Posted on August 14, 2020
The Bulldog Hall of Fame’s 12-member Class of 2020 has starpower. The second induction class honors five coaches, five athletes, its first team and a couple whose dedication to the athletic program spanned more than four decades of Navarro College’s 75-year history. From another perspective, the class features two NJCAA Football Hall of Famers, three successful head coaches currently directing NCAA programs, and four athletes who reached the professional level.
New members selected in June by the screening committee include football’s Nick Bobeck, Harold Hern, Ray Jacobs and Kelvin Russell; basketball’s David Burns, Johnny Estelle, and Brent “Buzz’ Williams; baseball’s Chris Davis, Brock Holt and Derwood ‘Pop’ Penney; the 2000 Navarro Cheer squad; and community supporters Johnny and Faye Sirman.
“Bulldog Athletics has a storied past and a tradition of success and much of that foundation was created by the members of this year’s induction class.” Navarro Athletic Director Michael Landers said. “All-Americans, National Champions, professional athletes, collegiate head coaches, this group left a legacy at Navarro that still makes an impact on our programs today.”
There will be a formal induction ceremony in spring of 2021at the Cook Education Center with further details being announced later this fall. “We look forward to the spring when we have all of our inductees on campus and we can honor them the way they deserve,” Landers added. “The last several months have presented so many opportunities for us, but today is a great day for the Bulldog Nation to celebrate a new group of hall of famers!”
“This class of inductees epitomizes the vision of Navarro College to be a nationally recognized higher education institution as well as the tradition, history, legacy, values, and championship success that define BULLDOG PRIDE,” said Dr. Kevin G. Fegan, Navarro College District President. “We are very proud that each of these individuals are a part of Navarro College history and even prouder to honor them by inducting them into our Bulldog Hall of Fame.”
Our deserving honorees are listed alphabetically:
Nick Bobeck coached Navarro football to a 42-5 record in four seasons (2008-2011) highlighted by an NJCAA Championship in 2010, four Top 5 finishes, three bowl victories, two outright SWJCFC championships and two unbeaten regular seasons. At age 28 after his first head-coaching season, Bobeck was honored as the 2008 NJCAA Coach of The Year. Bobeck returned to his alma mater, The University of Central Oklahoma, where he is entering his ninth season as the Bronchos’ head coach.
Dallas South Oak Cliff product David Burns led Navarro basketball to a two-year record of 58-9, highlighted by ascension to the NJCAA’s No. 1 ranking in the country. The dynamic guard averaged 17.4 points and 5.1 rebounds while leading the Bulldogs to a bi-regional playoff against Western Texas, coached by Nolan Richardson and featuring former NBA star Paul Pressey. Burns became a two-time All-Metro Conference performer at Saint Louis University and earned the 1981 Metro Conference Player of the Year. Burns remains the Billikens’ scoring average leader (19.4 ppg) and ranks among single-season Top 10s there in points, scoring average, field goal percentage and steals. The Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American was drafted in the third round of the 1982 NBA draft by the New Jersey Nets, the 49th selection overall.
Longview native Chris Davis left Navarro baseball as its career leader in home runs (31) and RBI (125) and signed as a fifth-round draft choice of the Texas Rangers in 2006. Davis, nicknamed ‘Crush,’ led MLB in home runs (53) and RBI (138) in 2013, when he was named to the AL All-Star Team, won a Silver Slugger, and finished third in the MVP Voting. He also led the majors in home runs (47) in 2015, when he finished No. 14 in the AL MVP Voting. Davis is a three-time nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award (2017, 2018, 2019).
Johnny Estelle guided Navarro basketball to the NJCAA Tournament three times, and was part of Navarro’s unprecedented run of six Region XIV Tournament championship game appearances in seven years (2 as assistant and 4 as head coach). His Navarro resume also includes two NJCAA All-America First-Team honorees, 16 Region XIV All-Conference members, 12 Region XIV All-Tournament Team members and four Region XIV Texas All-Stars vs. United States All-Star Game competitors. His 30-7 team matched a Navarro record for single-season victories, and reached the NJCAA’s No. 2 ranking – its highest since 1979.
Harold Hern played college baseball at Navarro, and later became a junior college basketball coach here for three seasons before embarking on a 13-year career as head football coach that resulted in three conference championships, seven runners-up and two bowl championships in three appearances. In 2009, Hern was selected to the NJCAA Football Hall of Fame after compiling an 89-39-2 record in 130 games between 1973 and 1985. Hern, a one-time draft choice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, played on Navarro’s 1959 baseball team that finished third during its first-ever NJCAA Tournament at Miami, Ok.
