Former All-Pro Priest Holmes tops S.A. Sports Hall of Fame class

Former All-Pro Priest Holmes tops S.A. Sports Hall of Fame class

Credit: David Flores / Kens5.com

Carl Marvin Gustafson Jr., representing his late father, Laura Neugebauer Groff, Jerod Douglas and Al Marks pose for a photo Tuesday near the S.A. Sports Hall of Fame plaques at the Alamodome.

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by David Flores / Kens5.com

kens5.com

Posted on October 19, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 20 at 6:55 AM

Former Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro running back Priest Holmes headlines the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2011, which was announced Tuesday.

Holmes, who returned to live in San Antonio after retiring in 2007, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame with four others at a gala Feb. 18 at the Alamodome.
 
Also selected for enshrinement were:
 
• Jerod Douglas, the former Judson and Baylor football standout
 
• Carl Marvin Gustafson, the late high school coach and athletic director
 
• Laura Neugebauer Groff, the former University of Texas All-America volleyball player
 
• Al Marks, who molded the Churchill swimming program into a perennial state power
 
Now the volleyball coach at UTSA, Groff said that one of the first things she planned to do after Tuesday’s announcement was invite her coach at Jefferson High School, Delo Dyer, to the induction ceremony.
 
“I want her there because so much of what I accomplished as an athlete and continue to use as a coach is because of the discipline Ms. Dyer instilled in me,” Groff said. “She was very strict but I loved it. She made me better.”
 
Holmes, Douglas, Groff, Gustafson and Marks comprise the 17th class of the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame, which was established in 1995.  
 
They will join 79 other former athletes, coaches, administrators and special contributors who have been inducted since then.
 
Holmes could not attend Tuesday’s news conference at the Alamodome because he was in Kansas City, Mo., to help promote the Priest Holmes Foundation Golf Classic on Friday, but he spoke to the gathering via speaker phone.
 
“You definitely have my appreciation,” Holmes said. “It has been an honor to be able to come up the ranks in San Antonio.”
 
Holmes was a member of the 2000 Baltimore Ravens team that beat the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. He left the Ravens after four seasons to sign as an unrestricted free agent with Kansas City in 2001, and was an All-Pro with the Chiefs in his first three years with the team.  
 
Holmes rushed for 8,172 yards and scored 86 touchdowns before retiring in 2007, 11 seasons after starting a pro career as a rookie free agent with the Ravens. He played college football at Texas from 1992-96.
 
A standout at Marshall High School, Holmes helped lead the Rams to the Class 5A Division II state final as a senior in 1991. He had one of the best seasons ever for a San Antonio running back, rushing for 2,053 yards and 26 TDs despite missing four games with a thigh injury.
 
‘Gus’ led Churchill to first football district title
 
Marshall played its home games at Northside Stadium, which later was renamed Gustafson Stadium in honor of Carl Marvin Gustafson Sr., who went by his middle name and was known simply as “Gus” in the San Antonio high school community.
 
Gustafson was athletic director of the Northside Independent School District from 1976 until he retired in 1990. He died in March 1997 at age 69 after a long battle with progressive supra nuclear palsy, a rare disease that affects the central nervous system.
 
A first-generation American whose parents emigrated from Sweden, Gustafson never had a losing season as a high school football and basketball coach. He led Uvalde to the Class 3A football state championship in 1972, and Churchill to its first district championship the following year.
 
“The first thing my father would want to do is congratulate the others who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame with him,” said his son, Carl Jr. “Then he would wonder out loud if he belonged in the group.”
 
Douglas, Marks set the bar high
 
Douglas, one of the most prolific high school running backs in San Antonio history, helped lead Judson to 5A Division I state titles in 1992 and 1993.
 
He set a 5A career rushing record with 6,188 yards, including 2,967 in 1992, then a 5A single-season record. Douglas was also a track standout, setting a city record in the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.58 in 1993.
 
“This has come as a big surprise,” Douglas said. “After I concluded my career at Baylor, I thought that was it. This is an honor for my family and my teammates at Baylor and Judson.”
 
Churchill won nine state swimming championships in 31 years under Marks, who retired after the 2007-08 school year. The Chargers’ boys and girls teams won 38 regional titles and 51 district championships.
 
“Like that saying goes, tradition never graduates,” Marks said. “It was like a family. I tried to treat each kid like an individual. It was gratifying to see kids come into the program as freshmen and see them develop over the course of four years.”
 
Marks coached 16 individual state champions, including Olympic gold medalist Josh Davis, Annie Chandler, Jimmy Feigen and Vanessa Richey Said.
 
The San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame is a partnership between San Antonio Sports, the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Express-News.

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