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SPRING into action 2013 spring sports in full swing

Whitney Lewis

Ali Mathis

Scott Eibes

2013 spring issue

Mitchell Powers

EAGLE Insider


University of the Ozarks UNIVERSITY OF THE OZARKS has approached education with an unyielding search for truth. That search led our founders to establish the first co-educational college west of the Mississippi. It set the stage for the first Arkansas woman to receive a college degree. And because truth often defies convention, ours was the first historically white college in the state to admit AfricanAmericans. Every day, our history inspires Ozarks students to discover their own individual truths.


CONTENTS

EAGLE Insider

WHAT’S INSIDE Baseball Preview: 2012 Surge Builds Confidence

Marcus Bobb: Aged To Perfection

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New Sports Hall of Fame Members: 1983-84 Team, Williams and Whorton

EAGLE Insider is a publication of the Sports Information Office.

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Editor: Josh Peppas Contributing Writer: Larry Isch Photography: U of O Sports Information Office, U of O Public Relations Office, UA-Fort Smith Sports Information Office, Mindpower Print Production: Hewlett-Packard (magcloud)

University of the Ozarks

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EAGLE Insider Ali MATHIS

Softball Team Focuses On Continued Improvement

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Head Softball Coach Laurie Adkins expects to see continued improvement within her program after the Lady Eagles made significant strides in 2012. Ozarks returns five starters, its top two pitchers and posted wins over two nationally-ranked teams in 2012. The Lady Eagles will be able to rely on a number of juniors and sophomores who saw starting action last season, and return one of the most dynamic players in program history in outfielder Ali Mathis. “I believe we will have continued improvement this year,” said Adkins. “I think we will get better instead 2

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of having inconsistent flashes of brightness. We want to add to our improvement from last year.” In year two under Adkins, the Lady Eagles posted double digit wins for the first time since 2008. Mathis and pitcher Amber Rollins played a big part of that. Mathis, who already ranks among the program’s top-10 in nearly every offensive career category, hit .325 with 7 doubles. Rollins earned Conference Freshman of the Year honors after leading the league in strikeouts (172) and innings pitched (194.1). “Ali has All-American talent,” said Adkins. “Amber came back for her sophomore year even better.” University of the Ozarks


EAGLE Insider Todd TURNER >>

University of the Ozarks

experience and these guys now have a year of conference play under their belt. We can take what we accomplished last year and put that as a baseline to where the program can be every year.” Wiseman has his top six players back, including four All-Conference players. Despite a breakout season, the Eagles came up short in qualifying for the playoffs. “The first day of practice was to the point where I thought we would have a fight because of the intensity,” said Wiseman. “These guys are driven as a result of not going to the playoffs.” >>>

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Expectations are at an all-time high for Shaun Wiseman’s men’s tennis team following a record-breaking 2012 season. The Eagles have their sights set high after more than doubling their wins from the previous season. The 2012 team posted its first winning record in nearly a decade, ending with a 10-5 overall mark. Spurred by the momentum of last season, the 2013 Eagles received a No. 17 NCAA III preseason ranking from the ITA. “I think this team has the potential to go a lot further than last year,” said Wiseman. “There is no substitute for

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Expectations At An All-Time High For Men’s Tennis Program

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EAGLE Insider

Mitchell POWERS Late Surge Builds Confidence For 2013 Club

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Building on last season’s late success, the Eagles head into the 2013 season with high hopes behind a veteran club and a considerable amount of momentum. It was a tale of two seasons for Head Coach Jimmy Clark’s 2012 club. The Eagles posted a 6-13 record through the first half of the year, but Ozarks got hot and won seven of its final 11 games. “I just think we got comfortable and started playing better as a team,” said Clark. “We began playing with more confidence. The guys started to figure it out toward 4

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the end of the year. The hope is we carry that forward into this season.” Ozarks will benefit from the return of five of its top six hitters. That group combined for over 60 percent of its hit production and 65 percent of its RBI production. Senior infielders Mitchell Powers and Nick Brill lead the way offensively. The Eagles also return nearly the entire pitching staff, led by a talented collection of juniors. Tyler Erickson, Jeffrey Works, Bo Thomas and Freddy Prince logged a combined 165.0 innings in 2012. Additionally, senior Ian Bryan was an All-Conference closer last season. University of the Ozarks


