Conway Athletic Commission announces 2011 awards

by Donna Lampkin Stephens

The 2011 award winners of the Conway Athletic Awards Commission will be honored with a luncheon Sunday, Feb. 5, at Central Baptist College’s Mabee Student Center.

The Conway Athletic Awards Commission has selected former UCA basketball coach Don Dyer for the Elijah Pitts Award for Career Achievement. (Photo courtesy of UCA)

Don Dyer, former University of Central Arkansas men’s basketball coach, is the commission’s selection for the Elijah Pitts Award for Career Achievement.

The Marvin Delph Awards for Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year will go to Nathan Dick, who recently completed his quarterback career at UCA, and Summar Roachell, the Conway golfer who made the leap in 2011 from statewide achievements to national and international accolades.

The Hendrix Aquakids swimming program is the recipient of the Joe B. McGee Award for meritorious service to Conway athletics. 

“Each year, the committee’s decisions seem to get harder and harder, but this year’s honorees are among the best we have ever had,” said David Grimes, the founder and organizer of the CAAC.

 Pitts Award is named in honor of the graduate of Conway’s old Pine Street High School who played with the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s, helping them win the first two Super Bowls.

Dyer coached at UCA from 1979 to 1993, going 285-145 while winning three Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference championships. His teams had back-to-back NAIA national runner-up finishes in 1991 and 1992. A Clarendon native, Dyer is a member of the UCA Sports Hall of Fame and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

The Delph Award is named for the Conway basketball player who played on back-to-back state championship teams with Conway High School before leading the Arkansas Razorbacks to the 1978 NCAA Final Four as part of the famed “Triplets.”

During the 2011 season, Dick, a senior from Allen, Texas, passed for more than 3,000 yards and was among the top 10 passers in NCAA FCS passing efficiency. He led the Bears to a 9-4 record and their first FBS playoff berth in their second year of eligibility.

Roachell, a CHS junior, excelled in statewide golf competition, winning the Arkansas Girls High School Overall Championship and her third consecutive Class 7A state championship. She also reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club in Chicago and was selected to the prestigious Junior Solheim Cup team, traveling to Ireland where she played a key part in helping the United States defeat Europe in September.

The McGee Award is named for the writer who began covering Hendrix athletics part-time for the Log Cabin Democrat while a student at the school in 1920s. He went on work at the paper for 50 years. Conway’s western sports center is named in his honor.

The Aquakids celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2011.  In 1961, newly hired Hendrix coach Bob Courtway started the program. In addition to competitive swimming, the program offers recreational opportunities and swimming lessons.

Previous winners of the Elijah Pitts Award include Warren Woodson, Ivan Grove, Doak Campbell, Scottie Pippen, Joe Mallett, Bob Courtway, Raymond Bright, Monte Coleman, Bobby Tiner, Cliff Garrison and Harold Horton.

Earlier winners of the Marvin Delph Award include Lauren Turnbow, Bryce Molder, Tim Cain, Peyton Hillis, Zak Clark, Carone Harris, Julie Coats, Tori Huggins, Nathan Brown, Daniel Ward, Chloe Smith, Jason Anderson and Christina Byler.

Previously honored with the Joe B. McGee Award were Bill Johnson, Jim Schneider and Bob Meriwether.

Tickets for the luncheon are $25 and may be obtained by calling 501.450.6888. Proceeds from the banquet will go toward the new Boys and Girls Club building campaign.