Feb. 18, 2013
WACO, Texas -- If nothing else, The University of Texas promises its student-athletes one thing with absolution: The eyes of Texas are upon you.
And when examining the careers of lifetime Longhorns Ricky Williams and Cat Osterman, both arrived on the Forty Acres with the glimmer of a spotlight, and both blossomed in the burnt orange hue that shadowed their collegiate careers.
Their statistical contributions stand undaunted, each uniquely theirs for now and always. And likewise each has grown from a UT student-athlete to an adult rooted by maturity and gratitude.
With a nod to the athletes they were and the people they continue to be, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame now promises that the eyes of Texas will always be on Williams and Osterman.
Williams and Osterman were among the 2012 class officially inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame during a banquet gala Monday night at the Ferrell Center.
Along with Williams and Osterman, this year's class also includes New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Dallas Cowboys running back Walt Garrison, former Milwaukee Braves third baseman Eddie Mathews, former Lubbock Monterey High School baseball coach Bobby Moegle and former San Antonio High School and NBA basketball champion Shaquille O'Neal.
Williams played running back for UT from 1995-98 and finished his career with 21 NCAA records and 46 University of Texas all-time marks including NCAA records for career rushing yards (6,279), all-purpose yards (7,206), rushing TDs (72) and total TDs (75). The 1998 Heisman Trophy winner won back-to-back NCAA rushing titles as a junior and senior.
"I saw something special in Austin and wanted to be part of it," said Williams, a California native. "Texans have a lot of pride, and that's something I wanted to be part of. They supported me and embraced me."
Williams also was named the Maxwell Award winner, Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year and the 1998 Associated Press Player of the Year. Williams went on to play professional football for 11 years with three different NFL teams.
In Austin, Williams' impact remains on the Longhorns. A statue in his likeness was erected last spring, and his Heisman Trophy season paved the way for an era of success that led to three BCS bowl victories, including the 2005 national championship.
"I look at the Texas before I came, and the Texas now, and it's a little different," Williams said. "I like to think I had a little part in that."
One of the top pitchers in UT history, Osterman was a three-time National Player of the Year and four-time All-American during her four seasons at The University of Texas. The only softball individual to ever win National Player of the Year honors three times, she paced the Longhorns to three trips to the Women's College World Series (2003, 2005 and 2006) while earning USA Softball's National Player of the Year honor in each of those three seasons.
"I'm very proud to be a Longhorn, and always will be," Osterman said. "Hopefully people will look and say that I was a good representative of my sport and my university."
A three-time selection as Big 12 Conference Female Athlete of the Year (2003, 2005 and 2006), she still holds UT career records in victories (136), ERA (0.51), shutouts (85) and no-hitters (20) and holds the NCAA record for career strikeout ratio per seven innings (14.35). Osterman graduated from the University in 2007 with a psychology degree.
"If I had chosen to go anywhere but UT, I don't think my career would have taken the path it did," Osterman said. "I had to mature mentally and physically as a pitcher and a person. I don't know that a lot of other programs would have given me the opportunity so early."
During her redshirt season of 2004, Osterman trained with the USA National Team and was the only collegian and youngest member of the Olympic Team that earned a gold medal in Athens. Osterman also won a silver medal during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"I think the biggest thing is that I was never satisfied. I was always striving to do more, and even post-college I was trying to be a good representative of where I came from," Osterman said. "I just wanted to be a competitive student-athlete."