NTJCAC HALL OF FAME
Ron Butler - Ranger College
Ranger College has selected Mr. Ron Butler as the first recipient of the newly established Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference (NTJCAC) “Hall of Fame”.
Ron Butler, better known as “Coach Butler” or “Mr. Ranger College” to many area folks and colleagues retired in 2000 after providing 36 years of athletic direction for Ranger College. His long running successful career began in 1964 as the Men’s basketball coach and Assistant football coach. This endeavor followed an outstanding High School career at Oak Grove High School in Paragould, Arkansas, which earned him a basketball scholarship at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and Midwestern University.
During his tenure at Ranger College, Coach Butler held the reigns as Athletic Director for 32 years. In addition, he was the Men’s basketball coach for 16 years, enjoying many successful seasons. Throughout his successful coaching career, Ranger College would benefit from many of Butler’s accomplishments. His basketball team would quickly earn the nickname “Butler’s Bullies,” especially while overpowering opponents in Ranger Gym, now appropriately named Ron Butler Gymnasium, where the Rangers very seldom ever suffered a defeat. In only his second season, Ranger would win the Region V Tournament and advance to the National JUCO Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas. Several conference championships would come his way; 1965, 66, 67, 71, 76, and 1982. It was the 1967 season that the Rangers reached their highest level of play, winning the Region V Championship and placing 6th in the National Tournament, having held the rank of #2 in the Nation for much of the season. In all Butler amassed a 320-160 record.
He began the Women’s basketball program in 1968, cultivating an 18 year run. His Women’s basketball teams ranked at the top of the old AIAW and won the National Invitational Tournament, the then National Championship in Oklahoma City, in 1971. Ranger’s baseball program also rose to prominence under Butler’s 34-year watch as A.D., winning National Championships in 1973 and 1978. Remaining a vital part of Ranger football program, Butler would witness a feat, reached by few…helping the program win a National Championship in 1979.
In 1987, Butler pioneered a women’s Fast-Pitch softball program as an intercollegiate sport. At the time, Ranger College was only the second Junior College in Texas offering Women’s softball at the Division I college level. His Lady Rangers would advance to the National Tournament four times placing second in both 1988 and 1991. In 1994 and still going strong, Butler founded the “Cowtown Classic,” which now represents the largest two-year college women’s softball event drawing over 35 teams from 7 states.
A special tribute was paid to the long-time coach and Athletic Director on January 9, 2010, a celebration in his honor recognizing this day as “Ron Butler Day.”
Butler remains very much the center of all things at Ranger College, where he attends many home sporting events and also serves on the Ranger College Board of Regents as Vice-Chairman. Of his many accomplishments he acknowledges one of his best, which is being married to his lovely wife Rowena for over 56 years. The Butlers raised three children and have five grandchildren.
WJCAC HALL OF FAME
Ray Birmingham - New Mexico Junior College
The long list of awards and recognition keeps growing for former New Mexico Junior College baseball coach Ray Birmingham.
Birmingham earned the honor of being inducted in the WJCAC Hall of Fame by building NMJC baseball from a first-year program in 1990 into a national powerhouse – culminating in an NJCAA national championship in 2005 and an NJCAA national runner-up finish in 2007. Birmingham guided the Thunderbirds to six WJCAC titles and seven WJCAC runner-up finishes.
“It’s an honor to be in the WJCAC Hall of Fame and represent the city and county that I grew up in,” Birmingham said. “NMJC and Lea County gave me the opportunity and I’ll never forget that. I will always be a Lea Countian until the day I die.”
Birmingham is also a member of the NJCAA Hall of Fame (2011), the Lea County Sports Hall of Fame (2012) and the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame (2015).
Birmingham finished his Thunderbird career with an eye-popping .750 winning percentage (765-255-2), including 17 consecutive winning season to finish his tenure at NMJC – which came to an end after the 2007 season when he accepted the head coaching position at New Mexico. Following the program’s first season, the T-Birds were at least 12 games over .500 in his final 17 seasons, including an incredible 378-88-2 (.810) from 2000-07.
