TCU Lettermen's Hall of Fame Banquet Set For Friday
Sept. 4, 2003
FORT WORTH, Texas -- The TCU Lettermen's Association Hall of Fame induction banquet will be held at the Dee J. Kelly Alumni and Visitors Center on the campus of TCU on Friday night, Sept. 5. The annual event, recognizing former Horned Frog student-athletes for their achievements on the field and in the community, will consist of a cocktail reception beginning at 6:00 p.m., dinner at 7:00 p.m. and an official program following.
This year's TCU Lettermen's Association Hall of Fame class contains the following members: Eugene "Goo" Kennedy, Class of 1971, representing men's basketball; Forrest Kline, Class of 1939, representing football; Horatio Porter, Class of 1992, representing men's track; and Donna Thomas Wilson, Class of 1985, representing women's track. Lettermen's Association President Steve Patterson (Class of '74, football) welcomed the guests, who numbered in the hundreds. TCU game day radio voices Brian Estridge and John Denton served as Masters of Ceremonies for the evening.
Eugene "Goo" Kennedy transferred to TCU for just one year, but is often spoken of as being the single-handed delivery guy for the 1970-71 Southwest Conference championship that the Frogs netted. Kennedy garnered first-team All-SWC honors in the 1970-71 season and was voted SWC Player of the Year. That season, the center led the team in rebounds with 432, which included 28 against Arkansas, a figure that still stands as the school's single-game record.
He had four other 20-rebound games, and his 432 boards rank as the most rebounds in one season by any men's TCU roundballer. His 16.6 per game rebound average is the best in Horned Frog annals. In addition, Kennedy led the team in field goal percentage (.589) for the season, which ranks third on the single-season chart and is the best career percentage held by any TCU hoopster.
Kennedy went on to play professionally in both the American Basketball Association (ABA) with the Dallas Chaparrals, St. Louis Spirit and San Antonio Spurs, and in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Houston Rockets. In 1975, former TCU men's head coach Buster Brannon named Kennedy to the school's 60-Year All-Star Team.
"There have been many great players down through the years at TCU," the late Brannon said at the announcement of the team in 1975. "It was hard to pick just five, six or seven."
Brannon went on to elaborate that, although he was an assistant athletic director and not head coach when Kennedy played, "he definitely belongs with this group."
Since retiring from the NBA, Kennedy and his wife of 32 years, Mary, have raised over 40 foster children. Goo is the manager of the Emergency Action Program for the Special Education/Alternative Education Center of the Carrollton-Farmer's Branch School District. According to his wife, Goo and Mary are called "therapeutic" foster parents, and have enjoyed making a difference in the lives of the children that they have helped to give a family foundation.
"If we can help anybody's child, we will," Mary said. "It takes only a few years of our life to help them build a foundation for the rest of theirs."
"All you have to do is show them how to do things, like teaching them how to fish," Goo said. "It's the greatest reward just to watch them improve."
Forrest Kline was born in Gregory, Texas, in 1917. He followed his older brother, George, to TCU after George was a star running back with the 1935 National Championship team. Forrest started school that fall and earned his scholarship while working with future Frog Heisman Trophy winner Davey O'Brien to clean the Little Gym every week. Kline played tackle and guard as a freshman and was an All-SWC guard by his senior year when he helped the Frogs win another National Championship. The younger Kline also played in the first ever Cotton Bowl in 1937.
The Brooklyn Dodgers drafted Kline in 1939, but the $160 per game offer was not appealing to him. Instead, he found more reward in coaching and teaching. Plus, he could earn a little more money than he could by playing professional football. He graduated with his education degree and spent the next several decades coaching, teaching and serving as an administrator in Texas school districts.
His first coaching job was in Shamrock, Texas, where he taught and coached for three years before joining the Air Force for four years. He and Freda Holmes, a Shamrock native, were married in 1942, and when Kline got out of the Air Force in December of 1945, he returned to coaching and teaching, this time in Austin. In the fall of 1961, Forrest retired from coaching and went into administration for Austin ISD until his retirement in 1983.
