MPISD Athletic Hall-of-Fame 2023
MPISD announces the 2023 Athletic Hall-of-Fame honorees: Truman Adair, Sarah Brown, Steve Graf, Willie Houston, Molly Homer Johnson, Tripp MacKay, Frankie Thomas, and Stanley Veasley.
Each inductee will be recognized before the kick-off at the Homecoming game against Whitehouse on Friday, October 20, starting at 6:50 pm. They will also receive a private pre-game ceremony for the honorees, their families, and close friends. The inductees will serve as honorary captains and participate in the pre-game coin toss. In recognition of their selections, each inductee will wear a commemorative gold jacket during the pre-game ceremony. Mount Pleasant ISD will display portraits of each inductee later in the hallway of the Willie Williams Gymnasium.
Truman “The Jet” Adair graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Mount Pleasant ISD in 1963, where he excelled in football and track, earning him the title “The Jet.”
After graduation, he attended Grambling University and participated in their athletic program, but left school early to enlist in the United States Army. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War. After returning from Vietnam, he was a member of the professional football team, the Texarkana Titans, before returning to a civilian occupation at the Red River Army Depot.
Adair would always say that athletics and God-given abilities gave him the title “The Jet,” there is no I in the word team, and better together. His son, Roderick, said, “Truman ‘The Jet’ Adair is no longer with us, but know he would be so proud to receive such an honor. To the students, we advise you to do your best while you can, and your history will speak for itself. Thank you, MPISD.”
Adair passed away in 1991, leaving behind his wife of 14 years, Peggy, his son, Roderick Adair, two stepsons, Kevin and Antonio Nickleberry, granddaughter Tamedria Taylor Curlin, grandson Antonio Jr., and great-grandson Marcus Peterson. He was retired from the Red River Army Depot after 24 years of employment.
Sarah Brown graduated from Mount Pleasant High School as the Salutatorian of the class of 2012. In addition to playing golf and soccer for the Lady Tigers, Brown was the Senior Class Vice President, a member of the student council, and a member of MP Debate. As a member of Lady Tiger Soccer, Brown was named First Team All-District all four years, a 2009 1st Team All-District Forward, the 2010 Sophomore of the Year, the 2011 Offensive Player of the Year, and the 2012 Midfield Player of the Year. And for Lady Tiger Golf, Brown was a medalist in the 2012 High School District Championship and a Runner-up in the 2011 High School District Championship.
When asked about her most significant memory of participating in athletics at Mount Pleasant High School, Brown said, “My dad came to watch me play at our district tournament where we were playing at The Links at Lands’ End. He got to see me shoot under par in a tournament and then go on to win the district. Also, my four years with my soccer team were some of the most fun times in my life. Shout out to Nayelli, Mayra, Maria, Rebecca, Dani, Daniela, Chayo, Alex, Ruth, Alexi, Brenda, Pina, Maria, Gloria, Jazmine, Judith, and all our other teammates. Those years with you all hold a special place in my heart.”
After high school, Brown played golf at the University of Central Arkansas from 2012-2014, then at Texas Tech University from 2014-2016. Her favorite collegiate golf memory was when the Texas Tech golf team made it to NCAA Nationals, only the second time in school history, where they made it to match play and finished fifth overall. She graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing. She continued her golf career on the EPSON Tour and played in one LPGA tournament from 2017–2021.
“Playing golf has become a part of my identity,” said Brown. “It’s enabled me to meet so many new people from all over the world with different upbringings and backgrounds. Golf led me to meet my fiancé and has helped my sales career more than I ever thought it could.”
Brown continued, “I am humbled to have been recognized and noticed for my athletic achievements in high school. When you compete, you never think it will lead to something like this, or I didn’t, at least. I played soccer and golf for the pure joy of the sports, the competition, and the hard effort it takes to excel at those sports. To the student-athletes looking to excel at their sport in high school and who have aspirations of playing on a collegiate and professional level – surround yourself with those who are on board with your dreams and those who have similar aspirations. You are who you hang out with. Choose very wisely the company you keep. I was fortunate to have amazing parents and friends with similar ambitions who pushed me to improve. The best advice I got at a young age was to make sure the people I chose to have in my life were helping me become better.”
Brown also wants to thank her teachers who “helped me excel academically, which helped me perform athletically,” including Nathan Nash, J. Barton, Marty Newman, and Jerry Hearron.
Brown is engaged to Tyler Thomas and will marry on August 3, 2024.
She currently lives in Dallas, where she is an Account Executive in Software Sales.
