DENTON (9/4/12) -The University of North Texas has announced its 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame class. Among the group of five former Mean Green greats is two of the best defensive lineman in school history, a running back great, and a track and field star. Walter Chapman (football), Brandon Kennedy (football), Ron Linscomb (track and field), C. Dan Smith (football) and Jamario Thomas (football) make up the class of 2012 and give the North Texas Athletic Hall of Fame 171 members.
The school's 30th all-time class will be inducted in the spring of 2013 in conjuction with the North Texas spring football game at Apogee Stadium. The North Texas Athletic Hall of Fame will also recognize and honor the 2002 football team that won the Sun Belt Conference title and the 2002 New Orleans Bowl.
Once called "a 5-foot-10, 240-pound stick of dynamite" by Texas Football magazine, Chapman was a quick, powerful defensive nose tackle who was a four-year starter for the Mean Green before, ultimately, earning All-America honors. Chapman was named the Missouri Valley Conferences freshman Defensive Player of the Year in 1973 and first team All-MVC as a sophomore in 1974.
One of the most dominant interior lineman to play for North Texas, Kennedy was the 2002 and 2003 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. In 2002 Kennedy was the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year and was three-time first-team all-conference player from 2001-03.
Linscomb was the No. 1 Collegiate Long Jumper in Texas, and was the first North Texas athlete and Missouri Valley Conference athlete to jump over 25 feet. He first set the North Texas long jump record in 1963 his sophomore season with a mark of 24-2 1/2, a record that he would break three times throughout his career.
Smith is one of the most influential figures in the history of University of North Texas Athletics. As a student-athlete, administrator, philanthropist and overall ambassador, Smith's legacy of contribution is felt across the university - in athletics, academics and the arts.
He was a football letterwinner from 1959-61, where he developed a loyalty to North Texas that has lasted more than 50 years. He was a member of the 1959 Missouri Valley Conference championship team, helping his squad to a 9-1 regular-season record and a berth in the Sun Bowl.
In one of the most improbable ways, Thomas burst onto the national scene as a true freshman to lead the nation in rushing. He rushed for most than 180 yards a game, set a North Texas and Sun Belt conference record with 1,801 yards, and set the NCAA freshman record for 200-yard games, going over that mark five times. He tied the NCAA record for fastest to reach 1,000 yards when he made it in seven games.
The 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame class and 2002 team will be recognized at North Texas' homecoming game against Arkansas State on November 3.