Athletics News

The 2004 Hall of Fame Inductees

Bill Adams' outstanding four-year track & field career at North Texas State College was highlighted by the 1946 Lone Star Conference Meet, where he was the high-point scorer and led the Eagles to the conference championship. A letterman from 1945-48, Adams picked up a number of first-place finishes at high-profile meets such as the Texas Relays, Border Olympics and Drake Relays. Adams took on a leadership role at NTSC immediately upon his arrival, being named the team captain as a freshman in 1945 and leading the Eagles to the Texas Relays championship the same year. Over the course of his collegiate career, Adams picked up an impressive 55 first-place finishes for individual and relay events combined. Adams was inducted into the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 17, 2001. The Bonham, Tex., native earned his Bachelor of Education degree from North Texas in 1948 and following his accomplished track and field career at the school he went on to coach the same sport at Bonham High School before later working at a publishing company until retirement.

Ira DeFoor was the starting guard for the football team in 1941 and lettered in track and field from 1939-41 before going on to earn his Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree from North Texas State Teacher's College in 1948 and 1949, respectively. In addition to serving as an instructor and assistant professor at the University, DeFoor was the athletic department's long-time equipment manager from 1948-65 and received the Thirty-Five Year Service Award from the University of North Texas. DeFoor also served as the Director of Men's Activity Physical Education Classes (1953-69), the first person at the University to serve in the capacity, and the Director of Summer Health Education Workshops (1953-84). DeFoor was responsible for all high school football games and track meets scheduled in Fouts Field from 1951-68. Professionally, he was presented with the College Football Centennial Award in 1969 and received the American National Red Cross Recognition Award in 1979. Following his playing career at North Texas, DeFoor put in 49 months of service with the Army from 1942-1946.

Andy Everest served as Assistant Head Football Coach under Hayden Fry from 1973-78 before spending two years as North Texas State's Athletic Director from 1979-81. A member of the American Football Assistant Coaches Hall of Fame, Everest was instrumental in the football program's success during Fry's tenure in which the Mean Green posted a combined 40-23-1 record. In addition to NTSU, Everest was also an assistant coach at SMU, Stanford, Foothill College and the University of Utah. He was also the head coach for UC-Santa Barbara from 1970-71. Everest also spent time in the professional coaching ranks, working as an assistant with the NFL's New Orleans Saints, the San Antonio Force arena football team and three different clubs in the Italian professional league. Among his accomplishments as NTSU's Athletic Director are the supervision of a fund-raising campaign that totaled $220,000 for athletics in the calendar year 1980 and the coordination of a state-wide campaign for construction of a new facility that housed lockers, training and meeting quarters for both men's and women's athletics.

A four-year letterman from 1987-90, linebacker Byron Gross reached NCAA Division I-AA All-America status his senior season and piled up 387 career tackles that placed him second all-time in the stat behind fellow 2004 Hall of Fame class member Burks Washington. Gross was also named All-Southland Conference four times and Academic All-Southland Conference twice while leading the Eagles in tackles three of his four seasons, including a career-best 122 take downs as a senior. The two-time team captain (1989 & 1990) recorded 84 tackles as freshman, 80 his sophomore season, 101 as a junior and 122 in his final year of eligibility. The standout linebacker started every game of his career, a span of 46 consecutive games. Gross played a key role in the Eagles' success from 1987-90, a stretch that saw North Texas State post a winning record three of four years and finish the 1987 and 1988 seasons ranked 16th and 12th, respectively, in the NCAA I-AA national rankings. North Texas' annual football award given to the team's most outstanding linebacker is named after Gross.

Burks Washington recorded a school-record 390 tackles from his linebacker position during his four-year career that stretched from 1975-78. In the 1977 season alone Washington piled up 160 tackles, which still stands as the school record at North Texas, and was a defensive standout on teams that compiled a combined record of 33-11 under head coach Hayden Fry during Washington's time with program. The 1977 team, anchored defensively by Washington, is one of two at North Texas to win 10 games in a season. Washington was a 1978 preseason All-America candidate.

Royce Womble, a running back for the Eagles from 1949-51, was a big part of the 1950 team that was Gulf Coast Conference Co-Champions, rushing for 502 yards and five touchdowns on 78 carries. Following his outstanding collegiate career, Womble was drafted by the NFL's Baltimore Colts and went on to play six seasons in the league, five with Baltimore and one with the San Diego Chargers. Womble was named the Baltimore Colts Rookie of the Year in 1954 and he was also the Chargers offensive captain during the 1960 season, his final as a professional. The versatile Womble also lettered in track and field and served two years in the Navy after graduation. The Arlington, Tex., native received his Bachelor's and Master's degree from North Texas in 1952 and 1966, respectively. After his football career came to a close, Womble went on to a successful business career as a the owner of Arlington Sporting Goods.