Steve Graf graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 1979 as a standout football, baseball, and track athlete. Graf was the 1978 Recipient of the W.L. Means Outstanding Offensive Back Award, the Edward Milam Award for Outstanding Football Player, and one of the Tri-Captains for the 1978 Football Team. He was a two-time 1st Team All-District Punter, a 3-time All-District Third Baseman/Pitcher, and the District runner-up in the long jump to fellow inductee Willie Houston. In addition to athletics, Graf was named All-School Boy by the faculty in 1979, was President of the VICA Club, and was a member of the Key Club.
After graduation, Graf was a two-sport athlete at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA., playing baseball and football for the Demons. He was a three-year starter in football at safety and a four-year starter in baseball, earning All-Conference in baseball. Graf was voted into the Northwestern State Hall of Fame in 2009 for football and baseball. He is the only athlete in NSU history to sign pro contracts in two separate sports. He earned a BS degree in Industrial Education Technology Engineering.
The Montreal Expos in 1983 drafted Graf as an outfielder and signed with the Houston Gamblers of the USFL as a free safety after his baseball career.
Graf’s favorite memory from participating in MPHS athletics was winning the 1978 State Baseball Championship, the first State Championship in school history for a team sport.
“I owe a lot of my successes to the faculty and staff of Mt. Pleasant High School along with my parents, Laverne and Loyd Graf, Jr., all who did an excellent job of raising and preparing me for college, both athletically and academically,” said Graf. “I want to thank my former coaches, especially Coach Mike Fields, who always believed in me, Coach Donnie Laurence, Marion Giesecke, and Steve Rippee, coaches who pushed me to be the best I could be. I also want to thank former MPHS teacher Mike McCallum, who helped me mature in many ways, believed in me, and gave me the confidence to succeed. I also want to thank a few guys I admired growing up. Players like ’73 State Football Runner-up and Tiger HOF Quarterback Craig Carney and multisport HOF athlete Ashley Walker inspired me at a young age to be the best I could be. And, of course, some great teammates like MP HOF Maury Buford, Powell Bowers, Ricky Wright, Stan Garrett, Doug Galloway, and the late Kevin Owsley all pushed me to be the best player/teammate possible. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, MPHS, for the best four years of my life, and thank you for this tremendous honor! What a ride it was!”
When asked what the MPISD Hall of Fame induction meant to him, Graf said, “There’s no other honor greater than being recognized for your accomplishments by the school you came from. As an alumnus, I’m proud to be a former student/athlete at MPHS. I’m Tiger proud and Tiger strong because of the great experience I had here at MPHS. Growing up in a community like Mt. Pleasant was truly a blessing. It was a special place to go to high school in the 1970s, and the entire city of Mt. Pleasant supported us with great enthusiasm and gave 100% support to all student-athletes of this era.”
Graf continued, “To those student/athletes of today…enjoy your time in high school and dedicate yourself to being great in whatever you pursue as an athlete or student. Focus on making good grades and getting the most out of your education because no matter how great you are today, your athletic career will end one day, and you’ll need that education to fall back on. Good luck and best wishes to all my Tiger brothers and sisters.”
Graf has been married to his wife, Sherrie, for 42 years, and they have three children, Brittany, Meredith, and Brandon. He lives in Natchitoches, LA, and retired from Holloway Sportswear as the Louisiana Director of Manufacturing in 2004. Now self-employed, he owns the Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Outdoor Radio Show, the co-host of an internet show called Tackle Talk Live, and an outdoor column journalist for the internet magazine “The Journal.”
Willie Houston graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 1979, where he played basketball and ran track for the Tigers. His most significant memory from high school athletics is “when Coach Willie Williams told me I had made the Varsity basketball team when I was only a freshman.” They selected Houston as a High School All-American, an honor bestowed on very few athletes.
After graduation, Houston played basketball at Paris Junior College. His favorite collegiate athletic memory is “leaving the free throw line and dunking the basketball.”
When asked what the MPISD Athletic Hall of Fame meant, Houston said, “This is an honor I will cherish for the rest of my life. To current athletes, never give up on your dream and let anyone discourage you. Whatever your dream is, keep striving and working hard to achieve it. If you put forward the effort, your possibilities are unlimited. So my words to you are to believe, achieve, and succeed.”
Houston closed by saying, “The years I attended MPHS were some of the greatest memories I experienced. With my parents’ guidance, I am thankful to seek an education, or my life would not be what it is today.”
Houston and his wife, Rose, have been married for 42 years. They have four children, Lavonda, Jacqueline, Christopher, and Marcus, and two grandchildren, Shawn and Micah. They reside in Providence Village, TX, where he is a self-employed contractor.
