The five new inductees will bring the A&M-Commerce Hall of Fame to 144 former student-athletes, coaches and administrators, along with 12 teams that have been enshrined. It is one of the highest honors a former Lion can receive as the nominees must be a person of such integrity, character and sportsmanship that the A&M-Commerce family will be inspired by the recognition.
In order to be eligible to be nominated for the A&M-Commerce Hall of Fame, former student-athletes must have exhausted their eligibility 10 years prior to nomination, while coaches and administrators must have served A&M-Commerce for a minimum of 10 years.
In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees, A&M-Commerce will also recognize three alumni who have gone on to become successful coaches, honoring them with the Bobby Fox Alumni Coaching Award. This year's honorees are Arizona State assistant football coach Bob Connelly, former Oklahoma State assistant basketball coach, the late Miranda Serna, and Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson.
This year's Hall of Fame festivities will once again revolve around A&M-Commerce's Homecoming Week, taking place the week of October 22-27. The Hall of Fame activities begin Friday night, October 26, with a volleyball match against Cameron at 5 p.m. at the Field House, followed by the Hall of Fame Reception beginning at 7 p.m. at the Club in the Sam Rayburn Student Center when the new inductees will be announced and toasted.
Saturday, October 27, marks a busy day for the Hall of Fame inductees, beginning with a tailgate prior to the Lions' homecoming football game. A&M-Commerce will square off with Lone Star Conference rival Abilene Christian at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. Following the game, the Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place in the Sam Rayburn Student Center, beginning with a reception at 6 p.m. before the actual banquet gets underway at 7:30 p.m.
Admission to the Friday night Hall of Fame reception is free of charge, while tickets for the Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony are $25 per person. To secure your seat for the 2012 Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony, please contact the A&M-Commerce Athletic Department at (903) 886-5558. Reservations must be made by Monday, October 22 to secure your seat!
2012 A&M-Commerce Hall of Fame Inductee Bios
Curtis Buckley (Football, 1991-92) - Buckley was a two-year letterwinner for East Texas State at linebacker, earning first team All-Lone Star Conference honors in 1991 and 1992. He led the Lions in tackles both season, notching 111 as a junior and 133 as a senior with five sacks during his career while helping East Texas State to the nation's second-ranked defense in 1992. Buckley was a five-time LSC Defensive Player of the Week and was recognized as a two-time Don Hansen's Football Gazette All-American, named an honorable mention as a junior before being honored as a second team selection as a senior. Buckley went on to play seven years in the National Football League, suiting up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants and Washington Redskins, being named a four-time honorable mention All-Madden Team selection.
John Carlos (Track and Field, 1967) - Carlos spent just one season at East Texas State, but made his presence felt immediately. He set five school records during the 1967 season, including the Lone Star Conference record for the 200 yard dash with a 20.4 mark. Carlos was a two-time conference champion, winning the 100 and 220 yard dashes at the LSC meet and was a member of the first-place 4x100 and 4x400 meter relay teams, helping the Lions to the 1967 Lone Star Conference title. After leaving East Texas State, Carlos gained worldwide fame by winning the bronze medal in the 200 meter dash at the 1968 Olympics, where his silent protest with gold medalist Tommie Smith on the medal stand has become one of the most iconic moments in Olympic history. Carlos remains an active voice for human rights across the world appearing as a popular motivational speaker.
Paul Peak (Basketball Coach/Administrator, 1991-2004) - Peak spent nine seasons as the head coach of the East Texas State/A&M-Commerce men's basketball team from 1991 to 2000, compiling an overall record of 134-118. His 134 career wins is tied for fourth all-time in program history while his .532 winning percentage sits in sole possession of fourth all-time. Peak led the Lions to a share of the 1995-96 regular season Lone Star Conference title as A&M-Commerce advanced to the NCAA tournament three-consecutive seasons in 1996, 1997 and 1998, advancing to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in 1997. Under Peak's tutelage, 17 players were named All-Lone Star Conference honorees, including a pair of LSC Most Valuable Players in Jason Hall (1996) and Darrell Waters (1998), who was also a third team All-American. Following his coaching days, Peak spent four years as the Lions Athletic Director.
Robert Peek (Meritorious Service) - Peek was a four year letterwinner on the East Texas State tennis team from 1959-63, helping the Lions to a pair of NAIA appearances and was a national semifinalist in doubles with Lion Hall of Famer Jerry Hirst. Following his graduation, Peek remained an avid supporter of the University by donating both his time and money to help improve the Lion athletic program. He served as a member of the Hall of Fame and Bobby Fox Alumni Coaching Award selection committees and was a member of the Athletic Association Board for over 20 years. He and his wife Janet contributed financially for years to the basketball and football programs and is a member of the Founders Circle and 1990 Society. Peek also sponsored radio advertising for Lion athletics and assisted countless student-athletes through his actions up until his death in 2009.
Donna Tavener (Volleyball and Tennis Coach, 1977-83) - Tavener established herself as one of the pioneers in women's athletics at East Texas State, serving as the Lions' head volleyball and women's tennis coach from 1977-83. Serving as the volleyball program's first volleyball coach, Tavener compiled a 109-90 record, as her 109 victories and .548 winning percentage both rank third in program history. Tavener's teams won 20 or more matches in four of her five seasons, including winning 30 matches in 1982, which is tied for the third-most wins in a single season. On the tennis courts, Tavener's teams won a handful of AIAW Division II regional and national tournaments, including finishing second in the region in 1979. She coached a handful of top players, including 2011 Hall of Fame inductee Patti Bean, who spearheaded Tavener's 1979 team to become the first ETSU women's team to qualify for a national tournament. Tavener spent 20 years teaching high school students in Greenville and Commerce before returning to A&M-Commerce as the Director of Education Preparation in 2002, serving as a member of the Hall of Fame committee.