EAGLE Insider Whitney LEWIS >>

University of the Ozarks

freshman Elly Eibes comes in with high expectations. “This is about as good as it gets as far as experience,” said Wiseman. “They play well together. We are not flashy, but rather very blue-collar. Our team got better as the season went on. They had to circle the wagons when our season could have been derailed. That has made them so much better and ready for this season. Our expectations are to qualify for the conference tournament. I feel like this team is probably as ready as any team I’ve had in the last three years. They have the talent and experience to get there.” >>>

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Head Women’s Tennis Coach Shaun Wiseman is happy to have a veteran group return for the 2013 season, and with that experience comes increased expectations. Two seniors, three juniors and two sophomores give Wiseman the luxury of an experienced team in the competitive American Southwest Conference. Chelsea Glasscock and Tara Richards return for their senior seasons and have been with the program for all four years. Whitney Lewis, Kalli Simpson and Macie Kelley are back for their junior seasons. Megan Wallace and transfer Mollie Grace Wilkinson make up the sophomore class, while talented

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Veterans Lead Lady Eagles

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EAGLE Insider Matt FRIANT

Matt Friant Receives Third Straight All-Conference Honor

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Matt Friant received American Southwest Conference All-Conference Second Team honors after finishing among the top 14 runners at the ASC championships held October 27 in Clinton, Mississippi. Friant, a junior from Conway, Ark., placed twelfth in the 8K race with a time of 27:18.89. It is the third straight year Friant has been among the top 14 runners at the ASC Championships. He was Ozarks’ top finisher in each race during the 2012 season. He was ASC Freshman of the Year in 2010 and is a threetime All-Conference Second Team honoree. 6

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Additionally, he has been on the ASC All-Academic Team twice. Friant has been a main reason the Eagles have been among the top men’s cross country teams in the ASC in recent years. Ozarks placed seventh at the conference championships in 2012, and second overall in both 2011 and 2010. Friant has participated in two NCAA III Regional events during his career. He owns the ninth-fastest 8K time in program history after running a 26:40.15 at the Memphis Twilight in 2010. University of the Ozarks


EAGLE Insider Kara WILLBANKS >>

University of the Ozarks

championships October 27 in Clinton, Mississippi. Willbanks was Ozarks’ top finisher as she placed 30th overall, running a 27:17.16 in the 6K event. Willbanks paced the Lady Eagles as the team’s top finisher in four races during the 2012 season. She placed thirteenth at the two-mile Arkansas Tech University Invitational She participated in the 2011 NCAA III Regional race and is a two-time member of the ASC All-Academic Team. >>>

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Junior Kara Willbanks won the Arkansas D-III Women’s Cross Country individual title October 18 in Clarksville behind a time of 20:49.20 in the 5K event. Willbanks, from Fort Smith, Ark., set a new personalbest at the race, and it marked her first individual title at Ozarks. Hendrix College won the team title with 20 points. Ozarks scored 38 points. Ozarks and Hendrix are the only two NCAA III institutions in Arkansas and have aptly named the race the Arkansas D-III Championships. Behind Willbanks, the women’s team finished among the top-10 at the American Southwest Conference

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Willbanks Wins Women’s Arkansas D-III Championship Title

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EAGLE Insider

Jordyn FERRELL Jordyn Ferrell Named To Capital One Academic All-District Team

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Senior guard Jordyn Ferrell was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Women’s Basketball All-District Team for the 2012-13 season. The 5-foot-9 native of West Fork, Ark., finished seventeenth in the conference in scoring (10.7), sixth in assists (3.2), fourth in free throw percentage (78%) and third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4). Ferrell was the team’s second leading scorer and tied for the team-lead in rebounding (5.4). A starter in all 25 games, she reached double figures 13 times, including a 26-point, 11-rebound effort against Hendrix College 8

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in November. She was named to the American Southwest Conference All-East Division Second Team this season and was the ASC’s Player of the Week in December. A physical education major, Ferrell is a member of the ASC All-Academic Team. To be eligible for Academic All-America honors, studentathletes must be a starter with at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average for their career. The honor recognizes outstanding NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, and NAIA student-athletes from across the country. University of the Ozarks


EAGLE Insider Josh DUNCAN >>

University of the Ozarks

has received the award. Institutions from NCAA Division I, II and III, and NAIA are eligible for the honor. The Eagles also placed seven athletes on the American Southwest Conference All-Academic Team in 2012. The team included Cole DeVoss, Josh Duncan, Anthony Euculano, Clark Kauffman, Matt Mouer, Adrian Nunez and Junior Sandoval. Sophomore defender Shaun Keane and senior goalkeeper Matt Mouer were named Honorable Mention All-Conference following the 2012 season. >>>

