TU Announces their 2023 Athletic Hall of Fame Class

Sports editor Callie Hummel discusses the athletes that will be inducted this year.

On Jan. 24, the University of Tulsa’s 2023 Athletic Hall of Fame Class was officially announced. The class includes five athletes with playing seasons dating from 1972 to 2012.

Tyler Henderson, the most recent athlete to come out of TU to be inducted, was on the volleyball team from 2009 to 2012. An outside hitter from Oklahoma City, Henderson quickly became an integral player on her team. In her first year at TU, she was the Conference USA Freshman of the Year and an Honorable Mention for All-American selection. By the end of her career, Henderson was elected to Second Team All-American three times, was a three-time Conference USA Player of the Year, and is one of only two players who have been selected for All-Conference USA first team all four years. With Henderson on the team as a sophomore, she helped the team achieve a school-best season with a 31-3 overall record and stay undefeated, 20-0 in their conference. Henderson’s No. 7 jersey has since been retired.

Alex Becker is the Women’s Cross Country & Track inductee from 2005 to 2010. Even more than a decade later, Becker still holds six TU records. By the end of her career, she was a six-time All-American, getting the honor in cross country, indoor 3,000m, indoor 5,000m, outdoor 5,000m twice and the 10,000m. This is the largest amount of All-American honors from a TU athlete. Becker also accumulated a number of academic awards from TU, Conference USA and external awardees like ESPN. After graduating with a masters in math and science education from TU, Becker went on to graduate school at UMKC where she was an assistant cross country and track coach.

Arnau Brugues was part of the men’s tennis team from 2005 to 2009. In 2006, Brugues won the Polo Ralph Lauren All-American Tennis Championship played in Tulsa. This was the first time a Tulsa player, or any Conference USA athlete, had won gold at the Polo Ralph Lauren Tournament. Brugues ended his career at Tulsa with three All-American accolades and was Conference USA Player of the Year three times. Of his four years at Tulsa, he had a cumulative singles record of 88-22. Upon graduating, Brugues went on to play professional tennis and won 17 ITF Futures Tournaments, and set a record in the ITF Pro Circuit for having 44 wins in a row.

Rick Engles was a punter for the TU football team from 1972 to 1975. Engles was on the team during the height of TU football. He was named an All-American in 1975 and was ranked second overall in the nation for his 46.6-yard punt average. Engles signed with the Seattle Seahawks in 1976, making him one of only eight TU football alumni who ended up playing in the NFL. After the Seahawks, Engles also punted for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles. Engles and his wife have since moved back to Tulsa and continued to stay involved with TU student-athletes, being part of TU’s highest donor affinity organization. The couple also started a scholarship for football student-athletes, so that players can study and play at TU.

The 1972 team that Engles played on is also being recognized as the Fame Honor Team. This was the first football season that TU used the terminology, “Golden Hurricane.”

The team went undefeated in their regular season with an 8-0 record. This includes a 13-6 win against Arkansas, a team that was ranked 10th in the country by AP’s preseason poll for the 2022 season. TU’s 1922 team also stayed undefeated during the Oklahoma Collegiate Conference, going 4-0.

The final inductee is Ray Rhodes, who transferred from Texas Christian University to play with TU from 1972 to 1973. Rhodes played wide receiver and Cornerback at TU where he rushed 640 yards. In 1974, Rhodes was drafted by the New York Giants in the tenth round and spent his first three years as a wide receiver before switching to cornerback. He was traded to the San Francisco 49ers, and retired after one season. Rhodes stayed with the 49ers as a coach though, taking on the role as the defensive backs’ coach. With the 49ers, Rhodes was the defensive coordinator during their 1994 Super Bowl win. Rhodes also went on to be the head coach of the Eagles and Green Bay Packers. Rhodes is now retired living with his wife, four daughters and numerous grandchildren in Allen, Texas.

The official induction ceremony for the Hall of Fame Class of 2023 will happen on April 29 at the Lorton Performance Center. The whole weekend will be used to celebrate the new inductees and current members of the TU Hall of Fame.

Post Author: Callie Hummel