Tiger Athletic Hall of
Jim Clay fought back tears as he talked about his father, Bill Clay, during the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame luncheon. Jim Clay introduced his father as a member of the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2003. “He never missed one of my games,” the younger Clay told the audience of approximately 80 people. “My dad never liked to talk about his accomplishments. That’s just the type of person he is.”
The eldest Clay was joined by Jim Carter, Barb Rausch Littell, Jerry Mullen, the late Dr. Gwen Nelson, and John Woodworth as the latest members added to the class. The Hall of Famers and their families were the guests of honor at an inductee luncheon at noon Feb. 1. Then, at halftime of the men’s basketball game against Fort Scott that night, they were formally inducted. The six inductees bring the total number in the Hall of Fame to 28.
Carter, who lives in Lubbock, Texas, was introduced by Cowley head men’s tennis coach Larry Grose. Carter played tennis and basketball at Arkansas City Junior College from 1955-1957. He was the state doubles champion in 1956 and won the state singles title a year later. He transferred to Wichita State University and was singles and doubles runner-up in the Missouri Valley Conference in 1958 and singles and doubles champion in 1959. After a stint in the Army, he graduated from WSU in 1966. For more than 20 years, he has been head tennis coach at Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas. The Texas Tennis Coaches Association named him Coach of the Year in 1988 and 2000, and he was inducted into that organization’s Hall of Fame in 1992.
Nelson was honored by Cowley Vice President of Administration Conrad Jimison, who started at the college the same year as Nelson, 1968. Nelson’s granddaughter, Cindy Lu Nelson, attended the banquet on behalf of her grandfather. Gwen Nelson became the college’s second president on July 1, 1968. During his presidency, he steered the college toward long-range planning and the construction of several buildings, including the Nelson Student Center, named for Gwen and his wife Lu. The Nelsons were staunch supporters of Tiger athletics and could be seen in the stands of home and road games. He retired in 1987, and died on July 12, 1993. Many at the banquet told stories of Dr. Nelson related to his support for athletics.
Steve Moore introduced Woodworth, who played basketball, football, and baseball at Cowley. He was first-team all-conference in basketball (1969-70), football (1969), and was named to the all-district tournament first team as a shortstop (1970). He transferred to Fort Hays State and was a three-time all-district wide receiver and a two-time National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics All-American. In 1990, he was inducted into the university’s Tiger Hall of Fame. From 1973-75, he was as a teacher and coach at Arkansas City High School. He lives in Grand Junction, Colo., with his wife, the former Sue Adams.
Kelly Snyder, the daughter of Hall of Famer Loye Sparks, introduced Rausch Littell, her former roommate and teammate. Rausch Littell played basketball and volleyball for Cowley from 1980-1982. After a standout freshman basketball season in which she set three school records, she was named to the All-America team as a sophomore and played in the NJCAA East-West All-Star Game. She finished her Cowley career with three school records, one of which still stands: Most free throws in a career (197). She is tied for 10th on the all-time career scoring chart with 771 points. As a sophomore volleyball player, she helped Cowley win the conference and finish 10th in the nation. She lives in Liberal, Kan., with her husband Jim, head women’s basketball coach at Seward County.
Bill Clay played tennis and basketball in 1948 and 1949. He was the state singles and doubles champion in 1948, and state singles champion in 1949. He was named first-team All-Region VI in basketball in 1949 and played basketball for the University of Colorado in 1950 and 1951. In 1953, he participated in AAU ball in Parsons. At ACJC, he was president of the student council, and was selected to crown Queen Alalah XVII during Arkalalah. He was in the Army from 1951-53. His last assignment was as company commander. He lives in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Head men’s basketball coach Randy Smithson introduced Mullen, his former coach. Mullen served as head men’s basketball coach at Cowley from 1973-1979. He compiled a 107-67 (.615) record in six seasons. During the 1977-78 season, he guided the Tigers to the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division title. Cowley was nationally ranked during his final two seasons in which the Tigers went 24-6 (1977-78) and 25-5 (1978-79). He is president of Mullen’s Sports Enterprises, Inc., a nationwide basketball scouting service. He also runs high-profile summer basketball camps. He lives in Olathe, Kan.