LU alumni, coach, to be inducted into Hall of Honor
A legendary coach, a pitching ace and a former Olympian will be inducted into the Lamar Hall of Honor announced LU Director of Athletics Jason Henderson Tuesday afternoon. Pat Foster, David Smith and Yamelis Ortiz will be enshrined in the university’s athletics Hall of Honor during Lamar’s regular-season finale against Incarnate Word Saturday, Nov. 15.
“It is our privilege to add these three individuals into our Hall of Honor,” said Henderson. “They exemplify success at the highest level of their respective fields. Due to their hard work, they helped build a tradition of success which Lamar is known for and future athletes strive to achieve.”
The 1984 Southland Conference Coach of the Year, Foster won better than 73 percent of his games during his time with the Cardinals. His teams posted 20 wins five times during his tenure, including a 26-5 campaign in 1983-84. Foster guided Lamar to the postseason every year, including two trips to the NCAA Championships, and three Southland Conference titles. The Cardinals advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championships both times under Foster. He left Lamar as the school’s second all-time winningest coach with 134 wins, and a 49-19 (.721) mark in Southland Conference games.
Foster’s players reaped the benefits of his coaching as well. He produced 15 All-Southland selections, including seven first-team players, two SLC Players of the Year, two league newcomers of the year and one All-American.
Ortiz, who ran for the Cardinals from 1995 through the 2000 season, won three straight 400-meter hurdle titles at the 1996, 1997 and 1998 Sun Belt Outdoor Championships. She qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 400-meter hurdles in 1996, 1997 and 1998 and ran on the 1,600-meter relay team that won the event at the 1998 Sun Belt Championships.
In addition to her success as a Lady Cardinal, she competed in the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia as a member of the 4X400-meter relay squad. Ortiz was one of two former Lamar athletes named to the SBC 30th Anniversary team in March.
At 6-4, 200 pounds, Smith was an intimidating presence on the mound for Lamar. The school’s all-time leader in wins and complete games, Smith guided the Cardinals to the Southland Conference title in 1979 and 1981. He enters the Hall of Honor with an impressive list of credentials, some of which remain at the top of the LU records books. In 1979, Smith set the Lamar record for ERA (1.05), and followed that up by setting records for innings pitched (123) and consecutive wins (12) the next season. His 12 victories in 1980 also tied the LU single-season record for wins.
A former All-SLC selection, Smith also left Lamar as one of the school’s all-time leaders in winning percentage, shutouts, ERA and innings pitched, but his single-best performance might have come during his sophomore year. Smith pitched a no-hitter to guide Lamar to a 4-1 victory over Louisville that season.
The 2014 Hall of Honor class will be recognized at halftime of Lamar’s game Saturday, Nov. 15, against Incarnate Word.