The group includes Iris Iglesias of Mission (multi-sport coach), Cathy Beene of Harlingen (tennis), Mike Brisky of Brownsville (golf), Ed Knetig Jr. of Harlingen (officiating), and three who made their mark in football — George L. Schulgen of Santa Rosa, Pete Vela of Edinburg and Jack Wallace Sr. of McAllen.
In addition, Ben Lopez, of Mission, will receive the RGVSHOF Distinguished Service Award, for his efforts in awarding scholarships to dozens of Valley student athletes to Lindenwood University in Missouri.
A special recognition of the 50th anniversary recognition of the 1962 and 1963 Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Bear football teams, which advanced to the state championship games both years, will also be held.
Tickets are $25 and may be obtained by calling Charlie Vaughan at 956-778-2688 or Dan Ogletree at 956-227-6563.
Iris G. Iglesias
Is it any surprise that Coach Iris Iglesias has won 503 total games in three sports since the mid-1980s? Anyone who watched her lead the Lady Eagles of Mission High as a player to four straight playoff trips in high school volleyball, understood she was destined for greatness. Iglesias played volleyball and fast pitch softball at Pan American University and would later introduce softball at her alma mater in 1995. By that time she had won 157 games in girls’ basketball at the school from 1986-94. She took over the volleyball program and later the softball team. The Lady Eagle ex has guided her softball teams to the playoffs 14 of 17 years all told, with eight bi-district crowns and an appearance in the regional semi-finals. This three-time Valley Coach of the Year (1991 hoops, 1996 and 1998 softball) is one of the finest coaches to ever grace the area.
Cathy A. Beene
A former No. 1 ranked high school tennis player in Texas and star athlete at Lamar University, this Harlingen native’s career includes more than 30 years as a Division I coach and director of athletics. Cathy Beene starred at Harlingen High School where she was ranked No. 1 in the state for under-18 girl’s tennis in 1969 and twice named Outstanding Player. A member of the Lamar University Athletic Hall of Honor, Beene became the first player to win four straight collegiate state titles, including a national doubles title in 1973. Beene has been a collegiate tennis coach at four universities and twice selected as conference Coach of the Year. She is an Associate Director of Athletics at Georgia Southern University and serving her second term as Chair of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee. Beene is well respected and one of the great achievers in Texas tennis circles.
The Brownsville native earned more than $2 million playing on the PGA Tour for seven seasons and professionally for 15 years. He got his start on the Brownsville Hanna High golf team, before graduating in 1983. Brisky went on to play at Pan American University, where he averaged a 73 per round by his senior season. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1987 and became a professional golfer. His professional career began in 1993, when Brisky earned PGA Tour privileges. He joined the Nike Tour and won four tournaments in 1993 and 1994. Brisky played in the PGA from 1994 to 2000. Two very close finishes highlighted his career, where he reached two playoffs and finished second both times – at the 1995 Buick Open and the 1999 John Deere Classic. Brisky has served as associate pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake since 2003.
After moving from Corpus Christi, he joined the Southwest Football Official Association in the Rio Grande Valley. He officiated more than 500 varsity games in the Valley and more than 50 games in Mexico; Ed has worked state semifinals, quarterfinals and a number of lower level playoff games. He was selected to work in the Southwest Conference and the Western Athletic Conference as a Side Judge on the field with nine Bowl assignments. After retiring from the football field in 2005, in the first season of Replay, he worked as a Replay Official in the Western Athletic Conference. Presently he is on the Big 12 Conference Replay Staff working Big 12 and Mountain West Conference games. He was a certified USA Track and Field official for 10 years before retiring from track and field, working for the University of Texas Track Association and officiating the State High School Track and Field meets during that time.
George L. Schulgen Jr.
A terror on the ball field for Santa Rosa in the 1960s, he advanced to Rice University and became a two-time All-Southwest Conference pick on defense for the Owls. George Schulgen, “The Big Redhead from Santa Rosa,” was All-District three times, the Class A state Player of the Year in 1963, and was named high school All-American by Scholastic Sports Magazine that season. He averaged 20 tackles per game, set school records in the discus, and was the basketball team’s leading scorer. At Rice, he was a three-year starter and two-time All-SWC performer at middle guard for the Owls, and was the Player of the Game when Rice upset UT in Austin in 1965, the program’s last victory over the Longhorns to date. Though he would undergo nine knee surgeries in all, Schulgen was a force for Rice, and got a tryout with the Washington Redskins of the NFL.
One of the finest coaches and administrators in Valley annals, Pete Vela was a two-time Rio Grande Valley Coach of the Year who during his tenure served as state director of the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association and the Texas State High School Coaches Association. The Edinburg High grad (1965) was an All-District football player for the Bobcats under Coach Fred Akers, graduated from Pan American University, and then earned a master’s from Texas A&I in 1976. He was a head coach for nine years at Mercedes and McAllen Memorial, winning two district titles for Mercedes; his Tiger defense was No. 1 in the state in 1988 and first in the Valley in 1985. Vela’s teams were well known for having fierce defenses; the teams finished consistently in the district’s top two. His career included 25 years in coaching and 15 years as an athletic director. He was inducted into the Texas Athletic Directors’ Hall of Honor in July 2011.
Jack Wallace Sr.
In high school he faced off against Mission’s Tom Landry, and was a college teammate of the great Bobby Layne, later becoming a leader in Valley agribusiness for over 40 years. Jack Wallace Sr. was an All-District center for Edinburg High in the early 1940s, leading the team to the playoffs under legendary Coach Bobby Cannon. Down the road, he earned a starting role for Coach D.X. Bible’s Texas Longhorns, snapping the ball to the All-American Layne before moving to guard later in his career on the 40 Acres. At 6-foot-3, Wallace Sr. was known for great quickness, which enabled him to take to the basketball court for Texas during his college days. After his playing days, he returned to Edinburg where he continued his father’s farming business, while his son, Jack. Jr. would follow in his footsteps as a football player for EHS and UT.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.