Rockdale Reporter, November 13, 2008
SECOND CLASS INDUCTED INTO SPORTS HALL OF HONOR
All 16 Hall of Honor inductees had their own story to tell

A common theme at Friday afternoon’s Hall of Honor ceremony seemed to be that the relatives of most of the 16 new members had  little knowledge of their loved ones accomplishments.
From now on, they have a place to come where that information is readily available.
The Rockdale Hall of Honor swelled to 28 with the induction of the new members and each newcomer to the hall had their own story  to tell.
Dickie Summers, who recently battled some serious health problems, was literally happy to be there.  “The values I got,
came from  here,” said Summers, his right arm in a sling. “From coaches, teammates.  It’s a privilege just to stand here today.”
“Would you please repeat that again,” said Ronny Menn, a teammate of Summers, after master of ceremonies Mike Brown listed his  accomplishments. “That all sounds pretty good.
“This is Christmas in November for me.”
L.B. Kubiak, a teammate of Summers and Menn, called himself, “A jack of all trades and master of none.
“When you had a quarterback like Summers and a lineman like (Gary) Holliman, they can make you look pretty good.”
Holliman’s wife Elaine told the packed house that her 6-foot-7, 255-pound husband used to serenade her when they were students at  Baylor by singing the Rockdale fight song, “Hold That Tiger.”
Ray Birchfield, who coached the Tigers to the state championship game in 1962 and received the banquet’s only standing ovation,  said, “These guys were so good they didn’t need a coach out there.
“Rockdale has a special place in my heart. All of my girls were born here.”  Aycock standout Billie Jean Washington said, “I’ll never  forget Rockdale is my home.”
The speech that garnered the most laughter on the evening was that from Richie Gadison, son of inductee Lee Earl Gadison, who was  too sick to attend.
“He never told us how good he was, he would just show us,” Richie Gadison said.  “I played college football and one time I was talking  about how fast I was. My father starting taking off his shoes and we went outside and I was thinking, now I’ll show him how fast I  am.
“He blew my doors off. He walked back in the house and didn’t say anything. He was 49 before any of his sons could beat him in the  100-yard dash.
“He loved to run, loved to compete, loved to win.”
Donnie Laurence was inducted alongside his father, coaching legend Ernie Laurence.
“What a privilege it is to be here today with all these guys I played with,” he said. “I remember how much love and care we had for  each other.”
“He was a disciplinarian deluxe,” said Ronnie Laurence who accepted for his late father. “We moved around a lot, but when we came  to Rockdale, he found a town and a people that he loved.
“My dad would have had such a good time today. He would be proud and humbled.”
Laurence’s daughter Charlotte said her father was concerned about all “these boys” when she became of dating age.  “He said, ‘I’ll  just see them in gym. You date, I’ll watch.’”
Annie Bell Wesley was represented by five of her eight children, who all had outstanding athletic careers at RHS, including Barbara  Ann Grayson, who is a member of the RISD school board.
Duane Vincent, the schools’s winningest basketball coach, was represented by his three daughters and widow, Polly.
“Coach Vincent, he was one who could coach it all,” said Donnie Laurence.
In the most touching moment of the ceremonies, Vivian Yezak, mother of Dan Yezak, who died at the age of 22, said tearfully, “Dan  was lucky to have the privilege to play at Rockdale High School.”
After the ceremony, the inductees and family were introduced to the crowd before the Rockdale-Taylor game where they received a  standing ovation.
Rockdale,TX Class of 1965
Rockdale TX Sports Hall of Honor
Honoring past athletes from Rockdale High School and Aycock High School
Thanks to the Rockdale Reporter, Mike Brown, Editor for permission to use these articles and photos
Rockdale Reporter - Established 1893
Visit the Reporter at http://www.rockdalereporter.com
2008
Rockdale Reporter - October 9, 2008
Glorious decade for Aycock girls

Dykes, Mack, Wesley led Tigerettes to 50s athletic heights
Editor’s note: On Friday, Nov. 17, the next 16 honorees will be inducted into the Rockdale Sports Hall of Fame.  This year’s “class” represents athletes or coaches who played or began their coaching careers at Rockdale High School or Aycock High School before 1965. This is the second of a five-part series.
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor

Most Rockdale sports fans know about the golden age of Aycock High School’s boys teams.  The Tigers dominated the 1950s, winning a state football title in 1955 and state basketball championship in 1956.
Aycock’s girls sports teams were equally as dominant in that era.

