A few more athletes will join the ranks of famous ACU athletes this fall. The ACU Hall of Fame will welcome six new members Oct. 8.
Headlining this year’s class is women’s basketball star Caroline Omamo and former athletic director Cecil Eager.Â Other inductees include Bill Clayton, Jim Womack, Dale Jenkins, and Lifetime Achievement Award winner Randy Nicholson.
“It is such an honor to be elected into the Hall of Fame,” said athletic director Jared Mosley. “These athletes were the best of the best while they were here, and they deserve this honor.”
Omamo will be the 17th female student athlete inducted into the Hall of Fame. She posted huge numbers as a Wildcat. Omamo is the 10th leading scorer in ACU women’s basketball history and the seventh leading rebounder. She is also one of only six other Wildcat women to score at least 1400 points and pull down 900 boards in her ACU career.
“She just had a certain presence on the court,” said Deonna Shake, former assistant basketball coach and current exercise science teacher. “She was imposing because she was so poised. Not only could she score but she could rebound any ball she could get to.”
A three-time all-Lone Star Conference selection, Omamo also won the LSC MVP in the 1997-98 season. She was a two-time postseason LSC tournament MVP.Â She was a key player on an ACU team that won 49 straight games and spent most of the 1995-96 season ranked #1 in the nation. Omamo played in 48 of the 49 games, the most of anyone on the team.
“As a player, student and Christian, Caroline set the bar high for all the younger players to come after her,” said Shake.
Cecil Eager was a leader off the courts for the Wildcats. After a very successful 12 years as ACU’s tennis coach, Eager was appointed athletic director in 1990. Even though he only served five years in the position, he saw the Wildcats bring home nine national championships in three different sports: six in women’s track and field, two in men’s track and field, and one in men’s golf.
In August 2001 the new tennis pavilion was named the Cecil and Judy Eager Tennis Pavilion in honor of the Eager’s contributions to ACU’s sports programs.
Bill Clayton was a dominant defensive tackle for the Wildcat football team from 1986-89. Clayton also excelled in the classroom, and he remains the only Wildcat ever to earn the GTE first team academic all-American three times in his stellar career. Clayton is the sixth leading tackler in ACU history and ranks seventh on the all-time sack list. He was voted to the LSC and ACU’s all-decade team for the 1980s.
Jim Womack was a four-time letterman for the Wildcats and served as captain of the 1962-63 ACU basketball team. While he was an excellent athlete, Womack’s real success came off the court. He is known for his pioneering research in working with the cattle genome.
Womack has won countless awards and honors for his scientific work. He is currently a professor at Texas A&M University. In 2007 the ACU athletic department decided to put his name on an award given to an ACU graduate who demonstrated excellence on the court and in the classroom.
Dale Jenkins was a world-class pole vaulter for the Wildcats and remains one of just six athletes to win a Division II National Championship in the pole vault. Jenkins still holds the record for highest vault at an outdoor meet, with a height of 18 feet 8 inches at Cape Girardeau in 1984.
Jenkins and the rest of the Wildcat outdoor track and field team won four straight national championships while he was at ACU. In high school Jenkins became the first pole vaulter to eclipse the 17-foot mark and set a high school record at 17 feet 10 inches. He even appeared in the “Faces in the Crowd” section of Sports Illustrated.
Randy Nicholson is the Lifetime Achievement Award winner this year. Nicholson is a former member of the Board of Trustees and founder of AutoGas Systems Inc., in Abilene. He has been a long-time supporter of ACU athletics since attending ACU in the 1950s. He pioneered the pay-at-the-pump system that most gas stations use today. In 2007 he notched a spot on USA Today’s list of top 25 inventions in the last 25 years.
“Randy has not just been a huge supporter of ACU athletics from a financial standpoint,” said Mosley. “He is on campus a lot, always showing his support for our programs.”
The year’s class is the Hall of Fame’s 26th induction class and will mark its 25th anniversary. With these additions, the Hall of Fame will total 142 members.