Latest News from Sul Ross January 24, 2014


    During a nearly-40-year association with Sul Ross State University, Dr. Chet Sample served in numerous capacities.
    Sample, professor of Physical Education, retired Jan. 15 after 38 years as a faculty member, coach, athletics director and Dean of the College of Professional Studies. Prior to joining the Sul Ross faculty in 1976, he earned his Master’s degree from Sul Ross (1973) while serving as graduate assistant men’s basketball coach.
    Born in Athens, he graduated from Seminole High School in 1964, where he earned All-State honors in basketball as a senior. Sample attended Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, where he was named an NAIA basketball All-American (1967) and was selected to the NAIA All-District team for three straight seasons (1966-68). At the time of graduation, he held Wayland Baptist’s career scoring record (1,726 points) and scoring average (19.6 points per game, 88 games). He was inducted into the Wayland Baptist Athletic Hall of Honor in 1998.
    After serving two years in the U.S. Army, he taught and coached basketball at Freer High School for one year, then enrolled at Sul Ross to complete his Master’s degree. Sample then enrolled at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce), receiving his Ed.D. in 1975. After a year at Langston (Okla.) University, he returned to Sul Ross as an assistant professor.
    As a men’s (1977-81) and women’s (1983-97) basketball coach, his teams won over 200 games, including a Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (TIAA) men’s title in 1978 and women’s crowns or co-championships in 1985, 1987, 1992, 1995 and 1996. Seven of his teams advanced to post-season playoff competition and he was named TIAA Coach of the Year five times.
    He called his former players and students “some of my best recruiters. I did not have the time to do a lot of (on the road) recruiting, but exes made a lot of recommendations. They deserve a lot of the credit for the success we’ve had.”
    During his 20-year tenure (1977-97) as athletics director and chair of the Physical Education Department, Lobo teams won 42 conference championships. Among his many honors, he was recognized as NAIA District 8 Athletics Administrator of the Year in 1988-89 and 1989-90 and NAIA National  Athletics Administrator of the Year in 1996.
    As athletics director, Sample oversaw the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division III competition. Four new sports -- baseball, softball, men’s and women’s tennis – were added, as well as the athletics training program. He said the most significant accomplishment at that position – according to Dr. Wayne Sheehan, longtime faculty representative for athletics – was raising the grade point average to 2.0 in order for a student to compete in intercollegiate athletics. Sheehan assisted Sample in changing the requirement to so that student-athletes became more academically-conscious.
    “I have always believed that the most important thing is not playing ball; the most important thing is getting your degree,” he said. “I could take my All-American certificate to a café downtown, and for a dollar more, I could buy a cup of coffee....Recognition is great, but you’ve got to get that degree.”
    He was instrumental in the formation of the American Southwest Conference (1997) and in 1999 was inducted as one of three charter members of the ASC Hall of Honor. He also helped organize the Sul Ross Athletic Hall of Honor (1986) and was inducted as a member 20 years later.
    Sample was named Dean of the School (now College) of Professional Studies in 1997 and served 11 years before returning to the Physical Education faculty in 2008. While dean, Professional Studies instituted distance education interactive television (ITV) programs for a Master of Education degree in Abilene and El Paso and began offering web-based courses in Education.
    More than 30 of his former students went on to earn doctoral degrees and he said “I can’t even begin to tell you “ how many became teachers and coaches.
    In addition to his Sul Ross activities, Sample has been active in the Alpine community, including serving as Scoutmaster of the Alpine Boy Scouts, two terms on the Alpine School District Board of Trustees, eight years on the Board of the Wesley Foundation and over 30 years in the Alpine Lions Club. He enjoys fishing, golf and camping.
    He and his wife, Belinda, established or initiated a number of Sul Ross endowments, including the Library Endowment, the Century Club Endowment, Norm Cash Endowment (baseball), Joe Don Loony Endowment and Donna Jo Willett Killion Endowment (for cheerleaders).
    He and Belinda have two children, Michael, Austin; and Denise (Doug) Dusek, Wall, both Sul Ross graduates, and two grandchildren, Jake and Melanie.
    “They (grandchildren) both want to come to Sul Ross,” Sample said. “You can get as good an education at Sul Ross as you can anywhere.”

    A 5K Walk/run, scheduled Saturday, Feb. 15, will raise funds for the Alpine Food Pantry and Sul Ross State University scholarships for local students.
    Organized by the Sul Ross State University Alumni Association and the Food Pantry of Alpine, Inc.,  the “Love Your Community” 5K is a scenic walk/run starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 from the Sul Ross Residential Life Office and Community Room. The course will proceed off campus to Brown Street and Fighting Buck Avenue for a stroll or run past Kokernot Park. Participants will then travel the Loop Road/Path back to campus.
    There is no entry fee, but each participant is requested to raise or contribute at least $50 to benefit the Food Pantry of Alpine and/or the Sul Ross State University Local Student Scholarship Fund (for graduates of Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties).
    An online fund raising page will be set up for each 5K participant to share with friends, ask for support and collect donations. Anyone wishing to sponsor a 5K participant may find his/her fund raising page at and make a secure donation.
    The event is open to casual and competitive walkers and runners of all ages. Walkers and runners will share the same course, with runners leading the pack at start time. Participants are welcome to carry babies and toddlers in strollers and child backpacks.
    Prizes will be given for fund raising at the $50, $100 and $150 levels. Persons raising $150 or more will be entered in a prize raffle drawing featuring gifts donated by local businesses and organizations. Additional awards will be presented to top runners.
    Major sponsors include: Big Bend Regional Medical Center, Tallent Roofing and Alpine Medical Center. Supporting sponsors include: West Texas National Bank, Porter’s Thriftway and Aramark. Raffle prize contributors include, to date:  Morrison True Value, The Holland Hotel, Maverick Inn, Hampton Inn, Subway and The Gage, with the list of contributors and prizes continuing to grow.
    Complete details for registering online may be found at
    For more information, contact the Office of Alumni Affairs, (432) 837-8697 or 837-8443 or