Under Birmingham's leadership, New Mexico Junior College became known for its hitting prowess with six former players leading the country in batting and six teams hitting above .400. The Thunderbirds hit .416 as a team in 2007. The 2005 NMJC national championship team hit .411 during the regular season and .400 in postseason play. In 2001, the Thunderbirds displayed one of the most impressive offensive machines in college baseball history, hitting .438 as a team. NMJC led the country in home runs (122) in 1998.
Despite national championships, international victories and jaw-dropping numbers on the diamond, Birmingham is most proud of his former players during his tenure with the T-Birds. NMJC closer Brendan Donnelly (1990-91) won Game 6 for the Anaheim Angels in the 2002 World Series, and became the first T-Bird with an MLB championship ring. A year later, Armando Almanza (1992-93) was a member of the World Champion Florida Marlins. In the summer of 2003, Donnelly was the winning pitcher in the MLB All-Star game in Chicago.
Birmingham also watched proudly as former NMJC players Jose Flores (1992-93) and Mike Vento (1997) participated in the MLB playoffs with Oakland and the New York Yankees, respectively. Johnny Lujan and David Carpenter are the most recent former NMJC players to be make noise with a big league organization.
Birmingham’s success has translated to The University of New Mexico. He guided the Lobos to their first NCAA postseason appearance in 48 years in 2010 - just his third season at the helm - and has since taken UNM to the NCAA postseason five of the last seven seasons. Birmingham guided the Lobos to Mountain West regular-season titles from 2011-14 and to Mountain West Tournament titles in 2011, 2012 and 2016. He was named Mountain West Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2013.
Overall Birmingham is the winningest coach in state history.
Joe Tubb - South Plains College
Joe Tubb served as the Director of Athletics for South Plains College for 33 years, leading the Texans and Lady Texans to a combined 42 NJCAA championships in men’s and women’s track and field, cross country, half-marathon, and men’s basketball.
During his tenure, which began in 1983, Tubb’s programs claimed a combined 15 Western Junior College Athletic Conference (WJCAC) championships and eight Region 5 tournament titles.
Under Tubb’s direction, the college has also hosted 14 NJCAA Championship events, including the 2016 Division I Outdoor Track and Field National Championships, which saw the Texans make collegiate history, capturing their 10th consecutive national title.
In addition to his duties leading the SPC Athletic Department, Tubb served a three-year term as President of the NJCAA where he was responsible for a myriad of duties including presiding over annual, executive, and special meetings for the nation’s second largest intercollegiate athletic association.
Tubb has served in multiple capacities over the years and has been instrumental in the growth of two-year collegiate athletics. He was the recipient of the highest honor bestowed by the National Alliance of Two-Year Collegiate Athletic Administrators (NATYCAA) when he was presented the L. William Miller Award at a special ceremony in Dallas on June 25, 2012. In 2006 and 2010, Tubb was named Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of College Athletic Directors (NACDA).
Each of SPC’s 42 NJCAA national championships occurred under Tubb’s watch, and the 2011-12 season was one of the most successful in the history of SPC athletics. South Plains’ athletes brought home national titles in the women’s half-marathon, men’s basketball, and men's and women’s outdoor track and field. The Texan basketball team became only the sixth team in history to complete an undefeated season en-route to claiming the NJCAA national championship. They also won the basketball championship in 2008.
Tubb coached and taught math in high school for 12 years with stints at Palo Duro, Hereford, Shallowater, and Odessa High School. During this time, he was a head golf coach, assistant football coach, and a head basketball coach. After winning the 4-5A District Championship in basketball in 1983, and being named District Coach of the Year, he returned to his alma mater when he accepted the role of Director of Athletics.
Brad Winter - New Mexico Junior College
After graduating from Highland High School in Albuquerque, NM, Winter continued on to New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, NM where he received his Associates of Arts in 1972. While there, he was a NJCAA National Championship Team Member (’71), finished 2nd in Pole Vault at the National Meet jumping 15’ 9” (’71), and set the NJCAA Pole Vault record at 16’ 9” (’72).
He received his Bachelors at the University of Oklahoma in 1976. While at the University of Oklahoma, Brad competed in (’73, ’74) and won (’73) the Big 8 Conference Championships, clearing 17’ in events. Brad achieved All-American status as a pole vaulter.