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The men’s soccer team has been honored with the prestigious Team Academic Award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). The NSCAA Team Academic Award is presented to those teams with a 3.0 or better cumulative grade point average for the 2011-2012 academic year. Ozarks was one of 148 schools that had both their men’s and women’s programs recognized. A total of 717 college soccer teams (220 men, 497 women) posted the qualifying grade point average. Under Head Coach John Cossaboon, the men’s team posted a 3.06 gpa. It is the sixth time the men’s program

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NSCAA Honors Men’s Soccer Team

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EAGLE Insider

MARCUS BOBB: Aged To Perfection

by Larry Isch, Director of University & Public Relations

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saiah Boxell was in second grade in Ponder, Texas, when he and other children in the small, basketball crazy community idolized the star of the high school basketball team, senior Marcus Bobb. “Everyone knew he was the best player on the team, and we all looked up to him,” said Isaiah Boxell. “Everyone knew who Marcus Bobb was. Even after he graduated, he was kind of a legend around Ponder.” Now, 12 years later, the unlikeliest of scenarios transpired as Isaiah Boxell and Bobb were senior 10 > > >

teammates for the basketball team. Bobb, a 6-foot-4 forward who turned 31 in June 2012, not only played basketball, but he excelled at it for the Eagles. Following the 2012-13 season, he earned All-East Division Second Team honors and was voted the ASC East Division Sportsmanship of the Year winner. He averaged 15.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game during the season. “It really is a pretty remarkable story,” said Ozarks Coach Doug Boxell, Isaiah’s dad who coached Bobb at Ponder. “It’s got to be one of the best stories in NCAA Division III. It’s just not something you see or hear about very University of the Ozarks


University of the Ozarks

It’s got to be one of the best stories in NCAA Division III.

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Bobb and inquired about his interest in returning to college. After turning his old high school coach down several times, Bobb decided to give it a try. Bobb had little trouble adjusting on the court. Despite being an undersized inside player and being at least a decade older than most of his opponents, Bobb has been one of the top players in the conference the past three seasons. “Marcus has a tremendous knowledge of the game and a knack for being in the right spot,” said Coach Boxell. “He’s deceptively quick and more athletic than you might think. He just plays hard and he plays smart, and that’s a pretty good combination.” Bobb is a full-blooded Cherokee Indian who speaks fluent Spanish, which he learned during his mission work. Bobb shines in the classroom, too, posting a 3.5 grade point average as a double major in Spanish and business management. He’s also, by nature, very soft-spoken, but Coach Boxell knows Bobb has been able to provide valuable leadership beyond the court. “You usually count on your seniors to provide leadership and guidance to young guys because of their age and experience, but with Marcus you have someone whose experiences are even more special,” Coach Boxell said. “His teammates see the life experiences he’s had, and they have seen the sacrifices he has made to come back to school and handle his studies. Marcus is the shining example of what a true student-athlete at Ozarks is.”

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often.” Bobb is the oldest player in the conference and is among the oldest player in NCAA Division III. He’s often razzed by opposing fans, such as two years ago when East Texas Baptist fans chanted “Moses,” when he was at the free-throw line. Even his teammates enjoy a little good-natured ribbing. “We call him Father Time or Old Man Bobb,” said senior forward Ronnie Dodd. “His game is definitely old-school. We like to kid around with him, but he really is a great teammate and great player.” Bobb’s circuitous route to college basketball standout status is one of both inspiration and intrigue. After graduating from high school in 1999, Bobb earned a basketball scholarship to Lyon College in Batesville, Ark. He played significantly as a sixth man his freshman year, but struggled academically. He eventually dropped out of school and moved back to Texas. In 2001, Bobb began missionary work, traveling around Texas and sharing the Gospel. In what he calls a “low-burden ministry,” Bobb was not paid and often relied on strangers for food and shelter. It was a nomadic lifestyle he lived for seven and a half years. “It’s not always easy when you don’t know where your next meal will come from,” Bobb said. “But it was an exciting and educational time for me. It opened my eyes to a lot of things and I learned how to adapt easily and get by with very little. I also matured a lot and I met a lot of people, some very, very poor and some very rich. I realized that deep down, people are really the same. They just want hope.” When Coach Boxell got the Ozarks job, he contacted