Molly Homer Johnson graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 2000 as a four-year letterman in basketball and softball. They named her to the All-District basketball team, a three-time pick for the first All-District softball team, and a member of the All-State softball team in 1999 and 2000. In 1999, she was the Defensive Player of the Year. In 2000, she garnered numerous accolades, including Highest Batting Average, Texas Sports Writers All-State Second Base, Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Team, MPHS Female Athlete of the Year, and the Mesquite All-Tournament Team.
After graduation, Johnson played softball on a Division I scholarship at Troy University in Troy, AL., where she was a three-year starter and a three-time Captain chosen by her teammates. She graduated with a BS in Psychology and a master’s degree in special education.
When asked how athletics molded her into who she is today, Homer said, “The game has shaped me in several ways, and, most importantly, it taught me mental toughness and a work ethic needed for success. It also taught me what it was to give all that I had for something bigger than myself and the leadership skills to push my teammates to do the same. My love for the game and the competition drove me to be the player/teammate I was at Mt Pleasant High School and Troy University. It helped mold me into the wife, mother, and coach I am today. As in athletics, through slumps, errors, adversity, and injuries, life throws obstacles in your way. Mental toughness and motivation are needed to overcome and win the day or situation. I would not be who I am today without the foundation I gained from athletics at Mt Pleasant High School. I am grateful for my time as a Tiger!”
Johnson continued, “Being included in the Mt Pleasant High School Athletic Hall of Fame is completely unexpected, but one of the biggest honors I’ve received as an athlete. Softball has been and continues to be a huge part of my life, once as a player and now as a coach. Being recognized in such a way gives me a great deal of pride. As I tell my children, who are working as student-athletes to accomplish their goals, and my Varsity softball team, success results from the little things done daily when no one is looking. Success comes from sacrificing time and dedication to the game while being a servant leader in pushing your teammates to do the same. Define your ‘Why’ and attack the day with a ‘Get To’ attitude, not a ‘Got To’ attitude. Approach practice and training with a Grit and a Mental Toughness that leaves you completely drained. Approaching your preparation this way leaves you no doubt that you got better that day. There are much BIGGER things in life than Athletics.
Approaching Athletics the right way will teach you lessons in life that will give you the strength, mental toughness, and confidence to succeed in those BIGGER situations. Go Tigers!”
Johnson lives in Gainesville, GA, with her husband of 19 years, JR, and their children, sixteen-year-old Emma Claire and twelve-year-old Riley. She is a Special Education teacher and the Head Softball Coach at North Hall High School.
Tripp MacKay graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 1992, where he racked up an impressive list of accolades with Tiger Baseball. He was a two-time High School All-American, a two-time Texas Amateur Player of the Year, All-State, District Player of the Year, and both an All-District second baseman and an All-District shortstop, to name a few.
After graduation, MacKay played baseball at the University of Florida and Oklahoma State University, ultimately earning his degree from OSU. He played in the College World Series with OSU as a collegiate athlete. He was a Second Team All-American selection, All-Conference, MVP, Academic All-American, and Rookie of the Year.
Before attending college, the Texas Rangers drafted MacKay right out of high school. After his career at OSU, the Montreal Expos drafted him, where he played for the Vermont Expos in 1996, the Cape Fear Crocs in 1997, the Winnipeg Goldeyes from 1998-1999, and the Sioux City Explorers from 1999-2000.
After his time as a professional player, MacKay has been the Assistant Baseball Coach at Blinn College, the Head Baseball Coach for the Dallas Tigers, the Assistant Softball Coach at both the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas, and is currently the Head Softball Coach at Kennesaw State University.
MacKay said, “Work makes it work. Many people don’t realize how much work goes into being an athlete to be an average athlete. So, if you want to be above average in sports or life, you must put in the work. The work will pay off.”
He and his wife, Holly, have been married for 23 years and have three children, Ali, Jack, and Brooks. They live in Acworth, GA.
Frankie Thomas graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 1984 and was a standout athlete in football, basketball, track, and baseball. His list of honors is lengthy. He was named All-District, All-Northeast Texas, and All-East Texas as a junior and again as a senior in football and was a Third Team All-State Football selection his senior year. In basketball, he earned All-District and All-East Texas honors. In track, he was the District Champion in the High Jump as a senior and advanced to Regionals as a junior and senior.
