Hall of Fame inductees receive honor Oct. 4

   Five recipients will be honored Friday, Oct. 4 as part of the Sixth Annual Mount Pleasant Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The annual event will this year honor Tiger athletes Eather Brown Dunn, Mike Fields, Robbie Hatfield, Raymond Johnson and Ashley Walker.

   Each inductee will be recognized prior to kick off at the Mount Pleasant home game against Pine Tree. A private, pre-game ceremony, sponsored by Schlotzsky’s, will be held for the inductees, their families and close friends. The Hall of Famers will also serve as honorary captains and participate in the pre-game coin toss. In recognition of their selections, each inductee will wear commemorative gold jackets during the pre-game ceremony starting at 7 p.m. Portraits of each inductee will later be displayed in the hallway of the Willie Williams Gymnasium.

Eather Brown Dunn

    As a member of Mount Pleasant’s Class of 1988, Eather Brown Dunn was always a natural athlete. During high school, she dominated the record books in three separate sports.

   “I received my lettermen’s jacket as a freshman in volleyball, basketball and track,” Dunn explained, “but I was never on the freshman team. I was on the varsity team in all three sports from my freshman year to my senior year. I was also a starter in all three sports all four years.”

   As co-captain of the basketball team and captain in volleyball and track, Dunn received multiple trophies in all three sports including the Hustle Award, academic awards and MVP Awards.  She was a member of the All-State Volleyball Team as a freshman, All District teams in volleyball and basketball, a state qualifier in track and a member of the All-Tournament Team in all three sports.  She remembers her years at Mount Pleasant High School very fondly.

   “I enjoyed competing in sports and the guidance I was given from my coaches,” Dunn said. “Athletics has molded me into the person I am today. It has helped me be a good parent with discipline and structure. I’m quick on my feet. I’m a quick thinker and problem solver and I think that is because of what I learned in athletics. To be great in athletics, you have to be great at critical thinking. Thanks to athletics and the dedication it takes I have these qualities and still use them today in my everyday life.”

   While athletics dominated most of Dunn’s high school years, she was also a member of Student Council, the Spanish and French Clubs, a cheerleader and a Homecoming Queen runner up. She received the Red Rose Garden Club Scholarship as a senior and attended Northeast Texas Community College before transferring to Southern Arkansas University on a volleyball scholarship.

   Dunn later married her fellow high school classmate, Terey Dunn, Sr. and they the parents of adult children, Kelsey Dunn Dews, Kaylon Dunn Malonson, Kayla Dunn and Terey Dunn Jr. They are also the proud grandparents to Gregory Dunn, Kingston Dews. Dallas Dews, Kirsten Russell, Kaleb Malonson and Kayger Guillory.

   Residing in Houston, Dunn currently works as a collection specialist and tax assistant. She holds an associate’s degree with specialization as a legal secretary and also has a daycare director’s license. She is truly humbled by her selection to this year’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

   “This honor truly means a lot to me,” she said. “Over the years, I have always shared with my children and grandkids how good and dedicated I was in sports during my high school years. I think this honor magnifies the stories and memories I have shared with my family over the year.

Mike Fields

   Mike Fields first enjoyed success as an outstanding athlete himself. But now for more than four decades he has dedicated himself to coaching countless successful athletes in Titus County and beyond.

   It’s hard to believe, but Fields isn’t actually a Mount Pleasant native. He grew up about two hours away in Stamps, Arkansas.

   “I lettered all four years in high school, was on the All-District Team for four years and the All-State Team as a senior leading the state in rushing on offense and unassisted tackles on defense,” Fields said. “I was also a member of my school’s 1967 state championship football team. I was also on four state championship track teams.”

   After graduating from Stamps High School, Fields attended East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University-Commerce) on a football scholarship. Fields again found success on the gridiron at the collegiate level.

   “I lettered each year and was on the 1969 Lone Star Conference Championship football team. Our team will be honored on the 50th Anniversary of that win at a Texas A&M Commerce game this fall. “

   Fields also found success at the collegiate level in track.

   “I was on the mile-relay team in track at Commerce when we set a new Lone Star Conference record,” he said.

   After graduating from Commerce in December 1971, Fields first taught and coached at Chapel Hill. He was hired in March 1972 by Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Donnie Laurence and in August of that year began coaching teaching at Mount Pleasant High School. During that time, Fields was head track and head freshman football coach. He also started the cross country program at Mount Pleasant.

   “I coached many successful teams including qualifying track participants for state each year,” Fields explained. “In 1979, the track team finished second at state just two points behind first place.”

   In 1987, Fields became a Titus County Commissioner for Precinct 2 and held that position until his retirement recently serving for 32 years. Despite his retirement from local government and after recovering from life-altering health issues last year, Fields continues to be involved in community sports. He has officiated volleyball games for over 30 years and continues to volunteer as a coach for local youth sports. He also volunteers his time to coach high school track and cross country athletes and starts the track meets at Mount Pleasant.

  A true family man, Fields and his wife Sharon have been married for 49 years. They have three daughters, Michele, Susan and Lisa; five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

   Though he is now retired from public office, he definitely continues to serve others.

   “I plan to volunteer for many years to come,” he said. “This is what I love to do. Coaching kids brings me joy.”    

Robbie Hatfield

   A 1973 Mount Pleasant High School graduate, Robbie Hatfield most definitely excelled on the diamond.

   Hatfield actually found success in both basketball and baseball as a Mount Pleasant student athlete.

   “My greatest memory while attending MPHS was winning district championship in baseball,” Hatfield said. “It was always a goal to be number one I have always been competitive and wanted to be the best. The coaches and teammates that I have been involved with helped me to achieve my goals as a player and person. Athletics instilled in me responsibility, dedication, strong work ethic and teamwork.”

