Irving ISD inducts players, coaches into Athletic Hall of Fame

Photo: In a celebration of their athletic achievements, Demarcus Faggins, Ray Overton, Kelvin Korver and Morris Sloan (L-R) celebrate their induction into the Irving ISD Athletic Hall of Fame. /Photo by Trenton Conner

While swapping high school glory tales and spending time with some old friends, as well as making a few new ones, members of Irving Independent School District’s Athletic Hall of Fame gathered to induct its new 2016 members.

The Irving ISD hosted its 5th annual Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee Banquet on Saturday, June 18. This year’s inductees included DeMarcus Faggins, an all-star athlete from 1998; Kelvin Korvera, a track and field athlete at Irving High School in the 1960s; Ray Overton, a football coach of 47 years; and Morris Sloan, a coach of 30 years.

DeMarcus Faggins played football for the first time as a sophomore at Irving High. Rather than waiting for his friends to finish practice, he decided to join the team too.

After starting as cornerback his junior year, Faggins earned First Team All-District and Second Team All-State honors. He then continued his football career at Navarro Junior College before moving on to Kansas State University and ultimately helping them win the Cotton Bowl championship.

Drafted by the Houston Texans in the sixth round of the 2002 NFL draft, Faggins played six years with the Texans, then the Tennessee Titans, and later with the Detroit Lions.

Amid jokes about his weight class in high school, Faggins spoke about his philosophy on life.

“I’m a man of action,” Faggins said. “I like to do it the right way and let everybody see the right way. It’s an honor to take this hall of fame induction.”

Also from Irving High School, Kelvin Korver broke state and national records as a track and field athlete in the discus and shotput. Later he attended Northwestern College where he still holds discus and shotput distance records.

After graduation Korver was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the 1972 NFL Draft as a defensive tackle and played three seasons with the team.

Korver joked that he did not play football in high school, because he did not think he was big enough.

“I had no intention of playing pro football,” Korver said. “Jogging around the track in my college rookie year we were watching the football team run through their drills, running their 40 yard dashes down the field.”

He and a friend joined in the drills with the runningbacks. Afterwards, the coach insisted Korver try out for the football team.

Morris Sloan played football and baseball for Irving High School. Following graduation in 1969, Sloan enrolled at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and played football for four years, always starting, but not always at the same position.

After he graduated in 1973 with a degree in health and physical education, Sloan returned to Irving where he coached at Lamar Junior High School from 1975 to1977, at Nimitz High School from 1977 to 1980, and at Irving High School from 1980 to 1984. He then went back to his alma mater and became assistant coach there, ultimately becoming the head coach.

Sloan thanked his peers who came to celebrate with him.

“I was part of a good year,” Sloan said. “How could we do anything but win with people like that? I want to give you all the accolades.”

With 30 years as a UIL head coach and 169 wins, Ray Overton led teams to 13 playoff games at MacArthur High School. He became a THSCA (Texas High School Coaches Association) Hall of Honor member in 1978, and was named Co-Coach of the Year in 1990.

Overton won the Tom Landry Award from the THSCA in 1994, before retiring from coaching to become a full time teacher at MacArthur High School until 2006.

Overton would like more youngsters to have opportunities to participate in school activities.

“I look at and I see other towns that are [Irving’s] size or maybe even a little bigger, and in their school system they have one [high] school,” Overton said. “How many people are going miss out on everything, to play or be apart or participate in anything? There’s going to be an awful lot of them that are going to be left out.”

Overton’s concern was for the well-being of the players, wanting to help choose positive paths in life and giving them recognition for achievements.

“I’m so proud that Irving has four high schools,” Overton said. “In my opinion this is what athletics is for.”