Three individuals, representing the University of Central Arkansas and Hendrix College, will be honored for achievement in 2012 by the Conway Athletic Awards Commission.
Jim Kelly, longtime Hendrix swimming and diving coach, is the recipient of the Elijah Pitts Award for career achievement. The male and female winners of the Marvin Delph Award for sportspersons of the year are UCA volleyball coach David McFatrich and UCA Sugar Bear basketball star Meagan Herbert.
The three will be recognized at the CAAC’s annual luncheon at noon Sunday, Feb. 17, at Central Baptist College’s Mabee Student Center.
Kelly, a Vermont native, has served as both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach at Hendrix since 1982. He has coached 80 All-Americans and is a 2005 inductee of the Hendrix Sports Hall of Honor. He has also been involved in the Aquakids swim program.
“Jim’s tenure at Hendrix epitomizes what the school is all about, success at academics and athletics. And he has done it for 30 years,” said CAAC chairman David Grimes.
McFatrich led the UCA Sugar Bears to a 30-win season and both the Southland Conference regular-season and tournament championship, securing the program’s first NCAA Division I tournament berth in only his second year as head coach. The Sugar Bears lost in the first round to national power Washington.
As a junior, Herbert led the Sugar Bears to the Southland Conference regular-season title and a spot in the WNIT, a school first. She was named SLC Player of the Year for the second year in a row. She is the SLC’s all-time leader in free throws made and is UCA’s career rebounding leader.
“Our Marvin Delph Award winners both demonstrate where UCA athletics have evolved over the past several years,” Grimes said. “David took an already successful program a step further — into the ‘Big Dance’ — while Megan continued to received national recognition for her play.”
Pitts was a graduate of Conway’s old Pine Street High School and played with the Green Bay Packers in the 1960’s, helping them win the first two Super Bowls, scoring the first rushing touchdown in a Super Bowl game. Delph won back-to-back state championships with Conway High School before leading the Arkansas Razorbacks to the 1978 NCAA Final Four as part of the famed “Triplets.”
Voting on the award was completed by Conway media and athletic officials.
Tickets to the luncheon are $25 each and may be obtained by calling 450-6888. Several eighth-grade students from Conway schools will also be honored with the annual Marvin Delph Student-Athlete Awards.
Proceeds from the luncheon will be donated to the Conway Noon Lions Club to help in their efforts to provide glasses and eye exams to local residents who cannot afford them. All attendees of the luncheon will receive a ticket to the Lion Club’s benefit basketball game that evening at 6 p.m. between the Harlem Ambassadors all-star touring team and a local celebrity team coached by Marvin Delph, Cliff Garrison and Don Dyer.