Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame - Arkansas Tech Connections
John Tucker - Inducted in 1962
-- Tucker was born in Russellville in 1901 and was a former Tech student-athlete and coach from 1919-47. He is the original "Wonder Boy" and helped Tech to a 31-3-4 record in football from 1919-24. He was All-State for three years, scoring 461 points. Tucker quarterbacked the University of Alabama to the Rose Bowl in 1931. He was the head football coach at Tech from 1933-47, compiling a 77-18-8 overall record, which included three undefeated teams. He holds the school's single-season record for football scoring (159 points in 1922) and also holds the school's career record for football points scored (443 points). In addition to his coaching and teaching career at Tech, Tucker also served as the school's athletic director from 1933-1968. He also is a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame.
Wilson Matthews - Inducted in 1971
-- Matthews was a Tech football player and an outstanding coach in the Little Rock school system. He was born in Atkins, Ark., in 1921. He lettered for four years at Atkins and was a two-time All-State selection. He was an All-AIC honoree at Tech from 1940-42. Played one season in 1942 at the University of Arkansas and also played at Monticello A&M and with the Marine football team. As the Little Rock High School football coach, Matthews compiled a 111-15-3 record, winning 10 state championships and producing a 33-win streak in 11 years. Was an assistant coach at Arkansas from 1958-71. Was inducted into the AHSCA Hall of Fame in 1996.
Raymond (Rabbit) Burnett - Inducted in 1974
-- Burnett was a standout football player at two colleges and a coach, including having a stint as a player at Tech. He was born in Newhope in 1914. Lettered for four years in basketball and football at Atkins (Ark.) High School from 1927-31. Was an All-AIC selection in football at Tech in 1935 and for State Teachers College in 1936. Burnett signed a professional contract with the St. Louis Cardinals for one year. Coached at Atkins in 1939-40 and spent time as the head coach at Little Rock High School from 1944-47, Tech from 1948-53 and North Little Rock High School from 1954-56. As the Wonder Boys Football coach, Burnett compiled a 31-24-4 overall record, including leading Tech to back-to-back AIC titles in 1948 and 1949.
Charles (Foot) Clement - Inducted in 1975
-- Clement was an All-America tackle at the University of Alabama. He was born in Rover, Ark., in 1908. Lettered in four sports at Tech and was a three-year varsity lettermen at Alabama from 1927-31. Clement was an All-Southern selection and served as the captain of the Alabama Rose Bowl team in 1931, where he played with former Tech great and ASHOF member, John Tucker. Was named on several All-American teams and later became a Southern Conference official.
Eddie Meador - Inducted in 1978
-- Meador was an All-Pro defensive back with the Los Angeles Rams. He played 12 years in the NFL, from 1959-70, starting 159 games in a row. Meador, a Russellville native, played halfback at Tech for four years (1955-58), scoring 272 career points and rushing for 3,358 yards, which is second-best in school history. Was named to the Associated Press Little All-American team in 1958. In addition, was named the Outstanding Back in the All-Star College Football Game in Tucson, Ariz., in 1959.
Sam Hindsman - Inducted in 1981
-- Hindsman served as the Wonder Boys Basketball Coach for 19 years from 1947-66. He won or shared 11 AIC titles, including winning seven in a row from 1948-49 to 1954-55. Hindman's Tech teams played in the NAIA National Tournament nine times, reaching the semifinals in 1954 and 1955. In addition to coaching basketball at Tech, Hindsman coached basketball at State Teachers College in 1947. Along with coaching basketball at Tech, Hindsman spent five seasons coaching the Wonder Boys Football team, winning two league titles and compiling a 31-16-2 overall record. His Tech basketball teams won 69 consecutive games in a row against Arkansas schools from 1952-55. Hindsman had an overall record of 355-146 (.709 winning percentage) at Tech and went 219-67 (.766 winning percentage) in AIC games. Hindsman also coached at Dermott and North Little Rock High Schools. Was a standout athlete at Sunflower, Mississippi Junior College and Memphis State University. He is a native of Columbus, Miss., and was born in 1919.