In fact, longtime sports fans believe Aycock would have added several girls basketball titles to the school’s trophy case but there was no girls basketball past the district level in that era.

Two coaches and one player from that era will be inducted into the RHS Hall of Honor on Nov. 7.

Zelma Dykes coached AHS to numerous district titles in the 1950s.
Flora Mack was also a girls coach at AHS during the era, helping guide the Tigerettes to near-total dominance.
Annie Bell Page Wesley was the top scorer on the legendary AHS girls basketball team which went undefeated in 1955-56.

Zelma Dykes (1924 AHS graduate, coached Aycock girls sports for decades)
Zelma Lee Hill Dykes returned to Aycock High School and coached AHS girls basketball teams to five straight district titles,  including a legendary undefeated team in 1955-56.  She graduated AHS in 1924 and went to Paul Quinn College in Waco where she  earned her bachelors degree and teaching certificate.  Her teaching career began in Davilla. She then went on to the Liberty Hill  school of Milam County.  When that school merged into the Rockdale ISD she came to Aycock.
Between the 1951-52 and 1955-56 seasons Dykes’s teams won five consecutive district titles and did not lose a district game in any of those seasons.  The 1956 team was 21-0. the Tigerettes hosted, and won, a blue ribbon post season tourney that included two other undefeated teams.
Mrs. Dykes died Oct 8, 1998.

Flora Mack (1948 AHS graduate Coached Aycock girls sports in 1950s )
Flora Juanita Fair Mack coached basketball and track at AHS in the early to mid-1950s.  Her track teams produced numerous  district winners and state qualifiers.  Mack excelled in athletics and academics during her middle school and high school years. She was also a member of the school choir and quartet.
She was the 1948 Aycock High School valedictorian, going on to earn a bachelor of arts degree in Tillotson College in Austin in 1951 and doing one year of postgraduate work at Prairie View A&M University.
Mack made history of a different kind after her coaching career was over.  In 1961 she became the first African-American teacher in the Rockdale ISD, teaching English at Rockdale Junior-High School in the first phase of the desegregation plan which resulted in  the closing of Aycock.
Mrs. Mack died Dec . 29, 2004.

Annie Bell Page Wesley (1956)
Annie Bell Page Wesley was one of Aycock High School’s outstanding female athletes in AHS’s golden age of athletics in the  mid-1950’s.  Described as a “speedy, snappyshooting forward” on the Tigerette basketball team, Aycock won district every year in which Wesley was a team member.
The Aycock girls went 21-0 and won a blue-ribbon post season tourney, which they hosted, that also included two other undefeated teams.
Wesley scored 335 points that season, almost half the team’s offensive output. She averaged 16 points per game.
She also ran track. Wesley was second at state in the baseball throw.
She married Charles C. Wesley and the couple had seven boys and one girl, all of whom went on to standout athletic careers at
Rockdale High School.  They are Lawrence, Darin, Dexter, Cedric, Anthony, Leonard and Roderick Wesley and Barbara Ann Grayson.
Mrs. Wesley died Oct. 28, 1997.
Annie Bell Page Wesley - Rockdale TX Sports Hall of Honoe
Zelma Lee Hill Dykes - Rockdale TX Sports Hall of Honoe
Flora Juanita Fair Mack - Rockdale TX Sports Hall of Honoe
Zelma Dykes
Flora Mack
Annie Bell Wesley
Rockdale
Sports
Hall of
Honor
Rockdale TX Sports Hall of Honor

Rockdale Reporter – October 23, 2008
The ‘Boys of 62’
Summers, Menn, Holliman were part of magical fall football run

Editor’s note: On Friday, Nov. 17, the next 16 honorees will be inducted into the Rockdale Sports Hall of Fame. This year’s “class”  represents athletes or coaches who played or began their coaching careers at Rockdale High School or Aycock High School before 1965. This is the second of a five-part series.
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor

Look up “Cinderella” in the dictionary and you just might find a photo of the 1962 Rockdale Tiger football team.  That squad came  from nowhere to give Rockdale fans a fabulous fall of upset wins, and come-from-behind thrills that went all the way to the state  finals where RHS lost to Jacksboro.
Four key members of that team, all as juniors, will be inducted into the RHS Sports Hall of Fame Nov 7.
Dick Summers was the quarterback who guided Big Blue to that magical 13-2 season and a 10-0 regular season the next year.
Running back Ronny Menn was Big Blue’s go-to guy both those years and starred in other sports, too, ending his RHS varsity
career with 15 letters.
L. B. Kubiak was a fullback and linebacker on the 1962 and 1963 teams.
Gary Holliman was that rarest of blockers: a highly-visible offensive lineman whose often spectacular blocks were credited with  much of Big Blue’s offensive success.
The team was coached by Ray Birchfield, another honoree.  He was profiled in the Oct. 9 Reporter.

