DENTON (7/29/09) - The University of North Texas has announced its 2009 Athletic Hall of Fame class. Among the group of four former Mean Green greats is the hall’s first volleyball player, a football All-American from the 1940’s, a football great from the late ‘90s, and the first men’s basketball coach to lead North Texas to the NCAA Tournament.
Billy Dinkle (football), Jimmy Gales (men’s basketball), Corina Marginas (volleyball), and Ja’Quay Wilburn (football) make up the class of 2009 and give the North Texas Athletic Hall of Fame 158 members. The school’s 27th all-time class will be inducted as part of the Mean Green’s annual Homecoming weekend on Oct. 17. The North Texas Hall of Fame will also recognize and honor the 1959 football team on the 50th anniversary of its Missouri Valley Conference title and playing in the Sun Bowl.
"It is exciting to be adding these four outstanding people to our Hall of Fame," North Texas Director of Athletics Rick Villarreal said. "They all were outstanding student-athletes and coaches, but more importantly they were tremendous ambassadors for this university. They undeniably deserve this recognition and the North Texas Athletics Hall of Fame will be better collectively with their inclusion."
Dinkle was a running back and kicker, earning all-conference in the Lone Star in 1946. He was also named honorable mention Little All-America in 1946. One of the best running back’s in his time, Dinkle helped lead the Mean Green to it’s first-ever Bowl victory in the 1946 Optimist Bowl. In that game Dinkle had the game-winning pass with nine seconds left and then won the game with the extra point, leading North Texas to a 14-13 victory.
Gales served as the head coach of the Mean Green basketball team from 1986-93, in addition to serving as an assistant under former coach Bill Blakeley from 1975-83. Gales’ teams won a total of 84 games during his tenure as head coach, a total that ranks third-best in school history. He also is the only coach to ever lead the Mean Green men’s team to the NCAA Tournament.
His 1987-88 team won its last nine regular-season games to win the Southland Conference regular-season championship, then won two games to capture the Southland Conference Tournament championship and represent the league in the NCAA Tournament against North Carolina. Under Gales, the North Texas 1988-89 team also won the Southland Conference regular season championship.
Perhaps the greatest volleyball player in North Texas history, Marginas was the programs’s first All-American. Marginas was a four-time first-team, all-conference player from 2000-03 and was the 2003 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. That 2003 season Marginas was named by the AVCA to the All-America team as she set the school record for most kills in a single season with 651.
Marginas led the 2003 team to 22 victories, the most in nearly a decade. Marginas holds four of the nine North Texas career school records. Marginas, one of the most dominate players in her time, holds the school record for kills in a single match with 38, which she accomplished twice.
Wilburn was a four-year football letterman from 1997-2000 and is the only player to ever lead North Texas in rushing yards four straight seasons. He finished his career as the Mean Green’s all-time leading rusher with 3,120 yards. In 2000 when Wilburn finished his career ranked third in all-purpose yards with 3,299, which still ranks in the top 10 all-time at North Texas.
In his senior season Wilburn led North Texas in all-purpose yards with a combined 819 rushing and receiving yards. In 1999 he rushed for 1,016 yards, becoming just the second player at North Texas to rush for over a 1,000 yards in a season in 20 years.
The Hall of Fame breakfast takes place on October 17 at 8:30 a.m. at the Gateway Center on the campus of the University of North Texas.