   Those qualities proved very beneficial when in 1973 Hatfield was drafted by the Chicago Cubs. As a short stop, he enjoyed a 50-game career with the legendary MLB team until 1976.

   “My greatest memory with the Cubs was meeting and working with Hall of Fame Major League players,” he said.

   Hatfield later attended Paris Junior College before transferring to Sam Houston State University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in health and physical education.

     Hatfield is the father to sons Tyler Hatfield, 31, and Hunter Hatfield, 24 and daughter Allie Beth Hatfield, 21 and the grandfather of eight-month-old Hudson Hatfield.  He is married to Gail Hatfield and lives in Texarkana, Texas where he is a teacher and coach for Texarkana ISD.

   “I am deeply honored that MPHS has chosen to recognize me for this distinguished honor,” Hatfield said. “It is with heartfelt gratitude that I am being remembered for my past achievements as an athlete. Memories of Coach Phil Trice and all of the teammates that I had the privilege of practicing and competing with throughout my high school years will always be treasured. I am extremely blessed to have had supportive parents that encouraged me to reach my goals in life. Thank you again for this great honor.”

Raymond L. Johnson 

   From junior high until his final season as a senior, Raymond Johnson and his fellow Tiger teammates only lost two, that’s not a typo, games on the gridiron. It’s a stat Johnson is still very proud of to this day—more than 45 years later.

   “I have so many wonderful memories about our team during my years at Mt. Pleasant ISD,” Johnson said. “But, in football, the teammates, especially the class of 1974, that I played with for 6 years was the most awesome and fantastic football players you could have on your team.  We only lost two games as a team: the quarterfinals against Lewisville as a junior and the state championship against Cuero.”

   Johnson and his teammates were district champs in football, basketball and track. He was also a member of the All-District Football team, All East Texas, All North East Texas, All Area and All State Track as well as District Champs in the sprint and mile relay. 

   The Mount Pleasant Class of 1974 graduate continued his athletic success at Kilgore Junior College where he played football. He later transferred to Sam Houston State University where he played football and ran track.

   “We were the conference champions at Kilgore,” Johnson said. “My greatest memory at Sam Houston was the day we ran the mile relay and we upset the favorite Abilene Christian College.”

   Johnson later received his bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston in sports and physical education. Retired since 2002, Johnson worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as part of the Windham School District for 22 years.

  He is the proud father of three children: La Shanet, Larry and Quelin and grandfather to Kennedy, 24; Zhakyra, 21; Khalil, 17; Braylon, 16; Ryleigh, 13 and Alivia, 10 months. He and his wife of 17 years, Connie Rhymes-Johnson, reside in Mount Pleasant.

  Johnson offered both advice to current athletes and gratitude for his Hall of Fame honor.

   “To all student athletes, you are a role model,” he said. “Carry yourselves with dignity, respect, character and high morals because, as a Tiger, all eyes are on you.  These are the qualities that will make you a respectful person.  Respect is one of the highest qualities an individual possesses.  Thank you, MPISD Tigers now and forever. This is the greatest individual honor ever bestowed upon me.  God has blessed me with a great life and community and I am very grateful to be a MPHS Going Gold Tiger Hall of Famer and Class of 1974.”

   “I would like to thank the Hall of Fame Committee and all the people involved in selecting me for this prestigious honor,” he explained. “I am truly grateful. All of my life I have loved sports, especially football. Athletics builds character, confidence, responsibility, and togetherness along with strong values and respect instilled in me by coaches and my family. For me, it all began in the 7th grade with Coach Dick Gilbert and Coach Love. In 8th grade, I had Coach Charles Sinclair and AD Johnson in the 9th grade; Coach Charles Wright and Coach Tilford 10th (JV); Coach Willie Williams and Varsity Coach Donnie Laurence. All of these men had a part in coaching, teaching and preparing me for life. I will forever have a bond with my high school teammates and coaches.”

Ashley Walker

    For Tiger Ashley Walker, athletics provided him with a foundation for hard work, perseverance, dedication and team work. 

   “Athletics also taught me that life is not always fair, but you never give up and make the best out of every situation,” Walker said.

   While in high school, Walker was a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Club. He excelled in several sports including football, basketball, baseball, track and golf. He recalls his high school years fondly.

   “I enjoyed the Friday night post football game dances at the school,” Walker said. “I had some great teammates at MPHS. Some of which are still good friends of mine today.”

   After graduating from Mount Pleasant High School in 1975, Walker joined the University of Texas Longhorns baseball team and later received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Austin campus.

   He and his wife of 35 years, Charlotte Walker, are today the proud parents of sons Trevor, 31, Sam, 29 and Steele 23. They are also the grandparents of Wills, 1 and Margot, six months. The couple, now retired, lives in Mount Pleasant.

   Walker offered advice to current student athletes.

   “For most people, competitive athletics ends after high school,” he explained. “For some, it continues in college.  And for a few athletes, it continues into the professional level, but whichever level you achieve, it does not last forever, rather it is swift in its passing and is often gone before you realize what an amazing experience being an athlete is. Enjoy your time on whatever field of competition you have chosen. Do your best. Do what is right. Play fair, be respective and leave nothing to regret.”

   Walker explained that the path to success is never accomplished solo. 

   “I am truly grateful to be honored as a member of the Mount Pleasant Athletic Hall of Fame,” Walker said. “But, without my great teammates beside me, I would have never had the success on the playing field that I was fortunate to experience. No one can go the down the athletic road all alone. Family, friends, coaches and teammates are all a part of an athlete’s success. Remember them and be thankful.”