Manager of the Year

A Heisman Trophy winner, a nine-year NBA veteran and a MLB Manager of the Year made for a star-studded Class of 2010 Texas Men’s Hall of Honor.

The induction ceremony, which took place at the Austin Four Seasons Hotel on Friday, was the celebration of eight different athletic careers. Football, basketball, baseball, swimming and track and field were all represented — as were four different decades of collegiate athletics.

The jewel of the class is Ricky Williams, the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner. While at Texas, he broke the then all-time rushing record, won the Doak Walker Award twice and finished with a hand in 20 NCAA records.

“My time at Texas seems just like yesterday,” he said. “Being enshrined is a big deal for me. I came to Texas and I saw Earl Campbell’s Heisman Trophy and all the All-Americans, and I said I wanted to be a part of that.”

Chris Mihm, a homegrown talent out of Westlake High School, was dominant on the basketball court as a Longhorn. As the school’s all-time leader in blocks, he was a lottery pick for the pre-LeBron Cleveland Cavaliers in 2000 and went on to play nine seasons in the NBA, including a year with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004 in which he started 75 games. A nagging ankle injury forced him to retire from basketball in February, but his life afterward is just getting started.

Mihm is now selling property in California and trying to get roots established back in Austin, where his legacy as a Longhorn is cemented.

“I tried to bring hard work and a focus on the team game here,” Mihm said. “I tried to be a chemistry piece and did my best to carry the team the best I could. The group of guys that I played with here were a bunch of hard-working guys and a group that I was blessed to play with.”

Ron Gardenhire saw most of his success in his post-playing days. After a career as an infielder during his time on the 40 Acres and his five seasons in the pros, Gardenhire traded in his spikes for a pen and notepad ­— launching the beginning of one of the more successful managerial resumes in all of baseball.

He was the third base coach for the Minnesota Twins during their 1991 World Series Championship season, and after 11 years in that position he was promoted to manager in 2002.
Coaching the likes of Joe Mauer, Torii Hunter and Johan Santana, Gardenhire has led the Twins to six division titles, with only one losing season. He was awarded the AL’s Manager of the Year Award on Nov. 17. A few days later, he was inducted into the Hall of Honor.

“My years at Texas were two really special years,” Gardenhire said. “In professional baseball we do a lot of bragging about our schools, and I’m very proud that I come from the University of Texas.”