Bulletin Staff Report
The Howard Payne University Sports Hall of Fame recently announced its 2007 inductees. L.J. Clayton, David Gilger and Dale Fisher will be inducted in a ceremony to be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Mabee Center as part of the homecoming weekend festivities.
Tickets to the Sports Hall of Fame banquet are $12 per person. Please contact the Howard Payne University Alumni Office at 325-649-8006 or 1-800-950-8465 for information. Advance reservations are required.
The following are profiles for each member of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2007.
In 1969, L.J. Clayton graduated from Green B. Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth. Clayton’s freshman year at HPU he played football and ran sprints on the track team.
Clayton continued playing football into his senior year, when he led the Yellow Jackets in punt return yards, pass receptions, reception yards and touchdown receptions. That season he was named first-team All-Lone Star Conference and All-American. He graduated from Howard Payne in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Health.
Clayton was picked up as a free agent by the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles. He was released in the preseason but very quickly found his way to the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) Toronto Argonauts.
His rookie season in the CFL, Clayton was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year, playing wide receiver and cornerback. During Clayton’s time in the CFL, he became known as “Lime Juice” or “Lemon Juice” Clayton. He played three seasons with the Argonauts and then one season with the Ottawa Roughriders before retiring.
Currently a teacher and coach at Irving Middle School in San Antonio, Clayton is also an Associate Minister at Greater Love Missionary Baptist Church. L.J. and wife Lori, also an HPU alumnus, have been married 30 years.
David Gilger was a standout football player during his years at Brownwood High School. In the fall of 1956, Gilger decided to attend Howard Payne, where his father, L.L. “Toots” Gilger, had attended and played football.
As was the case in that era of the game, Gilger played both offense and defense. His freshman year he was marked as an offensive guard, but he began his second year as a linebacker and center.
Gilger’s leadership gained him the respect of his teammates and coaches, as evidenced by the fact that they named him a co-captain his senior year. Gilger helped lead the Yellow Jackets to a 6-4 record. It was during that season at center that he made his mark — garnering All-Lone Star Conference and Dallas Morning News All-Texas College Team honors.
After graduating from Howard Payne with a double major in Business and Education in 1960, Gilger became a successful businessman in the ranching industry in San Saba. Gilger is a former member of the San Saba Independent School District school board and a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church of San Saba. David and Barbara, his wife of 47 years, still reside in San Saba.
Dale Fisher is a 1957 graduate of Comanche High School, where he was a football and all-state basketball player. During Fisher’s first year at Howard Payne his classmates named him “Friendliest Freshman.”
Originally recruited by Howard Payne basketball coach Glen Whitis, Fisher played basketball and football his first year at HPU. He truly excelled for the next three seasons on the football field.
Fisher played running back and safety for the Yellow Jackets. In his sophomore season of 1959, he led Howard Payne in rushing yards, interceptions and punt return yardage. As a senior in 1961, his accomplished performance won him All-Lone Star Conference honors as a safety.
Since leaving Howard Payne in 1961, Fisher has become a successful businessman in oil field construction. He is now the current owner of Fisher Oil Company.
Fisher has committed his life to the service of others and has shown it through his generosity. Dale and Vicky, his wife of 32 years, live in Big Lake. They are longtime members of First Baptist Church of Big Lake.