Deward Dopson - Inducted in 1982
-- Dopson was a Tech basketball standout and coach. He scored 1,863 points in his four-year Wonder Boy career (1948-52). Scored a single-game, school-record 56 points in 1952. Dopson coached at Tech from 1965-72 and compiled a 103-89 overall record and led the 1969-70 Wonder Boy team to a berth in the NAIA National Tournament. He also spent time coaching at Manila and Harrison High Schools from 1954-60, compiling a 208-95 record. Dopson, who is a native of Strong, Ark., played with the Caterpillars in Peoria, Ill., in 1953 and professional basketball with the Minneapolis Lakers in 1954.
Aubrey (Cobb) Fowler - Inducted in 1982
-- Fowler was a triple-threat tailback at Arkansas in 1946-47. He was a member of the SWC co-championship team, which played in the 1947 Cotton Bowl. He led the Razorbacks to a win in the 1948 Dixie Bowl. He averaged 35.1 yards on 11 punts, returned 45 punts for 624 yards in 1946 and 1947. Was a standout from 1939, 1940 and 1945 at Tech. Led the nation in scoring for 1945 undefeated AIC champions, which was coached by former Wonder Boy and ASHOF member, John Tucker. Averaged 34 yards on 27 punts in the mud against State Teachers College in the 1939 AIC championship game. Was a track sprinter with 20.9 speed in the 220 and 9.4 speed in the 100-meter dash. Fowler was a standout prep athlete at Dumas (Ark.) High School.
Ragon Kinney - Inducted in 1985
-- Kinney, who was a Tech student and coach from 1937-39, is a native of Hartman, Ark., and was a three-time National Amateur Boxing champion from 1939-44. At the age of 17, Kinney reached the finals of the State AAU Tournament, only to lose a controversial decision. Kinney started as a 112-poind novice in 1931 and had more than 200 amateur boxing matches. Won the Golden Gloves Intercity title as a light heavyweight in 1939, the AAU in 1941 and the Golden Gloves Intercity in 1944.
W. Howard Pearce - Inducted in 1986
-- Pearce, who was nicknamed "Hippo", was a former player at Little Rock High School, Tech and the University of Arkansas. He was a coach and served as the manager of War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock for 16 years. He grew up in Little Rock and started his football career at West Side Junior High School. Also played baseball and did some amateur boxing in high school at Little Rock High School from 1933-35.
Raymond Peters - Inducted in 1996
-- Peters, who served as the athletic director for the Little Rock Public Schools, was the first football coach at Little Rock's Hall High School. Peters, a Morrilton, Ark., native, also coached at North Little Rock and Little Rock Central High Schools. Compiled an overall record of 27-11-2 and led Hall H.S. to the 1959 Arkansas State Football championship. Played football at both Tech and the University of Arkansas.
Firmon "Nig" Bynum - Inducted in 1998
-- Bynum was born in Russellville in 1916. As a young man he worked in the local Bernice coal mine. He played tackle for the Russellville Cyclones from 1933-1936, with a team record of 30-4-4, 18 shutouts, outscoring opponents 1,032-195, and two undefeated seasons. He was All-State in 1936. He played for the Wonder Boys from 1937-39, with a team record of 19-3-4 and one undefeated season. He was All-State for three years and Little All-American in 1939, the year Tech won the state college championship. He was team co-captain. John Tucker coached him at Tech. He played for the Arkansas Razorbacks from 1940-41. He was All-SWC and Honorable Mention All-American in 1940. The NFL Detroit Lions drafted him at the end of the 1941 season. He served in the U.S. Army in WWII. He received three bronze battle stars for service in New Guinea and South Philippine Islands. He was head football coach for the Blytheville High School Chicks, who won the District 3 championship in 1947. His Blytheville Junior High School team won the State Class A track championship in 1948. He was line coach at Tech from 1948-52. Tech won AIC football championships in 1948-49. He served as Housing Director, Dean of Men, Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Tech from 1959-84. The Tech Board of Trustees named him Dean of Students Emeritus when he retired. He is a member of the ATU Hall of Distinction and the RHS Sports Hall of Fame. He holds a B.S.E and M.S. degrees from the University of Arkansas.
