Through different decades and three college initials, inductees into the University of Central Arkansas Hall of Honor stated in various ways Saturday how the institution shaped their lives.
In its 16th installation ceremony, UCA welcomed the late Clell Burnett, Coy Clark, the late Jim Faulkner, Tom Howard, Teressa Moss, Robert Ricks Jr., Mark Segovis and Tim Woods into the Hall of Honor during a brunch Saturday morning.
Burnett earned 14 letters in four sports for then ATSC (Arkansas State Teachers College), 1931-34.
“Dad lived and died UCA,” said his son, Tommy, who has taught at Missouri State for 40 years. “He was always one of the favorite teachers at every school. He raised tough, taught tough but was fun.”
Clark starred for ATSC in football and track in the early 1960s and went on to coach and teach in the Little Rock School District and Marianna.Football allowed him to go to college. He remember working in a gas station in Bentonville, a small country community at the time.
“Gas was 25 cents a galloon and you got your water and tires and everything checked and for another dollar, I would wash you car,” he said. “All I wanted to do at the time was own a gas station. Then, ATSC meant everything to me in framing my life.”
Faulkner was a quarterback for the ATSC from 1958-60 and later went on to distinguished career as a coach and administrator. He died in 2004.
“UCA and ATSC was an important part of Dad’s life but when I was a student I didn’t make the time to attend games,” said Jamie Faulkner Rankin, his daughter. “Maybe I had too much football growing up.”
Now, Faulkner’s granddaughter is a UCA cheerleader.
“It’s a little late for Dad, but we are having a good time cheering the Bears on,” she said, “although I don’t know what Dad would have thought of the purple-and-gray striped field. He was not big on change.”
Howard was an NAIA All-American for UCA’s 1984-85 national championship teams.
“This place was family from Day 1,” he said. ” …You don’t get here (the Hall of Fame) for being great. You get here because of great people.”
There was a major side benefit.
“In 1983, I saw this young lady coming out of volleyball class,” Howard said. “I told David Burnett (a teammate), I’ve got to meet here.”
The young woman (Margaret) later became his wife and he proudly introduced her.
Moss was Ron Marvel’s first recruit when he took over the Sugar Bear basketball program in 1981. She went on to lead the team in rebounding two years and ranks third in career scoring average and fourth in rebounding.
She played when UCA’s women’s teams played in AWISA (Arkansas Women’s Intercollegiate Sports Association.).
“My time at UCA was one of the great things of my life,” she said. “I came from a small town (McNeil), so Conway was the ‘Big Show’ to me. And I always loved playing the game.”
Ricks, one of best sprinters in UCA history, was an NAIA All-American in 1989, 1990 and 1992.
“We had one of the most dynamic track teams around,” he said, noting how coach Richard Martin motivated him.
“He stressed three things — you need to go to class, you need to get a degree, and don’t make me send you home,” Ricks said. “You saw him demanding the best you had everyday and his threats were real.”
Segovis had a special distinction of being one of the Bears’ best distance runners in history with a career that spanned when the institution transition for SCA (State College of Arkansas) to UCA. He also met his wife of 36 years at UCA.
He said his life has been based on faith, family and freedom (serving 21 years in the military.
“All of that started with the time I spent at this great institution,” he said.
Woods, who also ran track, was a record-setting receiver for the 1991 UCA NAIA national championship team, which was also honored this weekend by induction into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
He is now a member of the Conway Police Department and is a school resource officer for the Conway School District.
He saluted his fellow officers at a nearby table, then noted his four position coaches during his time at UCA: Scott Schwartz, now an assistant at Conway High); Richard Martin (longtime track coach), Mark Hudspeth (currently head coach at the University of Louisiana) and Greg Johnson (a former head coach at Crossett High School)
He then gave the reason for coming to UCA.
“Coach Mike Isom was the only college coach to offer me a football scholarship,” he said. “Everybody else offered me a track scholarship and I didn’t want to run track.”
During his remarks, Ricks looked at his young son and said, “Told you I was a pretty big deal, didn’t I?”
Whatever the moniker — ATSC, SCA, UCA — the institution was a big deal to all eight.