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Bianca Torre Headlines UTRGV Hall of Fame Class for 2023

3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago Thursday, January 12 2023 Jan 12, 2023 January 12, 2023 11:14 PM January 12, 2023 in Sports
By: UTRGV Reports

RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Athletics Hall of Fame Committee announced on Thursday the 2023 Athletics Hall of Fame class, which includes the 1975-78 men’s tennis teams, former baseball student-athletes Mike Duffey (1968-71) and Hector Salinas (1965-68), and former women’s basketball student-athlete Bianca (Torre) Salinas (2009-13). The committee also announced that former baseball, track & field, and cross country student-athlete D. Joe Williams (1954-57) has earned induction into the Hall of Honor.

 

The Athletics Hall of Fame and Hall of Honor induction luncheon is scheduled to take place in the UTRGV Ballroom on Saturday, March 4 at 11 a.m.

 

Space is limited and those planning to attend are asked to RSVP in advance by calling (956) 665-4069 or sending an email to vclub@utrgv.edu.

 

1975-78 Men’s Tennis Teams

Finished seasons in top 25 in the national rankings for four consecutive years – #24 in 1975, #18 in 1976, #14 in 1977, and #10 in 1978 … Ranked as high as #8 in 1978 … Ricardo Eynaudi and Antonio Hartmann represented Pan American at NCAA Championships in 1975 and 1976 … Hall of Famer Rob Hubbard selected for 1977 NCAA Singles and Doubles in first year of official invites based upon merit, along with Eynaudi for doubles … Hubbard, Sean Sorensen, and John Picken were selected in 1978 but did not compete as a protest for the team not being selected for the 16-team field for the team championships, despite being ranked #8 at the time (ranking dropped to #10 after the NCAA Championships despite the team not playing) … Pan American was the official host of the 1975 and 1976 NCAA Championships held at the H-E-B Tennis Center in Corpus Christi. Teams featured some of the winningest players in program history, including Robert Bettauer, who ranks second in career singles wins (79) and fourth in total wins (130), Picken, who is tied for third in singles wins (78), fifth in doubles wins (56), and third in total wins (134), Hubbard, who is tied for fourth in singles wins (62), and Eynauldi, who is third in doubles wins (64).

 

“I am sure I can speak for the rest of the team members when I say that we are thrilled to be inducted into our alma mater's Hall of Fame,” Hubbard said. “With Coach [Dennis] Conner's team, vision, and recruiting class of 1974-75, the program became a presence on the national top 25 scene for the next four years, reaching a ranking as high as number eight in 1977-78. It is an honor to be recognized for these accomplishments at the university that had such a positive impact on our lives.”

 

1975 Roster

Francisco (Paco) Ceron

Ricardo Eynaudi

Antonio Hartmann

Robert Bettauer

Carlos Carrales

Jesus Cruz

Carlos Eynaudi

Ricky Garcia

Rob Hubbard

Sean Sorensen

Mark Waterhouse

Head Coach: Dennis Conner

 

1976 Roster

Robert Bettauer

Jose Damiani

Carlos Eynaudi

Ricardo Eynuadi

Antonio Hartmann

Rob Hubbard

Sean Sorenson

Head Coach: A.G. Longoria

 

1977 Roster

Robert Bettauer

Ricardo Eynuadi

Rob Hubbard

Brian Liberman

John Picken

Sean Sorenson

Head Coach: A.G. Longoria

 

1978 Roster

Sean Sorensen

Rob Hubbard

Robert Bettauer

John Picken

Derek Sagal

Alfonso Gonzalez

Josef Brabenec

Ivan Solis

Hugo Hamden

Greg Laud

Benito Reyes

Head Coach: A.G. Longoria

 

Mike Duffey, Baseball, 1968-71

1971 The Sporting News All-American Honorable Mention … Helped team to lone College World Series appearance … 1970 All-District VI selection.

 

“It’s a great honor, especially for a guy who played small ball like me to be honored this way,” Duffey said. “I often hit first or second and could bunt for a base hit or sacrifice to make sure the big guys in the middle of the lineup could get RBI opportunities. I’m also proud to able to represent my hometown of Edinburg and Edinburg High School in this way.”