Dr. Winter continued on to complete his Masters at the University of New Mexico in 1979, and his Doctorate of Education at the University of New Mexico in 1995.
Dr. Winter began his career in education as a professor at New Mexico Junior College. While there, he coached at NMJC as an assistant. While coaching during a meet at Odessa College, Dr. Winter cleared 17’1” at age 37. He also set an American Record at a meet in Baton Rouge, LA for his age group.
Dr. Winter then commenced a 22-year career with Albuquerque Public Schools. After his retirement as Chief Operations Officer, Dr. Winter was named Interim Superintendent by the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education from August 2014- June 2015.
Brad Winter is serving his fourth term as an Albuquerque City Councilor, and is currently the longest serving seated councilor. He has served as Council President four times during his tenure. On December 15, 2015, he was appointed by Governor Martinez to serve as the interim Secretary of State for the State of New Mexico, making him the first man to have the job since 1922.
In June of 2016, Dr. Winter competed in the NM Senior Games as a pole vaulter, and qualified to attend the US Senior Olympics in Birmingham, AL in summer of 2017.
Dr. Winter is also an avid fly fisherman. He is married to Nann Winter and they have seven children.
Don Stevens - Howard College
Don Stevens, who retired from Howard College in 1989, was nominated for the WJCAC Hall of Fame by Howard College for his direct impact on student athletes at Howard College and women’s basketball across the state and nation.
Stevens was at the helm of Hawk women’s basketball from 1976 – 1989 tallying up a record of 262 wins and 130 losses. During his tenure with Howard College, he led the Hawks to several conference championships and regional championships, in addition to NJCAA National Tournament appearances.
Stevens was a graduate of Lamesa High School and Texas Tech University. After graduating from high school, he brought his basketball talent to Howard College where he played as a Hawk for two years and followed that up with one year at Corpus Christi University before transferring to Texas Tech to finish his education. He spent two years in the military and was a player / coach of the First Infantry Division Basketball Team in Fort Riley, Kansas.
The local schools are no stranger to Stevens as he began his coaching career in the Big Spring Junior High program coaching all sports. From there, he spent an additional ten years at Forsan High School where he coached both boy’s and girl’s basketball where he left an impressive legacy.
Not only has Stevens coached at the state-side level, he was also chosen as one of seven American coaches in 1973 to lead coaching clinics in Mexico City, Vera Cruz, and other Mexican cities. While there, he was privileged to work with the women’s Olympic team.
Coach Stevens has been honored at several levels across high school and college level combined for his dedication to improving the lives of students and promotion of the game of basketball.
Don Stevens passed away on December 6, 2015.
Jim Watkins - Odessa College
Paul Chavez - Odessa College
Skipper Driver - Howard College
Skipper Driver, an accomplished calf roper, team roper, and steer wrestler, took the helm as the head rodeo coach at Howard College in 1979 where he helped carry on his tradition of excellence for more than 10 years.
Always a “hands-on” coach, he took his rodeo team to the top level every year as they made the trip to the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Finals Rodeo.
At Texas Tech University, Driver was a member of the collegiate rodeo team where he qualified for the NIRA Finals Rodeo on two different occasions and was also named the Southwest Regional Champion calf roper in 1965. Aside from being on the rodeo team, he served two terms as president of the Tech Rodeo Association and was named winner of the Dub Parks Memorial Award.
His ties to professional rodeo began early and carried out through his life as he was a Gold Card member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association and served as director of the Big Spring Cowboy Reunion.
Skipper Driver passed away on April 20, 2011 at the age of 67.
Lisa Risinger - South Plains College
Mookie Blaylock - Midland College
Larry Johnson - Odessa College
Sally Kipyego - South Plains College
Curtis Marshall - New Mexico Military Institute
Buddy Travis - Howard College
Buddy Travis began his storied career in basketball in 1949 as he played at Amarillo College. While there, he was named first team All American and set a scoring record with 40 points in one game.
He then moved on to his first coaching position at Clarendon College and led his team to a West Zone (previous name for WJCAC) conference championship before heading to Howard College.