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EAGLE Insider MORGAN O’NEIL: Ozarks’ Campus Leader

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organ O’Neil is busy, but it hasn’t stopped her from fulfilling a number of leadership roles on Ozarks’ campus. During the soccer season, a typical day for O’Neil included class time in the mornings, work in the afternoons and practice in the evening. But that is not all. O’Neil serves as the Student Government Association President, soccer team captain and was the student representative on the university’s recent presidential search. And, the Environmental Studies, English and Political Science major from Carbondale, Ill., 12 > > >

flawlessly thrives in each of those responsibilities. “She never complains or deflects any role or duty,” said Head Coach Bryan Drotar. “Morgan is the first to work and the first to serve. She has led our team with her positive attitude and her incredible work ethic. Morgan is heavily involved in the life of the University and she is not merely a member of these organizations. She is the type of person to drive an organization or a group to do meaningful things. I am always amazed how much Morgan can get done every day.” O’Neil thought her soccer career ended after her junior University of the Ozarks


University of the Ozarks

Soccer is my release for the day. It is where my passion is.

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was injured and would not be able to play. So Drotar asked her to be prepared to be the starting goalkeeper. O’Neil, who hadn’t played goalie since high school, jumped at the task, earning the respect of her teammates and coach. This was just one example of O’Neil’s leadership abilities over her four-year career, according to Drotar. Away from soccer, she has a passion for protecting the environment and plans to take her academic talents to law school, likely in the northwest part of the country. But don’t be surprised if you see O’Neil back in Arkansas someday. “Arkansas has really become my home,” she said. “In a lot of ways when I think of home, this is where I think of. Eventually I will probably want to come back and live here.” While playing college soccer, she has grown to love the game even more. And, to her, the game has meaning beyond its boundary lines. “I want soccer to be a part of my life no matter where my career leads me,” she said. “I think the game is great at developing children and communities. It is unlike other sports because you have the liberty to go out with a ball and play, regardless of the setting. It caters to everyone, gender or race doesn’t matter.” O’Neil appreciates the opportunity Ozarks has afforded her as a student-athlete. “Ozarks has given me a thousand opportunities,” she said. “It has given me the chance to take on different types of leadership roles. It is easy to be involved on our campus. Everyone on campus loves the campus so much. It is like a fever, you catch it.”

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year at Carbondale High School (Ill.). “I had originally not planned to play soccer here until one of the girls saw me playing a pick-up game on the campus mall my freshman season,” said O’Neil. “I then went and talked to Coach Drotar about playing on the team.” From there, the rest is history. O’Neil was a three-year starter and played in goal and in the midfield during her four-year career. She played in 71 career matches and has been a member of the conference All-Academic team the last three years. While Drotar’s program has benefitted from O’Neil’s presence, she, too, has reaped the rewards of collegiate soccer. “I enjoy soccer so much,” she said. “Soccer is my release for the day. It is where my passion is. I know at 4 o’clock all the anxiety or stress I’ve felt can be released on the field.” O’Neil also credits soccer for her ability to complete other facets of her busy campus life. “Soccer really helped me cultivate my work ethic,” she said. “I’ve never been a fantastic player. But I’ve worked hard and understood the game mentally.” Drotar feels fortunate to have O’Neil’s example on his team. “I am glad I have had the opportunity to work with Morgan in our soccer program,” said Drotar. “I count it a privilege to be associated with her. She is the face of what every collegian should be.” O’Neil has a “team-first” attitude, something Drotar appreciates within his program. O’Neil clearly remembers a July phone call going into her sophomore season from her head coach. Ozarks’ first-team goalie

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EAGLE Insider

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2013 HALL OF FAME: 1983-84 Season Was Magical

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t didn’t take Scotty Pierce long to realize that the 1983-84 University of the Ozarks’ men’s basketball team was going to be something special. Pierce was a senior guard for what was then The College of the Ozarks Mountaineers, and he had been a part of three losing seasons prior to the 1983-84 season. But that season the Mountaineers shocked the state by posting a 27-6 record, winning the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference, achieving a national ranking and ending 34 consecutive years of non-winning seasons. 14 > > >

