While walking in the hallway past Cemo Auditorium or passing by Reckling Gymnasium, sports memorabilia of years past sit in glass cabinets largely unacknowledged by the students and faculty.
Senior Zach Wilson said, “I think the memorabilia is cool to look at, but nothing more than that.” Upon a closer inspection, the memorabilia tells a story that a little placard sitting in the cabinet could never tell. Senior Santiago Gonzales said, “I do not really know the backstory behind any of the memorabilia.”
The memorabilia along Cemo is the memorabilia from the most recent Sports Hall of Fame inductees. It is cycled out every time a new class is inducted, and some memorabilia does not make it inside the case.
In the hallway between Cemo Auditorium and the band hall, there lies a football from the Cincinnati Bengals game back in 1993 against the Los Angeles Rams. The ball was awarded to Brad Smith from the 1988 graduation class for being the Special Teams Player of the Game with 9 total hits. The game was only the second win of the season, with one more win against the Atlanta Falcons the next week. The Bengals finished 3-13 that season after drafting David Klingler and trying him out at quarterback.
Brad Smith had previously played for TCU and completed his career with the third most tackles in school history. Smith now works for Shale-Inland PVF.
Along the trophy lined cabinets by Reckling Gymnasium is the St. Thomas Sports Hall of Fame. The honor is held by men such as Gary Martin, class of 1969, and George Mehaffey, class of 1953. Martin was one of the best offensive linemen to ever play at St. Thomas.
He was TCIL All-State from 1966-68 and a Catholic High School All-American his senior year. He also was named to the McDonald – Davis Dream Team, which was never an actual team. But the Head Coaches Joe McDonald and Burr Davis picking the best players throughout the history of football at St. Thomas made the Dream Team possible.
He received 45 Division I scholarships before playing for Texas A&M. Martin now lives in Horseshoe Bay, Texas.
George Mehaffey led the Eagles Basketball team to two consecutive state titles and graduated as the all-time leading scorer. He was the captain of the Texas A&M team and was drafted by the Saint Louis Hawks. He also was in active duty for the United States Air Force and played for Mitchell Air Force Base in the AF world championships.
Mehaffey went on to coach for some HISD schools and also for Rice, where in 1970 the Owls were conference champions and were selected to the NCAA Championship Tournament. Mehaffey died in 2004 at the age of 69.
There have been numerous amounts of success stories for athletes that have graduated from St. Thomas. From the National Football (NFL) to the National Basketball Association (NBA), Eagle athletes have soared above and beyond.
St. Thomas is more than just a school with a very historic sports program. St. Thomas also has been a teaching institution for over 100 years, and in those 100 years a few great, legendary talents have played on Eagle sports teams, leaving an indelible mark on the school that started their careers.
Great athletics with always great academics and vice versa, the history behind St. Thomas is always growing and constanly changing how our school is looked at by others.