In 1959, Travis found his stride in coaching and in his first year with Howard, he led the team to a West Zone conference championship, a regional championship, a state championship and a 5th place finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national tournament. The team ended his inaugural season with a 34-4 record.
The years to come held numerous records for Coach Travis bringing home several conference and regional championships. When he left Howard College, after 11 years of coaching, he had a win-loss record of 506-263 under his belt in the Western Conference.
Angie Braziel - South Plains College
Reggie Franklin - New Mexico Military Institute
Julian Pressely - Odessa College
Bob Schneider - Clarendon College
Brad Swindig - Midland College
Lewis Lloyd - New Mexico Military Institute
Dennis Patton - South Plains College
Anna Smith - Howard College
Anna Smith, who joined the Howard College family in 1959 and retired in 1977, was the Director of Women’s Physical Education, Dean of Women and eventually Dean of Students. Throughout her tenure with the Hawks, she coached women’s volleyball and basketball as well as men’s and women’s varsity tennis.
Smith has served on various committees and boards on both a local and statewide basis advocating for youth.
She served on the Executive Board for the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation and was a member of the committee that was instrumental in getting health education recognized on all levels in our public schools.
Additionally, she was selected as a regional member of the Governor’s Council on Life Time Sports.
Anna Smith passed away on September 4, 2011.
Kathy Whitworth - Odessa College
Bo Outlaw - South Plains College
Sheryl Swoopes - South Plains College
Bill Griffin - Howard College
Coach Bill Griffin, who has been inducted into the Western Junior College Athletic Conference Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2007, led the Howard College Baseball Program for 9 seasons and built an impressive legacy in the process.
During his tenure as the Hawks’ skipper, he led the program to 347 wins, two conference crowns, two regional titles, one state title and the 1991 NJCAA National Championship. He was twice named the National Coach of the Year and was inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 1983 and has a lifetime record of 986-405 with a lifetime winning percentage of .708.
While at Howard College from 1982-1992, Griffin held several other positions, clearly a “pro” at multi-tasking. He served as the Dean of Student Services for 6 years, as the Athletic Director for 8 years and as an Assistant Professor for 3 years. He did all of this while he was coaching baseball! Although his claim to fame lies on the baseball field, we know that he had an equally strong impact on the many student lives he touched. His wisdom and guidance for the students and his peers were invaluable.
His storied career also includes accomplishments such as being selected by the American Baseball Federation as one of four coaches chosen to coach in the World Baseball Games held in the Republic of China, which was a forerunner of baseball being introduced into the Olympic Games in 1980. Throughout his career, he has coached 23 All-Americans and has had 64 players drafted into professional baseball. Forty of the 64 players were drafted during his tenure with the Hawks.
The highest recognition or accomplishment for a player or a coach is to have their number retired. For a permanent recognition of Coach Griffin’s career achievements and induction into the WJCAC Hall of Fame, the number 39 was officially retired on April 27, 2007 and will not be worn again at Howard College.
Ron Mayberry - South Plains College
Ross Black - New Mexico Junior College
Ross Black was New Mexico Junior College’s first athletic director, first head men’s basketball coach, first head track coach and was chair of the NMJC physical education department. He was inducted into the Western Junior College Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 2006.
Black led the 1971 NMJC men’s track team to become national champions, and was selected as the National Junior College Track and Field Coach of the Year for 1971. He served as President of the National Junior College Track and Field Coaches Association for three years. In 1973, he went to Moscow as one of the United States track coaches in the World University Games, where he saw the two American relay teams that were his responsibility bring home the only two gold medals that the U.S. won in the track and field competition.
Black was honored as the New Mexico School Administrator of the Year in 1987 and was inducted into the New Mexico Activities Association Hall of Fame in 1991. He became Superintendent of the Lovington, NM Municipal School District, and later served on the Lovington, NM County Commission, becoming Chairman of the Commission.
Black passed away in 2013 at the age of 82.
Red Lewis - Howard College
Leslie Lee “Red” Lewis, inducted into the Western Junior College Athletic Conference Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2006, put Howard College on the map winning four national track championships – 1961, 1962, 1963, and 1967 and 11 Western Conference championships.
