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School Hall of Fame Includes Some in NFL, NBA

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Seven prominent sports figures from San Antonio ISD’s will be inducted into the fourth annual SAISD Athletic Hall of Fame during a special ceremony to be held in their honor on Aug. 25. Master of ceremonies will be Gary DeLaune, a legendary TV and Radio newsman whose career spans nearly 60 years in broadcasting.

Following their induction, bronze plaques commemorating the honorees will be on permanent display at the east visitor’s entrance of Alamo Stadium.

The honorees are:

Fennis Dembo – an All-State basketball player at Fox Tech HS. This 1984 graduate starred at point guard. Dembo helped lead his high school team to the UIL state semi-finals in 1984. He played college basketball at the University of Wyoming. He rose to stardom, becoming the Cowboys all-time leading scorer and rebounder in school history. He accumulated 2,311 points and 954 rebounds in four years at Wyoming. He helped lead the team to the Sweet Sixteen of the 1987 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.  At the 1987 NCAA Tournament, Dembo was the leading scorer averaging 27.8 points a game. He was drafted into the National Basketball Association and helped the Detroit Pistons win the 1989 NBA championship.

Tai Dillard – a 1999 Sam Houston HS alum who was an All-State and All-City basketball player. She was a star shooting guard and helped lead Sam Houston to back-to-back UIL state basketball championship tournament appearances in 1998 and 1999. She played college basketball for four seasons at the University of Texas at Austin (1999-2003). She was a two-time Big 12 All-Academic honoree and she was named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll five times. Dillard went on to play in the inaugural season for the San Antonio Silver Stars of the Women’s National Basketball Association in 2003. She played for the Silver Stars from 2003-2005. After her playing career ended, she became a high school and college women’s basketball coach.

Dolores “Delo” Dyer – regarded as a pioneer in high school girls athletics. She coached volleyball for 16 seasons at Jefferson HS and built a winning dynasty for the Mustangs. Dyer became the first-ever volleyball coach for Jefferson in 1972 when the UIL officially recognized volleyball as a championship sport. In her coaching career, she amassed an incredible 410-80 overall record for a winning percentage of .837, the winningest percentage for volleyball in San Antonio history. Dyer guided the Lady Mustangs to nine straight league championships. In 1979, she led her Mustangs to the UIL state championship finals against Cypress Creek HS. Jefferson won an amazing 92 straight district matches between 1978-1984 under Dyer.

Darryl Baris Grant – a star offensive and defensive lineman for the Highlands HS football team. The 1977 graduate played college football at Rice University. In 1981, he was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the National Football League. Grant helped the Redskins make the playoffs six times, including three trips to the Super Bowl (two wins) and four conference championship appearances (three wins). He is best remembered for his 1983 NFC Championship game against the Dallas Cowboys, where he intercepted a pass for a 10-yard touchdown. Grant played in 141 games for the Redskins from 1981-1990, finishing with 27 sacks and two interceptions. His best season was in 1984 when he recorded a career-high eight sacks.

Clifford Johnson – a 1966 graduate of Wheatley High School and a standout athlete in baseball, football, basketball and track. He was the star catcher for the Wheatley Lions in his senior year. In 1966, he was drafted into professional baseball by the Houston Astros. After six seasons in the minor leagues, he made his major league debut for the Astros in 1972. He played catcher, first base and outfield in the early part of his professional career before becoming primarily a full-time designated hitter. Johnson played a total of 15 years and for seven different teams in Major League Baseball. Two of those seasons, he helped the New York Yankees win back-to-back World Series championships in 1977 and 1978.

David Vela – a 1979 Burbank HS alum, who was an All-City football player and was named to the 1970’s All-Decade high school football team by the San Antonio Express-News. He helped lead his Burbank Bulldogs to the school’s only undefeated regular season at 10-0 in 1978. He was a Little All-American football player at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, now called Texas State University. He set a school record in most receiving yards and touchdown receptions in 1981, a record that stood until 2008. With Vela, the Bobcats won two National Division II Football Championships in 1981 and 1982. He played professional football for the Oakland Raiders (National Football League) and San Antonio Gunslingers (United States Football League) from 1983-1986.

