Hearts of Marshall Gather at ETBU’s Marshall Grand

Posted by Tiger Pride in Alumni, Honors

MARSHALL, Texas (7/7/16) – East Texas Baptist University celebrated the success of Marshall ISD Superintendent Jerry Gibson, an ETBU alumnus, and his wife Tammy, with a welcome reception at the Anderson-Cargill Building of ETBU’s Marshall Grand.

“Hosting this reception speaks to the partnership we have with MISD,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “We have made great strides in the last year enhancing our partnership with the school district. As fellow educators, we both have the responsibility and a compelling mandate to work together to improve the educational opportunities for all of Marshall.”

The reception held on July 7 from 2-4pm honored Dr. Gibson who was officially named Marshall ISD’s 23rd superintendent in mid-June.

“I’m usually not great at these type of events because I feel like it’s not about me, it is about 5500 students,” Dr. Gibson said in his remarks at the reception. “I am just somebody who gets up every morning and tries to work hard. My outlook has always been if you can’t do anything else, outwork everybody. It is a challenge when you get to rebuild something, and I can promise you that I am here for you to serve the city and the schools.”

According to MISD Board Trustee Mrs. Charles Wilson, he has already focused the ISD’s overall vision in the last two months with his ability to think outside the box and foster relationships with diverse groups within the community.

“He is already casting a vision to achieve remarkable things over time. His entire attitude brings a fresh approach to leadership within the district,” Marshall Education Foundation President Keith Hill said. “Hiring Dr. Gibson is just another step we are taking toward excellence in our district. The school systems of Marshall, the high school, universities, colleges and trade school, are a critical link to improving the economic system in the community. Dr. Gibson knows this connection and plans to work toward making things better.”

ETBU shares this same vision for Marshall. Dr. Blackburn stated that Marshall’s educational entities should continue “to forge relationships and enhance partnerships in education, business and industry to create a better Marshall.”

Tammy Gibson will join ETBU on Monday as a staff assistant at ETBU’s Great Commission Center.

”We are delighted that he and Tammy have come to Marshall,” President Blackburn said. “They are going to be actively engaged residents of the city—contributing community members. I see them as people who share our love for Marshall. Jerry and I both have big hearts for Marshall and want to see the city prosper. Education is key to economic prosperity”

Prior to his current position, Dr. Gibson served as Superintendent at Coldspring-Oakhurst, Executive Director of Secondary Education at Waco ISD, a principal at Whitney and Deweyville High Schools, and also as an assistant principal, a coach, an athletic director and a teacher throughout his career.

“We are excited about his experience and vision because he has dealt with similar issues that face Marshall ISD in other districts,” Marshall ISD board trustee Chase Palmer said. “I believe that he will help close the achievement gap and enrich our students’ lives.”

Dr. Gibson earned his Bachelor of Science from ETBU in 1993, his Master of Education at Lamar University in 2002, and his Doctorate of Education in Professional Leadership from University of Houston in 2015.

“Marshall Independent School District is a great challenge,” Dr. Gibson said. “But, I see so many great things that are happening in the school district. The new schools that are going up are exciting and a game changer for our school district. I also see and have met a lot of young professionals with young children. They’re coming back here and saying give us the best education that we can get for our children.  I will accept that challenge. Things don’t happen overnight. You will get everything I have, every single day. Just know that this is a process. It doesn’t just happen in a day, a week or a month. Anything that is great has to have a strong foundation, and we are reworking our foundation.”


American Southwest Conference Scholar-Athlete Medal of Honor

Posted by Tiger Pride in Academics, Athletics, Just for Fun

asc academic winnersAmongst the elite in the American Southwest Conference, Conner Combs and Morgan Garrett are the recipients of the Scholar-Athlete Medal of Honor Awards from East Texas Baptist University. Each ASC member school awards one male and one female the award who is graduating and has compiled the most outstanding record in academics, athletics and leadership over their collegiate career. The award is presented annually by the Faculty Athletics Representative at each conference member institution.