Bill Stancil - Inducted in 1998
-- Stancil, a Parkin, Ark., native, attended Tech and the University of Arkansas. He started his coaching career as an assistant football coach at Blytheville High School in 1950. He was later promoted to the head basketball coaching position in 1954. Stancil served as the head football coach and athletic director at Fort Smith Northside High School from 1957-69 and compiled an overall record of 111-27-4. He had three undefeated teams and led Northside to state championships in 1961, '66, '67 and '68. Was named the National High School Coach of the Year for District 5 in 1967. Was the AHSCA Coach of the Year from 1967-69 and was inducted into the AHSCA Hall of Fame in 1997. Served 10 years in the Arkansas House of Representatives.
Clyde Horton - Inducted in 2000
-- An Alabama native, Horton made a huge splash on the Arkansas sports scene, turning Little Rock Central High School into a program of national status. In 23 years at Central H.S., Horton's Tigers won nine state track and field championships, as well as 15 state cross country titles. He was named the Arkansas Coach of the Year four times and was twice named the District's National Coach of the Year. He is a member of the Arkansas Track and Field Hall of Fame, the National Coaches Association Hall of Fame and Tech's Hall of Distinction.
Joe Foley - Inducted in 2002
-- One of the winningest coaches in college basketball history. At the time of his induction into the ASHOF, Foley had an unbelievable winning percentage of 85 percent. Guided the Golden Suns to back-to-back National Championships in 1992 and '93. In addition, helped lead Tech to six NCAA Division II National Tournament appearances, including a D-II National Runner-up finish in 1998-99. Led Tech to two NCAA D-II South Regional Championships and was twice named National Coach of the Year. Foley's Tech teams won 20 or more games for 16 straight seasons and in 1990s, Tech went 285-53. During his 16 years at Tech, Foley, who is a native of Alpena, Ark., compiled a 456-81 record and won 13 league titles, including winning five straight league championships on two separate occasions. Foley, who is currently the head women's basketball coach at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, won his 500th career game during the 2006-07 season.
John Widner - Inducted in 2003
-- Widner is the winningest coach in Arkansas basketball history with a record of 875-197. His name is synonymous with Arkansas basketball as he was a pioneer in his home state. Widner's career began in the mid-1950s in Omaha, Ark., with other stops in Green Forest, Flippin, Leachville and Morrilton. The later of the four stops lasted 14 years. His Devil Dogs made an unbelievable six consecutive trips to the state championship game (winning the title in 1973-74) with a record of 32-3. Coaching in the high school All-Star game seven times. Averaged 22 wins a season for 14 consecutive years. Moved to the college ranks in 1984-85, as he took over the reigns of the his alma mater, Tech. In his first season at Tech, led the Wonder Boys to 22 wins and an AIC championship. In 1984-85, he earned AIC Coach of the Year honors. Widner, who is a native of Alpena, Ark., was inducted into both the Arkansas High School Coaches Hall of Fame and the Arkansas Officials Association Hall of Fame in 1996.
J.P. Lovelady - Inducted in 2005
-- The song "Only the Good Die Young" could very well tell the story of James Paul "J.P." Lovelady. The former Dover (Ark.) High School and Tech basketball standout was courted by professional teams when he was tragically killed as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident in 1961. Lovelady, who grew up in Dover, was known to have played basketball at every opportunity he had, including shooting on the Dover square well after dark on many evenings. While in high school, he broke several scoring records on the school, district and state levels. His 45 points in a 1957 State Tournament game still ranks eighth-best all-time in Arkansas history. Was a four-time All-District selection with the Pirates and upon graduation in 1957, chose to attend Tech. While at Tech, Lovelady grew to nearly 6-foot-5 and became a force to be reckoned with. As a freshman in 1957-58, helped Tech gain a berth in the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. He was a three-time All-AIC selection and was named an Associated Press Little All-American as a senior in 1961. In addition, he was named to the 1961 NAIA All-Star Team. While at Tech, Lovelady's teams went 73-25 and won three AIC championships. In his final game at Tech on Feb. 10, 1961, Lovelady scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a 98-72 win for Tech over Ouachita Baptist. In February of 1961, Lovelady was injured in an automobile accident. The injuries were considered serious, but not life-threatening. However, a blood clot worsened his condition and he died 11 days after the accident. His death was mentioned on the national news broadcasts. The St. Louis Hawks of the NBA had contacted Tech coach Sam Hindsman about the possibility of Lovelady playing for them, before his death.