Thomas was awarded a full scholarship to SMU, but after the infamous “death penalty” in the mid-80s, he transferred to the University of Houston his senior year. He was a double major in both Sociology and Criminal Law. As a collegiate athlete, he earned All-Southwest Conference and Honorable Mention All-American as both a junior and a senior.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Thomas in 1988 and immediately traded him to the Dallas Cowboys. He ultimately had to retire due to a neck and head injury in 1990.
When asked about his favorite memory from MPHS athletics, Thomas said it was “being on the 1983 track team coached by Mike Fields and Wayne Hill. We won every track meet that year, including district, and our only loss came in Regionals. Also, being coached and mentored by Wayne Hill and Tony Thompson.” His favorite collegiate football memories are winning the Southwest Conference and making the game-saving tackle on the soon-to-be Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Brown.
When asked what he would say to student-athletes who will see him receive this honor, he said, “Personally, I think I might have been the only kid after three weeks of summer that was ready for it to be over so I could put that MP helmet back on. I had two brothers who hadn’t missed an MP game in 35 years, Ronnie Brooks and the late Donald Curtis. At 11, I told them I would be on that wall one day, and they looked at me and said, ‘You will have to work hard.’ Your little brother made it! To the student-athletes now, honor thy Lord and Savior; second, education is the key; and third, find your passion and go after it with your heart, but have a backup plan in case things don’t work out. As a defensive back (safety), I idolized three guys: Mike Brown, Powell Bowers, and the big dog Keith Stanberry.
Thank you, guys, for setting the bar for me. God bless, and let’s go Tigers!”
Thomas lives in Mount Pleasant in the White Oak community with his wife of 14 years, Rena Brown Thomas, a former MPHS Cheerleader and 1979 graduate. He works for the 76th and 276th districts in the Community and Corrections Department.
Stanley Veasley graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 1993, where he lettered in football, basketball, and track. He earned district honors with Tiger football, and they named him to the All-State football team as a defensive back. In track, he won a state bronze medal in the 110 hurdles.
After graduation, Veasley played football for Trinity Valley Junior College and Angelo State University. He went on to play arena football for the Milwaukee Mustangs in 1997.
His favorite athletic memories include going 32-2 with MPHS basketball, playing basketball at the old Reunion Arena, qualifying for state in track and placing third in the 110 hurdles, and playing up on varsity as a sophomore with some “MPHS greats.”
When asked how athletics molded or shaped him into the person he is today, Veasley said, “Sports have been a transformative force in my life, molding me into the person I am today. My journey is balancing work, family, and a passion for athletics. My position demands my full attention as I strive to ensure seamless communication and collaboration with organization, precision, and the ability to adapt. Beyond the confines of my 9:00-to-5:00, I embark on a second mission—driven by my love for sports and a commitment to helping others. I spent five rewarding years as an Assistant Coach at Dallas Christian. I played a pivotal role in athletes’ personal growth, instilling values such as teamwork, dedication, perseverance, and sportsmanship. After hours these days, you’ll find me on the field, training athletes from youth to professionals in their off-season. These sessions are not just about physical conditioning but also about instilling discipline, teamwork, and a winning mindset, the same core values that they taught to me on the field, court, and track at MPHS.”
He continued, “Being inducted into the Mt. Pleasant Athletic Hall of Fame holds profound significance in my life. It represents the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and passion for sports. This honor isn’t just about recognition; it’s a testament to the values instilled in me through athletics. This induction validates the countless hours spent on the field, track, and court. It acknowledges the sacrifices, early mornings, and late nights dedicated to honing my skills and pushing my limits. It’s a reflection of the unwavering commitment that sports demands.
Moreover, being part of the Hall of Fame is a tribute to the incredible coaches, teammates, and family who’ve been part of my athletic journey. Their support, guidance, and camaraderie have been instrumental in my success. I’ve learned that perseverance and resilience are vital to overcoming challenges. Athletics taught me to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to adversity, and strive for excellence. Being inducted reaffirms that these lessons extend far beyond the playing field.
This recognition inspires me to continue giving back to the sports community. It’s my responsibility to mentor and support the next generation of athletes, sharing the knowledge and values I’ve gained throughout my journey. Ultimately, the Mt. Pleasant Athletic Hall of Fame induction is a profound honor that serves as a touchstone for my accomplishments and a catalyst for future aspirations. It reminds us of the transformative power of sports and its enduring impact on our lives.”
He has been married to his wife, Amy, another MPHS graduate, for 27 years. They have three children, Jaylen, Peyton, and Livi, and a grandson, Jaxon. They live in Rockwall, where he manages Audio/Visual collaborations for 7-Eleven’s corporate office in Irving.