“You could tell early on in practice that the talent level had increased unbelievably from the previous few years,” said Pierce. “Practices were incredibly intense and competitive because there was so much talent. We knew then that if we played as a team, we could accomplish something really special.” The Mountaineers went a dismal 108-368 in conference games from 1956-1983 and finished dead last in the league a total of 13 times during that span. But all that changed in 1983-84 when the Mountaineers, who were picked to finish fourth in the conference University of the Ozarks


EAGLE Insider

University of the Ozarks

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who also averaged a team-high 18.2 points per game. “We took a lot of pride in playing tough, hard-nosed defense. I don’t think teams liked playing against us.” Ozarks’ defense also contributed to several thousand University of Tulsa fans going home hungry that year. In an early-season loss to the high-scoring, Nolan Richardsoncoached Hurricane, the Mountaineers played their higherdivision opponent close before losing 98-74. But fans were not able to take advantage of a special promotion by McDonalds for free hamburgers if the home team scored 100 points. Along with Joyner, Frye, Martin and Pierce, the balanced Mountaineers also relied on Keith “Chief” Johnson, a high-flying 6-7 senior center; John Lewis, a 6-4 sophomore forward, and Terrance Rhodes, a slashing 6-2 sophomore guard. The season ended on a sour note, though, as the topseeded Mountaineers were upset by Arkansas College 45-41 in the semifinals of the NAIA District 17 Tournament in Little Rock. The loss knocked Ozarks out of a bid for the national tournament. “It didn’t end the way we had hoped it would, but it was still a great season,” said Pierce. “I look back on that year and to be able to be a part of something that hadn’t been done in 35 years was truly special. To realize where the program was and to leave there with a championship is something I’ll always be proud of. It was a magical season.” Team members included Kevin Winn, Terrance Rhodes, James Wilks, Donnie Siebenmorgen, Scott Pierce, Ron Culver, Charles Ingram, Tony Joyner, Bill Cox, Troy Johnson, Keith Johnson, Pete Van Dyke, Carlos York, Fred Frye, Reggie Martin, John Lewis, David Hund and John Hinsley. Coaches included Bruce Terry, Roscoe Gordon and Frosty Reid. The entire 1983-84 team was inducted into the Ozarks’ Sports Hall of Fame January 12, 2013.

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that year, won the competitive AIC by an impressive four games with a 15-3 league record. It was the program’s first AIC title since the 1948-49 season. “I remember we met as a team before that season and we decided we wanted to end the losing ways at Ozarks,” said Reggie Martin, who was a 6-4 senior forward on the team. “We knew the only way we could do that was if we played together as a team and stuck together.” Led by 33-year-old, second-year coach Bruce Terry, the senior-laden Mountaineers returned all five starters from a team that finished 12-18 the year before, and had shocked top-seeded Arkansas College 68-48 in the NAIA District 17 Tournament at the end of the year. The Mountaineers gained early momentum in 198384 by jumping out to an 11-2 record in non-conference games. “Coach Terry hated to lose and he instilled that same kind of passion in us,” said Pierce, a backup guard on the team who is now a junior high principal in Booneville, Ark. “Coach came into the program and installed a whole new offense and defense, as well as a winning attitude. We started that season well against a pretty tough schedule and we just built more and more confidence as the season Bruce Terry went on.” The team’s forte was Terry’s suffocating 1-3-1 defense, which was spearheaded by senior point guard Tony Joyner and senior forward Fred Frye, both of whom earned Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference first-team all-conference honors that year. The 6-foot-4 Joyner had 119 steals during the 1983-84 season, a mark that still stands as the school’s singleseason record. “We were a very defensive-minded team,” said Joyner,

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EAGLE Insider

2013 HALL OF FAME: Williams Was Fastest Man In Ozarks’ History

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ot even famed University of Georgia running back Herschel Walker was faster than Percy Williams. Williams, a 5-foot-7, 145-pound sprinter, beat the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Walker at an indoor 60-meter race during his collegiate days. Walker wasn’t the only runner Williams beat over a four-year span while at Ozarks. Williams, who competed from 1981-1984, made a name for himself around the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference and ended his career owning a number of school records. 16 > > >

His times in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 800-meter have yet to be touched. And, he was part of the school’s record-setting one-mile relay. “When I came in as a freshman, I set high goals and I wanted to break every record at Ozarks,” said Williams. “I wanted to be the best I could be. I gave it my all and I tried to overachieve.” Ozarks Head Track Coach Jerry Wagoner never saw Williams run in High School, but had heard enough about him to make a recruiting trip to the talent-rich area of Sunshine, La. Wagoner extended a scholarship offer on the University of the Ozarks


