Hear from Aaron Flores and Gaby Lopez here: https://youtu.be/HgKpyRHTErA
With 21 years of history and thousands who have contributed to the organization, the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) was proud to introduce the RRAC Hall of Fame and recognize the inaugural class of inductees. Through the Hall of Fame, the RRAC seeks to honor the individuals who have contributed to the launch and growth of the conference as administrators, coaches and student-athletes while achieving excellence in their role.
Candidates were nominated by RRAC member institutions from the past and present, and inductee selections were made by the conference’s Hall of Fame committee which includes select RRAC personnel, athletic directors and sports information directors. Those honored include contributors to the founding of the RRAC, winning coaches with a focus on character development, and student-athletes who were standouts in their sports.
“The RRAC Hall of Fame gives us an avenue to recognize the people who have been so important to the Red River Athletic Conference and their institutions throughout our existence,” says RRAC Commissioner Tony Stigliano, who has presided over the conference since its inception. “The inductees in the inaugural class represent a great cross-section of our history and various roles. This is an incredible start to our Hall of Fame, and we look forward to honoring more outstanding contributors in the years to come.”
Inductees were recognized through a virtual Hall of Fame on the RRAC website into perpetuity and through ceremonies that will occur in 2021 on member campuses.
Honored from OLLU were golfer Aaron Flores (2009-2013) and soccer keeper Gaby Lopez (2013-2016).
OLLU President Dr. Diane E. Melby commented, “On behalf of the entire university, I would like to extend my congratulations to Aaron and Gaby. While they were at OLLU, they represented our core values of community, integrity, trust and service. They excelled as scholar students, and they represented their team and the university in the community, bringing much success in their competitions as part of the Red River. Congratulations – we are proud of you both.”
RRAC Virtual Hall of Fame
Aaron Flores started his collegiate career at OLLU in 2009 after graduating from Holy Cross High School in San Antonio. During his last two seasons on the team, he earned a 4.0 GPA and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in May 2014. As a senior, Flores was honored with the inaugural OLLU BIG BLUE TOP SAINT award given to the top athlete in athletics, community service and academics.
“Aaron Flores was a superb example of an all-around student-athlete, one that promotes the NAIA Champions of Character program,” Athletic Director Shane Hurley said. “He excelled in the classroom and the community, and he represented OLLU on the national platform every year he was at OLLU. He singlehandedly put OLLU Golf on the map and helped establish our program as one of the elite teams in the entire NAIA. We are certainly proud of all his accomplishments.”
As a golfer, Flores averaged a career 73.31; he recorded his best score of 68.33 in April 2010. His accomplishments include:
- 4-Time NAIA All-American (Second Team/Second Team/Honorable Mention/First Team)
- 4-Time NAIA-PING All-American (Third Team/Second Team/Third Team/First Team)
- 2-Time NAIA-PING All-Region
- All-Nicklaus Team
- NAIA Champions of Character
- GCAA (Golf Coaches Association of America) NAIA All-Freshman
- 2-Time NAIA All-Tournament
- Conference Champions of Character
- 4-Time All-Conference
- 2-Time Conference Scholar-Athlete
- OLLU Big Blue Top Saint – First-Ever
- 2010 – qualified for NAIA National Tournament as an individual
- Top Medalist at Lucio Golf Tournament in February 2010
- Top Medalist at Conference Tournament in April 2010
- Top Medalist at Smee Builders Invitational in March 2011
- Runner Up at Conference Tournament in April 2011
- Runner Up at Smee Builders Invitational in March 2012
- Top Medalist at Conference Tournament in April 2012
- Sixth Place at NAIA National Tournament in May 2012
- Top Medalist at San Antonio Shootout in February 2013
- Top Medalist at NAIA Classic in April 2013
- Runner Up at NAIA National Tournament in May 2013
- 9-time 4-Year Dean’s List recipient
OLLU Golf Head Coach Arnie Martinez, who was part of the team with Flores, commented, “Congratulations to Aaron on a well-deserved accomplishment. He was a stand-out golfer for OLLU and the Red River Conference. I’ve known Aaron practically my whole life, and I’ve watched him develop as a golfer. I think it’s great he’s getting the recognition. Congratulations, once again. GO, SAINTS!”
