Former Texas A&M punter Shane Lechler has been elected to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot.
Lechler, a two-time All-American at A&M in 1998-99, is part of the Hall of Fame’s 2020 class. Joining him are former Texas Ranger Adrian Beltre, former Texas shot-putter Michelle Carter, soccer player Clint Dempsey, former Baylor quarterback and 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, Olympian Francie Larrieu Smith and women’s basketball standout Teresa Weatherspoon.
Lechler set an NCAA record with a career average of 44.7 yards per punt. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the fifth round of the NFL draft in 2000 and played 13 seasons for the Raiders before finishing his career with the Houston Texans from 2013-2017. He is the NFL career leader in punting average at 47.6 yards per punt. The nine-time All-Pro made the NFL’s 2000’s Team of the Decade and the 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Lechler, who was a standout in multiple sports at East Bernard, is married to former A&M All-American volleyball player Erin Gibson.
Beltre was a four-time all-star and five-time gold glove winner who had 3,166 hits.
Carter won four state championships at Red Oak and was a seven-time All-American at Texas. She won the gold medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Dempsey, a Nacogdoches native, was a three-time U.S. Male Soccer Athlete of the Year who retired from the MLS in 2018.
Griffin led Baylor to a 10-3 record in 2011. He was the second pick in the 2012 NFL draft and currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens.
Smith set 36 U.S. records and 12 world bests in events ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 meters. She was the cross country and track and field coach for both men at women at Southwestern from 1999-2018.
Weatherspoon led Louisiana Tech to the 1988 NCAA championship. She won a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics and a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics.
The group will be inducted at 6 p.m. March 28 at the Waco Convention Center. A reception will be held at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame at 4 p.m. Tickets are $200 for both events and $1,400 for a reserved table of eight. Banquet tickets are $75 each or $600 for a table of eight. For more information, call 800-567-9561.
Former A&M football coach Jackie Sherrill and Indiana Pacers assistant general manager Kelly Krauskopf, who played at A&M for three seasons, were nominees. Sherrill was on the ballot last year while it was the first time for Krauskopf, a 1983 A&M graduate. Other nominees were Dallas Cowboys administrator Charlotte Jones Anderson, former Houston sprinter Leroy Burrell, former Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver, former Dallas Stars coach Ken Hitchcock, former Texas and NFL running back Priest Holmes, former Texas and NFL linebacker Derrick Johnson, former Texas Tech track coach Wes Kittley, former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, gymnast Carly Patterson, TCU football coach Gary Patterson, former Texas softball pitcher Christa Williams, Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt and former Baylor basketball player Sophia Young.