ABILENE, Texas – The Hardin-Simmons Athletic Hall of Fame Committee has announced its 2020 class that will be inducted in a ceremony on Friday, Nov. 6 as part of Homecoming Weekend at Hardin-Simmons.
Here is a brief sketch of each inductee followed by more extended biographies of each individual.
Kaela Parnell, a native of Carrollton, was a two-time all-American, three-time all-region and four-time all-conference selection and the 2009 ASC MVP in the sport of volleyball. She played at HSU from 2006-09. She was also a 4.0 pre-med major, a CoSIDA Academic All-American and was a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year.
Billy Phillips, a native of Paris, Texas and a transfer played for two seasons and was known as the first of the great Cowboy golfers as part of a team that had great success in the 1950s. He led the Cowboys to the Border Conference title in 1951, claiming medalist honors. He was also was runner-up as a senior in the 1952 Border Conference championship. He went on to have tremendous success as a golf pro at Winchester Country Club in Virginia.
Harold Prescott from Phoenix, Ariz., played baseball, basketball and football from 1940-43. After earning the Purple Heart and Bronze Star in his service in World War II he went on to play in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers and later won a world title with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Abilene Cooper product Michael Simpson is one of the top all-around baseball players in the non-scholarship era at Hardin-Simmons. He played at HSU from 2004 to 2007 and was the starting center fielder all four years. He was a four-time all-ASC West selection, including three times on the first team. He was the American Southwest Conference player of the year in 2007.
Parnell was a three-time first-team all-ASC selection and a four-time all-ASC West Division selection for the Cowgirls. She was also the league’s MVP as a senior. She was a three-time AVCA all-region selection and a two-time All-American, the first at HSU to receive that honor.
Parnell ranks third in HSU history with 1,370 kills, is third in hitting percentage at .331 and is second with 388 career blocks. She was part of the first ASC Championship team in 2006.
She also excelled in the classroom where she was a 4.0 pre-med major. She was awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was named a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year, was the Distinguished Scholar-Athlete in volleyball and was given the Minnie Anderson Award that goes to the highest achieving woman in the HSU graduating class of 2010. She was a CoSIDA Academic All-American as well.
Parnell is a practicing general surgeon in Dallas, Texas.
Men’s Golf (1950-1952)
The first of the “great” Cowboy golfers. In 1951, he led the Cowboys to win their first Border Conference Championship. He was the medalist with a two-round total of 149. This was the first of three consecutive Border Conference Championships for the Cowboys. Although a new player for the Cowboys, Phillips’ leadership emerged near mid-season and HSU won six of their last seven tournaments.
In 1952, Phillips teamed with HSU hall of famer Tommy Hale to help win the Cowboy’s second consecutive conference championship as he took the runner-up spot next to Hale. They set the Border Conference record with a team total of 597, twenty-six strokes ahead of second-place Texas Tech. Phillips was named to the all-conference team both years. The Cowboys won 15 consecutive matches and had an overall team record of 22 wins and only 3 losses.
After graduating from HSU, Phillips entered the U.S. Army and did his basic training at Ft. Pickett, Virginia. He was selected to be the assistant Golf Professional at Ft. Sam Houston Golf Course. He remained at the golf course for the balance of his time in the army. While at Ft. Sam Houston, he was selected to represent the 4th Army in the All-Army Championship at Pebble Beach in 1953 and again at Ft. Pickett, Virginia in 1954. The 4th Army team won the Championship both years.
When he left the Army in 1954, he was selected to be the golf professional at Winchester Country Club, Virginia. At the time the club was only nine holes and had 88 members. At his death in 1990, the club had been expanded to 18 holes and had 444 members. Much of the success of the club is attributed to Billy Phillips.
Billy was a legend in Virginia golf circles. For years he was considered one of the best players in the Middle Atlantic PGA. He was always one of the favorites in any tournament he entered. Over the years, he won seven major area tournaments and finished in the top 10 15 other times.
Football, Baseball and Basketball (1940-43)
Harold “Ace” Prescott was a tight end and co-captain on the 1942 football team that went 9-1-1. The Cowboys defeated Baylor, SMU and North Texas; a 0-0 tie with Texas Tech kept them from a perfect regular season. HSU finished the year ranked No. 24 in the final Associated Press Poll. Prescott was a co-captain on the team and named second-team all-Border Conference.
He also played basketball and baseball for three seasons at Hardin-Simmons.
After college, he served in the Army during World War II. He was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. After the war, he played professional football for the Green Bay Packers (1945-47) and won a world championship with the Philadelphia Eagles (1948-49).
Prescott coached football for 37 years, 14 years in high school sports at Falfurrias, Raymondville, Ranger and Burkburnett. He then coached 23 years at Cisco Junior College where he retired as Athletic Director in 1987. Prescott passed away May 4, 2002 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
An Abilene Cooper product, Simpson was one of the top baseball players for the Cowboys from 2004 to 2007. He is one of just four players in the history of the American Southwest Conference to be named first-team all-division or all-conference three times. He also was a second-team selection as a sophomore.
He started more games than anyone in the non-scholarship era with 168 starts in his career. He is the school’s leader in the non-scholarship era in total bases and is second in games played with 168, at-bats (623), runs scored (152), home runs (32), RBIs (156), hits (224), is third in walks with 75 and doubles with 45.
For his career he hit .360 and was a stellar defensive centerfielder. It’s been said by more than one observer of the program watching Simpson track down balls in center field was almost as fun as watching him hit his moonshot home runs. He hit three home runs in a game at Concordia, which is still tied for the school record for home runs in a game.
Simpson was named the ASC player of the year in 2007. Since graduating he has been very successful in the music production business in Central Texas.