SAN ANTONIO -- There's nothing quite like coming home again.
That will be the prevailing sentiment on Saturday when the San Antonio Independent School District inducts the second class of the SAISD Athletic Hall of Fame.
Legendary Brackenridge running back Warren McVea is in the University of Houston Athletic Hall of Honor and San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame, but he left no doubt Friday what being recognized by the SAISD means to him.
"San Antonio always has been my home," said McVea, who graduated from Brack in 1964 and lives in Houston. "I still know a lot of wonderful people there and have a lot of wonderful memories about the city. I had a lot of people look out for me when I was growing up down there.
"I'm just happy to be part of what's going on with the school district. This honor is very special to me. I'm really looking forward to it and catching up with people I haven't seen in a long time. San Antonio is always No. 1 on my list."
These six other prominent figures in SAISD sports history will be enshrined with McVea:
- Christi Cano, Edison (Class of 1999), golf.
- Wayne Dickey, Highlands (1970), former Sam Houston boys basketball coach
- William Carson "Nemo" Herrera, Brackenridge (1918), former Lanier boys basketball coach (posthumously)
- Kathleen Lovejoy, longtime SAISD athletic department employee
- Gabe Rivera, Jefferson (1979), football, basketball, track and field and baseball.
- Dottye Williams, former SAISD assistant athletic director
The induction ceremony starts at 4 p.m. Saturday at Sunset Station (Depot 1). Individual tickets are still available and will be sold at the door for $50. About 300 tickets have been sold for the event, SAISD spokesman Mario Rios said Friday.
McVea, 69, helped lead Brack to the Class 4A football state championship in 1962. Offered a scholarship by some 75 schools, "Wondrous Warren," as he was tabbed by sportswriters, signed with UH in 1964 and made history as the first black athlete to play at a major college in the South the following year. Freshmen were ineligible to play for the varsity in those days.
Before he played for Bill Yeoman at UH, McVea was prepared for the road ahead by Brack coach Weldon Forren, a disciplinarian who nurtured his players with tough love on and off the field. Now deceased, Forren was like a second father to McVea.
"I loved that man," McVea said. "I owe so much to him."
Rivera is a member of the College Foundation Football Hall of Fame, Texas Tech Athletic Hall of Honor and the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame. Like McVea, Rivera said the SAISD honor has special meaning.
Born in Crystal City, Rivera moved to San Antonio before his fifth-grade year when his father, a high school coach, got a job at Fox Tech.
"Being that I went to school in the SAISD for so many years, this is where it all started for me," Rivera said. "So, yeah, it's special. I met a lot of people in the district through sports, and still know some of them. I have a lot of great memories."
A tight end and linebacker, Rivera made the Parade Magazine All-America football team as a senior and signed with Texas Tech in 1979. Nicknamed "Senior Sack" in college, Rivera was a defensive lineman at Tech and earned consensus All-America honors in 1982.
Selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 1983 NFL draft, Rivera played in only six games as a rookie before spinal-cord injuries sustained in a car accident in October 1983 ended his career and left him a paraplegic. Now 54, Rivera does volunteer work at Inner City Development, a community-based agency.
Sam Houston was a perennial power in 30 seasons under Dickey, going 751-289 and advancing to the state tournament in 1980, 1983 and 2003 before winning the 4A state title by forfeit in 2005. Dickey was enshrined in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2014.
Fittingly, Dickey will be the first basketball coach to enter the SAISD Hall of Fame.
Now 63, Dickey did his student-teaching at Sam Houston before earning his degree at St. Mary's in 1974. He began his career at Sam Houston that fall, and was an assistant to boys basketball coach Pat Caza for three seasons before taking over the program in 1977.
"This means a lot because it's people that I worked with every single day," Dickey said, referring to his induction into the SAISD Hall. "They know who I am and what I stood for, what I still stand for. You get nominated and selected by the people you work with. It is a big honor."
While Dickey became synonymous with Sam Houston basketball throughout the San Antonio area, his legacy at the east-side school transcended his stellar coaching career. A dedicated, passionate teacher at Sam Houston for 33 years, Dickey was as big a winner in the classroom as he was on the basketball court.
"If you can teach a kid a work ethic, regardless of what it is, whether it's a sport or in the classroom, that's going to help him later on in life," Dickey said. "I think that's one of the biggest things I'm proud of.
"We taught these kids a work ethic. They learned that there's not going to be any instant gratification. It's something you've got to work for, and down the line, it's going to pay off."
Dickey was on the faculty at Sam Houston for so long that he worked for nine principals. Almost a decade after retiring, Dickey remains one of the most beloved teachers in the school's history and stays in touch with many of his former students.
A social studies teacher, Dickey usually taught five classes each semester and earned acclaim as the coordinator of a program on campus geared to get more students to college. He was even featured on "60 minutes" for his work with the Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, program.
"I've always said that if you're going to be a great coach you've got to be a great teacher," Dickey said. "That's one thing I really strived for. The majority of my salary was paid for me to be a teacher. I wanted to be known as a teacher. I wanted to be the teacher who would prepare you for college. It just makes you feel better when you realize that you're doing the job that you're there to do and you're being successful at it."
Eight people were enshrined in the charter class of the SAISD Athletic Hall of Fame last year – Clyde Glosson, Gary Green, Raymond "R.A." Johnson, Claud H. Kellam, Paul Martin, Tommy Nobis, Victor Rodriguez and Kyle Rote.