the president of Oryx Gas Transmission until retiring in 1992.
Christy, a 2000 graduate, was a four-year captain for the women’s soccer team and was the program’s first ever Most Valuable Player in 1996. After graduation, she spent four years as a sales analyst for American Honda Finance. In 2004, she joined Spurs Sports and Entertainment, owners of the San Antonio Spurs, Stars, and Rampage, and is now manager of premium services.
Meyers, a 1998 graduate, was a four-year standout for the men’s soccer team, being named the team’s defensive MVP in 1995, 1996, and 1997. He was selected as the Pete Cawthon Award winner as the most outstanding male athlete at Austin College as a senior, and was named the American Southwest Conference Co-Player of the Year that same season. He earned an MBA at UT-Dallas and serves as manager of finance at Emcare outsourced physician services.
Skipworth, a 1967 graduate, was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Honor after having been an outstanding performer both on the baseball field and basketball court, being named the Pat Hooks Award winner as the basketball team MVP and surpassing 1,000 career points. He remains one of only 18 players in program history to reach that milestone. He received his master’s degree in education at East Texas State University, and served as a teacher, coach, and principal in Howe ISD for 36 years. He died in 2005 after a struggle with cancer.
Vassberg, a 1985 graduate, competed in basketball, volleyball, and track, and over the course of her time at Austin College was named the MVP in each of those three sports. As a senior, she was named the Gene Day Award winner as the most outstanding female athlete, and was also the Bo Miller Scholar-Athlete, an award given annually to the graduating student-athlete with the highest grade-point-average. She earned a master’s degree in computer science at National Technological University in Colorado, and has worked for IBM since 1989.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.