Julius Whittier – a 1969 Highlands HS graduate who was a star football player and team captain. He made an historical impact by becoming the first African American to ever letter in football at the University of Texas at Austin. He played offensive tackle and tight end for the Longhorns. He helped the team win three Southwest Conference championships (1970, 1971 and 1972) and one National Division I Championship in 1970. Following college graduation, he earned a graduate degree at the LBJ School of Public Affairs in 1976 and completed a law degree.

About the SAISD Athletic Hall of Fame

Each year, the SAISD Athletic Hall of Fame honors alumni who have made a positive impact in sports, either through excellent athletic achievements or excellent athletic program contributions. In addition to outstanding athleticism, inductees were chosen for their distinction and excellence to the District by their conduct both on and off the field, or court, of competition.

Nominations for the class of 2018 were received this past year and selection was made by a committee. The SAISD Athletic Hall of Fame is sponsored by the SAISD Athletic Department and receives support from the SAISD Foundation. For more information, go here: www.saisd.net/athletichalloffame2018.

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Naomi Osaka Wins 2020 US Open

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No. 4 seed Naomi Osaka rallied for a thrilling 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka to win the women’s singles title at the 2020 US Open.

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Sports World Went On Pause

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If you’re into to sports or just keeping up with the world today, the NBA, WNBA, and MLB made a decision on Wednesday, August 27, 2020 to stand in solidarity to boycott their games in protest of the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake who was shot seven times in the back by the Kenosha Wisconsin police department just days ago.

The ripple effect started when the Milwaukee Bucks who were set to play game five of the NBA playoff game inside “the bubble.” Players read a statement and refused to take the floor. Others in the sports world followed suit speaking out and canceling games, making their voices heard loud and clear.

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Washington Football Team Appoints Jason Wright as President

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Aug 17, 2020 at 08:00 AM

(from) Washington Football Team Public Relations

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – The Washington Football Team announced today that they have appointed Jason Wright team president. In this role, Wright will be responsible for leading the organization’s business divisions, including operations, finance, sales, and marketing. He will join Coach Ron Rivera, who maintains all on-field responsibilities and football decisions, in reporting directly to team owner, Dan Snyder.

“If I could custom design a leader for this important time in our history, it would be Jason. His experience as a former player, coupled with his business acumen, gives him a perspective that is unrivaled in the league,” said Washington Football Team owner, Dan Snyder. “We will not rest until we are a championship caliber team, on and off the field. Jason has a proven track record in helping businesses transform culturally, operationally and financially. He is a proactive and assertive advocate for inclusion of all people and will set new standards for our organization, and for the league. There could not be a better duo than Jason Wright and Coach Ron Rivera as we usher in a new era for Washington Football.”

“From football to business school to McKinsey, I have always enjoyed building exciting new things and taking on the hard, seemingly intractable challenges that others may not want to tackle. I especially love doing this with organizations who have deep history and values that set a firm foundation. This team, at this time, is an ideal opportunity for me,” added Wright. “The transformation of the Washington Football Team is happening across all aspects of the organization – from football to operations to branding to culture – and will make us a truly modern and aspirational franchise. We want to set new standards for the NFL. As a DMV local and fan, I’ve been watching this team with interest long before I knew I could become part of it. I believe in Dan Snyder’s vision for this organization, and I am looking forward to partnering with Coach Rivera, who is a champion for the players and one of the great minds in football. Together, we will define the future of the Washington Football Team.”

Coach Ron Rivera added, “I remember Jason as a player, and it is no surprise to me that he went on to achieve the caliber of success that Jason has in his time in the business world. From my conversations with his former teammates and coaches plus my own with Jason, I have come to see that we share many of the same core values and beliefs. Because he knows the NFL firsthand and how fast it moves, I am excited to have him on board to head up the front office and operations, so that I can focus on what’s most important to the fans in our community – winning football games.”

Wright spent seven years as a running back in the NFL with stops in San Francisco, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Arizona, where he was the Cardinals’ team captain and labor-union representative during the league’s 2011 lockout. Upon his retirement from the gridiron, he received his M.B.A., graduating with high honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and building on his undergraduate studies in psychology at Northwestern University, where he was also an Academic All-American and captain of the football team.

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