Below are the bios for ETBU’s recipients:

Conner Combs | Business Administration | Baseball | Southlake, Texas
Conner Combs is a business administration major with a cumulative 4.0 grade-point average. The East Texas Baptist SAAC representative, Combs received the ETBU Athletics Academic Excellence Award and was the team captain and team chaplain in the 2016 season. For the past two seasons Combs has been recognized with the James Morgan Memorial Award. Voted on by his teammates, the award is based on the characteristics that former ETBU baseball player James Morgan showed during his life in terms of leadership, community outreach, and spiritual qualities. He has been selected this year onto the All-ASC first-team and was the ASC Player of the Year along with being on the CoSIDA Academic All-District team.

Morgan Garrett | Physical Education | Basketball | Coushatta, La.
Morgan Garrett is physical education major with a cumulative 4.0 grade-point average. She received the East Texas Baptist Athletics Academic Excellence Award in 2015 and 2016. Named Miss ETBU in 2015, Garrett has been a four-year varsity player on the Tigers’ basketball team and served as team captain in the 2015-16 season. A CentriKids Camp Recreation Staffer (2013, 15′), Garrett received the Dean’s Award, is in the School of Professional Studies (2016) and has the highest GPA in Teacher Education (2016).


Six Lady Tigers Named NFCA All Region

Posted by Tiger Pride in Athletics, Honors

nfca softall all regionSweeping through post season awards regionally, the East Texas Baptist University softball team had six players earn NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) West All-Region awards. With six selections overall, ETBU had the most in the West Region.

Earning the all-region first-team were Lacey Lindsey and Jayme Perez for the third year in a row. On the second-team were Rocki Tello, Linzie Lewis, Lindsey Vasquez, and Alexis Padilla. Lindsey and Perez will now be able to be up for the All-American teams that will be released next week.

Lindsey has been voted onto the first-team for the third straight year as an at-large selection. She leads ETBU in batting average (.400), home runs (13) and RBI (49). She was on the NCAA Tournament All-Tyler Regional Team, and on the All-ASC first-team for a third year in a row. In the ASC, she is first in RBI and home runs and third in total bases (101).

For the third year in a row Perez is on the first-team as a designated player. She finished the year with a .381 batting average, nine home runs, 48 RBI, and 10 doubles. In the ASC, she was third in RBI, fourth in home runs, and fifth in total bases (87). She was also voted All-ASC first team for the third year in a row.

Tello was given her first NFCA award as a second-team member as a pitcher. She recorded a 17-2 record with a 1.94 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 111.2 innings pitched. She appeared in 26 games starting 18 and had four recorded shut outs. In the ASC, she was a first-team selection and finished third in wins.

Lewis gains her first-ever NFCA award as a freshman on the second team as a second baseman. She was All-ASC first-team and one of the top freshmen in the ASC. She finished batting .366 with 33 RBI, 12 doubles, and 56 hits. She also stole a perfect 16 bases. In the ASC she was second in doubles, fourth in runs scored (46), and seventh in RBI

Vasquez also earns her first-ever NFCA award on the second team as an outfielder. She also earned All-ASC first-team and led the team in steals (39) and hits (57). In the ASC she was second in steals and fifth in hits (57). She finished batting .383 with eight doubles and two home runs for 20 RBI.

Padilla gains her first award as a utility player on the second team. She also a member of the NCAA Tournament Tyler Regional all-tournament team and was an All-ASC second team selection. She finished second on the team in batting at .387 with 36 hits, seven doubles, four home runs, and 25 RBI.

ETBU finished the year at 35-10 and were the 2016 American Southwest Conference tournament champions. They made their 10th NCAA Tournament and with a fourth straight appearance.


Two Receive Honorary Doctorates from ETBU

Posted by Tiger Pride in Alumni, Honors

etbu spring pm 2Spring Commencement saw 149 become graduates of East Texas Baptist University, 132 bachelor’s degrees and 17 master’s degrees. ETBU honored two with honorary doctorates. One to E. Leon Carter, a partner in the Dallas law firm of Carter Scholer Arnett Hamada and Mockler, PLLC.  The other one to D.M Edwards of Tyler who is the founding CEO and chairman of Edwards Investments.

ETBU President Dr. J. Blair Blackburn and Board of Trustee Chair Dr. Ben Raimer hood E. Leon Carter during Spring Commencement held May 7.

ETBU President Dr. J. Blair Blackburn and Board of Trustee Chair Dr. Ben Raimer hood E. Leon Carter during Spring Commencement held May 7.

