Trio to be inducted into LU Hall of Honor
Published 9:52 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Lamar sports information
BEAUMONT — Two of the school’s most successful coaches and one of its greatest swimmers will be inducted into the Lamar Athletics Hall of Honor, Director of Athletics Jason Henderson announced Wednesday afternoon.
Jim Gilligan (baseball coach), Ron Wesbrooks (tennis coach) and Lynnie Alfred Terry (swimming) will be inducted at a ceremony Saturday, Sept. 17 at 2 p.m. in the University Event Center on the eighth floor of the Mary and John Gray Library on the LU campus. The trio will also be honored at halftime of LU’s game against Sam Houston State that night at Provost Umphrey Stadium.
“This is a very exciting time on the calendar each year for Cardinals fans,” said Henderson. “Lamar University has a rich history and this is the time where we get to honor those individuals who helped build that tradition.
“Jim and Ron established themselves as leaders in their respective sports setting a benchmark of success that future teams try to meet. Through their vision and leadership, they helped the university establish a footprint on a national level in baseball and tennis respectively. While swimming is no longer a varsity sport here, the accomplishments of Lynne should not be overlooked. Not only did she set multiple school records during her career, but she also represented LU on the national level,” added Henderson.
For the better part of 39 years, head coach Jim Gilligan was the face of the LU Baseball. Gilligan, who was a former pitching ace for the university from 1967-68, began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Bill Vincent in 1970 after a brief stint in Detroit’s Class-A affiliate in New York. In 1972, he took his first head coaching job and led Western New Mexico to a 10-10 record. After one year, his alma mater came calling; he answered and took over as head coach in 1973. Other than a brief stint as a professional club coach from 1987-1991, Gilligan served as the Cardinals skipper.
Just two seasons ago, he accomplished something that only 18 coaches in the history of the NCAA did before him, attain 1,300 career wins. His career record stands at 1,355-894-1, which ranks at 13th all-time in wins in NCAA history, and all but two of LU’s 12 conference championships were won under Gilligan’s tutelage. Counting his playing and graduate assistant days, he faithfully served Big Red for more than 40 years and saw nearly every Cardinal win. As a head coach, he has accounted for an astounding 30 30-win seasons, eight 40-win seasons and one 50-win season. His 1981 squad set a school record for wins in a season (54).
Terry was a four-year letterwinner for the Cardinals who dominated the pool from 1979-83. One of the nation’s top breaststrokers, she set the school’s 200-yard breaststroke record during her rookie season. That was the first in a long line of records that would fall to Terry’s hard work. She would go on to set six school records in the 50, 100 and 200-yard breaststrokes during her sophomore season alone. Terry recorded a top-five finish in the 50-yard breaststroke at the TAIAW State Championships as a freshman and sophomore, and would go on to qualify for the AIAW National Championships the following season.
Terry’s athletic prowess continued long after her days as a collegiate athlete. She would go on to earn USAT All-America honors in the sport of triathlon eight different times. She became the top-ranked female triathlete in the SMW Region (Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas), and was named to the U.S. National team for the 2004 World Championships.
Wesbrooks established a run of dominance in men’s tennis that has not been duplicated since. Leading the LU men’s team from 1971 to 1987, Wesbrooks built the Southland’s premier program in the 1970s. He guided the Cardinals to four-straight Southland titles from 1973-76, with his first title coming in his third season as head coach.
A four-time SLC Coach of the Year selection, Wesbrooks won more than 200 matches during his career producing two 20-win seasons. In addition to the team success, Wesbrooks’ players also found individual recognition. He produced seven first-team all-conference selections and coached four overall singles champions and three doubles champion teams.