Midland ISD announces 2023 Hall of Legends inductees
Sports journalist, football standout, trio of coaches to be honored
MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - Five new members will be inducted into the Midland ISD Hall of Legends.
Every other year, Midland ISD recognizes outstanding individuals and teams that have excelled in MISD athletics. Student-athletes, coaches, teams, benefactors and supporters have all been enshrined in the MISD Hall of Legends.
Inductees will be honored before kickoff at the Oct. 27 football game between Legacy High and Midland High.
This year’s inductees are:
Legendary Sports Journalist
Terry Williamson proudly documented Midland and Permian Basin sports for 41 years. He had a way with words like no other, and all West Texans would wait anxiously for the newspaper to arrive so they could read what he had to say about the big game.
Williamson began his journalism career in 1972 at the Midland Reporter-Telegram after serving our country in Vietnam, where he was honored for his service with a Bronze Star. He became Sports Editor in 1988 and was a two-time Hearst Eagle Award winner. Williamson won six Associated Press first place writing awards and two Associated Press Sports Editor writing awards.
Williamson also helped usher in the MRT’s coverage of Title IX sports.
In retirement, Williamson would occasionally write entertaining opinion pieces for the newspaper and penned the book “Man in the Ring.”
LHS, Texas Tech Football Standout
Tyrone Thurman is one of the most exciting football players in Lee High School history.
Thurman finished his high school career with 1,984 yards rushing and 37 touchdowns. Under the tutelage of coach Spike Dykes, the Rebels advanced to the state championship game in Thurman’s junior year and the state quarterfinals in his senior year.
Thurman followed Dykes to Texas Tech in 1985. Known as “Smurf,” the 5-foot-3-inch Thurman was an explosive return specialist, holding the school record for longest punt return at 96 yards. He was a first-team All-Southwest Conference player in 1985, 1986 and 1988. In 1988, he was a first-team All-American and appeared on the Bob Hope All-American television show.
Thurman was also a member of the Texas Tech basketball team, playing 12 games for the Red Raiders.
After college, Thurman signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys in 1989, played for the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League and played in the Arena Football League from 1992 through 1996.
Thurman was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 2002 and was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in 2020.
2001 State Title Winning Coach
Barry Russell coached high school sports for 34 years. He spent 33 years as a head baseball coach, 22 at the helm of the Midland High Bulldogs.
Russell’s Bulldogs made the playoffs 20 consecutive years and under his guidance achieved 19 seasons with 20 or more wins. He led the Bulldogs to 11 district championships and advanced to the regional semifinals seven times, winning the Region I championship in 2001 and 2006. The Bulldogs were a Class 5A state semifinalist team in 2006.
His crowning achievement came with a 5A state title win in 2001, cementing the squad as one of the all-time greatest baseball teams in Texas high school athletics history.
He has a career record of 736 wins, 356 losses and two ties. He recorded 518 wins and 237 losses at MHS, and his playoff record there is 81-47.
Russell was inducted into the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2023. He was the 2001 Texas Sports Writers Coach of the Year and was named the 2013 National Federation of State High Schools Coach of the Year. He is also the past President of the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association.
10-Time Coach of the Year
Jesse Benavidez — a two-time collegiate baseball All-American at Lubbock Christian University — began his coaching career in 1974 at Lee Freshman High School. After 12 years there, Benavidez moved to Lee High School, where he served as an assistant coach in both football and baseball.
In 1990, he was tabbed as the head baseball coach for the Lee Rebels and over the next 17 years tallied 365 wins, 176 losses and three ties. Under his guidance, the Rebels won 10 district, 11 bi-district, 10 area and five regional quarterfinal titles. In 2007, his Rebels finished third at the state tournament and is considered one of the best teams in LHS history.
Benavidez was named District Coach of the Year 10 times. In 1989, he was inducted into the Lubbock Christian University Hall of Fame and was named the school’s 1970s All-Decade Center Fielder.
Benavidez spent his entire career at MISD.
Girls Athletics Trailblazer
Terri McColloch is credited with starting one of the great traditions in MISD girls athletics: The volleyball program at Midland High School.
Of her 34 years in the coaching profession, McColloch spent 18 at the helm of the MHS volleyball program. McColloch also served as the Department Chair for Health and Physical Education and as the Girls Athletic Coordinator.
McColloch won a career total 593 games. At MHS, her record was 466 wins and 208 losses. She guided her teams to nine district championships and had 20 playoff appearances in her career. McColloch was named Coach of the Year 12 times and had 11 players named as District MVPs.
McColloch was named the 1994 West All-Star Coach and is very proud of having more than 100 players honored by being selected to the Texas Girls Coaches Association Academic All-State Team.
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