Hall of Fame announces inductees

Eight new Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inductees will be honored when the organization holds its 55th annual induction banquet on Friday, March 8. The banquet will begin at 6 p.m. at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.

The Hall of Fame Class of 2013 will consist of inductees from the regular category, the senior category and the posthumous category.

The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 1959.

Little Rock insurance executive Andrew Meadors is the organization’s president and Ray Tucker serves as the executive director.

The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Museum on the west side of Verizon Arena is open 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It includes an 88-seat theater with a video highlighting the careers of Arkansas sports greats along with a touch-screen kiosk with a database of all Hall of Fame inductees.

Members of the Hall of Fame vote each year on inductees. Membership dues are $50 annually. Membership forms can be obtained by going to the organization’s website at arksportshalloffame.com.

The class of 2013 consists of:

  • Marcus Brown, a former basketball star at West Memphis High School who went on to become Murray State University’s third all-time leading scorer with 2,236 points. Brown had a highly successful professional career in Europe. Brown ended his 13-year professional career as the Euroleague’s all-time leading scorer, winning five most valuable player awards.
  • Jeremy Jacobs, owner of Southland Park at West Memphis, is among the nation’s top business leaders. Jacobs owns the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League and frequently makes lists of the country’s most influential sports personalities.
  • Former University of Arkansas golf star Stacy Lewis was named last month by the Golf Writers Association of America as the 2012 Player of the Year for the LPGA. Lewis won four times in 2012 to become the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to finish first on the Rolex Player of the Year points list. She also had three runner-up finishes, including a share of second at the LPGA Championship.
  • Former University of Arkansas track and cross country great Frank O’Mara, who competed for the Irish national team in three Olympic Games – 1984 at Los Angeles, 1988 at Seoul and 1992 at Barcelona. O’Mara is now a Little Rock telecommunications executive, serving as the chief executive officer of Allied Wireless Communications. He is from Limerick, Ireland. He ran for legendary Coach John McDonnell at Arkansas. O’Mara was a professional runner for 15 years.
  • Don Nixon had a stellar basketball coaching career at Pulaski Robinson High School, Mabelvale High School, Little Rock Central High School and the University of Central Arkansas. Nixon graduated from Arkansas State Teachers College, now UCA, in 1951 after serving in the U.S. Navy. He coached four basketball teams – junior boys, junior girls, senior boys and senior girls – at what’s now Pulaski Robinson from 1952-54 before moving to his high school alma mater at Mabelvale from 1954-59. After coaching at the junior high level from 1959-67, Nixon coached the boys’ team at Little Rock Central High School from 1968-72 and the men’s team at UCA from 1972-79. Nixon’s Central Tigers won the Class AAAA state championship in 1970 and 1972 along with winning the state’s first overall championship in 1972.
  • Wyn Norwood was a two-time Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference golf champion while playing at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. 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.
  • The late John Outlaw had a highly successful high school coaching career in Arkansas and Texas. Outlaw, an Ozark native and a UCA graduate, went 84-20-1 in nine seasons at Arkadelphia, winning state titles in 1979 and 1987. His undefeated 1987 team was the first Arkansas school ever to be ranked in the USA Today Super 25. After moving to Texas, Outlaw’s teams went 57-21-1 at Sherman and 162-46-1 at Lufkin, giving him a 303-87-3 record. He achieved his 300th victory on Oct. 6, 2011, against The Woodlands in a game telecast regionally by Fox Sports Southwest. Outlaw died suddenly of a heart attack in December 2011.
  • Sonja Tate is considered one of the best basketball players to ever wear an Arkansas State University uniform. Tate, who played at ASU from 1989-93, remains the career scoring leader at ASU with 2,312 points. Tate returned to ASU prior to the current season to serve as an assistant coach on the women’s basketball staff. Tate remains the only ASU women’s player to have scored 40 or more points in a game, a feat she accomplished five times.