Carter played basketball for ETBU from 1977 to 1980 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Pre-law degree. He received his law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University and was admitted to the Bar in 1986.  Among his achievements, Carter is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, the Litigation Counsel of America, and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.  He was recently listed in The Best Lawyers in America in six areas: Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Labor and Employment Litigation, First Amendment Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, and Patent Litigation. ETBU awarded Carter as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2010.

ETBU President Dr. J. Blair Blackburn with D.M. Edwards of Tyler. Edwards was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from ETBU during Spring Commencement on May 7.

D.M. Edwards of Tyler was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree.



Edwards has been a long faithful supporter of education in East Texas. He has served on the Board of Trustees at ETBU for 20 years, including his role as chairperson. Edwards attended Tyler public schools and was a Cum Laude graduate of Tyler Junior College. He is also a graduate of the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University, receiving a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with double majors in Marketing and Management and a minor in Finance. Edwards’ father, the late Dr. Welby C. Edwards, was also an ETBU trustee. Edwards, along with his parents, helped established the School of Nursing in 1989 at the University. Edwards has a heart for Baptist work throughout Texas. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Timberline Baptist Encampment and Conference Center in Lindale and several Baptist General Convention of Texas committees.


ETBU Alum Elected Youngest Mayor in Deport History

Posted by Tiger Pride in Alumni

John Mark Francis Becomes Youngest Mayor Elected in Deport History. PHOTO: Facebook

John Mark Francis becomes youngest mayor elected in Deport, Texas, history. PHOTO: Facebook

Deport, Texas, made history this Saturday by electing 25-year-old councilman and educator, John Mark Francis, as the youngest mayor in the city’s history Saturday, May 7, 2016 by a vote of 110 (90.9%) to 11 (9.1%) to Mary McMikel.

Francis graduated from East Texas Baptist University with a degree in Political Science and Leadership and teaches Junior High English at Winfield ISD. Francis is a proud, fourth-generation Deport citizen that takes deep pride in his community. “This town has shaped my life and has formed my most important values, most importantly my faith, how to treat others, and that in tough times we all pull together.”

Francis continued, “I want to thank all of those who voted and have placed their trust in me. I know personally how this community pulls together and I believe our best days are ahead.”

When asked about his plans for the future for Deport, Francis replied, “There are many serious issues that we as a city must address and they cannot be ignored any longer. The three main issues that I will begin work on immediately are: working with Red River and Lamar Counties to improve our streets that are crumbling, ensure that our water is safe and is meeting state standards set by the TCEQ, and plan a “Make Deport Beautiful” campaign to begin this summer, that will include cleaning up dilapidated structures that have become a hazard and danger.”

While at ETBU, Francis served as president of the Student Government Association and was the pianist for Woodlawn Baptist Church of Marshall.

Watch this story about Mayor Francis from KXII by clicking here.


McLendon is NFCA National Pitcher of Week

Posted by Tiger Pride in Athletics, Honors

kelly jo nfcaHaving the best weekend of her career, Kelly Jo McLendon has now been awarded for her 3-0 record and helping East Texas Baptist University to the 2016 American Southwest Conference Tournament championship being named the NFCA National Pitcher of the Week. It is the first award for her this year from the NFCA.

McLendon pitched ETBU to three wins including two over #1 Texas-Tyler, 6-1, and 2-0, in the championship game. She had two complete games vs. Texas-Tyler and in three games recorded nine strikeouts while only allowing seven walks. She pitched out of three jams in two games and had great defense to support her from the circle. With the 3-0 record, she was named the ASC Tournament MVP.

ETBU also moved up nine places in the current NFCA poll to #8 and now await to see where they will go in the NCAA Tournament next weekend.


Bramlett Named ASC Player of the Week

Posted by Tiger Pride in Athletics, Honors

bramlett powGaining her first American Southwest Conference honor this year, Kate Bramlett has been named the East Division “Player of the Week.” Bramlett went 4-0 on the week as ETBU earned two more wins before the ASC Tournament.

Bramlett scored four points of the 18 points won in 9-0 victories over LeTourneau and Ozarks. She lost just one set in a 6-0, 6-1 win against LETU. Bramlett has now won four straight singles and five straight doubles matches. In her other singles match vs. Ozarks, she won 6-0, 6-0. In doubles, she teamed up with Kayla Casey and won 8-0 sweeping both matches vs. Ozarks and LeTourneau.