The Kline's son, David, attended TCU and also played football, while their daughter, Martha, attended TCU for two years and married TCU Lettermen's Hall of Fame member Ross Montgomery. The Kline participation with TCU education has now continued into the third generation. Three of Forrest's grandchildren attended or are currently attending TCU. No doubt they'll be proud to watch home games and know that their grandfather was a big contributor to the heritage and tradition of TCU gridiron excellence.
Horatio Porter has possibly been called "Mr. TCU" by more people than have attended TCU. A five-time All-American sprinter, Porter ran the lead-off leg as a member of the relay team that set the NCAA record in the 4x100 meter relay (38.23) in 1989. He won another NCAA championship in 1991 while also running leadoff, and won SWC crowns in the 55-meter and 200-meter indoor events in 1992.
The Fort Worth Polytechnic High School graduate was also awarded the Pop Boone Outstanding Athlete Award and Dutch Meyer Student-Athlete Award in 1992. He served as president of the TCU chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha en route to garnering Outstanding Greek Man honors in 1992. While at track practice, Porter often donned a shirt with the phrase "Born To Lead" on it. That approach to track - as well as to life - has shown through in Porter's post-college contributions back to TCU, the community and the world.
Not surprisingly, as a founding member of the Black Alumni Alliance at TCU, his vision and efforts to reach out to African-American Horned Frogs have been met with great success. Porter was selected as a speaker in the "Next Frontier Campaign" that closed out the 20th century capital campaign efforts. He has also served on the recent "Commission On The Future of TCU" committee as well as on the National Alumni Board of Directors at TCU.
He has been active in the Fort Worth community, serving as President-Elect of the Board of Directors at the Jubilee Theatre. Porter has received the Financial Excellence Award from FedEx and the Determination Award from Trinity Industries while in the work force. He is also a Ministry Leader at First Saint John Baptist Church with his wife. As a crowning and fitting honor, Porter was selected to be an Olympic Torch Bearer for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Porter married Angie Carter, an SMU alum, who earned her MBA from TCU in 1994 alongside Horatio. The couple recently celebrated their 10th anniversary in August of this year. They have three sons: Darnell (10), David (7) and Darien, who turned five on Sept. 3.
From just on the other side of town, Donna Thomas Wilson, a Fort Worth Trimble Tech graduate, leapt into the TCU track and field program to help begin its women's program in 1984. Thomas was a three-time state champion at Trimble Tech and went to the University of North Texas (then North Texas State) until TCU began sanctioning women's track for NCAA events.
Thomas, the first African-American woman ever to be inducted into the TCU Lettermen's Association Hall of Fame, earned numerous All-American honors throughout her track and field career. She still holds the TCU record in the long jump (21'5") and the triple jump (42'4"). Thomas placed seventh nationally in the triple jump and eighth in the long jump her senior year and also was recognized as TCU's Outstanding Female Athlete.
She competed "a little" after college, she said, but felt that it was time to ease up on the running and the banging that her knees had taken throughout the years. She claims to have hung up the shoes and now won't even run "to get the phone."
Thomas returned to her high school alma mater in 2002 after working for AllState and began coaching volleyball for the Bulldogs. She also helps with the triple jump, long jump and high jump for track.
"The job just kind of fell in my lap, to be honest," she said. "I was just looking for work after my younger daughter was old enough and was talking to one of the assistant principals there when he told me about the position that was open. The rest is history."
She wears a knee brace while showing digs to the team, but isn't afraid to get in there with her team and mix it up. "That's the only way to coach," she said.
She married Stephen Wilson in November of 1992. They have two daughters: Bryelle (9) and Aliyah (3). While they're showing signs of mom's athletic gifts, they're still a little young to determine All-American caliber ability she said.
The TCU Lettermen's Association Hall of Fame banquet is open to the public and all interested Frog fans and media members are encouraged to attend. Cost per person is $20 and includes dinner and program. For contact information on this year's inductees, or to request interview time with them before or after the banquet, please call Mark Mourer in the TCU Frog Club offices at (817) 257-6905 or Marisa Schenke, also in the Frog Club offices, at (817) 257-5471.