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Toad Suck Lions to feature brothers and coaches for charity event

Posted: February 18, 2014 - 6:26pm

The Sitkowski brothers of University of Central Arkansas basketball fame will join with members of the Hendrix College football staff to help the Toad Suck Lions take on the Harlem Ambassadors in a charity basketball game Saturday night.

The game will begin at 6 p.m. at the Hendrix Wellness and Athletic Center as a fundraiser for the Conway Noon Lions Club.

Joe and George Sitkowski, both stars at UCA, will play for the Lions, a team of local celebrities who will challenge the traveling team.

Joe Sitkowski was a starter at Fayetteville High and played for UCA from 1989-92, helping the Bears reach the NAIA finals two straight years. He was twice named to the NAIA All-Tournament Team and was also All-Conference. He holds school records for field goal percentage in a season (.708) and field goal percentage in a career (.649). He was inducted into the UCA Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. Sitkowski coached basketball for 16 years and is currently an assistant principal at Russellville High School.

George Sitkowski helped Fayetteville win three straight conference championships as well as the state tournament in 1987. He was All-Conference and All-State in 1985-1986 and 1987-1988. He twice helped UCA win the NAIA District 17 title. He was named to the All-AIC Second Team during his senior year and led the Bears in 3-point goals. He has taught at Heber Springs, Fayetteville and Mountain Home and was the assistant men’s basketball coach at Fayetteville and the head basketball coach at Mountain Home.

Two other members of the team, Josh Montgomery and Jordan Neal, are Hendrix College football coaches.

Montgomery is both a graduate student and defensive line coach and came to Hendrix along with head football coach Buck Buchanan from Louisiana College, where he was a four-year letterman.

He was a pivotal leader in the best senior class in Louisiana College’s history. His class was the first to never experience a losing season, to win more games than any other class in school history, to win the most conference games in history and to achieve the first AFCA and D3football.com national rankings for the program. In addition to coaching the defensive line for the Warriors, he is working toward his masters in accounting at Hendrix.

Neal was added to Buchanan’s staff in November 2012 as the Warriors’ offensive coordinator after a one-year stint as the offensive line coach for Texas Lutheran University in Seguin. Prior to TLU, Neal was the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, strength and conditioning coordinator and academic coordinator at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, from 2008-11. In 2009, the Yellow Jackets had the top-ranked passing offense in the American Southwest Conference and were fourth in NCAA Division-III.

Neal had a successful playing career as a quarterback for Hardin-Simmons University in his hometown of Abilene, Texas.

He was named the 2006 ASC Offensive Player of the Year and was a finalist for the 2006 Gagliardi Trophy, which honors the top NCAA Division-III football player who exhibits excellence in athletics, academics and community service. He held 16 single-season or career record at HSU, including the career passing yards record with 8,347. After graduation, Neal played professionally in Malmo, Sweden, with the Limhamn Griffins.

A “recreational” or “fun” player for the Lions will be Dr. Gary McAllister, a vice-president at Central Baptist College and a past president of the Conway Noon Lions Club. He has has played in each of the four previous Harlem Ambassador basketball shows sponsored by the club. His wife, Mary Ellen, made an appearance in last year’s game as the team’s mascot, the Toad Suck Lion.

The Ambassadors’ shows consists of lots of skilled ballhandling, high-flying slam dunks, hilarious comedy routines and audience interaction. Proceeds will go toward Lions Club efforts to help blind and visually-impaired citizens of Conway and Faulkner County to receive eye care which they cannot afford.

Tickets for the game can be purchased in advance at all Faulkner County First Security Banks, Simmons First National Bank and Summit Bank branches.

Tickets are also available at Gary Cox, CPA (811 Parkway); the Log Cabin Democrat; and at the Faulkner County Library.

Advance tickets prices are: Students, $1; seniors (55 and over), $3; and adults, $5. Children 4-and-under will be admitted free.

On game night, tickets will cost $1 more. Sponsorships for the event are still available by calling Jim Davidson at 450-7743.

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