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Trinity Valley Community College to Induct Eight into Cardinal Hall of Fame
 September 22, 2009

The Cardinal Hall of Fame induction class of 2009 has no shortage when it comes to impressive credentials. Of the eight former Trinity Valley Community College coaches and players selected, five have experience as professional athletes.

The class, which will become the second to be inducted into the hall of fame on Saturday, Oct. 3, also features the winningest women's basketball coach in the college's history.

"We are very excited about this class of inductees," said TVCC athletic director W.P. "Rip" Drumgoole. "We feel it has a lot of star power and will be of much interest to our fans.

"It's going to be great to have them back on our campus. We look forward to making it a special day for them."

Inductees this year will be:

Gary Ashlock

In 12 seasons as Lady Cardinal coach from 1978-89, Ashlock produced five conference championships and three regional championships, which resulted in the college's first national tournament appearances in 1980,'81 and '82. He remains the college's all-time winningest women's basketball coach with a 281-96 record.

His Lady Cardinal squads won 20 or more games in 10 consecutive seasons, including 34 in 1981-82 and 1988-89. Ashlock had 11 players named All-Americans, including Cardinal Hall of Fame member Portia Hill being named Junior College Player of the Year in 1988.

After leaving TVCC, Ashlock coached six years at Central Florida Community College, where he produced a 168-29 record and led the college to a pair of national runner-up finishes. Ashlock's Central Florida team lost to the Lady Cardinals in the 1997 national title game. He was named Junior College Coach of the Year that season.

Michael Battle

As an electrifying and prolific dunker of the basketball, Battle established himself as a fan favorite in the late 1970s. He wasn't just flash, earning Texas Eastern Conference and Region XIV Tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Battle was also named honorable mention All-American.

Battle continued his playing career at Baylor. After missing most of his first season there due to injuries, he closed his career playing in 26 of 27 games and finished third on the team in scoring.

He scored a season-high 31 points and pulled 12 rebounds against Oklahoma City as a junior and ranked second to All-American Terry Teagle in rebounding with 5.1 boards per game. As a senior, his high-point game was 19 against Houston.

After his two seasons at Baylor, Battle continued his playing career on the Pro International basketball circuit in Merida, Ve nezuela (South America) and Durango, Mexico. Battle lead Durango to the team first championship. In his rookie year in Durango, Battle was named Newcomer of the Year and Most Valuable Player.

William "Bill" Gaines

More than 40 years later, Gaines, who died earlier this decade, is still the most prolific scorer in Cardinal basketball history. Averaging more than 30 points a game, he helped the Cardinals to their first conference championship in 1965 scoring catalyst, the Cardinals captured their first conference championship

He became the conference's all-time leading scorer with a month left in the 1965 season. He scored 1,110 points in his two-year Cardinal career. He rarely scored less than 20 points.

Gaines went on to play at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M-Commerce) and was captain in the 1967-68 season. During that season, he led the conference in scoring and set a school record with a 25.1 scoring average. He was twice named all-conference and was inducted into the college's hall of fame in 2007.

He was a 15th round draft selection in the NBA by the San Diego Rockets. He also played with the Houston Mavericks in the ABA.

Robert Jackson

Described by former Cardinal head football coach Jim Owens as "integrity above reproach" and "an outstanding athlete," Jackson made a name for himself after two stellar seasons as a nose tackle in 1973 and linebacker in 1974 for the Cardinals. Jackson was twice named the Texas Junior College Football Conference's Most Valuable Player. The Cardinals won a conference title his freshman season and were second the next year.

Texas A&M was his next stop, where he helped the Aggies lead the nation in total defense. He was named an All-American for two years and was a finalist for the Lombardi Award. He led the Aggies in tackles as a senior with 143. He is a member of the Texas A&M Hall of Fame.

He was the 17th overall pick in the NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns. Knee injuries cut his pro career short after stints with the Browns, Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons.

Betty Lennox

Still active in the WNBA with the Los Angeles Sparks, Lennox continues to add to her legacy.

In 1997, she helped the Lady Cardinals to an NJCAA championship, being named the Most Valuable Player of the national tournament. In the tournament, she shattered a 19-year-old tournament record with 20 free throws in a 78-71 win over Louisburg in the semifinals. In that game, the Lady Cardinals overcame an 18-point deficit in the final 12 minutes. In the national title win over Central Florida, she scored 27 points and grabbed 20 rebounds.

After moving on to Louisiana Tech and turning in two stellar seasons, she was selected as the sixth overall pick in the WNBA draft by the Minnesota Lynx. She was the WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2000 and later helped the Seattle Storm to a WNBA championship, being named the Most Valuable Player of the finals.

Tausha Mills

As a sophomore for the Lady Cardinal basketball team, Mills accomplished something no other player had ever done and will likely never do: she was named Junior College Player of the Year despite not having started a single game. An intimidating force inside, she helped the Lady Cardinals to a national championship in 1996 after a runner-up finish the year before.

Mills' success continued after her Lady Cardinal career ended. She went on to play two years at Alabama, where she was an All-SEC performer and Kodak All-American. As a senior, she started every game and averaged 12.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. The Crimson Tide advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in each of her two seasons. As a senior, Mills was elected a team captain.

She was the second player drafted in the 2008 WNBA draft by the Washington Mystics. She also played for San Antonio and Detroit in the WNBA and for Chicago in the ABL.

John Randle

The Cardinal football program was struggling during Randle's two seasons, but that didn't keep him from earning all-conference honors and helping the defensive unit rank ninth nationally in pass defense.

Randle's career continued to flourish after he left TVCC. He starred two years at Texas A&I in Kingsville and drew the attention of NFL teams. He signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Vikings in 1990 and played there through the 2000 season. He finished his career with the Seattle Seahawks in 2003.

He made his first Pro Bowl in 1993 after recording 11.5 sacks. Randle had double-digit sacks in eight different seasons, including a league-leading 15.5 in 1997. He was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and was named to the NFL's 1990s All-Decade Team, finishing his career with 137.5 sacks.

Randle is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Minnesota Vikings' Ring of Honor. He was also a finalist for the NFL Hall of Fame in 2009.

Nick Van Exel

After an outstanding two-year career for the Cardinal basketball team in the late 1980s, Van Exel went on to star at the University of Cincinnati and play professionally for six teams in a 13-year NBA career, including the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers.

While playing for the Cardinals, he was considered one of the top scoring threats in the Texas Eastern Conference and consistently scored more than 20 points in games. His career-high scoring game at the college was 25 points.

In his junior season at Cincinnati, he helped the Bearcats to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament.

He currently ranks sixth all-time in NBA career three-pointers with 1,528. He finished in the top 15 in assists in eight of 13 seasons. Van Exel was an NBA all-star in 1998.


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