McBroom, Smith, Willbanks join Athletic Hall of Honor
Longtime baseball coach Butch McBroom, women’s basketball star Carolyn Smith and football great Robert Willbanks were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Honor in September.
A 31-year veteran in the UTA Athletics Department, McBroom served as head baseball coach from 1974-99. He was named the NCAA South Central Region Coach of the Year in 1990 and earned four Southland Conference Coach of the Year accolades.
He led the Mavericks to conference titles and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1990 and ’92. He compiled 804 career victories, including 756 at UTA, posting 14 consecutive 30-plus win seasons and helping produce 65 players who moved on to the professional ranks, 48 who became coaches and 46 who earned all-SLC honors in a UTA uniform.
McBroom’s No. 30 was the first uniform retired by the UTA baseball program, on Feb. 5, 2000. After stepping down as coach, he served as athletics development director until his retirement in summer 2004.
Smith, who played at UTA from 1977-81, becomes the first women’s basketball player inducted into the Hall of Honor. She ranks second on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,567 points and third on the all-time rebounding list with 818 while appearing in 122 games, the second most in school history.
She owns single-season records for points (532) and field goals made (231), both set during the 1977-78 season. She’s the all-time leader in career field goals made (661) and owns the best single-game performance in school history with 44 points against Texas Wesleyan on Jan. 15, 1978. Her 18 field goals in that game are also a record.
Smith teaches in the Killeen Independent School District.
A three-year letterman in 1965-67, Willbanks helped the 1967 Arlington State College (now UTA) football team to an NCAA College Division National Championship with a 10-1 record, including a 13-0 win over North Dakota State in the Pecan Bowl in Abilene, Texas. The Rebels, as they were called then, allowed just 12.8 points per game that season.
Willbanks was one of three Rebels named College Division All-American in 1967. He also was named first-team All-Southland Conference in 1966 and ’67 and All-Texas College as a key member of the 1966 SLC championship team. In 1966, he intercepted five passes and averaged 22 yards per punt return. He now lives in Kennedale and works in law enforcement.
Also honored were members of the 1966 and ’67 football teams. Former Arlington Mayor and current Tarrant County Judge Tom Vandergriff, who was the team’s public address announcer then, introduced the players, and their wives presented them with flowers, rekindling a tradition from those seasons.
Athletics Council Chair Karin McCallum and physician B.J. Mycoskie were named honorary letter winners. Dr. McCallum, chair of the UTA Communication Department, is in her seventh year as institutional representative for athletics. Dr. Mycoskie has served as team doctor for UTA’s athletic teams for more than 20 years.
— Jim Patterson