Becky Boxwell McIlraith
McIlraith was among the first group of outstanding volleyball players from Amarillo in the 1980s and she would eventually not only make history in the Amarillo ISD, but also at Texas Tech.
It was love at first spike for McIlraith when introduced to the sport in a physical education class in the sixth grade. Volleyball was among three sports she played at Crockett Junior High, but it was clear when she advanced to Amarillo High that volleyball would be her sport.
She was one of two sophomores who were called up to play for the Amarillo High varsity in 1981. That began to set the foundation of a long-running program that would go on to win 10 state championships.
As a 5-foot-9 outside hitter with uncommon leaping ability, McIlraith was the emotional leader of a team that got better and better. As seniors in 1983, they were known across the city as The Wall. They won their first 38 matches without a loss before an upset in the regional finals.
With women’s college athletic scholarships still in their infancy, McIlraith signed with Texas Tech. She played a few matches as a freshman, and that set the stage for three outstanding seasons from 1985-87. An annual team leader in kills and digs, McIlraith was Tech’s first three-time All-Southwest Conference women’s athlete in any sport and was the first Tech volleyball player in 1987 to be named to the NCAA’s all-region team. Her single season mark for kills stood for nine years.
In 2005, McIlraith was inducted into Texas Tech’s Athletic Hall of Fame. While at Tech, she met and later married Jay McIlraith. Residing in Amarillo for some time, they have two grown children.