Four Texan greats join the Tarleton Athletics Hall of Fame
STEPHENVILLE – The Tarleton Athletics Hall of Fame grew by four members Saturday night with the induction ceremony that welcomed Derrick Ross (football), Jerry Doyle (women's golf coach), Carla Cooper (women's golf) and Collat Johnson (men's basketball and track and field) to the historic club.
The group, which was originally scheduled for a 2020 induction, finally got the opportunity to shine forever in the halls of the Tarleton Athletics Hall of Fame with their long-awaited induction.
As the 170th member in the Tarleton Athletics Hall of Fame, Derrick Ross enters as one of the school's greatest running backs and Texan Football players of all time. Ross becomes the 72nd individual from Tarleton Football in the Hall of Fame.
Ross was unable to attend the event due to an Arena Football League game.
Ross came to Tarleton in 2004 and quickly rose to the top of the Tarleton record books as he guided the Texans to 14 wins in two seasons. In his first game with the Texans, he set the single-game rushing record with 260 yards against New Mexico Highlands. Ross surpassed his own single-game record in 2005 with 269 rushing yards against Western New Mexico and the record still holds to this day. Ross had four 200-yard rushing games in his career, the most in school history. Ross also holds the single-season school record with 22 rushing touchdowns in his junior year. His 39 career touchdowns rank second in school history.
The Huntsville native has the two highest single-season rushing totals in school history with 1,560 yards in his first year on campus which led to him winning the LSC Offensive Back of the Year and he followed it up with 1,512 yards in his senior year. Ross' 156 rushing yards per game as a junior is still a Tarleton record. Ross is the only player in school history to average over 100 yards rushing in a career and he averaged 153.6 yards per game. In just two years, the two-time All-American ran for 3,072 yards which ranks third on the school's all-time rushing list. Ross is one of three Texans to run for over 3,000 yards and the only running back to do it in two years.
Ross went on to have a brief stint in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and then a Hall of Fame-caliber career in the Arena Football League where he's the all-time leader in rushing yards and touchdowns.
The 171st member of the Tarleton Athletics Hall of Fame left his mark as the greatest golf coach in Tarleton and Lone Star Conference History. Jerry Doyle becomes the fifth member in the Hall of Fame from the Women's Golf team and the ninth coach in Tarleton history to receive the highest athletic honor.
Doyle came to Tarleton in 2000 and made the TexAnns an instant national contender and perennial powerhouse. During his 18 years as head coach, Doyle won 14 Coach of the Year awards, including 10 LSC Coach of the Years – an LSC record – and three Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) West Regional Coach of the Year awards. But Doyle's most prestigious individual award came in 2008, when he was named the WGCA National Coach of the Year.
His tenure has been viewed as the Doyle Dynasty, because from 2008-18, Doyle led the TexAnns to 10 Lone Star Conference championships in 11 years – including seven consecutive titles from 2008-14. Doyle's 11 LSC Championships are more than double of any LSC team and no current LSC team has more than one. The TexAnns won nine NCAA West Regional Championships in 10 seasons under Doyle and advanced to the NCAA Championships 10 times with seven seasons of top-5 finishes. During Doyle's career, the TexAnns won 73 tournaments, an average of four per year.
As great of a coach as Doyle was, he might have been a better recruiter. In the Doyle era, the TexAnns had 11 LSC Player of the Year winners, including 10 straight selections. The TexAnns had seven LSC Freshman of the Year winners and one LSC Newcomer of the Year. Doyle coached 51 All-LSC players, including 32 first-team selections. Doyle coached 21 WGCA All-Americans in his 18 years. He also thrived in recruiting players who excel academically. The TexAnns had eight LSC Academic Players of the Year and 15 players on the all-academic team. In 2016, Doyle coached the WGCA Division II National Player of the Year in Isabel Jimenez – the first to win the award in LSC history.
The 172nd member of the Tarleton Athletics Hall of Fame is a former player under Doyle and one of the greatest golfers in Tarleton and Lone Star Conference history. Carla Cooper becomes the sixth member from the women's golf team to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame.
Cooper came to Tarleton in 2007 and immediately became one of the top golfers in the conference and the country. Cooper won the LSC Freshman of the Year in 2008 and followed her freshman campaign with three straight LSC Player of the Year awards, becoming the first women's golfer in LSC history to win the award three times. Cooper also won the LSC Academic Player of the Year award in 2010 and 2011. Cooper's awards translated to the national level as the Arlington native was named a four-time WGCA All-American. As a freshman in 2008, Cooper was an honorable mention All-American selection. She elevated her game even further the next three years with three straight first-team All-American honors to close out her career, becoming the first four-time All-American in Tarleton and Lone Star Conference history. Cooper was also the No. 2-ranked player in the NCAA Division II as a senior after winning six individual championships and guiding the TexAnns to eight team titles.
Cooper's individual talents translated into team success, as she played a pivotal role in Tarleton women's golf dominating over the last two decades. In Cooper's four-year career, Tarleton swept the Lone Star Conference Championships, winning four straight conference titles from 2008-11. Cooper and the TexAnns also won four straight NCAA Division II West Regional Championships to advance to the NCAA Tournament, becoming the first Tarleton golfer to achieve that recognition. With Cooper leading the way, the TexAnns had the top two finishes in school history at nationals, coming in fourth place in 2010 and 2011.
When the playoffs started, Cooper was at her best. Cooper won two NCAA West Regional individual titles in 2009 and 2011 – becoming one of two players in school history to do so – and also won the 2011 individual LSC title by shooting 3-under-par in three rounds, which is still an LSC record to this day. Cooper's career was capped off by becoming the first Tarleton female athlete to win the Lone Star Conference Female Athlete of the Year award.
The 173rd member of the Tarleton Athletics Hall of Fame is one of the greatest two-sport athletes in Tarleton history. Collat Johnson becomes the 42nd men's basketball player in Tarleton history and the 29th Track & Field athlete to receive Hall of Fame honors.
Johnson played for Tarleton from 1997-01 and still remains one of the best defensive players in Tarleton Basketball history. Johnson's name is spread all across the Tarleton men's basketball record book as he is second all-time in steals (167), sixth all-time in rebounds (755), eighth all-time in blocks (87) and ninth all-time in double-doubles (17). Johnson ranks fifth in a single season in steals with 59 back in 2001 and 13th in single-season defensive rebounds with 200 back in 1999. There have been seven 20-rebound games in Tarleton history and Johnson has three of them – all coming in 2000.
As a sophomore in 1999, Johnson's Texans advanced to the first LSC Tournament Championship game in school history. That season, Johnson was named the LSC South Division Defensive Player of the Year and LSC South Division Honorable Mention all-conference. Johnson posted three seasons as the team's top rebounder, was a two-time team leader in blocked shots and was a two-time team leader in steals.
In addition to his dominance on the basketball court, Johnson was the nation's best high jumper in Track & Field during his time at Tarleton. Johnson won the 2000 NCAA Division II National Championship in the high jump, recording a jump of 2.24m (7-4 1/4). Johnson's Track & Field excellence extended over the course of three seasons as the dual-sport athlete was a four-time All-American in the high jump.
For more information on the Tarleton Athletics Hall of Fame, visit TarletonSports.com/HallOfFame.