Brad Pursley of Merkel and Abilene Christian University was a state champion and NAIA and NCAA national champion in the pole vault. He competed internationally and qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials three times. Pursley was ranked as high as No. 3 in the world and was ranked among the top five U.S. pole vaulters from 1981 to 1987. He is a member of the NAIA and ACU Halls of Fame.