The coach who led North Texas to its first appearance in the NCAA basketball tournament, UNT’s first All-American volleyball player, and members of the football team that broke the color barrier in college football in the Southwest were among those honored at the annual Athletic Hall of Fame breakfast Saturday morning.
This year’s inductees into the Hall of Fame were Billy Dinkle, running back and kicker who played for North Texas from 1946 to 1948 and helped lead the team to the 1946 Optimist Bowl, the first bowl victory in school history; Jimmy Gales, men’s head basketball coach from 1986-87 to 1992-93 who led the 1987-88 men’s basketball team to the NCAA tournament; Corina Marginas (’04, ’06 M.B.A.), who was named a volleyball All-American and the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in 2003; and Ja’Quay Wilburn (’04), running back who finished his UNT career with 3,120 yards, the most in school history at that time.
The new inductees were welcomed by several noted UNT Athletic Hall of Famers, including NFL Hall of Famer Joe Greene (’69) and Dallas Texans and Kansas City Chiefs star Abner Haynes (’62).
Haynes played on the1959 football team that received special recognition at the breakfast. The team, which became integrated three years earlier when Haynes and Leon King ('62, '72 M.S.) joined as freshmen, posted a 9-2 record in 1959 and played in the Sun Bowl, in what was North Texas’ third bowl appearance.
Bill Carrico, the team’s captain, accepted the award and recalled all of the players and coaches refusing to stay in hotels or eat in restaurants that wouldn’t serve the black members in the segregated South.
“We were historical and unique,” he said.