AMARILLO — Pampa was well-represented at Sunday’s Texas Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Amarillo.
Rayford Young, who played on Pampa’s 1996 State Championship team, and Sharon Moultrie-Bruner, a seven-time national qualifier with the 100 and 400 relay at Texas Tech, were inducted.
The pair were introduced by event emcee John Mark Beilue, who also inducted Steve Garmon, Noel Johnson and legendary Canyon/Nazareth basketball head coach Joe Lombard.
Young, was the 189th inductee, for his basketball prowess and accomplishments during that 1996 State Title run. Young scored 67 points in the semifinal and finals combined, which at the time was a State Tournament record. It is still a record for a boys player from the Panhandle.
He went on to play for Texas Tech where he scored 1,525 career points (16th all time) and finished with 407 assist and 173 steals, both good for fourth all-time. He scored a then-Big-12-record 35 points in a half, with 32 coming in the last nine minutes against Kansas in 2000.
Young thanked everyone in attendance and those who have supported him over the years, before recognizing those in the room who competed on State Championship teams over the last year.
“Listening to all of the accomplishments you guys have had reminded me of a story my coach told me in high school,” Young said. “It was about being the Cinderella of the dance. I didn’t understand that until I was older at Texas Tech and wanting to be the Cinderella of the dance.
“Not much is expected of us in the Texas Panhandle. So when you’ve achieved greatness like y’all have done, give thanks to the people that have made it happen: parents, teammates, everyone who has been a part of getting you to this level.”
Young emphasized that receiving the honor was not just about him, but those in his life who supported him. Young thanked his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, his parents, his Uncle Ronnie, his wife Candace and children, his teammates over the years and high school coach Robert Hale.
Young shared a story from the Sweetwater semi-final game.
“We stuck together and winning that game,” Young said. “That game changed my life. As a kid who was under-recruited, getting to play that game at Texas Tech in front of James Dickey that night, it changed my life.”
Young added it took a village for him to get where he is today and learned so many life skills while he was in Pampa and joked that his Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame honor is the one thing he can hold over his son, Trae, who is an NBA Star for the Atlanta Hawks.
“He may be a 22-year-old All-Star on his way to the NBA Hall of Fame,” Young said. “But he’s never going to be a Panhandle Hall-of-Famer.”
Beilue then introduced the 190th Member of the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame, Sharon Moultrie-Bruner, who went to Texas Tech hoping to play softball and track, but ultimately focused on track. She won the long jump as a freshman at 19 feet and became Tech’s first two-time female All-American. She went on to become a seven-time national qualifier that included 100 and 400 relay. Her 60-meter dash time is about the Top 10 in Tech history. In 1981, she became Tech’s first African-American and first athlete to win the Homecoming Queen recognition.
She started her acceptance speech thanking her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, followed by her mother.
“She taught me what it means to be hard-working, dedicated and putting God first,” Moultrie-Bruner said. “She taught me about work ethic, to be the best and to give it your all. Today, I am the woman I am because I lived by the things she taught me.”
Moultrie-Bruner thanked her childhood coaches and physical education teachers. She thanked her high school coach Betty Chamberlain, who introduced her to the long jump and her Texas Tech track coach Beta Little.
“She gave me the opportunity to walk on the track team as an un-recruited athlete and took a chance on me,” Moultrie-Bruner said. “That chance is all I needed. It’s been onward and upward from there.”
She also thanked Texas Tech coach Jarvis Scott, who was an Olympian, as well.
“Not only did she lead me to be successful on the national level,” Moultrie-Bruner said. “But she was a mom (to me) away from home. There are a few things she instilled in me that I never forgot and instilled into my athletes in over 30 years of teaching and coaching. The Three D’s: Dedication, Desire and Determination. She also instilled for me to not let anyone get in the way of achieving my goals.”
Moultrie-Bruner finished by thanking her teammates over the years and the people in the Pampa community.
“Because of all these great people and the influence they have had in my life and my success,” Moultrie-Bruner said. “I have been living and thriving in my passion for the last 30 years. What a rewarding experience it has been. Last but not least, I want to thank my family for supporting me.”