E.C. O'Neal - Inducted in 2006
-- O'Neal, who became Tech's 18th-member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame with his induction in 2006, was a four-year letterwinner for the Wonder Boys from 1951-55. In addition, he is the school's third all-time leading scorer with 2,321 points and was a three-time All-AIC selection and the school's first-ever two-time All-American in basketball. During his four-year career at Tech, the Wonder Boys had a 106-14 overall record and a 65-1 mark in AIC games, with the only loss coming to Central Arkansas in 1952. Helped Tech win four consecutive AIC titles, four consecutive NAIA District championships and led the Wonder Boys to the NAIA National Tournament semifinals in 1954 and 1955. O'Neal, who started 119 of the 120 games he played in his Tech career, is the third member of the Wonder Boys basketball program from the 1950s era to join the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, joining former longtime head coach Sam Hindsman (inducted in 1981) and former Wonder Boy player Deward Dopson (inducted in 1982). During Tech's run to the 1954 NAIA Final Four, O'Neal was the tournament's leading scorer with 108 points and in 1967 was inducted into the NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame. O'Neal also earned the Neil Martin Trophy in 1954 as Arkansas' Outstanding Athlete. O'Neal finished his Tech career with the second highest single-season scoring average of 27.6 points per game as a sophomore in 1952-53; had the fourth highest single-season point total (702 points) in 1954-55 and was fifth in career scoring average (19.3 points per game). In addition, the 6-foot-3 O'Neal scored 34 or more points in a game eight times, including scoring 40 or more points twice. Prior to Tech, O'Neal, a native of Branch, Ark., played his first three years of high school basketball at Branch, before the towns of Branch and Radcliff consolidated into County Line High School, where he played his senior year. In high school, O'Neal's team combined for a 95-9 overall record and was a three-time All-District selection. After graduating from Tech in 1955 with a bachelor of science degree, O'Neal served as an assistant coach for Hindsman and also was an instructor and assistant dean at Tech. In 1959, O'Neal earned his masters degree in education from the University of Arkansas and would spend seven years (1959-66) as a teacher, coach and athletic director as Booneville High School, before serving as a graduate assistant and intramural sports director at Arkansas from 1966-68. After obtaining his doctorate in education from Arkansas in 1968, O'Neal spent the next 30 years before retiring in 1998 as a professor in the School of Education at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss.
Kenny Saylors - Inducted in 2009
-- Saylors, who became Tech's 19th-member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame with his induction in 2009, was the most prolific scorer in Wonder Boys Basketball history. He was named a two-time All-American (1961 and 1963) and is the only Wonder Boy Basketball player to ever be named an All-Conference selection four straight seasons, as he was named an All-AIC selection four times. In his Tech career, which spanned from 1959-63, Saylors, who was nicknamed "Burhead" scored 2,470 points and led the Wonder Boys to a 79-25 overall record, a 55-17 record in AIC games and helped Tech win three consecutive AIC titles from 1960-62. In addition, he helped lead the 1962-63 Wonder Boys to the 1963 NAIA National Tournament. Became the second member of the Wonder Boys Basketball program from the 1960s to join the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, joining former Wonder Boy teammate J.P. Lovelady (inducted in 2005). Along with being Tech's all-time leading scorer, Saylors also holds the school's career record for career scoring average (24.7 points), single-season points (831), which was set in 1961-62, single-season scoring average (30.8 points), which was also set in 1961-62 and career free throws made (578). During his senior year, Saylors, who is a native of Luber, Ark., which is near Mountain View, Ark., scored a career-high 47 points against Lyon College, which is the third most points scored in a single-game in school history. In his career, he had 15 games of scoring 35 or more points, including six games of scoring 40 or more points. Saylors was drafted by the NBA's St. Louis Hawks in the 2nd round as the 18th selection overall. He also played for the Phillips 66ers and the Milwaukee Zips. Prior to attending Tech, Saylors was a standout at Bruno-Pyatt High School. While at Bruno-Pyatt, Saylors averaged 27.9 points as a sophomore, 36.8 points as a junior and 32.4 points as a senior. Helped lead the school to the 1959 Class B State Championship and was selected as the MVP of the Class B State Tournament. He also played in the East-West High School All-Star Game. Saylors has been a basketball official for 33 years, working 23 state tournaments. He also has officiated junior college and college games, including officiating in the AIC. He was inducted into the Pyatt High School Hall of Fame in 2004, the Arkansas Officials Hall of Fame in 2005 and became a member of the Tech Hall of Distinction in 2008. Has also had his No. 33 jersey retired at Bruno-Pyatt High School.
