DENTON (8/4/04) -- The University of North Texas has announced that Burks Washington and Byron Gross, a pair of former standout linebackers that hold the school’s top two spots on the all-time tackles list, are among the six-member Class of 2004 that will be inducted into the North Texas Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the Mean Green’s annual Homecoming Weekend festivities on Oct. 23.
In addition to Washington and Gross, other 2004 inductees include Bill "Chick" Adams (track & field), former assistant football coach and athletic director Andy Everest, Royce Womble (football and track & field) and Ira DeFoor (football and track & field).
Washington was a four-year letterwinner with the football team (1975-78) and finished his impressive collegiate career with 390 tackles, the most in the program’s 90-year history. Gross earned NCAA Division I-AA All-America honors as a senior in 1990 and piled up 387 career tackles, enough to place him second all-time at North Texas in the stat.
Womble, a running back for the Eagles in 1949 and 1950, was a big part of the 1950 team that was Gulf Coast Conference Co-Champions and went on to play five seasons in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts and San Diego Chargers. He also lettered in track and field and, along with DeFoor, becomes one of the 29 multi-sport Hall of Fame members.
Everest served as Assistant Head Football Coach under Hayden Fry from 1973-78 before spending two year’s as North Texas’ athletic director from 1979-81. Already a member of the American Football Assistant Coaches Hall of Fame, Everest was instrumental in the football program’s success during Fry’s tenure inwhich the Mean Green posted a combined 40-23-1 record.
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. DeFoor became the athletic department’s equipment manager in 1948 and served in the capacity for 27 years while also acting as the Director of Men’s Activity Physical Education Classes (1953-69) and the Director of Summer Health Workshops (1953-84) at North Texas.
Adams was a four-year track letterwinner from 1945-48 and was the high-point scorer at the 1946 Lone Star Conference Championship, which the Eagles won. Adams picked up first-place finishes at high-profile meets such as the Texas Relays, Border Olympics and Drake Relays.
BILL "CHICK" ADAMS
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. The 1948 graduate of NTSC, Adams was inducted into the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 17, 2001.
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) 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.
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 inwhich 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. 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 places him second all-time in the stat behind fellow 2004 Hall of Fame inductee Burks Washington. Gross was also named All-Southland Conference and Academic All-Southland Conference twice each 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. 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.
Burks Washington recorded a school-record 390 tackles from his linebacker position during his four-year career that stretched from 1975-78. Washington piled up 160 tackles, which still stands as the single-season record at North Texas, in 1977 alone 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.
Royce Womble, a running back for the Eagles in 1949 and 1950, 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. Womble was drafted by the NFL’s Baltimore Colts and went on to play five seasons in the league, three with Baltimore and two with the San Diego Chargers. The versatile Womble also lettered in track and field and served in the Navy after graduation.