DURANT, Okla. - Southeastern oficially inducted the five newest members of its Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday evening, when Drew Beard, Anthony Bruner, Dr. Edward Byrd, Olivia Franceskini and Bob Ledbetter were presented at a banquet in their honor.
The addition of these five standouts will bring the Hall of Fame’s total number of inductees to 77 as the class becomes the 19th induction class to enter the Hall since its inception in 1977.
“This class is a great representation of the long standing tradition of the Southeastern Athletics Hall of Fame,” said Director of Athletics Keith Baxter. “The honors that these inductees have garnered will build upon the already rich history of the Hall.”
“We look forward to honoring the inductees and their families this fall,” he continued.
Beard is one of SE’s most recognized figures on the football field as he piled up honors while quarterbacking the then Savages. In a career spanning the 2001-through-2004 seasons he was twice a Harlon Hill Award finalist and was a two-time All-American. He holds 10 single game, season or career records and guided SE to its only Division II playoff appearance. He was also recently selected to the NCAA Division II 40th Anniversary Team.
Off the field, Beard joined the reserves in 2002 and served throughout his playing career, often leaving after Saturday games to join his fellow troops for training. After graduating he joined the National Guard and was later deployed for a nine-month tour in Iraq.
Bruner was a stalwart on the basketball court from 1994-1996 where he helped SE to 38 wins over two seasons, including an Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference championship his senior season and a trip to the NAIA Championship.
He earned All-American honors during the 1995-96 season and was a two-time All-OIC honoree.
Bruner is seventh on Southeastern’s career scoring list with 1,215 points over two seasons which included the sixth-best scoring season in school history when he posted 788 points during the 1995-96 season, while making 104 three point buckets and shooting 51.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Dr. Byrd was “Voice of the Savages” for nearly 30 years as he served as the public address announcer for Southeastern football and basketball.
He stepped into the booth to take the mic shortly after joining the faculty at SE in the social sciences department in 1966 and continued to call games through the fall 1994 before his passing in November of that year.
In addition to his public address work, Dr. Byrd was often recognized for his teaching skills and in 2000 was named one of Southeastern’s Distinguished Former Faculty.
Franceskini wrote the Southeastern volleyball record book over her four-year career from 2003-to-2006, earning the program’s first All-American honor, while also being named the Lone Star Conference-North Division Player of the Year honor three times and was named the Freshman of the Year in her first season.
She owns the school’s career records in kills with 1,890; attempts with 4,950; kills per set at 4.21; service aces with 200; and points with 2,221.5. In addition, she is in the top five in every major stat category she does not already lead, with the exception of assists.
Ledbetter was three-sport athlete for Southeastern, playing football, baseball and running track before graduating in 1962 and entering the coaching profession and in 2005 was named one of Southeastern’s Distinguished Alumni. He spent his first 10 years as an assistant before taking his first head coaching job at Frisco, Texas.
It was three years later that he made the move to Southlake Carroll High School and proceeded to etch his name in the Texas High School Football record book, posting a 208-39-1 record over 20 years as a coach, including a 113-5-1 mark from 1986-to-1993 with the Dragons, and piled up a record 72-game regular-season winning streak along with seven undefeated regular-seasons and three 16-0 state championships.
Southeastern’s Athletic Hall of Fame was the vision of former Athletic Director and legendary baseball coach Dr. Don Parham. Parham and an 18-member voting committee inducted the charter class of four in 1977.
Matt Thomas can be reached at email@example.com.