3 Alumni, Longtime Announcer Added to Athletic Hall of Honors
From left: Natalie Taylor Crittenden, Ali Morshedi, Bill Mercer and Daci Deleon.
Three leading student-athletes from the University’s past and a longtime sports broadcaster have been inducted into the UT Dallas Athletic Hall of Honors.
Bill Mercer, who has served as a public address announcer and radio broadcaster for UT Dallas Athletics since 2006, was honored along with former men’s soccer standout Ali Morshedi, women’s soccer record-setter Natalie Taylor Crittenden, and Daci DeLeon, the most dominating pitcher in UT Dallas softball history.
The four were inducted Nov. 16 in ceremonies held in conjunction with Homecoming Week.
A committee of UT Dallas administrators, coaches and former inductees selected the honorees based on their achievements on and off the field.
Ali Morshedi is the all-time leading goal scorer in the history of UT Dallas men’s soccer. Over a four-year career, Morshedi scored 41 goals and posted 99 points, both school career records. He was named to the American Southwest Conference (ASC) All-Conference team three times and was the league’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2004.
Morshedi, of Tomball, Texas, was awarded a scholarship to join the UT Dallas chess team after winning a youth tournament in high school. His unique dual-sport combination was featured in a regional television piece on Fox Sports Southwest.
Morshedi earned bachelor’s (2005) and master’s (2008) degrees in electrical engineering and currently works as an engineer for Qualcomm in San Diego.
Natalie Taylor Crittenden
Natalie Taylor Crittenden was one of the most accomplished players in UT Dallas women’s soccer history, playing on two American Southwest Conference championship teams and leaving her name scattered throughout UT Dallas record books in the process.
Taylor won All-Region recognition from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) twice during her four-year career and was the ASC Offensive Player of the Year in 2004 while also winning All-Conference honors.
The native of Midland, Texas, said a strong athletic program and excellent academics drew her to UT Dallas. After earning a bachelor’s in business administration in 2006, she worked in the financial field with two local companies. She is currently an accountant with Turbochef.
She lives in Carrollton, where she coaches her 4-year-old’s soccer team.
Daci DeLeon threw the first no-hitter in UT Dallas softball history in a game against UT Tyler in 2005.
DeLeon set a school career record for strikeouts (202), averaging more than eight per game. She also held opposing batters to a remarkable .174 batting average, another school record.
Her career ERA of 1.84 and 26 wins ranks second in those categories. She made 41 career starts with 27 complete games and 10 shutouts.
The native of Kyle, Texas, graduated from UT Dallas with a degree in business administration in 2006 and currently works as a human resources specialist at the corporate headquarters of Rent-A-Center in Plano.
Bill Mercer, a veteran radio broadcaster whose career has included on-air stints with the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and World Championship Wrestling, joined the UT Dallas athletics family in 2005 as a public address announcer and later played a major role in developing live broadcasts of UT Dallas sporting events.
Mercer’s association with UT Dallas started by chance. In 2005, he was presenting a lecture in the McDermott Library about a book he had just co-authored concerning news coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination. Afterward, Athletic Department officials approached the retired broadcaster about becoming the public address announcer at home basketball games.
Within a year, Mercer and UT Dallas officials began discussing the possibility of broadcasting games over Radio UTD, the campus’ student radio station. Using student broadcasters from UT Dallas and a sports broadcasting class that Mercer taught at the University of North Texas, Mercer provided expertise and guidance as online broadcasts of UT Dallas events developed.
Mercer, a native of Muskogee, Okla., began his broadcasting career shortly after World War II. He broadcast minor league baseball games in the Dallas area throughout the 1950s, then joined the radio team for the newly formed Dallas Cowboys in the mid-1960s. When Major League Baseball came to the area in the early 1970s, Mercer was chosen to be part of the Texas Rangers’ broadcast crew. He later taught broadcasting classes at UNT for almost 40 years and mentored a number of well-known sportscasters, locally and statewide.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].