Dick Summers (1964 RHS graduate)
Summers was a junior in 1962.  He came back in 1963 and quarterbacked the Tigers to a perfect 10-0 regular season record during which the Tigers scored 327 points and allowed only 5.  That’s still the only perfect regular season record in RHS history.
He was a starter in a basketball program that twice made the regional finals, and was a long-ball-hitting catcher in a baseball  program that won three consecutive regional championships, the highest level that you could advance to in Class 2A in the Sixties.
After graduation Summers chose baseball and his sophomore year played catcher on a Texas Longhorn team that placed fourth
in the College World Series.
He was drafted by the New York Mets and became a utility infielder. Summers was picked up in the draft by the Montreal Expos,  was named a player coach to develop young talent and later coached Montreal’s team in the Florida State Rookie League.  He  graduated from the University of Texas, became a high school coach, and made many stops in Texas where his teams advanced into  the playoffs. For the past 11 years he has coached and established strength and conditioning programs in high schools in Colorado.  Ponderosa High School advanced into the baseball playoffs five straight years and posted one football state championship.  Thunderridge High School, with Summers directing the strength program, posted three state football titles, three boys basketball  state titles, two girls basketball state titles, and a state baseball title.

Ronny Menn (1964 RHS graduate)
Ronny Menn earned 15 varsity letters at RHS, four each in football, basketball and baseball, three in track.  Menn was a starter on  three regional finalist basketball teams and four regional championship baseball teams.
In football, he earned All-District, All-Central Texas and All-State honors. He also earned All-District honors in basketball
and baseball.
He played in the 1964 Texas High School Coaches Association North-South All-Star football game in Fort Worth and turned down a  major league baseball offer to accept a football scholarship to Texas A&M University where he started for the Aggie freshman  team at running back in 1964 and was second-team All-Southwest Conference.
He then transferred to Sam Houston State University where he earned five varsity letters—three in football and two in baseball.
He was a starting running back for three years in football, earning All-Lone Star Conference honors as a senior.
Menn was head football coach and athletic director for seven years at Class 3A Pittsburg (Texas) High School, 1983 through 1990,  where his teams made the playoffs five times and posted a regional championship and 3 bi-district championships.  His athletic  program at Pittsburg also produced 3 boys district basketball titles, 2 girls basketball district, bi-district and area titles, and  numerous district titles in track, tennis and golf.

L. B. Kubiak (1964 RHS graduate)
Kubiak was both a powerhouse fullback and a bruising linebacker on the 1962 and 1963 teams. He was named to the coaches  All-State team as a linebacker his senior season, as well as the Waco Tribune’s Super Centex team and the Austin American  All-Centex team.
He threw the shot and discus in track and played baseball for two years as an outfielder. He was asked by scout Red Murff to  attend Houston Colt 45 baseball try-outs, but elected not to attend.
He accepted a football scholarship to Texas A&M University where he started on the freshman team as a linebacker all season, and also saw action at fullback. Kubiak also received football scholarship offers from the University of Texas, Rice, TCU, Notre Dame, Baylor, the University of Houston and the Air Force Academy.  He intended to play football his sophomore season where his starting prospects were bright, but he elected to pursue veterinary medicine studies and he went on to a career as a veterinarian.

Gary Holliman (1964 RHS graduate)
Gary Holliman, 6-foot, 7-inch, 255-pound offensive and defensive tackle, opened a lot of holes in the 1961, 1962 and 1963 football seasons. He was a three-year varsity starter.  He also played post in basketball and was the second leading scorer on Duane Vincent’s 1964 district championship team that posted a 26-3 record.
Holliman also played baseball and threw the shot and discus in track.
Holliman received a full athletic scholarship to Baylor University. His freshman year he played on Baylor’s freshman football,  basketball and baseball teams.  He red-shirted as a sophomore, earned a starting berth in spring training and started his last two years as an offensive tackle.  During his varsity stint as a junior at Baylor, the Bears defeated Syracuse, ranked No. 7 nationally,  35-12 in Waco on national television. The same team broke No. 5-ranked Arkansas’ 21-game winning streak in Fayetteville, 7-0.
Holliman graduated from Baylor in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics
2008
 
Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor 2008 Inductee Gary Holliman
Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor 2008 Inductee L. B. Kubiak
Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor 2008 Inductee Dickie Summers
Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor 2008 Inductee Ronny Menn
L. B. Kubiak
Dickie Summers
Ronny Menn
Gary
Holliman
Rockdale
Sports
Hall of
Honor
Rockdale TX Sports Hall of Honor
Rockdale Reporter  – October 30, 2008
Reviving a decade of Aycock sports glory

Quartet blazed the trail by starring in high school and college
Editor’s note: On Friday, Nov. 7, the next 16 honorees will be inducted into the Rockdale Sports Hall of Fame.  This year’s “class”  represents athletes or coaches who played or began their coaching careers at Rockdale High School or Aycock High School  before  1965. This is the fourth of a five-part series.
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor

Before Aycock High School’s glory years of state championships in the mid-1950s another group of AHS athletes had posted  outstanding performances both in high school and college.
Lee Earl Gadison Sr. played on three straight state finalists in basketball from 1947-49 and was involved in competitive athletics  until six years ago.
Rufus Wolridge Sr. ran track for Texas Southern University after gradulating from AHS.
Billie Jean Walton Washington was a two-sport standout at Prairie View A&M University after her Aycock days.
Matthew “Doc” Cook starred in track and football and played on the first-ever Huston-Tillotson College football team.

Lee Earl Gadison Sr. (1949 AHS graduate)
Lee Earl Gadison Sr. was a member of an Aycock High basketball team that went to three straight state finals in 1947, 1948 and  1949.  That team included Gadison, three of his cousins and his future brother-in-law.  He also played halfback for the Tiger football team and set records for yards rushing, rushing touchdowns, passing touchdowns and interceptions for touchdowns.  In 1949  he and his Aycock teammates won the state 880-yard and mile relays.  Gadison was the district champ in the 100-yard dash and  220-yard dash.  He was Aycock High School’s Most Outstanding Male Athlete in 1949 and was also the class president and  homecoming king that school year. He graduated in 1950.
Gadison went on to Paul Quinn College on a full football scholarship, earning a spot on the varsity team as an offensive and defensive guard his freshman year.  He played two seasons at Paul Quinn then enlisted in the U. S. Air Force where he remained for 20 years. After retiring from the USAF in 1972, Gadison went on to run for the Masters Track Club of San Antonio, well into the 1980s, then participated in the Senior Olympics from 1992 to 2002.  Gadison won at the national Senior Olympics once in the 50 meters, 100  meters and 3-on-3 basketball and won at the state level three times in each of those events.

Rufus Wolridge (1949 AHS graduate)
Rufus Wolridge Jr. was one of Aycock High School’s first standout athletes to pursue an athletic career in college.
The son of Rufus Sr. and Mary Wolridge, he was the oldest of four boys.  He graduated Aycock High School in 1949 where he was a standout in track and continued his career at Texas Southern University in Houston where he also starred in the track program while majoring in biology and math.  He joined the U. S. Army in and served in the Korean War, reaching the rank of sergeant.  After  returning from Korea, he settled in Houston, and retired after a 35-year career in the U.S. Postal Service.
Mr. Wolridge died in February, 1992.

Billie Jean Walton Washington (1950 AHS graduate)
Billie Jean Walton Washington was a standout basketball and track performer at Aycock High School and again in college at Prairie  View A&M.  A 1950 graduate of AHS, she won numerous medals in basketball and track, and was named the school’s All-Around Girl  in 1950, the start of a decade which would see Aycock athletics dominate Central Texas.  She went on to Prairie View A&M where  she lettered in both basketball and track.