Bill "Sleepy" Curtis - Inducted in 2011
-- Curtis, who will became Tech's 20th-member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame with his induction on Feb. 11, 2011, was a star running back for the Wonder Boys from 1959-62. He was a three-time All-Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) honoree, a two-time single-season rushing leader in the AIC and was named to the 1960s Arkansas-Democrat Gazette's All-Decade Team. During Curtis' four-year career at Tech, the Wonder Boys posted a combined 31-5-2 overall record, a 24-4-1 record in AIC games and he was a part of back-to-back AIC title teams in 1960 and 1961 under the direction of Marvin Salmon, who coached the Wonder Boys from 1959-66. Curtis finished his collegiate career with 2,401 rushing yards, including rushing for an AIC-best 1,027 yards as a senior in 1962 and had a career rushing average of 5.2 yards per carry. His 1,027 rushing yards at the time in 1962 was third on the school's single-season chart and is currently ninth on Tech's single-season rushing list. In addition, his 2,401 career rushing yards is seventh on the school's career rushing list and his 156 points scored (26 touchdowns) is 15th on the school's all-time scoring chart. As a junior in 1961, Curtis led the AIC in both rushing yards (781 yards) and scoring (12 touchdowns/72 points). Along with his rushing exploits, Curtis returned 31 kickoffs in his career for 394 yards and caught 33 passes for 521 yards and gained 2,401 yards of total offense, which is 19th on the school's all-time list. In addition to playing football at Tech, Curtis also ran track for the Wonder Boys and was part of Tech's AIC championship Mile Medley Relay team that ran a then AIC-record time of 3:32.9 in 1962 and as a senior in 1963, he was part of Tech's AIC Championship Mile Relay team that ran a time of 3:23.3. Curtis, who is native of Marianna, Ark., lettered in five sports in high school, including playing football for Wilson Kell. With his selection into the 2011 Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, Curtis becomes the 10th former Wonder Boy football player to be inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame as he joins John Tucker (inducted in 1962), Wilson Matthews (inducted in 1971), Raymond 'Rabbit' Burnett (inducted in 1974), Charles 'Foot' Clement (inducted in 1975), Eddie Meador (inducted in 1978), Aubrey 'Cobb' Fowler (inducted in 1982), W. Howard Pearce (inducted in 1986), Raymond Peters (inducted in 1996) and Firman Bynum (inducted in 1998).
Wyn Norwood - Inducted in 2013
--Norwood was a two-time Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference golf champion while playing at Arkansas Tech University. Norwood went on to win three state amateur titles and participate in 14 national amateur championships. Norwood, a Russellville native, worked at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock from 1992 until his retirement at the end of the 2012 school year. UALR had dropped its men's golf program in the 1980s and had never had a women's program before the 1992-93 season. Norwood revived the men's program and started the women's program. He spent his first 13 years at UALR as the head coach of both programs. He was named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year for both men's and women's golf in 1994. Those were the first of five such awards he would earn.
Arkansas Tech's Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Inductees
John Tucker (1962)
Wilson Matthews (1971)
Raymond Burnett (1974)
Charles Clement (1975)
Eddie Meador (1978)
Sam Hindsman (1981)
Deward Dopson (1982)
Aubrey Fowler (1982)
Ragon Kinney (1985)
W. Howard Pearce (1986)
Raymond Peters (1996)
Firman Bynum (1998)
Bill Stancil (1998)
Clyde Horton (2000)
Joe Foley (2002)
John Widner (2003)
J.P. Lovelady (2005)
E.C. O'Neal (2006)
Kenny Saylors (2009)
Bill "Sleepy" Curtis (2011)
Wyn Norwood (2013)