First class

Posted Monday, Aug. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Mansfield ISD inducted the inaugural class into its new Athletic Hall of Honor in a ceremony held Saturday at the MISD Performing Arts Center.

“It exceeded my expectations,” MISD Athletic Director Debbie Weems said. “There were so many awesome things said about our inductees and I think all the acceptance speeches were so thoughtful. You could tell they were extremely touched by the honor.”

The first group of inductees included six individuals and one team.

Vernon Newsom – Cornerstone Inductee

Newsom served the district as a teacher, coach and principal before taking over as superintendent in 1996. He was active in numerous organizations and committees related to education and curriculum, as well as the UIL Legislative Council. He was part of bond planning committees and had a passion for Mansfield ISD athletics. He retired in 2009 and died that year. The district's second football stadium was named in his honor.

Michelle Purgason – Distinguised Volunteer

Purgason began her career with MISD as a volunteer on the Charlotte Anderson playground. She became heavily involved in the PTA, serving on the executive board and founding the Mansfield ISD Council of PTAs. She formed the Citizen’s Bond Committee and chaired multiple bond elections. She also promoted volunteerism and membership through the booster clubs at Mansfield High, Summit, Timberview and Legacy.

“I was humbled and honored. It’s a great thing the district is doing. It means a lot to me. I’ve been involved in the district for 25 years now volunteering. It’s just humbling to be the one selected to be the first volunteer honoree.”

Samantha Morrow – Girls Basketball Coach

Morrow joined Mansfield High in 1987 as an assistant to Debbie Weems. Six years later, Morrow took over as head coach. She guided the Lady Tigers to four consecutive state titles in 1999-2002, amassing an overall record of 413-77 in 14 years. She was named the National Federation of High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2002. Morrow also started a summer basketball camp for girls before leaving MISD to assume the head coaching job at the University of Texas at Arlington.

“To be in the inaugural class makes it that much sweeter and I’m that much more appreciative. It makes me reflect on everyone that allowed me to be where I am now and those who was a big part of my success when I was here,” she said.

James L. Coble – Athlete

Coble played football at Mansfield High until his graduation in 1948. He went on to play at Tarleton State University and was inducted into that school’s hall of fame in 1983. He played his final two years of college football at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce) and his 1952 team was inducted into the Texas A&M Commerce Hall of Fame in 2002. He returned to Mansfield in 1961 as a junior high teacher and coach. He was named principal a year later and served in that role for 17 years, retiring in 1981. He was given the Mansfield ISD Alumni Association Distinguished Educator Award in 2001, and the district named a middle school in his honor in 2006.

Royce Womble – Athlete

Womble was at Mansfield High School from 1944-1947. After graduation, he played at North Texas and is now enshrined in that school’s hall of fame. Following college, he spent time in the Navy before joining the Baltimore Colts in 1954, making him the first Mansfield High School alumnus to play in the NFL. He spent three seasons with the Colts and then joined the Los Angeles Chargers of the AFL in 1960.

“It’s a great honor for your own peers to recognize you and say, ‘Hey, you did all right.’ I’m proud of it,” he said. “A lot of fine gentlemen and women have gone through this school system.”

Erin Grant – Athlete

Grant won four state championships playing under Samantha Morrow. She earned all-district, all-area and all-state honors multiple times, and was twice named MVP of the state tournament. She was a McDonald’s All-American in her senior season in 2002. She went on to play at Texas Tech, helping the school to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in her time there. She also set Texas Tech and Big 12 Conference records with 884 career assists. Grant played on the gold medal-winning Team USA at the 2005 World University Games. She was drafted by the Seattle Storm of the WNBA in 2006. She currently serves as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis.

Brie (Madden) Rodman – Athlete

Rodman lettered in basketball, track and volleyball while at Mansfield High from 1997-2001. She won three state basketball championships and was the Texas Sports Writers Association co-player of the year after her senior season, in which she averaged 12 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3 blocks. She then played basketball at Kansas State University, winning a conference title in 2004 and is among the school’s all-time leaders in blocked shots.

“I had heard they were working on this [Hall of Honor] and I had a long list in my mind of all the people that were going to be inducted. I never imagined I’d be in the first class. I was really, really honored. The list of inductees is full of amazing people,” she said.

1998-1999 Lady Tigers Girls Basketball Team

The 1998-99 MHS squad rolled to a 38-0 record and the first of four consecutive state titles, averaging 63 points per game while allowing just 37.9. Members of the team included: Divona Phillips; Lauren (Fletcher) Walker; Kaira White; Erin Grant; Brittany Barron; Tori Wilson; Heather (Stubblefield) Parsons; Robyn Miller; Kyla (Hill) Taggart; Christa Cox; Demetria Sparks; Brie (Madden) Rodman; Cami (Ford) Longtin.

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