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April 21, 2004

Cougar greats announced for UH Hall of Honor

By Mike Emery

A host of athletes have worn Cougar red through the decades, but only a select few have been inducted into the University of Houston’s Hall of Honor.

On April 14, 10 new Hall of Honor members were announced. Among the famed Cougar athletes elected were former football running back Warren McVea, hoops great and current men’s basketball assistant coach Michael Young, former track star and Olympic gold medalist Ollan Cassell, and swimming star Carin Cone.

“It’s really a great feeling because it lets me know that I am appreciated by UH for all of my accomplishments here,” Young said. “It’s especially rewarding going into the hall with so many other great athletes, coaches and sports professionals.”

Young and fellow inductees will be in good company. Current residents in the Hall of Honor include “Phi Slamma Jamma” hoopsters Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, as well as longtime basketball coach Guy V. Lewis. Other Hall of Honor members include Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware and track star and former coach Tom Tellez.

"The 2004 Hall of Honor electees are an outstanding group of athletes and individuals who have made real contributions beyond their days and years of competing in sport," said Dave Maggard, UH director of athletics.

A panel of UH alumni and sportswriters selected this year’s honorees. The official induction ceremony will be held Nov. 5.

UH Hall of Honor’s Class of 2004

Billy Ray Brown, Golf (1982 - 1985)
Brown’s Cougar career was filled with several highlights. In 1982, he became the last UH golfer to win an NCAA individual national championship. He also was a member of three NCAA national championship teams and three All-America teams. Following UH, Brown played on the PGA Tour and recently served as a golf analyst for ABC Sports.

Ollan Cassell, Track and Field (1958 - 1961)
Cassell was a three-year letterman, from 1958 – 1961. His specialty was the 440-yard run, and he served as the anchor leg for UH’s 4x440-yard relay teams. In 1960, he recorded the sixth-fastest time in the United States for the 440-yard run. After graduating from UH, Cassell’s track career continued with two gold medals at the 1962 World Military Championships, two gold medals at the 1963 Pan-American Games and a gold medal at the 1964 Olympics.

Carin Cone, Swimming and Diving (1958 - 1960)
Cone won 16 National Senior Championships as a Cougar. Her prowess with the backstroke earned her national fame. In 1960, she became the first UH athlete to make the cover of Sports Illustrated. During her swimming career, Cone set and broke several world records. In 1984, she was elected to the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Richard Crawford, Men's Golf (1959 - 1961)
Crawford is the only Cougar golfer to win two individual NCAA championships. In fact, he was the first college golfer to win more than one NCAA title and is one of four golfers in NCAA history to do so. He also was a member of two NCAA national championship teams, two Missouri Valley Conference championship teams and was named a First-Team All-American in 1960 and 1961.

Lovette Hill, Baseball (1950 - 1974)
For 25 years, Hill’s dugout leadership steered Cougar baseball to success. Known as the “father of Cougar baseball,” Hill took his teams to 343 victories including five first-place Missouri Valley Conference finishes. Just three seasons after becoming the team’s coach, Hill took the Coogs to their first NCAA World Series appearance. In 1967, Hill led the Coogs to a come-from-behind series victory against the University of Texas at Austin in the NCAA District 6 playoffs. That year, he also managed the team to another come-from-behind series victory against Stanford University in the College World Series, but the Coogs would eventually falter against Arizona State University in the National Championship game.

Jolanda Jones, Track and Field (1985 - 1988)
Jones athletic and academic prowess defined her career as a Cougar. A Houston-native, Jones earned the NCAA’s Top VI Award after becoming the first three-time NCAA heptathlon champion and earning GTE/Academic All-American honors. Jones also represented the United States in the 1986 Goodwill Games, the 1987 Pan American Games and the World University Games in 1985, 1987 and 1989. She also won three Southwest Conference high jump championships. Jones graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in political science in 1988 and in 1995 she received her juris doctorate from the UH Law Center.

Warren McVea, Football (1965 – 1967)
When McVea joined the Cougars, he became the first African American to play for UH A multi-faceted player, McVea served as running back, flanker and a punt/kick return specialist. McVea played on nationally ranked Cougar teams and was a three-year letterman and two-time All-American. He holds the distinction of being on the receiving end of the longest pass play completed in UH history – a 99-yard reception against Washington State University in 1966. After his Cougar career ended, McVea played professional football with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs. In 1970, he and the Chiefs won the Super Bowl.

Leonard Mitchell, Football (1977 – 1980)
In his four years as a Cougar, Mitchell helped the team to two bowl victories (the 1979 Cotton Bowl and the 1980 Garden State Bowl). A defensive powerhouse, he received All-Southwest Conference Honors in 1978 and 1980. During his final year with the Cougars, Mitchell racked up an amazing 104 tackles, including 67 unassisted tackles. Following graduation, Mitchell was a first-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played with that team until 1987 and finished out his career with the Atlanta Falcons.

Ted Nance, Sports Information Director (1957 – 1979, 1988 - 1994)
During his long tenure behind the scenes of Cougar athletics, Nance promoted some of the greatest coaches and athletes ever to step foot on the UH campus. Among the stars Nance publicized to local and national media outlets were Guy V. Lewis, Andre Ware and Elvin Hayes. Nance’s “Air Ware” campaign helped Heisman Trophy winner Ware receive massive attention from sports outlets across the country. Nance was inducted into the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame in 1994.

Michael Young, Basketball (1980 – 1984)
Young is one of only three Cougar basketball players to have scored 2,000 points in his collegiate career. He also holds the distinction of being the only Cougar to start on three NCAA Final Four teams and four NCAA Tournament teams. As the leading scorer on the 1982 – 83 “Phi Slamma Jamma” team, he averaged 17.3 points a game. Following his career at UH, Young played three years in the National Basketball Association and later took his skills overseas to play in the Philippines, Spain, France, Italy and Israel. In 2003, Young was inducted into the French Sports Hall of Fame. He is currently an assistant coach for the Cougars.