Eight inducted into ENMU Hall of Honors

CNJ staff

Former Eastern New Mexico University head coach Bud Elliott and longtime area high school basketball coach Jimmy Joe Robinson were among eight inductees Saturday into ENMU’s Athletic Hall of Honors during halftime of the Greyhounds’ homecoming football game against Angelo State at Blackwater Draw.

Others inducted included Jennifer (Harrer) Buzard (softball), Betty Gayle Cooper-Ratliff (rodeo), Tommy Hightower (football), Stacey (Estlund) Vladimiroff (volleyball) and Michael Walton (football), and longtime athletic supporter Russell Knudson.

* Elliott, who is recovering from broken leg suffered at home in a fall, retired as the Greyhounds’ football coach after last season. He went 68-49-2 in 11 years at ENMU, leading the team to two Lone Star Conference South Division co-titles and earning four South coach of the year honors, and finishing a 37-year college coaching career with a 205-179-9 record.

* Robinson played basketball, ran track and was a member of the rodeo team at ENMU from 1955-59. He went on to coach boys basketball at Clovis, Grady, Melrose and Lubbock, winning a state championship at Clovis in 1979 and taking three state titles Melrose.

* Buzard played softball from 1998-2001, leading the Zias to an LSC South title and a berth in the NCAA Division II national tournament in her senior season. She earned all-tournament honors at the nationals, and was named third-team All-American and first-team All-South Central Region that year.

Buzard, who is married to ENMU women’s basketball coach Dan Buzard, won 45 games at ENMU, including a 24-8 record in 2001 with records for earned run average, appearances, complete games, shutouts, innings pitched, strikeouts and opponents batting average. She also has several career marks for the Zias, including wins, and threw two career no-hitters.

* Cooper-Ratliff, who died of cancer in 1999, competed in rodeo from 1971-74, earning National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association All-Around Cowgirl honors in the 1972 College National Finals Rodeo in leading ENMU to the women’s team title.

She coached at Southwestern Oklahoma, leading the Lady Bulldogs to nine CNFR women’s team titles, and also experienced success in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.

* Hightower played fullback and defensive back at ENMU from 1954-57, helping the Hounds to a 27-10-1 record and playing on the only undefeated team in school history (9-0-1 in 1957). He spent a number of years as a high school coach, and concluded his coaching career as head coach at Western New Mexico from 1966-68.

* Vladimiroff played volleyball for the Zias as a setter in 1996 and 1997, recording the third-highest assist total in school history, earning All-LSC honorable mention status in 1996 and first-team honors in 1997.

* Walton played middle linebacker for the Hounds from 1996-99, starting all 44 games in his career and setting a school record with 515 total tackles. He earned second-team AP Little All-America honors in 1998 and was named to the first team the following year.

Walton was All-LSC South three times, making the first team twice and the second team once. He is in his sixth season as a member of the ENMU coaching staff.

* Knudson, who died from cancer last year, was an active member of the ENMU Bench Club and a regular attendee of most of the school’s athletic events.

A 1960 graduate of the University of New Mexico, he received an education specialist degree from Eastern in 1969 and was chosen for an Honorary Lifetime Alumni Award in 2002.