Banquet slated for 11:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10 at FUMC Christian Life Center
The 1967 Brownwood Lions state champion football team, along with three individuals whose high school careers are bookends to six decades of BHS Lion history, will be inducted this year into the Gordon Wood Hall of Champions.
Ceremonies honoring the 2017 class will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at the Christian Life Center of First United Methodist Church, 2500 11th St., Brownwood.
Joe Loudermilk (1960 Brownwood High grad), Kirby Freeman (2004 BHS grad), and Shelby Miller (2009 BHS grad) will be inducted along with the 1967 state champion football team.
Tickets for the banquet are now on sale for $30 each from members of the Gordon Wood Hall of Champions board.
Brownwood Lions table sponsorships, including eight seats and special recognition, are available for $240, and plaque sponsorships are available for $350. Plaque sponsors receive recognition on the plaque placed in the Hall of Champions museum, on the plaque given to the inductee, on a banner at the banquet, and in the luncheon program.
Information on tickets is available from Carter Sharpe at 642-0909. Reservations are requested by Monday, Nov. 6, because the number of tickets available at the door will be limited.
Loudermilk was on the football, baseball and track teams at Brownwood High, qualifying for state in discus, winning All-State honors as catcher on the state championship baseball team, and earning him second team All-District honors as quarterback. He was also regional Golden Gloves champion for four consecutive years. He attended Tarleton State, playing receiver in football, and had a four-year pro career in Toronto, Canada, with the old Continental Football League. He spent 36 years as a teacher and coach, including assignments at Electra, San Saba, Stephenville, Brownwood, and Lubbock. His success extended beyond just the athletic arena, having received “Teacher of the Year” honors twice.
Freeman was a two-sport athlete who played four years of varsity football and ran two years of varsity track and field. As quarterback, he led the Lions to the state semifinals for the first time since the 1981 state title, In his senior year, he led the Lions to a perfect 10-0 regular season record for the first time since 1977 — a feat accomplished only four times in Brownwood Lions history. After high school, he accepted a full ride football scholarship to the University of Miami. During his freshman season as a Hurricane, he was voted Rookie of the Year in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He then transferred to Baylor, opening the Art Briles era for the Bears.
Miller was a four-sport athlete at Brownwood, playing baseball, football, soccer, and track. In football, he played tight end, receiver, kicker, and punter, and won first team All-State honors as a punter. In baseball, he threw four no-hitters including one perfect game, and led the Lions to a 10-2 season his senior year. He took first team All-State honors. He committed to attend Texas A&M University on a scholarship to play college baseball, but after his senior year at BHS, he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round, becoming one of the sport’s highest-rated prospects. After pitching in the minor leagues, he made the Cardinals’ starting rotation in 2013, and pitched his first career shutout on May 10 that year. He finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves in 2014, and threw a complete game shutout against the Phillies in 2015. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015, and was diagnosed with an apparent elbow injury in April this year. He underwent Tommy John surgery in May, and is in rehab and preparing for the 2018 season.
The Gordon Wood Hall of Champions was founded to recognize outstanding members of Wood’s best high school teams, as well as succeeding Brownwood teams, who went on to successful careers in their fields as adults. The first induction was held in 2000, three years before Wood’s death.
Wood came to Brownwood before the 1960 season, and when he retired in 1985, his record of 396 wins made him the winningest football coach at any level. His teams won two state titles while at Stamford, and seven while at Brownwood. He also won state championships coaching track at Seminole, and golf at Stamford, for a total of 11 in his 43-year career.
The Hall of Champions operates a museum highlighting Wood’s achievements and celebrating its inductees on the second floor of the Harvey House in the Depot Civic and Cultural Center complex.