2018 Hall Of Fame Class Announced
Five Sports, Five Decades Represented
DENTON - Five sports and five decades are represented in the 2018 North Texas Hall of Fame class, a group that includes the winningest tennis player in school history, the only softball player to bat .400 for a season at UNT, one of the cornerstones of Bill Blakeley's 20-win men's basketball teams, a three-time all-conference wide receiver, and one of UNT track's most prolific record setters.
The 2018 Hall of Fame inductees, announced by the UNT athletic department Thursday, are:
- Alysha Adams (track and field, 2008-2011)
- Mallory Cantler (softball, 2008-2011)
- Melvin Davis (men's basketball, 1975-78)
- James Russell (football, 1965-67)
- Gwynn Sammel (tennis, 1979-82)
The 2018 class will be inducted during the Mean Green's Champions Weekend October 12-13, 2018. The induction dinner will take place Friday, Oct. 12, in Apogee Stadium's HUB Club, and the inductees will also be honored during the North Texas football game against Southern Miss on Saturday, Oct. 13.
This was the first year in which the Hall of Fame selection process included voting by dues-playing members of the North Texas Letterwinners Association and previous inductees to the UNT Hall of Fame, as well as by the North Texas Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Active members of the Letterwinners Association also receive a 20 percent discount on season and single-game tickets. To access Letterwinners Association ticket benefits, contact the North Texas Ticket Office at 940-565-2527 or ticketoffice.@unt.edu.
Here are bios of the members of the 2018 Hall of Fame class:
ALYSHA ADAMS (TRACK AND FIELD, 2008-2011)
Adams' name appears throughout the UNT women's track and field record book in multiple events.
She holds the school indoor records in the 200-meter dash at 24.01 seconds and the 55-meter hurdles at 7.72. Outdoors, her best time of 23.82 in the 200 is fourth best in UNT history; her times of 13.08, 13.09 and 13.15 in the 100 hurdles are the second, third and fourth best all-time. Adams was a member of 4x100 meter women's relay teams that posted the first, second and fourth fastest times in school history, as well as the second fastest 4x400 relay team.
Adams won multiple conference crowns. At the Sun Belt Conference outdoor championships, she took gold in the 100-meter hurdles in 2008 and 2010, the 200-meter dash in 2010, the 100-meter dash in 2011, and the 4x100 relay in 2010 and 2011. Indoors, she won Sun Belt gold in the 200-meter dash and 55-meter hurdles in 2010, and the 4x100 relay in 2010 and 2011. Adams earned all-conference honors at the 2008, 2010 and 2011 indoor and outdoor Sun Belt championships. She participated in the NCAA West Preliminaries in 2010 and 2011; the NCAA Midwest Regionals in 2008 and 2009; and the NCAA National Championships in 2010, where she placed 17th in the 100-meter hurdles and 11th with the North Texas 4x100 relay team.
Her honors include 2009 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, 2010 and 2011 conference outdoor Outstanding Track Performer, and 2010 and 2011 Sun Belt outdoor Individual High-Point Scorer.
Mallory Cantler (SOFTBALL, 2008-2011)
A four-time all-conference selection at first base, Cantler is the only player in North Texas history to lead the team in batting four straight years and to post a season batting average of over .400.
In 2009, Cantler hit .404. She also hit .319 in 2011, .351 in 2010 and .374 as a freshman in 2008, which is the fifth highest average in school history. Her career batting average of .359 and career on-base percentage of .423 are tops in program history. Her 220 career hits are third best, her 128 career runs batted in are second best, and her 44 career doubles are best in school history. Cantler had 63 multiple-hit games and 35 multiple-RBI games.
Cantler also has the third-highest career slugging percentage at .564, and she shares the team record for most bases in a game with 10 against Louisiana-Lafayette in 2011.
On defense, she is tied for the best single-season fielding percentage in school history at .997 in 2011.
Cantler was named to the ESPN The Magazine/Academic All-District team in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
MELVIN DAVIS (MEN'S BASKETBALL, 1975-78)
Known to fans by the nickname "Lurch," Davis was a force on the Mean Green's 20-win teams under coach Bill Blakeley in 1975-76, 1976-77 and 1977-78, when the Mean Green compiled a record of 45-16, had a 19-game home win streak, and scored wins over Texas, SMU, Kansas State, TCU, and Arizona State.
Davis' 550 career field goals rank sixth best in UNT history, and his 872 career rebounds are fifth best. The 6-8 forward/center from Greenville is also a member of the UNT 1,000-point club, ranking 12th all-time at North Texas in scoring with 1,306 points, an average of 13.2 points per game.
He averaged 17.3 ppg as a junior and 16.6 as a senior, and had a 33-point game against UTA in 1978. He boasts one of UNT's best rebounding seasons with 287 boards in 1976-77, ninth best in school history.
JAMES RUSSELL (FOOTBALL, 1965-67)
Russell was a three-time all-conference wide receiver in the Missouri Valley Conference, and led the Mean Green in receptions on the 1967 league championship team.
A favorite target of North Texas All-Century quarterback Steve Ramsey, Russell caught 44 passes for 624 yards and five touchdowns in 1967. His 14 career receiving touchdowns is tied for eighth most in school history. "He catches the ball in a crowd as good as anyone, and it's not surprising that our quarterbacks always favor him in crucial situations," North Texas All-Century head coach Odus Mitchell said of Russell.
Russell was also the team's punter, averaging 40.8 yards per kick in 1967. Among his accolades, Russell was twice named to the All-Texas College Football first team. Russell was drafted in 1968 by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 10th round, and played in the Canadian Football League.
GWYNN SAMMEL (TENNIS, 1979-82)
Gwynn Sammel's position in the history of North Texas tennis is clear: she is the benchmark, the standard by which all others are measured. And no one else has approached her heights.
Sammel is the winningest player in the history of North Texas tennis - and she owns that distinction by a vast margin. In her two seasons of intercollegiate tennis at North Texas, Sammel amassed 104 career victories in singles and doubles, 46 more than any other player in program history. Sammel ranks second in career singles wins with 52 and first in career doubles victories with 50, and she owns the top career-winning percentage in singles (.730) and doubles (.781).
She began her career at the tenuous dawn of the modern women's tennis program at North Texas. After the program's inaugural (and winning) season in 1978-79, Sammel led the team to a 32-9 dual-match mark in 1979-80, which remains the program best for wins in a season. There was no season in 1980-81, but the team returned in 1981-82 to post a 24-11 record. Those two teams remain the winningest in program history, and Sammel was the wins leader on both.
Sammel holds the top two spots for most single-season victories in singles with 28 in 1981-82 and 26 in 1979-80, and holds the same marks in doubles with 26 wins in 1981-82 and 24 in 1979-80. In the rest of the program's history, 20 wins has been reached only one other time.
In the 1979-80 season, Sammel went a combined 52-11 in singles and doubles. In 1981-82, she went 52-23. In all the other years of North Texas women's tennis, no other player has reached 30 combined wins in a season.