Matthew (Doc) Cook (1950s AHS graduate)
Matthew (Doc) Cook, the eighth child of Roy and Birdie Cook, was a standout track and football athlete in the late 1940s and early 1950s for Aycock High School.  Cook was a mainstay on an Aycock football team which won four district championships, and three  regional championships, in his four-year AHS career.  He was also a standout on the Tiger track team, specializing in the long  jump—then called the broad jump—the 100-yard dash and 220-yard dash.  Cook was also a member of Aycock’s 220-yard, 440-yard  and 880-yard relay teams.  After graduating as salutatorian in the AHS Class of 1951, he received a football scholarship to Samuel Huston College in Austin.  Cook played defensive tackle for the Dragons in 1951. The next year Samuel Huston College merged with Tillotson College to become Huston-Tillotson College, later Huston-Tillotson University.  Cook continued to play defensive tackle for the new school in 1952 and 1953.  After serving in the United States Army, Cook returned to Huston-Tillotson, earning a bachelor of science degree in physical education in 1958.
In addition to his athletic and academic accomplishments at Aycock High School, Cook was remembered by classmates as a skilled  mimic who imitated animals and people, including roosters, turkeys, mockingbirds, cowboy singer Tex Ritter and even legendary Aycock Superintendent O. E. “Prof” Wilhite.
2008
Rockdale TX Sports Hall of Honor
Rockdale
Sports
Hall
of Honor
Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor 2008 Inductee Billie Jean Walton Washington
Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor 2008 Inductee Lee Earl Gadison Sr.
Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor 2008 Inductee Matthew Doc Cook
Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor 2008 Inductee Rufus Wolridge
Matthew "Doc" Cook
Lee Earl Gadison Sr.
Rufus Wolridge
Billie Jean Walton Washington
 
Rockdale Reporter – November 6, 2008
Laurence, Yezak legacies: ‘Nice guys finish first’

Untimely death cut short probable pro career for Tiger punting star

Editor’s note: On Friday, the next 16 honorees will be inducted into the Rockdale Sports Hall of Fame in a 4:30 p.m. banquet, not  open to the public, in the junior high commons.  Honorees will then be introduced to the Tiger Field crowd before the  Rockdale-Taylor football game. This year’s “class” represents athletes or coaches who played or began their coaching careers at  Rockdale High School or Aycock High School before 1965. This is the last of a five-part series.
BY MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor

Donnie Laurence and Daniel Yezak were two of the finest athletes, and two of the finest gentlemen, ever to wear the blue and gold  of Rockdale High School.  Laurence went on to a stunning career as one of Baylor University’s best, and most honored, athletes, then  coached standout high school football teams for 26 years.
Yezak’s story is the most tragic in RHS sports annals. One of the top 10 collegiate punters in the nation at Lamar Tech, he was  apparently headed for a National Football League career when he was killed in a highway accident at age 22.

Donnie Laurence (1962 RHS graduate)
Donnie Laurence could go into the RHS Sports Hall of honor for any of three sports careers. At Rockdale, he was a standout in four  sports, football, basketball, baseball and track. Then he moved on the Baylor and became a Bear legend.  Laurence played football,  basketball and baseball his freshman year at Baylor and for the next three years he started on the varsity in both football and  baseball, winning All-Southwest Conference honors in both sports.
He was an All-SWC outfielder in 1964, his sophomore year; an All-SWC first baseman in 1966 as a junior; and an All-SWC  defensive end for the Bears in 1965, his senior year.  In 2008 he was named a Baylor Legend for having earned All-SWC honors in two sports.  He was named the Outstanding Baylor Athlete his senior year,  1965-66, when each SWC school chose its best single  athlete from all sports combined.  Also that year, he was Sports Illustrated magazine’s national Lineman of the Week following the  Baylor-SMU game.
Laurence was also the first recipient of the Bobby Jones Memorial award given for the outstanding performance by a senior in the  Baylor Homecoming football game.  He played in the Blue-Gray Classic All-Star Football game in 1965. He is a member of Baylor’s Hall of Fame and was named to the All-Decade Team of the 1960’s as a defensive end.
Laurence was head baseball coach and assistant football coach at Temple for four years, and then became head football coach and AD at Mount Pleasant where he had three 9-1 seasons and was 44-4 in the first four years, making the state finals in 1973.  One other team made the quarterfinals and his seven-year record at Mount Pleasant was 66-11.
For two seasons he was defensive ends coach for Texas Tech, head coach at Texas High in Texarkana for three years, and then at  Katy Taylor for four years, advancing to the quarterfinals in 1987. He then coached 10 years at Kerrville Tivy, sending many teams  to the playoffs, one reaching the semifinals with a 13-2 record.  Another Tivy team went 11-2-1.
He retired from coaching with an overall record of 165-65-5, a winning percentage of .717.

