The RGV Sports Hall of Fame will hold its annual induction banquet Friday night in Donna, with a trio of athletes with ties to the city set to join the honor roll. Otto Moore, Louis Alamia Jr., and Mo Molina will become the latest local products to enter the Hall.
Hall Board President Charlie Vaughan, himself a member of the august body of honorees for his professional baseball exploits, invites all Valley sports fans to attend the banquet, and to call 428-2636 for more information. Victoria Palms Resort Conference Center in Donna will be the site of the banquet.
Looking at his old basketball cards reveals a long and lean center with a wingspan that stretched from here to tomorrow. At 6-foot-11, 205 pounds, Otto Moore was a dominant force for Pan American College in the 1960s and a first-round draft choice of the Detroit Pistons in 1968 who enjoyed an excellent 9-year pro career with five teams.
Originally from Miami, Moore came to the Valley in 1964 and before he was done, became the program’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder. Moore scored 1,880 points from 1964 to 1968, with 1,619 rebounds, leading the team with 24.6 ppg in 1967-68 and with 20.1 rpg in 1965-66.
While in college he posted six of the program’s top 10 single-game rebound totals, including 35 against Lamar Tech in 1966 and efforts of 31 (Trinity) and 30 (Jackson State) in 1968. Those last two games came in the NCAA Division II postseason, as the Broncs went 21-6 and lost in the second round to Trinity in the Southwest Regional.
As one of the country’s best big men, he had exceptional quickness, great shot-blocking ability, and surprising natural strength or a decidedly slim man. He joined Detroit as the sixth pick in the first round, playing as a rookie with stars Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, and Walt Bellamy.
Moore played three seasons with the Pistons, went to Phoenix, Houston and then Kansas City before wrapping up his NBA life with three productive seasons with the New Orleans Jazz up to 1977. He averaged 8.2 points and 8.2 rebounds in 682 lifetime games, with a superb showing for the 1972-73 Rockets (11.7 ppg, 10.6 rpg).
Alamia Jr. was an Edinburg High star of the 1960s who lettered four times in baseball and two in basketball for the Bobcats, making All-State in baseball in 1961. He became a college star at New Mexico Highlands, setting a NAIA record for stolen bases and hitting .304 in 1962, earning the nickname “Prince of Thieves” in the process.
After finishing his college career at PAC, Alamia Jr. transitioned into coaching and led his alma mater to a pair of district titles in baseball in the late 1960s. He eventually completed a master’s degree and went into administration and youth sports coaching. In recent years he has been a tireless supporter of North athletics, a consistent presence at sporting events across the spectrum.
Molina was an EHS grad in 1965 who down the road would become of the Valley’s winningest basketball coaches. He won five total letters in basketball and baseball for the Bobcats and began his coaching career in Harlingen, with stops in Rio Hondo, San Benito, and P-SJ-A before coming to McAllen Memorial in 1985.
With the Mustangs, Molina built one of the area’s finest programs, winning 20 games eight times in 14 years including a pair of league titles. He has won Coach of the Year honors seven times, captured nearly 400 career wins, and served as an assistant coach on the professional level with the RGV Silverados. Molina is still active as basketball coach at Marin Military Academy in Harlingen.
NOTES: A member of the Hall, Luke Jackson, was recently named as a finalist for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame by the veterans committee. The former Bronc great led the team to the NAIA national title in 1963 and later won an NBA title with the Philadelphia 76ers.