Senior Girl Call-Out Ceremony

Posted by Tiger Pride in Honors, Memories on the Hill, Student Life

ETBU First Lady Michelle Blackburn presented roses to this year’s Senior Girl Call-Out recipient, Gabrielle Besch of Bonham.  The 69th ETBU Senior Girl-Call Out ceremony was held on the front lawn of Marshall Hall on Friday, April 15.

ETBU First Lady Michelle Blackburn presented roses to this year’s Senior Girl Call-Out recipient, Gabrielle Besch of Bonham. The 69th ETBU Senior Girl-Call Out ceremony was held on the front lawn of Marshall Hall on Friday, April 15.

East Texas Baptist University’s oldest, most honored tradition returned for its 69th year on Friday, April 15, 2016, naming the 2015-2016 Senior Girl Call-Out. The ceremony was held on the front lawn of Marshall Hall.

This year’s Senior Girl Call-Out is Gabrielle Besch of Bonham. Miss Besch is an Elementary Education major with a specialization in English/Language Arts. Her parents are Jared and Jennifer Besch.

The Senior Girl Call-Out ceremony is a simple, but beautiful ceremony honoring senior women who best reflect the values of the University. The one “called-out” is a young woman who is courteous, kind, loves scholarship, appreciates beauty, and shows evidence in her daily living of spiritual perception and reverence.

Miss Sallie Duncan, then Dean of Women initiated Senior Girl Call-Out in 1947. The script for the ceremony, which was written by former librarian Dr. Mary K. Armstrong, has remained the same for 69 years. Armstrong also wrote the arrangement for the ETBU school hymn.

This year, 23 senior girls participated in the ceremony along with their “little sisters” who are underclassmen chosen by the seniors. Charlotte Keifer of Cypress was the little sister of Miss Besche. From all the senior girls who choose to participate in the Call-Out, the ETBU faculty and staff elect one to honor as the Call-Out recipient.

To read more about Senior Girl Call-Out click here.


Third Time For Lindsey

Posted by Tiger Pride in Athletics, Honors

lacey third awardBreaking the American Southwest Conference career home run record this past week, East Texas Baptist University softball player Lacey Lindsey has been named the “Hitter of the Week”. This is the third time this season she has earned the award and it is the seventh time for a player to receive an ASC weekly award.

Lacey hit her 10th home run of the year in game two against Sul Ross State which gave her 41 career home runs. She surpasses Texas-Tyler’s Whitney Wyly’s 40 home runs that were hit over three years.

Finishing the series with a .714 batting average, Lacey had a 1.143 slugging percentage with three RBI. She had five hits in seven at-bats and was walked twice. For the year, she is batting .404 with 37 RBI.

She was also named ASC “Hitter of the Week” on February 16th and 23rd.

ETBU is currently 29-7 and ranked 13th in the latest NFCA national poll.


Tiger Baseballer Recognized Nationally

Posted by Tiger Pride in Athletics, Honors

combs hero of the weekIt is official with 64% of the vote, East Texas Baptist University’s Conner Combs is the HeroSportsNews “Hero of the Week.” Combs earns his second national award in a week for his play in the series against LeTourneau University.

Last week Combs was the American Southwest Conference “Hitter of the Week” and also on the D3baseball.com “Team of the Week” for hitting .727 in three games vs. LeTourneau University. With those numbers he was nominated with five other NCAA Division III players for “Hero of the Week.” After five days of voting, Combs came away with 126 votes which was the most out of all the players for both hitter and pitcher of the week.

Combs hit .727 in three games with a 1.364 slugging percentage recording two home runs and seven RBI. He went to the plate 11 times and never struck out. On Saturday, he hit two home runs in game one with the first one in the third inning to put ETBU ahead, 4-3, which sparked 14 unanswered runs in the next three innings in the 16-5 win. His second home run of the game was in the fifth inning to make it 9-3 and both home runs were on first-pitch swings. He finished the game with a single in the sixth inning for a RBI to give him six in the game. Overall, he had three hits in game one and two each and two in game three.

He will now have a chance to be the “Hero of the Year” later this season when all the “Heros” will be voted on by a national audience.