A roundup of college athletics from around Arkansas.
Whiting departs UAM for UCA
MONTICELLO — University of Arkansas at Monticello Associate Athletic Director for External Operations Matt Whiting has resigned to take a similar position at the University of Central Arkansas. The 2010 UAM graduate began his role in August of 2012. Since that time, he guided the UAM Sports Association to a more than 400 percent increase in members and donations. He also coordinated UAM’s corporate partnership program and handled major gifts, along with assisting the athletics department as a member of the administrative leadership staff.
Kings invite Hagins to NBA summer league
LITTLE ROCK — Former Little Rock guard Josh Hagins will play for the Sacramento Kings in the 2016 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Hagins will report in early July, with practice set for July 3-7. Games will be played July 8-18 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the campus of UNLV. Hagins enjoyed a banner year as a senior in 2015-16. The four-year letterman was a First Team All-Sun Belt and NABC All-District pick. He finished his senior season averaging 13.2 points, 4.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. The Airline HS product ended his career ranked third on Little Rock’s all-time scoring list (1,475 points), third in assists (468), third in steals (179), fifth in made field goals (525) and fifth in made 3-pointers (175). He played more games (128) than any player in program history and trails only Derek Fisher on the program’s list for career minutes (3,496). Sacramento will play at least five games, beginning with its first contest set for Friday, July 8 against the Toronto Raptors at 9 p.m. Central at Cox Pavilion. ESPN will present all 67 games from Las Vegas across ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU and WatchESPN.
Suns earn top state program award
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Tech Golden Suns basketball team was presented with the Arkansas Women’s Program of the Year Award from the Arkansas Basketball Coaches Association (ArBCA) on Thursday afternoon. The award is given to the top four-year college basketball program in the state. The ArBCA is an organization that strives to develop a greater unity and fellowship among all those that have a love for the game of basketball in the state of Arkansas. The Golden Suns were the winningest Division II program in the state of Arkansas with 27 wins, topping Arkansas-Fort Smith (21), Southern Arkansas (19), Harding (17), Henderson State (14), Arkansas-Monticello (13), and Ouachita Baptist (10). Tech is coming off a stellar 2015-16 season that saw the Golden Suns win both the Great American Conference regular-season and conference championships, advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament before an overtime loss to eventual Elite Eight squad Pittsburg State.
State group graces Harding with top honor
CONWAY — Harding men’s basketball coach Jeff Morgan accepted the Arkansas NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Program of the Year award Thursday at the Arkansas Basketball Coaches Association clinic. During the 2015-16 season, Harding won the Great American Conference regular season championship and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Bisons were 17-5 in conference games and 20-11 overall. Harding had the GAC Player of the Year in senior Jacob Gibson, and Morgan won his 400th career game and moved into fourth place in career coaching victories at an Arkansas university. The ArBCA, Arkansas Basketball Coaches Association, is an organization that strives to develop a greater unity and fellowship among all those that have a love for the game of basketball in the state of Arkansas. The ArBCA is also working on continued partnerships with the Arkansas Activities Association, Arkansas High School Coaches Association and the National Association of Basketball Coaches along with other state and national athletic organizations.
Sharp joins OBU coaching ranks
ARKADELPHIA — Ouachita Baptist University Athletic Director David Sharp and women’s basketball head coach Garry Crowder announced the hiring of Alexis “Lex” Sharp as the new assistant coach of the Lady Tigers. Sharp, a native of Jonesboro, Arkansas and former Nettleton Raider, graduated from Ouachita in May with a degree in sports management. Sharp was a four-year player under coach Crowder, appearing in all 109 games. Coach Crowder expressed his excitement in having Sharp rejoining the team in her new role.
TRACK & FIELD
UCA duo reach league academic team
CONWAY — University of Central Arkansas track and field/cross country student-athletes Albert Maeder and Grant Williams were named this week to the Southland Conference 2015-16 All-Academic Team. Maeder, a senior from Norman, Oklahoma, had a 3.96 grade-point average in biology. Williams, a junior from Hot Springs, had a 3.59 GPA, also in biology. Maeder, a two-time SLC All-Academic team selection, was also named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America third team for Division I track and cross country on Wednesday. He finished sixth at the SLC Outdoor Championships in the 10,000. Maeder has the third-best career time at UCA in the indoor 5,000 meters and second-best in the outdoor 5,000. Williams, from Lake Hamilton High School, ran the second-fastest time in school history in the 3,000 meter steeplechase this season with a time of 9:14.81 in March. Williams finished fourth in the steeplechase at the SLC Outdoors and won the event at the Kansas Relays. He was also part of the UCA distance medley squad that set a school record in 2014.
Tech secures GAC all-sports trophy
RUSSELLVILLE — Arkansas Tech University secured the 2015-16 Great American Conference All-Sports Trophy after a strong spring season enabled the Wonder Boys and Golden Suns to roar back from standing in fourth place after the winter season. Tech finished the 2015-16 athletic year with a total of 81 points, two points ahead of Harding. For the third straight spring, the competition came down to the final weekend of the spring season as a victory by the Wonder Boys baseball team enabled them to hold off the Bisons. The Golden Suns won their second-straight GAC Women’s Golf Championship and their first softball crown. Tech added second-place finishes in women’s tennis and men’s golf to help overcome a 14-point deficit. For the 2015-16 season, Arkansas Tech earned regular-season titles in volleyball, women’s basketball, women’s golf and softball. The Bisons, second for the fifth consecutive year, finished the year with three GAC championships - women’s cross country, women’s soccer and men’s basketball. The women’s cross country advanced to the NCAA Nationals for the first time since 2009 and the women’s soccer qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004.