Three recipients were honored Oct. 13 as part of the Fourth Annual Mount Pleasant Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame Induction. The 2017 honorees include alumnus D’Marcus Brown and Robby Hampton and former Head Baseball Coach Henry Garza. Each inductee was recognized prior to kick off of the home game against the Marshall Mavericks. A private, pre-game ceremony was also held for the inductees, their families and close friends. The Hall of Famers also served as honorary captains and participate in the pre-game coin toss. In recognition of their selections, each inductee wore commemorative gold jackets during the pre-game ceremony. Portraits of each inductee permanently be displayed in the hallway of the Willie Williams Gymnasium.
A 1997 graduate of Mount Pleasant High School, D’Marcus Brown, who also played basketball as a Tiger, holds three state titles in track. During his high school years, the six-foot hurdler sailed over most of his competition at every level of UIL sports competition. Before earning his diploma, Brown also managed to receive a first place win in the 110 hurdles and two in the 300 hurdles. He also placed second in the 110 hurdles, received a third place trophy in the 110 hurdles, a second place win in the 300 hurdles and took third place as part of the Tigers mile-relay team.
“One of the best things about playing at Mount Pleasant was the closeness everyone had,” Brown said. “Every sport seemed like a professional competition back then. Everyone left it on the field and we were not satisfied until we won it all. Sharing the experience with my classmates in the mile relay was a highlight for me while I was in high school as well as enjoying my senior year in basketball.”
After a stellar high school career, Brown landed a full track scholarship to the University of Arkansas. As a member of the Razorbacks track team, his main two races were in the 110 and 400 hurdles.
“I had a great collegiate experience, but the highlight was becoming an All American in the 110 hurdles at the 2000 NCAA Championship by getting fifth place. In that meet, I was running against the best that qualified collegiately. It wasn’t just the state it was the United States.”
After a disappointing end to his Razorback career in Fayetteville, Brown worked in several successful job fields before finally returning to his alma mater years later to earn his bachelor’s degree in sociology.
“My (college) career didn’t end the way that I dreamed, so I think that experience molded me to not miss out on opportunities,” Brown said. “In the job that I have now, I guide youth to not make some of the mistakes that I’ve made. I guide them to make better decisions and to set themselves up for success.”
Today Brown resides in Prairie Grove, Arkansas with his wife of almost two years, Kessia Brown, and their three-month-old daughter Lillian Grace Brown. He works as a juvenile officer for Washington County in Arkansas.
After 40 years as a teacher, coach and administrator in Texas public schools, Henry Garza retired earlier this year. Spending half of that successful career as an educator in Mount Pleasant, Garza led a team to a state championship in baseball fifteen years after the school won its first title in the same sport.
As a Mount Pleasant High School teacher and coach from 1979-1998, Henry Garza taught health, driver’s education and Spanish. He also served as an assistant principal his last two years at Mount Pleasant High School. Garza, who wore many hats, also served as the girls head basketball coach and assistant football coach for a number of seasons. But it was his career as head baseball coach from 1981-1998 that sealed his fate as a history maker.
Garnering 340 wins as head baseball coach, Garza also guided his teams to six district titles, eight bi-district honors, seven area championships, four regional quarterfinal championships and a state championship for Mount Pleasant in baseball in 1993. During his stellar career, Garza was also selected to coach North All Stars in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star game held at the Astrodome in Houston.
“My most memorable moment while in Mount Pleasant was winning the state championship,” he said. “I still reminisce daily about my memories coaching Tiger baseball. It is a huge part of who I am. At MPHS, I built up a bond with the players and community over a 20-year career that is still very dear to my heart.”
A graduate of Lubbock Christian University (LCU) where he played baseball for four years, he also received a master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.
“My freshman year at LCU was the first year LCU had a baseball team,” he said, “so we started the program. By the time my senior year came around, we had built a very formidable baseball program. We even beat national power the University of Texas. LCU continues to have an elite baseball program. My experience at LCU was obviously very different as I was a player versus a coach.”
“I probably would not have attended college if it were not for a scholarship to play baseball,” he said. And if I would not have attended college, I would not have been able to be involved in education and coaching for so many years. Being involved in athletics has molded me in to the man I am today. It taught me to work hard and overcome any obstacles that life throws at me. Those are lessons I tried to pass on to all of the players I was fortunate enough to coach.”
“I am truly humbled to be inducted in to the Mount Pleasant Athletic Hall of Fame,” Garza said. “I am forever indebted to all the athletes I was fortunate enough to coach. Without them, I would not be receiving this honor.
Garza offers this helpful advice to all high school students.
“Find something you love and are good at, surround yourself with great people and continue to work hard no matter what obstacles you may face.”
Garza, who now resides in Pflugerville, is married to his wife of 44 years, Sonia Garza, and they have two children. Elizabeth (MPHS Class of 1993) is now a speech therapist in Austin. Their son David (MPHS Class of 1998) is an attorney in Fort Worth. Henry and Sonia Garza also have five grandchildren: Evan, Sofia, Emma, Jacob, and Luke.
Robby Hampton enjoyed successes in multiple sports not only in high school, but at both the collegiate level and minor league. A 1994 graduate of Mount Pleasant High School, Hampton represented the Tigers well in football, basketball and baseball.
“I was fortunate to be a part of successful teams while playing for some great men,” Hampton said. “Some of these successes included an undefeated district season my sophomore year in basketball under Coach Ted Heers in his first season at Mount Pleasant. We also had an 8-3 season with a trip to the playoffs my senior year under Coach Marc McDaniel who was also in his first year coaching at Mount Pleasant and we won a state baseball championship my junior year under Coach Henry Garza.”
After high school, Hampton signed a professional baseball contract with the Toronto Blue Jays and played minor league baseball for four seasons before receiving a football scholarship with the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. As quarterback at Arkansas, Hampton’s greatest memory on the gridiron was a win over Alabama. Hampton also has several fond memories as a young athlete growing up in Mount Pleasant.
“My fondest sports memories are of playing Dixie Youth baseball and playing high school sports at MPHS,” Hampton said. “My greatest memories of playing sports at MPHS are the relationships that were formed through hard work and competition. The morals and principles of hard work and accountability taught by my parents were reinforced during my time of playing sports for these coaches while at Mount Pleasant. I remember some of the big games, some of the wins and losses and the fans rocking and rattling the gym at Brice Gymnasium. I remember the excitement of making the football playoffs for the first time in two years when Coach McDaniel and his staff came in and turned the program around. I remember the trips deep into the state baseball playoffs and I definitely remember winning the state baseball championship my junior year. But with all of these memories, what I think of most are the guys that I played with and the men that coached those teams. I love those guys, and I am still thankful to this day for the opportunity to play with and be coached by those guys. Through our successes and failures as a team, I learned how to be a teammate. My experiences in athletics, both good and bad, have helped formed the best parts of who I am today.”
Hampton, who resides in Mount Pleasant, is married to Carrie Hampton, his wife of 23 years. They have three children: Faith, 15, Luke, 13 and Eva, 10. He is a speech language pathologist and holds a master’s degree in communication disorders from the University of Arkansas.