Brock Holt is completing his ninth season of major league baseball. The NJCAA All-Star and two-time, first-team All-Texas Eastern Athletic Conference shortstop for the Bulldogs in 2007 and 2008 also played at Rice University with coach Wayne Graham’s 43-18 Owls. A ninth-round draft pick by Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009, Holt was traded to Boston, where he spent seven seasons with the Red Sox. The four-time Roberto Clemente Award nominee was chairman five years of The Jimmy Fund to benefit The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Boston. Holt finished eighth in balloting for the 2014 AL Rookie of The Year and was selected as Boston’s only AL All-Star representative in 2015. On Oct. 2018, he became the first player to hit a post-season cycle as the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 16-1, in the American League Division Series.
Ray Jacobs is the highest selected of Navarro’s nine first-round professional football draft picks during the program’s 74-year history. The three-time All-Lone Star Conference defensive lineman and two-time NAIA All-American at Howard Payne University was taken with the first round’s seventh pick by the American Football League’s Houston Oilers. Jacobs, who played at Corsicana High School and Navarro College, started 25 of the 79 professional games in which he played for the Denver Broncos (1963-66), Miami Dolphins (1967-68) and Boston Patriots (1969). Despite limitations by multiple injuries, he led Miami tacklers in 1968 (107). Jacobs retired and became Texas high school football coach at Mabank, and later, a defensive coach at Corsicana.
Derwood Penney, known as ‘Pops,’ was a volunteer assistant coach 16 years for Navarro Baseball. He loved all players as if they were his own. He taught them not only about baseball, but becoming young men. Pops had a strong Christian faith and loved to share his faith with everyone. Pops was a middle infielder for Corsicana High and Navarro (1958-1961). He played second base for coach Jesse Cummings’ 1958 state finalist Corsicana Tigers as a junior. Penney later followed Cummings as a Navarro baseball volunteer assistant. Before his retirement, Pops was a farm parts department manager for more than 45 years with J.A. Penney Implement and also Vitters Tractor in Corsicana.
Kelvin Russell earned NJCAA Football Hall of Fame membership in 2018. During Russell's two-year tenure with the Bulldogs (1976 and 1977), Navarro amassed 16 wins, and claimed a Texas Junior College Football Conference championship, a co-conference title, and a 35-28 win over NEO in the Garland Texas JUCO Bowl in 1977. Upon his departure, Russell ranked first in Navarro history in career carries, career yardage, single-season yards, and single season yards per game. Russell's 342 career carries and rushing yardage of 1,935 still ranks second in program history. Following his NC career, Russell moved on to play football at the University of Texas-El Paso.
Johnny and Faye Sirman, married 47 years, were devotees to Navarro College athletics, dating back to the 1970s. Honored multiple times as “Bulldog Backers of the Year,” the Sirmans attended all Navarro football and basketball games. After her husband, Johnny, the owner of Sirman Auto in Corsicana, passed in 2000, Faye continued to attend basketball games regularly until her passing in 2017 at age 93. The most avid of fans, she made trips to Hutchinson, Ks., for Navarro’s three NJCAA Tournament appearances there. Faye, a former bookkeeper at State National and Corsicana National Banks, generally was the first fan through the doors at Wolens SEC and occupied the same top-row seat as she and Johnny had done for years at old Bulldog Gym. She loved HER Bulldogs…. (and HER Tigers, Cowboys and Rangers, too).
Brent Langdon Williams always has had the floor, and he’s got it again -- from his days as the floor maintenance manager at Navarro through an ongoing 15-year collegiate basketball coaching career. Recognized now as ‘Buzz,’ Williams has served as head coach at The University of New Orleans, Marquette, Virginia Tech, and now, Texas A&M University. The Van Alstyne, Tx., native last season earned Southeast Conference Coach Of The Year honors after leading the Aggies to a 16-14 first season. At Marquette, his Golden Eagles won the 2013 Big East regular-season championship. At each of his stops, he created a successful “Buzz’s Bunch,” program for special-needs children.
The 2000 Navarro Cheer team was the first of 14 National Cheer Association championship squads coached by Bulldog Hall of Famer Monica Aldama. Cheer 2000 achieved the highest score of a competition that didn’t award a Grand National Championship at that time.