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University of the Ozarks

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was doing long distance training. He never really let me run the 100-meter or 200-meter in practice. I would go to the track at night and train.” It was this type of training regiment that probably helped Williams win a number of 100-meter, 200-meter and 220-meter races during his career. It also put Ozarks’ program on the map. “Our era put Ozarks on the map among Arkansas track programs,” he said. “We had several fast runners and a good relay team.” Williams, a 1984 physical education graduate, became the fastest man to ever suit up for the track team at Ozarks. His fastest 100-meter time was 10.33, a record he set as a freshman. He would eventually qualify for the Olympic trials his senior season, but was unable to participate because of a knee injury. He finished his career as a three-time All-American and a three-time All-AIC performer. He would have likely been a four-time All-American if not for the injury. “I enjoyed both the 100-meter and 200-meter, but I preferred the 100-meter because it was quick and fast,” he said. “I was stronger at the end of a race. I tried to find the weaknesses in opponents and make that my strength.” Williams was inducted into the Ozarks’ Sports Hall of Fame January 12, 2013.

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spot to Williams, who had owned Louisiana High School track records for his classification. “Coach Wagoner offered me a scholarship the first time we met,” said Williams. “I didn’t commit immediately, but after talking it over with my mother and convincing him to give my friend a scholarship, I decided on Ozarks.” For Williams, Ozarks was a perfect fit. “I felt right at home at Ozarks,” he said. “Everyone associated with the university made me feel welcome. From Coach Wagoner to President Fritz Ehren, they all saw that our needs were met. The people in general were nice. Dr. Ehren even visited us in the dorm rooms.” Wagoner was especially influential on Williams, both in life and on the track. “Coach Wagoner taught me a lot,” said Williams. “He was a father figure to me and I always admired him for that.” Williams clearly remembers Wagoner’s coaching tactics prior to a race against a highly regarded sprinter from Southern Arkansas University. SAU’s Sammy Epps was considered by many to be among the fastest runners in Arkansas during the 1980’s. Prior to the race, Wagoner explained to Williams that no one within the state had beaten Epps. He didn’t want Williams to be upset if he lost. A few minutes later and in close range of Williams, Wagoner turned to Ozarks Assistant Track Coach Lonnie Qualls and told him he didn’t think Williams could win the race. A surprised Williams looked at one of his teammates in disbelief, unable to understand why one of his own coaches would bet against him. The exchange between the two Ozarks’ coaches motivated Williams. Williams promptly beat Epps, one of three times he would do so in his career. “Coach Wagoner’s motivation techniques were unique,” he said. “After the race, coach told me he never doubted me. He always made it interesting. He made the whole team run 13 miles a day in practice. I couldn’t believe I

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EAGLE Insider

2013 HALL OF FAME: Whorton Credits Early Influence For Success

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s a young man, Louis Whorton grew up listening to a number of basketball coaching legends in his home. Little did he know that he would later join them as a legend himself. Years after learning the game from that influential group of coaches, Whorton would become one of the most successful women’s basketball coaches in the junior college ranks. Whorton was born to coach. His mother and father were both coaches and graduates of Ozarks. His parents often had other coaches in their home, and among 18 > > >

them included Don Jones, Charlie Spoonhour, Gayle Kaundart and Jim Wyatt, all of which spent time at Ozarks. Those four combined for over 1,000 wins at the collegiate level. “As a young man, I would sit around and listen to them talk basketball,” said Whorton. “I figured out later in life that I learned more from them than all the clinics I’ve attended over the years. And, they became lifetime friends.” Born in Clarksville, Whorton graduated from Waldron High School and then graduated with honors from Ozarks in 1976. He credits the Ozarks’ influence for shaping his University of the Ozarks