 

Hector Salinas, Baseball, 1965-68

1968 NCAA & AABC All-American … Hit .375 as a senior to earn team Most Valuable Player honors … As a freshman, hit .306 (30-for-98) with three home runs, six doubles, three triples, 16 RBI, and 13 runs scored as a freshman while going 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA, striking out 15 and scattering 14 hits and four walks in 14 innings … 2009 RGV Sports Hall of Fame Inductee … 2012 Texas A&M-Kingsville Hall of Fame Inductee … 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award at the South Texas Winter Baseball Banquet … Earned bachelor’s degree from Pan American University and has a master’s from UT Brownsville … Passed away on April 30, 2021 … The day before the induction ceremony would have been his 78th birthday.

 

“This is a great honor for my family and especially my mom, who also went to Pan American, which is where they met,” Salinas’ son, Orlando, said. “My dad had a great career there. He used to brag about holding the doubles record despite playing with a wooden bat and only about 40 games each year. He was through and through a Pan American loyalist. He loved the university and South Texas baseball. It’s a great honor and I wish he was still here to accept it, but I know he would be super excited to be honored by UTRGV.”

 

Bianca (Torre) Salinas, Women’s Basketball, 2009-13

Finished her career as program’s all-time leader in points (1,439) (now second), assists (393), steals (226), free throws made (277) (now second) and field goals attempted (1,250) (now second). She also ranked second in field goals made (461) (now third), and three-pointers made (240). She also ranked third in free throw percentage (.780), free throws attempted (355) (now fourth) and three-pointers attempted (677) (now fifth), and fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.355) (now fifth) … Only player to earn All-Great West Conference honors four years in a row … 2012-13 UTPA Comeback Athlete of the Year … 2011-12 UTPA Female Athlete of the Year and Ms. Bronc … 2009-10 Great West Conference Newcomer of the Year and All-Newcomer Team … Holds program records for most three-pointers (6) and free throws (13) made while hitting all shots in a single game … Scored 525 points in 2010-11, the fourth-highest single-season total in program history … Hit program record 132 free throws in 2010-11 … Holds two of the top-eight single-season assists totals and three of the top-nine single-season steals totals … One of only two players in program history to have at least two seasons with 64+ three-pointers made (the other is Hall of Famer Alex Gravel).

 

“Being inducted into the UTRGV Hall of Fame is so unreal,” Salinas said. “I’m honored and humbled that the Hall of Fame and Hall of Honor members voted me in. I thank God for blessing me with the ability to play a sport that I have loved for so many years. This award is shared with my family, and I want to thank them for always believing in me. To the Rio Grande Valley, I took great pride representing my hometown. Lastly, to the women’s basketball program, including my coaches and teammates, I was to thank them for playing an essential role in this honor. I could never have accomplished this alone.”

 

Hall of Honor

D. Joe Williams, Baseball and Track & Field/Cross Country, 1954-57

Became the first African American to break the color barrier, integrate and participate in college athletics at a non-Historically Black College or University in the State of Texas as the center fielder for the 1954 baseball team, hitting .262 to help the team to the Big State Conference Championship … Won a pair of individual conference championships with the track & field team, taking titles in the 880-yard and one-mile runs … Born in Dobbin, grew up in McAllen … Attended Booker T. Washington High School, a segregated school that existed from 1941-57 … Scouted by St. Louis Browns in 1953 … One of the first African Americans to play in Junior League … Went on to coach at Charlie Brown High School in West Columbia for five years before coaching El Paso high schools for 47 years and helping found the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame … Passed away on Dec. 15, 2013 … The date of the induction ceremony would have been Williams’ 87th birthday.

 

“The induction of my father, D. Joe Williams, into the Hall of Honor is truly an honor and a tribute to his legacy,” Williams’ son, Dejeaux, said. “He persevered through a changing social climate and integrated collegiate sports in Texas in 1955 at what was then known as Pan American College. His accomplishments remind us that if you are committed to a task and are willing to persevere through all odds, you can achieve your dreams.”

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