Editor’s note: Story by Jonathan Gipson, sports information director for the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.
Something old, something new.
As the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith writes a new chapter in its athletic history as a NCAA Division II program, it will seek to preserve the memories from its illustrious past and honor those who played an important part in the growth and success of the program.
UAFS athletic director Dustin Smith recently announced the creation of the UAFS Lions Hall of Fame to honor former student-athletes, coaches and friends of the program who made significant contributions to the program.
“This task is large because we have had so many great athletes, coaches and friends of the program throughout our history. To narrow that down and select the cream of the crop is a very daunting task, so the committee did a great job,” Smith said. “The focus was to truly honor the foundation of this athletic program. We are only where we are now because of those individuals from our past.”
The first Lions Hall of Fame class will consist of seven former student-athletes, coaches and administrators.
• The late Shelby Breedlove, a former coach and administrator
• The late Gayle Kaundart, a former men’s basketball coach
• The late Jimmy Charles, a former men’s basketball coach
• The late Clair Bates, a former basketball and football player
• Bill Crowder, a former basketball and baseball coach
• Ron Brewer, a former basketball player
• Kim Williams, a former basketball player
“As you look over the history of our athletic program there are names that no matter who you talk to are mentioned in regards to this athletic program as being the ‘greats,’” Smith said. “Narrowing 81 years of individuals to seven members was a very difficult task, but I think the committee did a great job in truly covering our athletic history. This is a starting point, and we will continue to add to it as the years go on.”
Members of the inaugural Hall of Fame class will be officially inducted during a luncheon on Feb. 27 and will be recognized later that day during intermission of the UAFS-St. Mary’s University basketball games.