The Howard Payne University Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2007 inductees on Wednesday. L.J. Clayton, David Gilger, and Dale Fisher will be inducted in a ceremony to be held during Homecoming weekend on October 27, 2007 in the Mabee University Center at 7:30 P.M.
L. J. Clayton – SHOF 2007
In 1969, L. J. Clayton graduated from Green B. Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth, Texas. Clayton’s freshman year at HPU he played football and ran sprints on the track team.
He continued playing football on into his senior year, when he led the Yellow Jackets in punt return yards, pass receptions, reception yards, and touchdown receptions. That season he was named first-team All-Lone Star Conference and All-American. He graduated from Howard Payne in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Health.
Clayton was picked up as a free-agent by the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles. He was released in pre-season but very quickly found his way to the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) Toronto Argonauts. His rookie season in the CFL he was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year, playing wide-receiver and cornerback. During L.J.’s time in the CFL, he became known as “Lime Juice” or “Lemon Juice” Clayton. He played three seasons with the Argonauts and then one season with the Ottawa Roughriders before retiring.
Currently a teacher and coach at Irving Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, Clayton is also an Associate Minister at Greater Love Missionary Baptist Church. L. J. and wife Lori, also an HPU alumnus, have been married 30 years.
David Gilger – SHOF 2007
David Gilger was a standout football player during his years at Brownwood High School. In the fall of 1956, he decided to attend Howard Payne University, where his father, L.L. “Toots” Gilger, had attended and played football.
As was the case in that era of the game, he played both offense and defense. His freshman year he was marked as an offensive guard, but beginning his second year, he played linebacker and center.
His leadership gained him the respect of his teammates and coaches, as evidenced by the fact that they named him a Co-Captain his senior year. Gilger helped lead the Yellow Jackets to a 6-4 record. It was during that season at center that he made his mark – garnering All-Lone Star Conference and Dallas Morning News All Texas College Team honors.
After graduating from Howard Payne College in 1960, with a double major in Business and Education, he became a successful businessman in the ranching industry in San Saba, Texas. Gilger is a former member of the San Saba Independent School District School Board and a longtime member of First United Methodist Church of San Saba, Texas. David and Barbara, his wife of 47 years, still reside in San Saba.
Dale Fisher – SHOF 2007
Dale Fisher is a 1957 graduate of Comanche High School, where he was a football and All-State basketball player. Fisher’s first year at Howard Payne his classmates named him Friendliest Freshman.
Originally recruited by Howard Payne basketball coach Glen Whitis, Fisher played basketball and football his first year at HPU. He truly excelled for the next three seasons on the football field.
Fisher played running-back and safety for the Yellow Jackets. In his sophomore season of 1959, he led Howard Payne in rushing yards, interceptions, and returned punt yardage. As a senior in 1961, his accomplished performance won him All-Lone Star Conference honors as a safety.
Since leaving Howard Payne College in 1961, he has become a successful businessman in oil field construction. He is now the current owner of Fisher Oil Company. Dale has committed his life to the service of others and has shown it through his generosity. Dale and his wife Vicky of 32 years live in Big Lake, Texas. They are longtime members of First Baptist Church of Big Lake, Texas.
Tickets to the Sports Hall of Fame banquet are $12 per person. Advance reservations are required; please contact the Howard Payne University Alumni Office at 325-649-8006 or 1-800-950-8465.
Founded in 1889, HPU is a Christian, coeducational university offering a full array of liberal arts, pre-professional, and honors studies, as well as a graduate program to its students. Located on a residential main campus in Brownwood, Texas, and at seven extension centers across the state, the university is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
HPU was ranked #3 in the “Best Value” among comprehensive bachelor’s degree-granting institutions in the Western region of the United States according to “America’s Best Colleges 2008,” published by U.S.News & World Report. Additionally, for the fifth consecutive year, HPU was named in the “Top Schools” category. The university was also recognized in five other categories including “Highest Proportion of Classes Under 20,” “Lowest Acceptance Rate,” “Highest Graduation Rate,” “Campus Ethnic Diversity,” and “Economic Diversity.”Howard Payne University to
induct three into Sports Hall of Fame