Lamar University athletics department will induct five new members into its Hall of Honor.
BEAUMONT, Texas — The Lamar University athletics department will induct five new members into the Cardinals Hall of Honor Saturday, Feb. 19th, during Hall of Fame weekend. That is the same date the LU men’s basketball team will host Stephen F. Austin. The class of 2021 includes Jesse Dickson (football – 2010-13), Kade Harrington (football – 2013-16), Kurt Phoenix (football – 1976-79 and track & field – 1980-81), Sandra Thomas (women’s basketball – 1974-78) and Larry Tidwell (women’s basketball coach, 2007-13).
A change to the normal Hall of Honor schedule (brought on by the COVID Pandemic), the 2021 induction ceremony was pushed to the spring 2022 semester because the 2020 class was pushed to the fall 2021 semester.
“We’re extremely excited to announcing the 2021 Cardinal Hall of Honor class,” said LU Director of Athletics Marco Born. “Due to the pandemic, this group has had to wait a little longer to be recognized but we’re looking forward to having each of them back on campus.”
The incoming 2021 class consists of four former student-athletes and a head coach. The group covers four decades of Lamar University athletics, and three different sports.
A member of the original signing class that brought football back to the Golden Triangle, Dickson was a stalwart on the Cardinals’ defensive line for four seasons. Dickson closed his career by earning third-team All-America honors and was named the 2013 Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year by CollegeSportsMadness.com. During his senior campaign, Dickson was the league’s only defensive linemen to rank among the Southland’s top 30 in total tackles. He also finished the year sixth in the league in sacks and led the conference tackles for a loss. A two-time All-Southland Conference selection Dickson graduated with more than 200 tackles, including 40 for losses and 29 sacks.
One of the most decorated athletes in school history, Harrington re-wrote the LU record books while landing the program in the national spotlight. A consensus First-Team All-American in 2015, Harrington was runner-up for the FCS Offensive Player of the Year Award that season (FCS football’s version of the Heisman Trophy). The 2015 SLC Offensive Player of the Year, Harrington became the school’s all-time leader in career 100-yard rushing performances, consecutive 100-yard rushing performances, career all-purpose yards, career rushing yards and scoring and was fourth all-time in yards of total offense. Overlooked by everyone other than LU on the recruiting trail, Harrington became just the seventh back in NCAA Division I history to rush for 2,000 yards in just 10 games – joining a list that includes Marcus Allen and Barry Sanders.
A two-sport athlete for the Cardinals during the late 70s and early 80s, Phoenix was a four-year letterwinner on the gridiron and a two-year letterman on the track. A 1979 All-Southland Conference selection in football, Phoenix was a two-way threat for the Red and White. Owner of the longest kickoff return in program history (98 yards), Phoenix also holds one of the longest punts returns in school history as well (82 yards). A two-time SLC Defensive Player of the Week selection, he was named the team’s Outstanding Defensive Linemen following a senior season that saw him rack up 166 tackles. Following his football career, Phoenix turned to the track where he became an elite hurdler.
Tidwell spent six seasons in Beaumont as the head coach of the women’s basketball team. Tidwell made an immediate impact on the Red and White turning the Cardinals from a conference also-ran into a Southland power. He set a school record with 128 wins (.660 winning percentage) and posted six consecutive winnings seasons for a program that had 12-straight sub-.500 season prior to his arrival. Tidwell guided the Cardinals to two conference divisional titles and the 2010 SLC regular-season title and a trip to the NCAA Championships. The Cardinals followed that up with a trip to the WNIT in 2011. He coached 10 players who would go on to play professionally, including one Olympian. Tidwell’s impact on the game reached international levels as he was asked to coach the Bahamian National Team as it attempted to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.
A trailblazer in LU women’s athletics, Thomas broke the color barrier for the women’s basketball team in 1974. The first African-American female basketball player in school history, Thomas would go on to be a four-year letterwinner, and would graduate as the school’s second all-time leading scorer (1,268 points) – a mark which still ranks among the program’s all-time top 10. Thomas also left LU second all-time in career field goals (508) and free throws (252). Considered a program workhorse during the late 70s, Thomas set a school record for games played (104) and guided the Cardinals to three 20-win seasons, 79 combined wins, two AIAW Regionals tournaments and the 1975 TAIAW Zone Championship.
The induction ceremony for the Class of 2021 will take place in McDonald Gym, Saturday, Feb. 19, at 11 a.m. The inductees will also be recognized at halftime of the men’s basketball game against SFA which tips off at 3 p.m.