Daniel Yezak (1961 RHS graduate)
Daniel Yezak was one of the best punters Central Texas ever produced, one of the best all-around athletes and one of the best  gentlemen.  Tragically, his sports career, and his life, was cut short by a highway accident at the age of 22.
Yezak, a 1961 graduate of Rockdale High School, was a four-sport letterman at RHS.  He was also a standout at halfback in football  and his senior year was all-state honorable mention, all-Central Texas and all-district.
After RHS he enrolled at Navarro Junior College, starring at halfback and punter, and helped lead the team to a bowl game victory his sophomore year.  Yezak, who had punted for a 40-yard average his senior year, continued his standout punting at Navarro, then  at Lamar Tech where he was one of the top 10 collegiate punters in the nation and was being scouted for the National Football  League.
At RHS he once had two 73-yard quick kicks in one game.  On Oct. 7, 1960, Yezak out-punted future University of Texas All-American Ernie Koy Jr. in a classic Rockdale-Bellville game at Tiger Field that saw both athletes punt six times.
Yezak, who accomplished all of his athletic achievements without ever weighing over 155 pounds, drew praise from coaches,  Administrators and fans for his character, polite, friendly and easygoing nature.  His nickname was “Easy.”
On Aug. 26, 1965, as he was returning to Rockdale from Lamar Tech, he was killed in a highway accident four miles west of  Beaumont.
 
Rockdale
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Daniel Yezak (left) and Donnie Laurence left Rockdale as stars and both produced stellar careers at their respective colleges.
Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor 2008 Inductee Daniel Yezak
Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor 2008 Inductee Donnie Laurence
Daniel Yezak
Donnie Laurence
2008
2008
Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor 2008 Inductee Matthew
Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor 2008 Inductee Raymond Birchfield
Matthew 'Doc' Cook (L) and Ray Birchfield were two of 16 sports legends inducted into the Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor Friday.   A banquet in the junior-high commons preceded pre-game introductions at the Rockdale-Taylor football game. 
Cook starred on Aycock teams which won three regional titles in the 1940s and early 1950s. 
Birchfield posted a 53-22-1 (.707) coaching record  over 7 years in the 1960s.
View more photos or purchase prints at www.rockdalereporter.com
Matthew 'Doc' Cook
Ray Birchfield
Rockdale
Sports
Hall of
Honor
Thanks to the Rockdale Reporter, Mike Brown, Editor for permission to use these articles and photos
Rockdale Reporter - Established 1893
The Reporter has some great pictures of the ceremonies on-line
Sports Hall of Honor
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ROCKDALE SPORTS HALL OF HONOR 2008 INDUCTEES
‘Sweet 16’ make up 2nd class for local Sports Hall of Fame
Standout athletes from Rockdale, Aycock schools to be honored
by Mike Brown, Reporter Editor
Rockdale Reporter, July 24, 2008 pp 1A & 6A

A “sweet 16” class will be inducted into the Rockdale Athletic Hall of Honor on Nov. 7.
Now in its second year, the Hall of Honor will induct its 16-member “Class of 2008” before the Rockdale-Taylor football
game at Tiger Field and with a private banquet for the honorees and their families in the junior high commons preceding the
game.
This year’s class includes the Hall of Honor’s first two-generation selections, legendary multisport coach Ernie Laurence and
son, Donnie, a 1962 RHS graduate who went on to his own successful college football career then to an equally-successful
high school coaching career.
The Hall of Honor was the brainchild of Jeff Miller, RHS head football coach and athetic director. It honors athletes and
coaches from Rockdale High School and Aycock High School.
Plaques bearing the photo and brief biography of each honoree will be on permanent display in the new RHS gym, which is
scheduled to be completed in August, 2009.
Hall of Honor committee members said the following persons, representing RHS and AHS athletes and coaches who began
or completed their high school athletic careers by 1965, will be inducted Nov. 7:

