Creating a legacy requires talent and time. Dedication. Spirit. And a greater vision.

For five luminaries and a group of legendary state champions, that vision began at St. Thomas.  Their reputations now carry the greatest recognition afforded an Eagle scholar-athlete – enshrinement into the institution’s prestigious Sports Hall of Fame.

Character. Contributions. Brotherhood. These legacies define who they were as young men. And who they have become. For themselves. For their families and communities. For their institution. And for the future of St. Thomas.

The latest inductees along with the triumphant 1965 Eagle Football icons understood that the race was never over. The journey had no port. The adventure never ended because they were always … on the way. Each is proud of what his Eagle career begat.  They were collectively remembered and revered in a rousing November celebration in Cemo Auditorium hosted by Athletic Director Mike Netzel.  The festive salute was delayed more than a year because of COVID-19 concerns.

Alphabetically, the 2020 honorees are:

David Apolskis ‘89

  • highly decorated offensive lineman and fulcrum for the 1988 state champions who finished 10-1 for head coach Mike McConnell with a 10-6 victory over Dallas Jesuit to avenge the Eagles’ title game defeat the previous year
  • accepted prestigious scholarship to the University of Southern California
  • started six games at center in 1990 and earned second-team freshman All-American after a redshirt season
  • diagnosed with testicular cancer two days before the Trojans were to report to practice in August 1991
  • following multiple surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, returned to finish his collegiate career in 1992 and ‘93
  • received his master’s in business administration from the University of St. Thomas in 2007
  • sales specialist, HPE Mission Critical Systems for Hewlett Packard Enterprise

  • brother Rick ‘85, St. Thomas Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017
  • father Richard, St. Thomas head basketball coach from 1972-78 after a distinguished playing career at the University of Houston for Hall of Fame head coach Guy Lewis
  • grandfather Chuck, defensive end for the Chicago Bears
  • great uncle Ray, linebacker and offensive lineman for the then-Chicago Cardinals before and after his World War II military service commitment as a captain in the Marines who fought in Okinawa, Japan, and part of the Cardinals’ last NFL championship team in 1947

Nduka Odizor ‘77

  • transfer student from Nigeria, sponsored to the United States by University of Houston psychology professor Dr. Robert Wren
  • led Eagle Tennis to district team title before earning athletic scholarship to UH where he was an All-American in 1978, ‘80, and ‘81
  • 1981 NCAA semifinalist in singles and doubles
  • voted the 1981 Male Academic Cougar of the Year
  • in 1983, rallied from two sets to none and match point in the third to defeat No. 4 Wimbledon seed Guillermo Vilas in four hours, four minutes on way to round of 16
  • captured two professional tournament titles in 1983, in Taiwan and Nigeria
  • climbed from world ranking of 457 in 1980 to as high as 52 in 1984
  • represented Nigeria in 1998 Summer Olympics in Nagano, Japan‎
  • honorary member Tennis for Africa, non-profit outreach program designed to benefit under-served youth
  • president at Anointed Holdings Group, LLC; property developer for affordable housing and commercial real estate for sub-Saharan region of West Africa

Thomas J. Robinson ‘89

  • explosive two-sport two-year captain for Eagle Basketball, and Eagle Track and Field
  • blazing 10.3 100 meters and :47 400 meters at the Texas Southern Relays
  • earned athletic scholarship to attend Lamar University where he holds school records in the 400 meters (46.33 in 1992) and 200 meters (21.32 in 1993)
  • in 1992, became first Lamar student-athlete to reach NCAA Indoor National Championships, and the only qualifier until 2009

Larry Strelau ‘64

  • acclaimed two-sport co-captain scholar-athlete who contributed to Eagle Football’s 1964 TCIL state championship, the program’s first title since 1953
  • 1963 All-State performer leading Eagle Football to the state championship game against Waco Reicher Catholic
  • earned athletic scholarship to continue his baseball career at the University of Houston
  • starting catcher in 1967, teaming with All-American Tom Paciorek, Ken Hebert, and Ike Lewis in leading UH to its first College World Series since 1953 (only the second appearance in program history) and reaching the CWS final against Arizona St.

C. Tyrell Whisenton ‘94

  • dynamic two-sport scholar-athlete for Eagle Athletics
  • three-year starter, four-year letterman, and 1994 All-State performer for Eagle Basketball, as well as All-Greater Houston by Houston Chronicle and Houston Post while averaging 21 points per game
  • earned athletic scholarship to St. Mary’s University in San Antonio where he is a member of the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame
  • two-time NAIA All-American and a three-time All-Heart of Texas Conference selection who twice participated in the NAIA national tournament
  • catalyst for 1996 conference champions, and led the Rattles in scoring during his sophomore and junior seasons
  • remains the school’s all-time 3-point leader with 176 during his four-year career
  • received his bachelor’s in psychology from St. Mary’s and his master’s in business from San Francisco Art Institute
  • insurance and financial services agent, State Farm; franchise owner, Human Healthy Vending; proprietor, Outback Steakhouse
  • married to Ginger Grimes Whisenton, also a member of the St. Mary’s Athletics Hall of Fame after leading the volleyball program to its most successful period in school history – a 148-23 record from 1993-96 and a fifth-place finish at the NAIA national tournament

1965 Eagle Football

  • dominate repeat TCIL state champions with head coach Joe McDonald and lead assistant Burr Davis
  • second crown in the midst of eight state championships from 1964-73
  • bespoke offense and bone-crushing defense during an 11-1 assault capped by 27-7 stomp over Waco Reicher Catholic to seal consecutive titles, allowing 65 total yards and three first downs in the clincher
  • Tour de Force tour included 23-13 over Clear Creek to avenge the only defeat from the previous season plus 14-0 over Strake Jesuit, 23-0 over Mt. Carmel, 7-0 over St. Pius X, and 82-14 over Marian Christian, with the lone setback 14-8 to LaPorte

  • postseason included 14-6 over Galveston Kirwin (later merged into O’Connell College Preparatory)
  • six shutouts with four straight to start the season
  • tri-captains John Sage ‘66, Larry Stegent ‘66, and Mike Young ‘66, with Sage (LSU) and Stegent (Texas A&M) later selected in the 1970 NFL Draft and all three inducted individually into the Hall of Fame
  • six All-State performers with nine scholar-athletes earning Division I scholarships to Houston, LSU, Rice, Texas A&M, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas-El Paso, Tulane, and the United States Military Academy

Eagle Fight Never Dies!