- Special Sections
ABILENE â€” John Paul Cain of Sweetwater, who first made a name for himself as a college golfer at Texas Tech University and later as an amateur golfer and two-time winner on the Senior PGA Tour, will be among nine new inductees into the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame on Monday.
The 11th annual Big Country Hall of Fame induction banquet will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Abilene Civic Center.
The 2012 class also in-cludes Olympic gold medalist Dean Smith from Graham, former Abilene Cooper baseball coach Andy Malone, golfer and Abilene High graduate Judy Casey, sprinter Bruce Land from Hawley, former Haskell and Abilene Cooper football coach Ray Overton, and longtime football coach Joe Crousen of Breckenridge.
Kelly Kent, a former all-state running back at Cisco who died between his junior and senior seasons at Abilene Christian University, will be honored posthumously. The third annual Legacy Award will go to Breckenridge brothers Ken and the late John Ford, who both went on to be among the nationâ€™s leading passers at Hardin-Simmons University. The newest class brings the total number of inductees to 95.
Cain was a four-year letterman in golf at Texas Tech. He was the 1959 Texas Amateur champion and played Ben Crenshaw in the finals of the 1973 Trans-Mississippi Mid-Amateur. Cain, a longtime stockbroker in Houston, turned pro in 1988 at the age of 52 and qualified for the Senior PGA Tour, where he won two tournament titles.
He won his first tournament in 1989 at the Greater Grand Rapids Open, becoming only the second Monday qualifier (after Larry Mowry) to win a Senior PGA Tour event. In 1994, Cain, playing as a sponsorâ€™s exemption, earned his second Senior Tour title at the Ameritech Senior Open by one stroke over Jim Colbert and Simon Hobday.
Cain is a member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.
Previous inductees to the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame from Nolan County include Sammy Baugh in 2002, Clyde (Bulldog) Turner in 2003, Tonto Coleman in 2005, Tom Ritchey in 2007, W.T. Stapler in 2008, Nikki Heath in 2009 and Mike Welch in 2011. Also, the Pat Gerald family from Sweetwater was honored in 2010 as the first recipients of the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fameâ€™s Legacy Award.