Representatives of two of the University of Central Arkansas' most successful sports progams and a coach fof the state's most longstanding college swimming program received hardware for their efforts Sunday.
At its annual awards luncheon at the Mabee Student Center at Central Baptist College, UCA volleyball coach David McFatrich and Sugar Bear basketball star Megan Herbert were presented Marvin Delph Awards for sportsman and sportswoman of the year. Jim Kelly, Hendrix's swim coach for 31 years, received the Elijah Pitts Award for lifetime achievement.
The recipients are selected by the Conway Athletic Awards Commission by a vote of local media and athlet officials.
The Delph Award is named in honor of Conway and University of Arkansas basketball legend Marvin Delph, who was on hand to present the awards. The Pitts Award is for the late Elijah Pitts, who grew up in Conway and went on to star in professional football for the Green Bay Packers and later as a highly successful assistant coach.
In his second season as head volleyball coach at UCA after 12 seasons as an assistant, McFatrich led the Sugar Bears to a 30-5 season, Southland Conference regular-season and tournament championships and the program's first NCAA Division I postseason appearance.
"The players are really the magic," McFatrich said. "If we coaches ever forget that, we are in trouble."
Herbert, one of the greatest and most decorated players in Sugar Bear history, has scored 2,000 career points and has grabbed more than 1,000 career rebounds, one of only two active college players (Baylor's Brittney Griner is the other) to do so.
"She's the type of athlete a coach dreams of coaching," said UCA first-year coach Sandra Rushing. "She also the most humble athlete I've ever coached."
"Only by the grace of God I've been able to achieve this," said Herbert. "I just wanted to come her and win and help rebuild the program."
Since he took over the Hendrix swim program in 1982, Kelly has coached the Warriors in five different swim conferences and 80 All-Americans in 50 different events. His teams have consistently been rated among the highest swim programs academically in the country.
He took a leave of absence at the beginning of the school year for health reasons.
"The main thing is how you got here," he said. "I got here with some special athletes and some great assistant coaches who did a lot of work. People have asked me how our staff has stayed together though the years. The answer is simple, 'We like each other.'"
Junior high students from Conway public and private schools were honored with Marvin Delph student-Athlete Awards for their achievements in academics and athletics, as selected by their coaches.
More on the event can be found in Tuesday's print edition of the Log Cabin.