His tenure in Rockdale was short, but his impact was ever lasting.
When Gerald Adams took over the Tiger basketball program in 1973, he was replacing a legend in Duane Vincent, who had recommended him for the job. Their styles were similar, featuring a stifling defense and a disciplined offense, which was appropriately called “the drag.”
In his second season at the helm, Adams led the Tigers to a school record 33 wins, a standard that still stands to this day.
In his final year, Adams guided the Tigers to 31 straight wins and to a No. 1 ranking in the polls and of course, another regional finals appearance. That team allowed its opponents just 41 points a game, a Class 3A record at the time.
After losing three district games in his first year, the Tigers went unbeaten in district play in his final two seasons. At the start of the 1975-76 season, four teams from District 12-3A were ranked in the top 20.
Adams recorded 88 wins in his stay at Rockdale and has the highest winning percentage of any coach in RHS history. He was also named the Central Texas coach of the year three times.
Adams retired in 1987 after 20 years on the sidelines with 500 wins and 12 district titles to his credit.
Three of his assistants went on to take teams to the state tournament and another rose to become a head coach in the Southwest Conference.
Continuing the Locklin legacy was a daunting task, but the next in line was up to the challenge.
Ray Locklin, Class of 1976, was a four-sport star for the Tigers from 1972 through 1976 and was one of the architects of the “Golden Age” of Rockdale athletics.
As a football player, the versatile Locklin played several positions all over the field before settling in to his true calling— running back.
At a striking 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Locklin had the overpowering strength to run over an opponent, and possessed the speed to make sure they couldn’t catch him.
His teammate Odis Mack— another Hall of Honor inductee— said he never had to turn around when he was blocking to know if Ray was running the ball. “I could see the fear in the opponents eyes.”
Locklin scored 24 touchdowns in his career, which still ranks fifth on the RHS career list. Fifteen of those scores came in 1975. He finished with over 1,400 yards rushing.
In track, Locklin continued Rockdale’s weight man tradition begun by T.A. Weems and made a trip to the state track meet in his senior year of 1976 where he placed fifth in the shot put.
In basketball, Locklin led the Tigers in scoring and rebounding for two straight years.
Locklin was an All-Central Texas selection in both football and basketball.
Following family tradition begun by his father, Aycock legend Billy Ray, Locklin attended New Mexico St. to play football.
Locklin had a breakout season his junior year, leading the Aggies to the Missouri Valley Conference Title. His dramatic 78-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against West Texas State secured New Mexico State’s two-point win to clinch the title.
He finished his career with 1,849 yards, 10th in Aggie history and was then signed as a free agent by the Dallas Cowboys.
Should you happen to look up the word “smooth” in the dictionary, it is quite possible you would find a picture of Odis Mack.
One of the architects of the “Golden Age” of Rockdale athletics, Mack, Class of 1976, was another one of those four-sport stars that made his presence felt on several different plains.
Mack was a junior high basketball legend, averaging over 25 points a game when the games were only 24 minutes long. Mack was nicknamed “Nate the Skate” because of his similar style of play to Boston Celtic Nate Archibald, also a lefthander.
That prowess carried over into high school, where coach Duane Vincent quickly moved the sweet shooting, left-handed freshman up to the varsity.
By the time Mack was a senior, his well-rounded game had him playing the role of defensive stopper.
On the football field, Mack was a three-year, two-way starter for the Tigers where several of his feats are still listed in the RHS record book.
His receiving records lasted for nearly 20 years. The seven interceptions he picked off in 1975 is still second on the list. Mack’s 98-yard punt return against Round Rock in 1974 is still the school record.
The versatile Mack was also a standout as a sprinter in track and pitcher and outfielder in baseball.
Mack played college football at Rice University where he was a four-year letterman and threeyear starter where he made 150 tackles, recovered 10 fumbles and picked off five passes and was named the Southwest Conference player of the week.
“He made it look so effortless, it was as if he wasn’t even trying.”
That’s what one opposing coach said of one of the architects of the “Golden Age” of Rockdale athletics, Martin Stroman, who’s name has reached legendary status around these parts.
Despite the fact that he started for just one year and you will not find his name listed among the RHS record books, Stroman, Class of 1976, is considered the best quarterback and one of the top athletes in Rockdale history.
His understanding of all things sports, caused him to be described with adjectives such as slick, cool, composed and wheeler-dealer.
During his senior season, Stroman led the 11-2 Tigers to a regional championship and after posting 1,800 yards in total offense, was named second team All-State—a first for a Rockdale quarterback. He was also named the Central Texas player of the year by several publications.
In basketball, Stroman steered the Tigers to 31 straight wins and to the regional finals as the consummate point guard, which all others would be measured against. For his court cunning, he was an All-State selection.
Stroman is the only athlete in RHS history to be named All- State in two sports, football and basketball, both in his senior year.
A pole vaulter in track, Stroman was also a four-year letterman and four-year all-district performer as an infielder and pitcher in baseball where he played under his father, Leo Stroman.
Deemed too small to play major college football at 5- foot-10, Stroman went to small school powerhouse Texas A&I and proved all the critics wrong.
Continuing to run the veer that made him famous in high school, Stroman stepped in for the legendary Richard Ritchie at quarterback and led the Javalenas to another national championship in 1979.
He was named the most valuable player in the title game. He was also named the All-Lone Star Conference quarterback twice and LSC player of the week on numerous occasions.
In his four seasons at Texas A&I, the team compiled a 39-7 record, won three conference championships and two national titles.
He passed for over 3,000 yards and rushed for over 2,000, while accounting for 48 touchdowns.
His 325 yards rushing against Southwest Texas State is still the school record and he also is a member of the Texas A&I Hall of Fame.
Hall of Honor
for Friday, Nov. 5
4 to 4:30 p.m.—Banquet and social time, RHS lunchroom.
4:30 to 6:45 p.m.—Induction ceremony, free and open to the public, RHS lunchroom. (Note: The entire event will be in the lunchroom with no activities in the auditorium.)
7 p.m.—Honorees introduced to Tiger Field crowd prior to Rockdale-Caldwell football game.
Current Hall of
Class of 2010—Gerald Adams, Tom Black, Rainey Eanes, Ronnie Laurence, Liz Galloway, Ray Locklin, Odis Mack, Sammie Moore, Susie Piper, Bob Roberson, Martin Stroman, Garry White, Ted Weems.
Class of 2009—Samaji Akili (Sammy C. Williams), Sue Jean Bennett, Bill Cooke, Glenn Chmelar, Edward Grubbs, Veron Guest, Ronnie Heflin, Barbara Young Kastner, Richard Kubiak, Ernie Wayne Laurence, H. Earl Marion, Art “Copie” Perry, Mike Speer.
Class of 2008—Ray Birchfield, Ernie Laurence, Duane Vincent, Matthew “Doc” Cook, Flora Mack, Annie Bell Wesley, Donnie Laurence, Ronny Menn, L. B. Kubiak, Lee Earl Gadison, Zelma Dykes, Gary Holliman, Dick Summers, Billie Jean Washington, Rufus Wolridge, Dan Yezak.
Class of 2007—Weldon Alford, Louise Barnes Ohnesorge, T. A. Weems, Billy Ray Locklin, Leroy Wright, Ralph Johnson, Kirby Owens Wright, Jack Kyle, Hal Stanislaw, Clyde Luetge, William Moultrie, Eural Davis Sr.