Wally Bullington (’53), former head coach of some of ACU’s top football teams, and John Ray Godfrey (’68), who still owns significant real estate in the Wildcat men’s basketball record book, joined former Dallas Cowboys’ great Bob Lilly and others in the 11th induction class for a sports hall of fame honoring men and women with roots in the 19-county West Texas area surrounding Abilene.
A record crowd in the Abilene Civic Center honored Lilly, a member of the NFL Hall of Fame, along with Bullington and Godfrey, who were inducted previously to the ACU Sports Hall of Fame. Eight high school students also received scholarships at the May 9 event.
Bullington helped coach Abilene High School to 49 straight wins and three consecutive state football titles (1954-56), and directed ACU’s football program from 1968-76, when his teams went 62-32-2 and won the 1973 NAIA Division I national championship. He is Abilene Christian’s athletics director emeritus.
A peerless shooting guard in his day, Godfrey played against future NBA stars Elvin Hayes, Walt Frazier and Phil Jackson and helped the Wildcats win three Southland Conference championships and earn a spot in the NCAA playoffs. Later, he devoted 35 years to a high school coaching and administrative career.
ACU graduates and newsmakers previously inducted to the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame include Olympic pole vaulter Billy Olson (’81), longtime Abilene sportswriter Bill Hart (’53), Baylor University head football coach Art Briles (’84 M.Ed.), athletics administrator and sports official William D. “Shorty” Lawson (’45), former coach and Southeastern Conference commissioner Arthur “Tonto” Coleman (’28), Texas Tech University head track and field coach Wes Kittley (’81), world record-setting sprinter and coach James Segrest (’59), major league pitcher and ACU baseball coach Bill Gilbreth (’69), NFL linebacker Dick “Moose” Stovall, track and field coach Bill McClure (’48), and football coach Ted Sitton (’54). Lawson, Coleman, Stovall and McClure are now deceased.
Other prominent former inductees include football coaching legends Grant Teaff, Emory Bellard and Gordon Wood, PGA stars Charles Coody and Bob Estes, and NFL Hall of Famers Samuel “Slingin’ Sammy” Baugh and Don Maynard.