UTPA alumni to be inducted into RGV Sports Hall of Fame
Contact: Office of University Relations 956-665-2741
Posted: 06/14/2010
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Five alumni from The University of Texas-Pan American will be among seven honorees to be inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Sports Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame, founded in 1985, honors athletes and coaches who have brought recognition to high schools and institutions of higher learning in the Rio Grande Valley either as athletes or coaches.

The nonprofit organization celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and will have its 2010 Induction Ceremony Friday, June 18 at the Victoria Palms Resort Conference Center in Donna. Many of the past 182 inductees will be in attendance for the ceremony.

Luis Alamia Jr.
UTPA alumni to be inducted are Luis Alamia Jr., Willie Garcia, Erasmo "Mo" Molina Jr., Kathy Abbenante Howell and Otto Moore. The other two honorees to be inducted are Rey Farias and Donny Martin.

Alamia, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees from UTPA , was once known as the "Prince of Thieves" after having set a national NAIA record for stolen bases at New Mexico Highlands. At Highlands he hit .304 and broke the record for steals in 1962 before returning to the Valley and finishing his career at UTPA.

Alamia lettered four times in baseball and twice in basketball and gained All-State recognition while attending Edinburg High School. He played semi-professional baseball for several years and coached Edinburg High to two district titles in the late 1960s. Now an assistant principal at Edinburg North High School, Alamia continues to support youth sports programs.

Willie Garcia

Despite losing his right arm in an accident at 14 years old, Garcia went on to become a member of the All-District football team in 1953 as a senior center from Rio Grande City High School. He played baseball at then Pan American University in the mid-1950s.

Garcia is best known for his successes as a high school coach. He won two state titles as head track coach at St. Joseph High School in Brownsville in 1972 and 1973. Garcia served as a principal at the elementary and high school levels and was given Congressional Recognition by U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz in 2000 for a lifetime of service.

Erasmo "Mo" Molina Jr.

Molina, one of the area's most accomplished basketball mentors, has always been known for producing consistent winners. Molina, who earned a bachelor's and master's degree from UTPA, won five letters in basketball and baseball in high school and coached various sports at high schools in Rio Hondo, San Benito and PSJA before coming to McAllen Memorial High School in 1985.

With the Memorial Mustangs, Molina won 20 games eight times in 14 years, including district titles in 1986 and 1990. He is a seven-time Coach of the Year with almost 400 wins. Molina also served as an assistant coach with the RGV Silverados. He assumed head coach duties at Marine Military Academy a few years ago.

Kathy Howell

Howell, who earned a bachelor's and master's degree from UTPA, won eight district titles as a track and cross country coach of Mission and Veterans Memorial high schools. She started as a basketball and track coach at Mission Junior High School and from 1979-1985 led the team to five titles in basketball and four in track.

Howell also led the cross country team to the state championship in 1991 and led her teams to win numerous regional and district titles.

Otto Moore

Moore came to UTPA in the in the 1960s from Miami and was the University's No. 1 all-time rebounder and scorer. Moore, a 6-foot-11-inch center, scored 1,880 points and grabbed 1,679 boards from 1965-1968.

Moore was a first-round choice in the 1968 draft by the Detroit Pistons. He went on to enjoy a nine-year career with the NBA with five teams, including the Houston Rockets.

Tickets may be purchased for the banquet by calling Board President Charlie Vaughan at 956/428-2636 or Director Carlos Vela at 956/787-6687.