June 5, 2014
WACO, Texas – Former Rice University men’s basketball all-American Ricky Pierce is one of 20 primary nominees for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, the selection committee announced this week. Additionally, former football all-America selection King Hill has been named one of the 12 veteran ballot nominees.
The TSHOF Class of 2015 will be named in September and the banquet to enshrine the class, presented by Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, will take place in early 2015 in Waco.
Pierce finished his career at Rice with 1,847 career points in three seasons. Pierce's 805 points during the 1981-82 campaign stood as the Rice basketball record until 2007. He was named the Southwest Conference Player of the Year and received All-America honors in 1982.
Pierce went on to enjoy a lengthy career in the NBA and twice received the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award while playing with the Milwaukee Bucks (1987-88 and 1989-90 seasons). He retired from the NBA following the 1997-98 season and returned to graduate from Rice in May 2012.
Hill, who passed away in 2012, earned all-America honors in 1957 after leading Rice to a Southwest Conference title and a berth in the Cotton Bowl against Navy. His defining moment that season came when leading Rice to a 7-6 upset over top-ranked Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy winner John David Crow at Rice Stadium. Hill intercepted a pair of passes, scored all seven of the Owls' points and his punting continued to pin the heavily favored Aggies deep in their own end of the field.
After his senior year, the Chicago Cardinals made Hill the first overall selection in the 1958 NFL Draft. He played 11 seasons in the NFL and then went on to a successful 17-year run as an offensive coordinator with the Houston Oilers (1970-80) and New Orleans Saints (1981-86). He joined the Philadelphia Eagles in 1986 to coordinate their scouting in the Western United States and Canada before retiring in 1992. After his retirement from the NFL, he went into private business, most recently serving as the Director of Marketing for several area golf courses.
Currently, 18 former Owls have been inducted into the TSHOF. Most recently, football’s Tobin Rote was inducted in 2012, while baseball’s Lance Berkman and football’s Tommy Kramer entered as part of the 2009 class. From the Rice men’s basketball program, Buster Brannon was inducted in 1970 and Bob Kinney was part of the Class of 1984.
Class of 2015 Primary Ballot Nominees
Fred Akers - Football / University of Texas
Gil Brandt-Football / Dallas Cowboys
Trevor Brazile - Rodeo / Decatur, Texas
Cecil Cooper – Baseball / Brenham, Texas
Rudy Davalos – Basketball / San Antonio, Texas
Clint Dempsey - Soccer / Nacogdoches, Texas
Ty Detmer – Football / San Antonio, Texas
Dave Elmendorf - Football / Texas A&M University
Jacob Green – Football / Texas A&M University
Flo Hyman (Deceased) – Volleyball / University of Houston
Nastia Liukin - Gymnastics / Plano, Texas
Gary Patterson - Football / TCU
Ricky Pierce – Basketball / Rice University
Richard Quick (Deceased) - Swimming / SMU
Nolan Richardson - Basketball / El Paso, Texas
Michael Strahan – Football / Texas Southern
Dana Vollmer – Swimming / Granbury, Texas
Everson Walls – Football / Dallas Cowboys
Jeremy Waliner – Track / Baylor University
Wilson Whitley (Deceased) - Football / University of Houston
Class of 2015 Veteran Ballot Nominees
Jay Arnette – Basketball / University of Texas
Zelmo Beaty (Deceased) - Basketball / Woodville, Texas
Bobby Cavazos (Deceased) - Football / Texas Tech University
Andy Cooper (Deceased) – Baseball / Waco, Texas
Ken Gray - Football / San Saba, Texas
Cliff Harris – Football / Dallas Cowboys
King Hill (Deceased) – Football / Rice University
Lucious “Luke” Jackson / Basketball / Pan American College
Dave Marr (Deceased) – Golf / Houston, Texas
Jack Mildren (Deceased) - Football / Abilene, Texas
James Saxton (Deceased) – Football / University of Texas
Hilton Smith (Deceased) - Baseball / Giddings, Texas