• Ray Birchfield, Rockdale head football coach/athletic director who led the Tigers to the 1962 Class 2A state championship game and to a perfect regular season record the next season, 1963.
• Doc Cook, men’s track standout from Aycock High School.
• Zelma Dykes (deceased), Aycock girls coach who led her Tigerettes to a perfect record in 1955-56 and perfect district records five consecutive years.
Lee Earl Gadison, Rockdale native who went on to an outstanding baseball career at Paul Quinn College.
• Gary Holliman (deceased), who keyed the RHS offensive line during that 1962-63 era.
• L. B. Kubiak, fullback-linebacker who keyed the 1962 Tigers “Cliff Dwellers” defense and was an all-stater at linebacker the following year.
• Ernie Laurence (deceased), one of a handful of coaches to win 100 games in each of four different sports.
• Donnie Laurence, followed his RHS career by being an All-Southwest Conference performer in two sports, football and baseball, at Baylor and then a successful career in high school coaching.
• Flora Mack (deceased), revered Aycock girls coach.
• Ronnie Menn, running back and defensive back on the 1962-63 Tiger football teams, starred at Sam Houston State and then was a successful high school coach.
• Dickie Summers, quarterback for the 1962 Tigers and major league baseball prospect who played with the New York Mets and Montreal Expos organizations, before becoming a coach.
• Duane Vincent (deceased), Rockdale’s legendary basketball coach who compiled a 359-151 record with 9 district titles and a state tourney appearance.
• Billie Jean Walton (deceased), basketball and track standout for the Aycock Tigerettes.
• Annie Bell Page Wesley (deceased), top scorer on the unbeaten AHS girls basketball teams of the mid-1950s.
• Rufus Willridge, Aycock graduate who went on to star in track and field at Texas Southern University.
• Dan Yezak (deceased), one of the great punters in RHS history, who punted at Lamar University and was destined for a pro career before a tragic highway accident took his life.
Rockdale Reporter, July 24, 2008 pp 1A & 6A
Ernie L. Laurence - Rockdale, TX Sports Hall of Honor
Donnie Laurence - Rockdale, TX Sports Hall of Honor
Ernie Laurence (L) with some of the many trophies earned by
his teams. He earned 100 coaching victories each in football,
boys basketball, girls basketball and baseball.
Donnie Laurence starred at RHS in the early 60s, went on to become a member of the Baylor University Sports Hall of Fame and compiled a 165-65-5 high school football head coaching record.
"Of Tigers and Things"
Mike Brown, Editor,
Rockdale Reporter, October 9, 2008
Second class of honor will enshrine 16 worthy choices

We’re about to honor our second “class” of the Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor.  The 16 men and women will be inducted  Friday, Nov. 7 and will be introduced to the crowd before the Rockdale-Taylor football game.  The first 12 were honored last November and it was a special moment in time.
We didn’t know it at the time but we honored two persons in our first Hall of Honor class in the last year of their lives.  Louise Barnes Ohnesorge, 1930s RHS basketball star, and longtime baseball-basketball official Weldon Alford passed away during the past year.  I knew both those families well and the honor meant a great deal to them.

‘Class of 08’
Elsewhere on this page you can read about the first three honorees for this year. They are, of course, legendary coaches Ernie Laurence, Duane Vincent and Ray Birchfield.
Also being inducted on Nov. 7 are early 1960’s RHS standouts Dick Summers, L. B. Kubiak, Donnie Laurence, Gary Holliman, Ronny Menn and Daniel Yezak,  Aycock coaches Flora Mack and Zelma Dykes and late-40’s to mid-50s Aycock athletes Matthew “Doc” Cook, Annie Bell Wesley, Lee Earl Gadison, Rufus Wolridge and Billie Jean Walton Washington.

Detective work
As usual, there’s a certain amount of detective work in tracking down people and their descendants who might have
left Rockdale decades ago.  Most difficult this time around was trying to find out about Wolridge who went to College at Texas  Southern University in Houston right out of high school in the 1940s and stayed in Houston the rest of his life.
When we started looking for his relatives and descendants our committee knew exactly one thing about the family, that they had  lived in Lexington.  Amazingly that turned out to be enough. Former Lexington Mayor Robert Willrich (no relation, same sounding  name but different spelling) provided the name and number of Mrs. Wolridge and we got in touch with her thanks to former Rockdale resident Imie Banks Ledbetter.  That happened even though Hurricane Ike struck the Houston neighborhood where the families live.
Two of our nominees live in Colorado and one photo was provided from Connecticut.
Each honoree will receive a plaque and an identical plaque will be placed in the Hall of Honor, to be located in the new RHS gym,  which will be opened in fall, 2009.  Also this year, plaques will be unveiled commemorating the 1955 Aycock High School state football champions and the 1956 AHS  state basketball champs. Several team members were honored last year.

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Rockdale Reporter – October 9, 2008
Hall of Honor: these guys could flat coach
Trio led RHS teams to glory in many decades

Editor’s note: On Friday, Nov. 7, the next 16 honorees will be inducted into the Rockdale Sports Hall of Fame.  This year’s “class”  represents athletes  or coaches who played or began their coaching careers at Rockdale High School or Aycock High School before  1965. This is the first of a five-part series.
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor
Rockdale’s Sports Hall of Honor will include three coaching names so legendary they hardly need introductions.  Ernie Laurence,  Duane Vincent, Ray Birchfield.
Between them they coached four “final-four” basketball squads and took one football team to the state finals.  And their teams in  between the landmark years were successful, competitive and always ready to play.