Coach Lewis obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from Hardin Simmons University in 1941 and his Masters of Science degree from North Texas University. He served In the United States Air Force during WWII as a navigator and taught navigation to Chinese navigators. He also ferried planes of officers to England, India, and Africa.
In addition to his time as a math professor and track coach at Howard College, Coach Lewis spent time at Cisco Junior College as a football and basketball coach and math professor and at Dallas Baptist College as a math professor, football and wrestling coach.
Coach Lewis was selected as Coach of the Decade by the Texas Sports Writer’s Association and served as president of the National Junior College Track Association. He retired from Howard College in 1979.
Leslie Lee “Red” Lewis passed away in February of 1996.
Paul Pressey - Western Texas College
Jerry Stone - Midland College
Ron Black - New Mexico Junior College
*Head men’s basketball coach at NMJC from 1978-99
*Served as Secretary-Treasurer of WJCAC from 1968 to 1978
*During his term, developed the first conference Letter of Intent
*Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at NMJC 1970 to 1978
*Career Record 414-287
*Won Regional Championship 1994-95 and 1995-96
*Lost by one point in the Region V 1997-98 Championship game
*Coached two All-Americans, Richard Hollis and Greg Brown
*Had 8 former players play professionally, including Avery Johnson of the NBA
Harold Davis - Howard College
Harold Davis graduated from Denton High School in 1941 at the age of 15. He attended the University of North Texas for three years where he lettered on the basketball team and helped lead the team to a third place finish at the National Tournament.
During World War II he joined the United States Marine Corps Officer Training Program. During this time he was able to complete his Bachelors Degree from Louisiana Tech University. After completing Boot Camp and Officer Training School, and receiving his Commission, he was assigned to the Fourth Marine Corps Division in the Pacific. During the battle of Iwo Jima, Harold was wounded and received the Purple Heart. Despite his wounds, he continued in command of his company and withheld a strong enemy counterattack accounting for more than 100 Japanese being annihilated. For this action he was awarded the Silver Star Medal.
After returning from the war and accepting the position as the first basketball coach at Howard College, it took him only two years to start a basketball dynasty. In only four years his young teams had participated in three NJCAA basketball tournaments, and won both a Conference Championship and State Championship.
As a member of the United States Marine Corps Reserve, Davis was recalled into the Marine Corps for the Korean War. After returning from this tour of duty, he picked up right where he left off with his coaching duties at Howard College. His first team finished the year with 34 wins and 4 losses and won the Conference Championship, Regional Championship and reached the Final Four at the NJCAA National Tournament. From that year on his teams averaged 24 wins and only 8 losses per season.
In his 11 years at Howard College, his teams won four Conference Championships, qualified for nine NJCAA Regional Tournaments and earned a berth in five State Tournaments, winning one of them. His Jayhawk squads finished twice as the Regional Finalist and twice were crowned Regional Champions advancing to the NJCAA National Tournament; reaching the Final Four in one tournament. In addition to coaching basketball, he also coached the baseball team winning several championships and led the golf team to two State Championships.
Davis was appointed as a member of the Howard College Board of Trustees in 1971, and then subsequently elected to the position six times by the voters, serving for 37 years until the time of his death. He served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees on several occasions. He also served as a director for the Howard College San Angelo Foundation.
Davis has been the recipient of many other honors in addition to the recognition he received for his actions on Iwo Jima. He was named Big Spring’s Man of the Year in 1997. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of North Texas in 2000 and was named Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International. Other prestigious honors include inductions to the Texas Junior College Coaches Hall of Honor, Howard College’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Western Junior College Athletic Association “Hall of Fame” as the first inductee. In recognition of his leadership in the establishment of a successful athletic program tradition and in honor of his service to Howard College, the Physical Education Building was named the “Harold Davis Fitness Center” in 1990 and the basketball court in the Coliseum arena was named in his honor on the occasion of his induction to the WJCAC Hall of Fame in 2005.
Harold Davis passed away on October 13, 2008 at the age of 84.
Bobby Lesley - Clarendon College
David Murphy - Frank Phillips College
Bill Powell - South Plains College
Delnor Poss - Midland College
Nolan Richardson - Western Texas College
Roger Staubach - New Mexico Military Institute