December 9, 2022


healthy part of faith

Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame to add four new members Sunday

4 min read

The time has come once again to honor the best of the Panhandle this year and year’s past.

The 64th Annual Texas Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame ceremony is set to take place at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Amarillo Civic Center’s Grand Plaza. There will be four new members added to the Hall while a host of other awards will be given out in recognition of the best athletes and coaches of the year.

Amarillo native Steve McFarland, Amarillo native and Texas Tech alum Becky Boxwell McIlraith, Tech alum Elmer Tarbox and Pampa alum Wayne Kreis are the four members of the 2022 class.

Traditionally held in February, the ceremony was moved to June last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will remain there permanently.

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McFarland graduated from Alamo Catholic in 1969 before going on to the University of Texas where he participated in trampoline. After the NCAA dropped trampoline as a sport, he transferred to the University of Miami where he committed himself fully to the sport of diving.

The result of the switch?

Two AAU national titles in platform diving (1973 and 1974), two bronze medals at the World University Games in ’74, and a sixth place finish in the 1976 U.S. Olympic Trials.

McFarland moved on to coaching, becoming head coach at Miami in 1978 and serving in that role until 1984. He coached four All-Americans during his tenure, including 1976 Olympic gold medalist Phil Boggs and four-time Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis.

Following his coaching tenure, McFarland went into a broadcasting career that spanned 17 years, including coverage of the 1988 and ’92 Olympics for NBC. He was a diving judge in the 2000 and ’04 Olympics, served as vice-president and president of USA Diving and was CEO and chairman of Duraflex International Corp, a role he retired from last year.

McFarland and his wife Beth live in St. Louis, Missouri. They have two grown sons.

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McIlraith was an outstanding volleyball player at Amarillo ISD in the early 1980’s. Under her maiden name, Boxwell, she was an integral part of the 1983 team that won 38 matches. Though women’s college athletic scholarships were still uncommon at the time, she still managed to ink her name with Texas Tech.

McIllraith played three seasons with the Red Raiders from 1985-87, becoming the first woman in school history to be named to the All-Southwest Conference three times in any sport. She was also the first Tech volleyball player to make the NCAA All-Region team and was once the owner of the single season kill record.

She was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 2005. McIlraith and her husband, Jay, reside in Amarillo. They have two grown children.

Tarbox grew up in Higgins and joined the Red Raiders football team in 1935. He went on to produce one of the most storied careers in Tech history playing both as a running back and defensive back.

As a senior, Tarbox led the nation in yards per catch, finished seventh in rushing yards and 10th in receiving yards. He also hauled in 11 interceptions on defense in a single season, which remains a school record to this day. He tallied 17 interceptions in his career, second most all-time in program history, and co-MVP of the 1939 Cotton Bowl.

Though drafted 18th overall out of college by the Cleveland Browns, he opted instead to serve his country as a fighter pilot in World War II. He was elected to the Texas State House of Representatives in 1966 and went on to serve this role for 10 years.

Tarbox died of Parkinson’s at the age of 71 in 1987. He was inducted into the Texas Tech Ring of Honor in 2021.

Kreis was a starter for the Pampa basketball team in 1962 and ’63. He helped lead the 1963 team to a record of 29-1 while averaging a team-high 19.9 points per game.

Following the conclusion of his prep career, Kreis signed with TCU and was a starter for the next three years. The 5-foot-10 guard averaged double figures in points each season from 1965-67 (14.7, 15.7 and 13.8 points per game, respectively). He was named TCU’s MVP as a senior and finished his career with 1,002 points in 68 games. He’s fifth all-time in school history for free-throw percentage (81.2).

Kreis graduated from UT Law School in 1971. He practiced law for several years before moving to the oil and gas industry for the remainder of his lifetime. He died in 2019 at the age of 74.

Additionally, the 2021-22 coaches and athletes of the year in 11 sports and five special award winners will be announced at the ceremony.


What: 64th Annual Texas Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Amarillo Civic Center’s Grand Plaza room

Extra info: There is no admission charge and a free catered reception is scheduled during and following the ceremonies.

Coverage: Follow @hpisani91 for updates from the 64th Annual Texas Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame.

This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Texas Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame to add four new members Sunday