Ernie Laurence (Coached RHS 1955 to 1973, girls basketball, baseball, one season boys basketball)
Ernie Laurence coached Rockdale teams to district titles, and more, in girls basketball and Tiger baseball in addition to being a  legendary junior-high principal.  Laurence ended his overall high school coaching career with over 100 wins in those three sports, plus  100 wins in varsity football, which he coached before coming to Rockdale in the 1954-55 term.  He’s a member of the Texas Sports  Hall of Fame.  Laurence came to Rockdale to be junior-high principal but was immediately pressed into service to coach boys basketball after Tiger coach Charlie Martin was drafted into the army.
One year, Laurence coached both boys and girls basketball teams at RHS.
His Rockdale girls teams never lost a district race. That’s right. Never.  He coached Rockdale girls basketball for 16 seasons,  1955-56 and 1958-71. All 16 won district titles.  Laurence’s girls cagers, then called “Tigerettes” went to the state tourney in 1958, 1965 and 1970.
In addition to the state appearances, Laurence’s girls basketball teams went to regional three times.  His Tiger baseball teams  enjoyed the same spectacular success. Laurence’s Tigers won regional titles five consecutive years.  That would have been five straight trips to state but the UIL did not offer a state tourney for Class 2A (which later became 3A) teams in that era.  Laurence’s baseball teams won district eight of nine years and compiled a record of 155-32, a won-lost percentage of .852.
His combined RHS girls basketball -Tiger baseball legacy, 24 district titles (in 25 seasons), 11 regional appearances and three state  tournaments.
He died Jan. 22, 1981.

Duane Vincent
(Coached RHS 1960-63 and 1976-79, boys basketball)
The winningest coach in RHS basketball history and it’s not even close.  In 16 seasons as the Tiger head coach, 1960-73 and 1976-79, Vincent compiled a 359-151 record, a .704 winning percentage.  He won nine district championships including eight straight between 1961 and 1968.  Vincent’s 1966 team was Rockdale’s first boys team to ever go to state. At the time of his induction  (2008) there had only been two.  That team got to state by pulling off one of the biggest upsets in Rockdale sports history, a win over unbeaten, No. 1-ranked Del Valle.  Vincent also coached a regional finalist and two bi-district champs.  Eight of Vincent’s teams  won  20 or more games and the 1966 state final four team was 30-9.
Vincent was in the Rockdale ISD for a total of 22 years, including six non-coaching years as a match teacher.
He passed away Feb.  5, 2007.
He was highly-respected by his peers and was regarded as one of the most knowledgeable basketball coaches in the state of Texas.
But Vincent’s proudest accomplishment remained that his teams were always ready to play.  Always.

Ray Birchfield (Coached RHS 1961-1966, football)
He’s as much a part of memories of the early to mid-1960s in Rockdale as JFK, black-and white television, crew cuts and thin ties.   Ray Birchfield coached the Tiger football team from 1960 through 1966, never had a losing season and Rockdale finished first or  second all seven years.  His 1962 team, the Cinderella of all Cinderella teams at Tigerland, went all the way to the state finals, piling  up dramatic, and unexpected, victories in the post-season, the first post-season wins ever at RHS. The team finished 13-2.   Birchfield’s 1963 Tigers were a perfect 10-0 in the regular season and his defense did not allow a touchdown in any of those games.
Rockdale gave up one field goal and one safety, outscoring its regular season opponents 337 to 5.  That’s still the only Tiger football team with a perfect regular season record.  His 1960 team was a district co-champion.  Had he coached in a later era, all seven of his  Tiger teams would have made the post-season.  Birchfield posted a 53-22-1 record at RHS, a winning percentage of .707.  His  district record at RHS was 26-7-1, a winning percentage of .788.  He was also 4-3 against Cameron.
Four of Birchfield’s Tigers were named to all-state teams.
Ray Birchfield - Rockdale, TX Sports Hall of Honor
Ernie Laurence - Rockdale, TX Sports Hall of Honor
Duane Vincent - Rockdale, TX Sports Hall of Honor
Duane Vincent - Rockdale, TX Sports Hall of Honor
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Ernie Laurence
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Rockdale TX Sports Hall of Honor
Rockdale
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Rockdale TX Sports Hall of Honor
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