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University of the Ozarks

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then you had a good season,” he said. “Some years your talent will take you further. Our national championship team went undefeated, but it wasn’t necessarily our most talented team.” For Whorton, coaching goes beyond the wins. He has been a father figure to countless players over his years as a head coach. He instills self-discipline within his players, an attribute he hopes will continue in their life after basketball. “I think my former players would say that when I learned to listen to what Coach Whorton was saying, rather than how he said it, I got along with him fine,” he said. “And after being coached by him, the rest of my life has been pretty easy. If there is one thing that players took away from our program it is self-discipline. I enjoy seeing them grow into independent young adults. If it were just the wins, I would have done something else a long time ago.” He doesn’t foresee retirement in the near future. However, his wife Pat will retire after this school year following a 27-year career in the Alma School District (Ark.). “My wife is retiring after this year, and I’m not retiring at the same time she does because I would go from working for UAFS to working for her, and I don’t want to do that,” quipped Whorton. “I had no idea I would coach for 37 years. When I look in the mirror I see an old man, but I don’t feel that way inside. I still want to make a difference in these kid’s lives. I’ve coached all these years and I’ve never got up and went to work a day in my life.” “To be married to a lovely woman like Pat and with the chance to coach, I feel like I’m the luckiest man in the world. I wish everyone could have enjoyed their career as much as I have. I think if UAFS knew how much fun I had, they would charge me to work here. Coaching never gets dull for me.” Whorton was inducted into the Ozarks’ Sports Hall of Fame January 12, 2013.

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coaching philosophy. “Ozarks has influenced a lot of coaches, including myself,” said Whorton. “Working with George Jones and being around others like Lonnie Qualls and Jerry Wagoner played an important part of how I treated the players. I learned that the kids come first. I was blessed with the opportunity to be an assistant under George. I don’t know if I would have gotten into coaching if it weren’t for my experience as a student at Ozarks.” After serving one season as a men’s assistant coach at Ozarks, Whorton landed a job at the high school level, and then in 1986, he was hired as the head women’s coach at Westark College in Fort Smith. At Westark, Whorton was standard-setting, posting a 538-195 record in 23 seasons. His 1994-95 team went undefeated, won the national championship and earned the distinction as the first junior college women’s basketball team to go undefeated. During his 23 years as a junior college head coach, only two other programs won more games at that level. Under Whorton, Westark won seven Bi-State East Conference championships, seven Region II championships and went to the National Junior College Athletic Association National Tournament seven times. He has coached three WNBA players and 12 All-Americans during his tenure. He was inducted into the NJCAA Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. In 27 years as head coach at Westark/University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, Whorton is 590-223. He remains motivated by the challenge of building a program. “What I really enjoy is the process of building a team,” said Whorton. “I enjoy taking these freshmen and building them into young ladies and college basketball players. That’s what keeps me going. And, as long as you work with young people, you don’t get old yourself.” Success, he believes, is measured by growth and achieving one’s potential. “If you can look back at the end of the season and say we became the best basketball team that we could,

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EAGLE Insider The Aerie Club

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Alumni Soccer Matches Saturday, April 20th Women’s Match: 10 a.m./Men’s Match: 1 p.m.

2012

Alumni 5K Race Saturday, April 20th Registration: 7:30 a.m., Race begins at 8 a.m. Course: www.ozarks.edu/5KRace

Ozarks' new Aerie Club is made up of individuals and corporations who are proud supporters of Ozarks and of her athletic programs. This newly-formed club is a supporting organization for the ten Eagles' and Lady Eagles' athletic teams. Our student-athletes have always represented the university in a way that brings great pride to the fans, whether it be through good sportsmanship on the field, or excellence in the classroom. By becoming a member of the Aerie Club, you can enjoy some great sports action while showing your support for our athletes. With four levels of sponsorship available, you can choose the one that works best for you or your corporation. Ozarks is a member of NCAA Division III, and our teams compete in the American Southwest Conference (ASC). Because we are a Division III school, our studentathletes don't receive athletic scholarships to play here. As a result, your membership in the Aerie Club (at any level), means so much to our students...it shows that the community supports what they do, and that we recognize the importance college athletics can have for them! If you'd like more information about becoming a member of the Aerie Club, contact Kerry Taylor at ktaylor@ozarks.edu or 479-979-1304.

summer issue

Golf Saturday, April 20th at 10 a.m., $60 per team Invitational 2-Person Scramble @ Clarksville Country Club Contact Pam Jones: jonespam5934@yahoo.com or 479-754-6568

spring issue

2013

Leadership in support of the scholar-athletes competing on behalf of the University of the Ozarks

University of the Ozarks


www.eagles.ozarks.edu


2013 Spring Preview

EAGLE Insider

University of the Ozarks Eagle Insider - Spring 2013  

University of the Ozarks Eagle Insider - Spring 2013

University of the Ozarks Eagle Insider - Spring 2013  

University of the Ozarks Eagle Insider - Spring 2013

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