FRISCO, Texas – UT Arlington had three former Mavericks named to the 1970's All-Decade team. Kenneth Clark, Bruce Marshall and Richard Wilkinson were honored with a selection.
The Southland Conference, as part of its year-long 50th Anniversary commemoration, has announced its All-Decade Baseball Team from the 1970s. The team includes stars from its member institutions from the 1970 season through 1979.
A total of 40 student-athletes makeup the 1970s all-decade team, including honorees from each of the eight institutions that made up the league during that era. Lamar and Louisiana Tech each placed 11 student-athletes on the team. McNeese State had six, while Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas-Arlington and Trinity each had three. Arkansas State had two honorees and Abilene Christian had one.
“The level of Southland baseball in the 1970s was simply outstanding as the league transitioned into full Division I status and started making noise nationally,” league commissioner Tom Burnett said. “And, it was the beginning of Jim Gilligan’s outstanding and historic tenure at Lamar that continues to this day.”
Gilligan is one of two coaches the Southland is honoring from the decade. Louisiana Tech’s Pat Patterson joins Gilligan as co-coaches of the 1970s all-decade team.
Gilligan began leading his alma mater in 1973, and added four Southland Conference championships to the school’s first title in 1971. His teams won three consecutive titles in 1975, 1976 and 1977 and added another in 1979. Gilligan, himself a first-team All-Southland Conference pitcher in 1967 and a member of the league’s 1960s all-decade team, earned Southland Coach of the Year honors in 1976 and 1977 and led the Cardinals to NCAA regionals in 1976, 1977 and 1979. During the 1970s, Gilligan coached three Southland Conference Pitchers of the Year and 24 all-conference players. During the decade, his teams were 217-122 (.640) overall and 77-37 (.675) in league play.
Patterson led his alma mater to three Southland championships during the decade, including back-to-back titles in 1974 and 1975 to go with another in 1978. He was named the Southland Conference Coach of the Year each of those seasons. His Bulldogs advanced to three NCAA regionals, and the 1974 club was one game away from advancing to the College World Series. During the decade, he coached five Southland Hitters of the Year, two Pitchers of the Year, and 20 first-team all-conference selections. His teams were 252-142 (.640) overall and 80-48 (.625) in Southland play during the decade.
Among Gilligan’s all-conference players, nine found their way to the all-decade team, led by four-time all-conference second baseman Joe McCann. He is one of just two players to have named to the all-conference team four times, having earned distinction from 1976-79. Outfielder Mike Laudig was a three-time all-conference player from 1976-78. They are joined on the all-decade team by pitcher Julio Alonso, a two-time first team selection in 1974 and 1975; outfielder Harold Flynn, who was a two-time all-conference player in 1976 and 1977; shortstop Louis Jones, an all-conference pick in 1977 and 1978; third baseman Jeff Martin, who earned all-conference honors in 1978 and 1979; pitcher Rick Nesloney, an all-conference pitcher and the pitcher of the year in 1977; David C. Smith, an all-conference pitcher and the pitcher of the year in 1978; and, third baseman Billy Wearden, an all-conference pick in 1975 and 1976. Two other Cardinals on the 1970s all-decade team – pitcher David Bernsen, who earn all-league honors in 1971 when he was the pitcher of the year and outfielder Mark Oldham, a two-time all-conference selection in 1970 and 1971 – played before Gilligan’s arrival as head coach.
Eleven of Patterson’s players during the 1970s find a home on the all-decade team, including three-time first-team all-conference selections Dale Holman, an all-conference outfielder in 1977, 1978 and 1979; and Steve Lacy, an all-conference shortstop in 1973, 1974 and 1975. Other Bulldogs on the all-decade team are catcher Chuck Bailey, a two-time all-conference pick in 1978 and 1979; outfielder Bobby Brasher, who was the 1974 Southland hitter of the year and an all-conference selection in 1974 and 1976; pitcher Eddie Holman an all-league pick in 1974 and the Southland’s career strikeout leader (336); catcher Richie McAlister, the 1975 hitter of the year and all-conference pick in 1974 and 1975; pitcher Randy McGilberry, who was an all-conference selection and pitcher of the year in 1975; outfielder Fred McGaha, the hitter of the year and all-conference pick in 1972; pitcher Bill Norwood, the pitcher of the year and all-conference selection in 1973; and, second baseman Phil Winningham, who received all-conference honors in 1974 and 1976.
Another Louisiana Tech player on the 1970s all-decade team is Mike Jeffcoat, who was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 1980 and went on to an 11-year career in Major League Baseball with the Indians, Giants, Rangers and Marlins. He is currently the head baseball coach at Texas Wesleyan.
Six other players on the all-decade team were named either the conference hitter or pitcher of the year, including McNeese State outfielders Paul Young and Russell Conner, who were hitters of the year and all-conference selections in 1973 and 1977, respectively; Texas-Arlington pitcher Bruce Marshall, the pitcher of the year and an all-conference pick in 1976; Abilene Christian third baseman Alvin O’Dell, the 1970 hitter of the year; and, Trinity pitcher Paul Stanley, the pitcher of the year and all-conference selection in 1972.
Additionally, McNeese State pitcher Ray Fontenot hold the conference career records for complete games pitched (29) and shutouts (nine).
The Southland Conference will continue to recognize all-decade teams in the coming days.
Soutland Conference 1970s All-Decade Team (1970-79; 40 players)
All-SLC First Team
Julio Alonso, Lamar
1974 Pitcher of the Year
Jose Alvarez, La.-Lafayette
1978 Pitcher of the Year
Chuck Bailey, Louisiana Tech
David Bernsen, Lamar
1971 Pitcher of the Year
Bobby Brasher, Louisiana Tech
1974 Hitter of the Year
Kenneth Clark, Texas-Arlington
Russell Conner, McNeese State
1977 Hitter of the Year
Billy Daffin, Trinity
Pete Davis, Arkansas State
Shanie Dugas, McNeese State
Larry Elmore, Arkansas State
A.C. Frese, Trinity
Ray Fontenot, McNeese State
Southland Career Complete Games Pitched Record (29) & Career Shutouts Record (9)
Harold Flynn, Lamar
James Gallier, McNeese State
Dale Holman, Louisiana Tech
1977, 1978, 1979
1978 & 1979 Hitter of the Year
Eddie Holman, Louisiana Tech
Southland Career Strikeout Leader (336)
Kevin Jeansonne, La.-Lafayette
1976 Hitter of the Year
Mike Jeffcoat, Louisiana Tech
1983-94 MLB, Cleveland, San Francisco, Texas, Florida