The Southwest Conference once upon a time was one of the most powerful conferences in college sports, winning NCAA titles most memorably in football, but in several other sports as well. Running from 1914-1996, it counted among its membership Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Rice, Houston, SMU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Southwestern, Baylor, and the now defunct Phillips University as members at different times.
Though the conference folded 18 years ago, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame maintains a Southwest Conference Hall of Fame, and in its class of 2014 it named 9 new members, including two from the conference’s powerful swimming programs.
Coach George McMillion from SMU and swimmer Jill Sterkel from the University of Texas will both be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
McMillion was an assistant coach at SMU from 1957 to 1971, and the head coach from 1971 to 1988. Among the impressive stats he amassed, according to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame:
- 8 consecutive Southwest Conference titles
- Teams finished in the top 10 at NCAA’s 14 times
- Southwest Conference Coach of the Year four times
- Coached 78 All-Americans
- 15 NCAA Champions
- 4 Olympic medalists
- Former SMU team captain and record holder as an athlete
As for Sterkel, her accolades at Texas are well-told, even though her time came before the NCAA recognized female National Championships. In her career, she won 17 individual national championships, which isn’t even possible any more, and was named the top female collegiate swimmer in the country in 1980 and 1981.
After her time at Texas, Sterkel would swim at three Olympic games (falling victim to the 1980 boycott) and win four medals, including two golds, and would eventually return to Texas as a co-head coach.
The Texas women won 14 total Southwest Conference Championships, and according to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Sterkel was involved in 13 of them as either an athlete or a coach.
The other 7 inductees:
- Nolan Richardson, Arkansas, basketball coach
- Walter Abercrombie, Baylor, football
- Otis Birdsong, Houston, basketball
- Harold Solomon, Rice, tennis
- Mark Johnson, Texas A&M, baseball coach
- James Cash, TCU, basketball
- Andre Tillman, Texas Tech, football
The induction ceremony will be held on Monday, October 20th at 11:30 AM at the Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth. Tickets to the event are being sold here.