Flores’ abundance of individual career, season and tournament records are as follows:
- Career Most Tournaments played (45)
- Career Scoring Average (73.31)
- Career Tournaments Won (6)
- Most Rounds Shooting Pars or Better (45)
- Most Rounds Played (118)
- Lowest First Round in a Season (3 times at 67)
- Lowest Second Round in a Season (65)
- Lowest Fourth Round (73)
- Second in Most Par or Better Rounds (13)
- Most Rounds played in a Season (32)
Flores spent a substantial amount of time volunteering in the community as a representative of OLLU. Among his activities were: two-year volunteer participant in the Patriot All-America Invitational. He was specially invited to participate in the tournament, whose profits benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation that provides post-secondary educational scholarships for children and spouses of military servicemen and women killed or disabled while serving our great nation. He also volunteered as an assistant coach at Holy Cross High School guiding the team to a championship season.
Upon graduation, Flores began working at Callaway Golf and has remained with the company to this day and has received many promotions as he continues to climb the ladder. Flores also competes in various tournaments, as well.
Gaby Lopez began her collegiate career at OLLU in 2013 after graduating from New Braunfels High School. During her four seasons on the soccer team, Lopez earned a 3.771 GPA. In her senior year, she was selected as the OLLU BIG BLUE TOP SAINT, the university’s top female athlete of the year for her excellence on the field, in the classroom and out in the community. After graduation in May 2017, she moved to Houston and played for the Houston Aces, a professional soccer club with the United Women’s Soccer League. She recently moved back home to New Braunfels, Texas, and works as an ergonomic specialist at the Toyota plant in San Antonio.
Lopez guided the Saints to four consecutive conference regular season and conference tournament championships, making four consecutive trips to the NAIA National Tournament. During her four years, the team earned Top 25 rankings in the NAIA Women’s Soccer Coaches Top 25 Poll. In her freshman year, the team earned top rankings in the conference for seven weeks and No. 2 six times. In her sophomore year, the team earned top rankings seven times, No. 2 two times and No. 3 two times. In her junior year, the team earned top rankings six times and No. 2 five times. In her final year, the team was ranked No. 1 for all 10 weeks. In addition, under Lopez’s leadership, the Saints suffered just one conference loss in four years.
Women’s Head Coach Arthur Salazar commented, “What an amazing honor it is to have the RRAC recognize Gaby for all of her hard work and commitment to excellence. She was such an important part of what we were able to do during our run of four consecutive conference titles and national tournament appearances from 2013-2016. It was a privilege to have Gaby represent our university, and I’m so proud of what she did as a member of the team to help propel the soccer program forward.”
Lopez career stats as the Saints keeper are 77 games played, 5,660.35 minutes played, 299 saves/.859, 43 wins, 12 losses, 5 ties, 21 shutouts; season stats are 102 saves, 8 shutouts, 14 wins; game stats are 17 saves. Her records are:
- All-Time Career Saves – 299
- All-Time Career Shutouts – 21
- All-Time Wins – 43
- Season Saves – 102
- Season Wins – 14
Lopez’s awards include:
- National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar All-American
- NSCAA Scholar All-Region
- NSCAA All-Region
- NAIA All-American (HM)
- 2-Time All-Conference
- 4-Time Conference All-Tournament
- Defensive Player of the Year in 2016
- 4-Time Conference Scholar-Athlete
- 3-Time NAIA Scholar-Athlete
- 4-Time Conference Regular Season Champions
- 4-Time Conference Tournament Champions
- 4-Time NAIA National Tournament Participants
- 4-Year Dean’s List recipient
- OLLU Big Blue Top Saint – Female
Lopez volunteered regularly at TopSoccer, an organization that provides athletes with disabilities, both physical and mental, with the chance to play soccer. She also volunteered with the YWCA youth soccer organization to help provide inner-city athletes with the opportunity to advance their soccer ability through hard work and fun. She volunteered for youth league at the Wurstfest and Oyster Bake. She also worked at the San Antonio Food Bank throughout her time at OLLU. Lopez tutored children from Myers Elementary School, reading and doing activities with the children, and she volunteered with the New Braunfels Aggies.
“Gaby Lopez was consistently one of the top impact players for our women’s soccer program,” said Hurley. “When she needed to rise to new heights, she was up to the task. As a stellar example of a servant leader and athlete, she helped guide our women’s soccer team to the NAIA National Tournament four years in a row, helped us earn our first national ranking, and was consistently involved in volunteering to help special needs students through the TopSoccer program, as well as various other service initiatives working with individuals of need. We are proud of her accomplishments.”
“Aaron and Gaby’s accomplishments on and off the field are nothing short of phenomenal,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Lourdes Alvarez. “They not only led their teams to Red River Athletic Conference championships, but they also excelled in the classroom. Both also found time to give back to the community in significant ways. They are models of the greatest values that college athletics can nurture in students: discipline, time-management, resilience, teamwork. Now, they are both established in their careers and are proud alumni of Our Lady of the Lake University. I know they are great role models for those who have followed them as part of athletics, and they will continue to do so. Congratulations!”