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Bearkat Hall Of Honor Has 10 New Members

Hall of Honor Inductees

Inductees or their representatives for the 2007 Bearkat Hall of Honor induction were, from left, Julie Franzen Cicherski, Scott Horstman, Megan Burnham, David Amaya, Julie Thomas Stapp, Chris Burton, Wendy Gray Gaylor, Jeff Bellnap, Charles Nelson (accepting for daughter Cathy Nelson); and Paul Bilsing (accepting for his sister, the late Rebecca Bilsing).

--Photo by Brian Blalock

Six women and four men were inducted into the Sam Houston State University Hall of Honor during a ceremony Dec. 7 in the Lowman Student Center. It was the first time women have been included in the event, which was begun in 1971 by the Lettermen's Association.

Those honored and their sports were David Amaya, men's basketball; Jeff Bellnap, men's golf; the late Rebecca Bilsing, who coached basketball, volleyball and golf; Megan Burnham, women's tennis; Chris Burton, baseball; Julie Franzen Cicherski, volleyball; Wendy Gray Gaylor, women's golf; Scott Horstman, men's basketball; Cathy Nelson, women's cross country and track and field; Julie Thomas Stapp, softball and women's basketball.

The event was conducted by the SH Association, which serves as an umbrella organization for both the men’s and women’s letter winner groups. The new additions bring to 158 the number of former athletes who have been honored for their on-field accomplishments as well as overall citizenship and contributions to society.

David Amaya earned first team All-Southland Conference honors after leading Sam Houston to its first Southland Conference men’s basketball title in 2000. He was a second-team All-SLC pick as a junior in 1999. Amaya ranks sixth in all-time Bearkat basketball scoring with 1,445 career points. He is now a construction superintendent with a Houston home-building company.

Jeff Bellnap led the Bearkat golf team to the 1990 Southland Conference title, winning the Southland Conference individual medalist championship and finishing 13th in the NCAA regional. He was a two-time All-SLC performer and earned NCAA Division II All-America honors in 1986. He is now boys and girls golf coach at Kingwood High School.

Rebecca Bilsing, who died in 1986, coached basketball, volleyball and golf. Her basketball coaching record was 133/113, and she coached teams to state tournaments in 1978, 1980, 1981 and 1982. Her volleyball record was 345/99, and included eight regional tournament appearances and two national tournament appearances. She earned a bachelor's degree from Slippery Rock State College and a master's from Eastern Michigan Univesity and taught and coached in Pennsylvania and Ohio before coming to coach at Sam Houston State in 1973.

Megan Burnham, who played tennis for Sam Houston from 1981 to 1984, won the Lone Star Conference doubles championship in 1983 with Nanette Hancock.The Bearkats won the Lone Star Conference women’s team championship in 1983 as well.Burnham ranks No. 10 in career singles victories at Sam Houston with 39. She is now assistant principal at Sally K. Ride Elementary in The Woodlands.

Chris Burton was All-Gulf Star Conference outfielder in 1986 and 1987 and All-Southland Conference in 1988 and 1989, rolling up a .336 career batting average. He helped lead the Bearkats to conference titles in 1986, 1987, and 1989 and to two NCAA Division I regional playoff appearances. He led the team in stolen bases in 1988 and 1989, is second in career steals, had a career batting average of .336, and was the leading hitter in 1989 with an average of .372. He is now a baseball instructor at the Legends Sports Complex in The Woodlands.

Julie Franzen Cicherski led the Sam Houston State volleyball program to unparalleled levels of success at the NCAA Division I level as the setter for the Bearkats’ championship teams in 1993 and 1994.She ranks third all-time in assists at Sam Houston, rolling up a total of 4,052 assists from 1991 to 1994. She holds the single season SHSU record with 1,818 assists in 1994. She earned NCAA Division I All-Region honors in both 1993 and 1994 and was All-Southland Conference first team both years as well. She was the setter on Sam Houston’s 1993 Southland Conference championship squad that earned the Bearkats their first NCAA Division I playoff berth. She also was “Most Valuable Player” at the 1993 SLC tournament. She is now head volleyball coach for the Montgomery Gold Volleyball Club.

Wendy Gray Gaylor highlighted her career by earning honors as Southland Conference “Golfer of the Year” in 2002. She ranks fourth in career stroke average at Sam Houston, averaging 79.7 strokes in 90 rounds during her four years. She was a first team All-Southland Conference selection in 2002, placing fourth at the Southland Conference tournament. She was a two-time selection as Sam Houston State women’s golf “Most Valuable Player.” She is now an elementary school teacher in Childress, Texas.

Scott Horstman was a two-time All-Lone Star Conference men's basketball performer and ranks as Sam Houston’s all-time career leader in assists with 813 in his four years of play between 1981 and 1984. He is also the career leader in steals with 269. He is fourth in career minutes played and holds the single-season record for minutes played, set in 1983, with 1,104 minutes played out of a possible 1,200. Horstman helped lead the Kats to the conference crown in SHSU’s final year in the Lone Star Conference in 1981. He is now assistant men's basketball coach at San Jacinto College.

Cathy Nelson was Sam Houston State’s first All-Southland Conference athlete in cross country and was the first Bearkat ever to earn NCAA Division I All-Region honors in the sport as well. She earned All-Southland Conference honors in cross country three times, finishing third at the Southland meet in 1988 and 1991 and seventh in 1990. She earned All-Southland Conference honors five times in outdoor track and field. She won the Southland 800 meter dash championship twice (in 1990 and 1991) and still holds the school record in the event with a time of two minutes, 10.13 seconds. She is now a police dispatcher in Glendale, Ariz.

Julie Thomas Stapp is one of the few athletes in Sam Houston sports history with the distinction of earning all-conference honors in three different leagues and two sports. She was All-Lone Star and All-Gulf Star Conference in basketball and All-Gulf Star and All-Southland Conference in softball. In basketball, Thomas ranks No. 1 at Sam Houston in career steals (338) and second in career assists (460). She led the Gulf Star Conference three years in a row in steals, setting a season record (125 steals in 1983-84) that still stands at Sam Houston. As a second baseman in softball, Thomas led the Bearkats to the 1988 Southland championship and three Gulf Star runner-up finishes. She earned NCAA Division II All-America and All-Region honors in 1986 and was the Southland Conference’s leading hitter in 1988. During her four years, the Sam Houston softball team compiled a record of 159-90. She is now an education leadership consultant with the Flippen Group in Temple, Texas.

—END—

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Dec. 10, 2007
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