UCA hires Campbell to head football program

CONWAY — It took less than a week for the University of Central Arkansas to find its new head football coach.

Steve Campbell will be introduced at a 1 p.m. today as the new Bears coach, inheriting a program that has won two Southland Conference titles, made two FCS Playoff appearances and had three seasons of at least nine victories since moving to NCAA Division I in 2006. Campbell replaces Clint Conque, who resigned last Friday after 14 seasons at UCA.

Campbell, who comes to UCA from a highly successful 10-year stint at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, brings to Conway a resume that features three national championships as a player or coach. He has experience in the Southeastern Conference, in the Southland Conference as a player and coach and a rich background in the talent-laden Mississippi junior college ranks.

Campbell, 47, led Delta State to an NCAA Division II national championship 2000 and MGCSS to another national title at MGCCC. Campbell’s teams at MGCCC won 87 games over 10 seasons, including the NJCAA national championship in 2007. Campbell is a Pensacola, Fla., native who played at Southeastern Louisiana and Troy, winning an NCAA Division II national championship as the starting center at Troy in 1987.

He took over at MGCSS in 2004 and won three state juco championships and led the Bulldogs to seven straight postseason trips.

MGCCC has finished ranked in the NJCAA Top 10 for eight consecutive seasons and has been nationally ranked for 115 straight weeks.

A-State names Anderson as new football coach

JONESBORO — Arkansas State Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir announced Thursday that Blake Anderson, a 13-year coaching veteran at the NCAA FBS level who also coached in an NJCAA National Championship game, has been named the Red Wolves’ 30th all-time head football coach.

Working on head coach Larry Fedora’s staff as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at both North Carolina and Southern Miss over the last four seasons, Anderson’s dynamic offense helped lead the two programs to 34 victories, three bowl game appearances and two conference or divisional titles. Along the way, his potent offense was responsible for breaking both school’s total offense records while also ranking among the most productive teams in the nation.

The Hubbard, Texas, native comes to A-State after spending the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at North Carolina, where he helped lead the Tar Heels to an Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division title in 2012 and the Belk Bowl in 2013. Under Anderson’s direction, North Carolina averaged 432.4 total yards per game this season after setting the school record the previous year with 485.6 yards per contest. Prior to his arrival in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels had not averaged 400 yards in a season since 1993.

North Carolina’s offense posted more than 500 yards of total offense seven times during Anderson’s two seasons at the school, including a school-record 721 versus Old Dominion this season, and scored 40 or more points in nine games. The Tar Heels averaged 44.2 points per game at Kenan Stadium (14 games) and 25.4 on the road (10 games) with Anderson as their offensive coordinator.



Lady Rattlers Hold Off Lady Lions

FORT SMITH — Another close one.

Trailing by 15 points with less than nine minutes to play against St. Mary’s on Thursday night, the UAFS Lady Lions mounted a late comeback but fell just short, losing 67-65 to the Lady Rattlers in Heartland Conference play at Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio, Texas.

It was the second two-point loss in a row by UAFS (2-9, 2-3), which was coming off a 72-70 nonconference loss to Ouachita Baptist on Saturday.

Sydney Franklin led UAFS with 22 points, while Justyne Huber had 13 and Maddy Backus had 11.

Huber topped off her double-double with 13 rebounds, but UAFS was still out-rebounded by two rebounds (42-40).

UAFS will finish its road trip on Saturday when it plays Texas A&M International in Laredo, Texas.

No. 12 Harding downs Lake Superior in Hawaii

HONOLULU — Harding junior Arielle Saunders scored 15 of her game-high 19 points in the second half to lead the 12th-ranked Lady Bisons to a 78-52 victory over Lake Superior State at the Oahu Classic.

Harding moved to 10-0 overall and won both games at the Classic. Lake Superior, a Division II team located in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., fell to 1-8 overall.

Junior Shana Holmes scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half, A’ndi Haney added 11, and Kaylee Wiedower scored 10.

The Lady Bisons return to Great American Conference action on Jan. 2, when they take on Southwestern Oklahoma in Weatherford, Okla.

Warriors fall short against ‘Roos

SHERMAN, Texas - Despite trailing the whole game, the Hendrix College women’s basketball team had a chance to take a lead with 2.5 seconds but could not capitalize as the Warriors (3-6) lost to Austin College 57-54 in Hughey Gym on Thursday afternoon.

The host ‘Roos (3-4) built a 17-3 lead over the first six minutes of the game. Hendrix scrapped back and ended the first period on a 12-2 run to go into the break trailing 29-27.

Caitlin Kriesel-Bigler led the Warriors with 15 points and dished out three assists. Senior center Jamie Tate scored 10 to go with 16 rebounds, two assists, a block and two steals. King finished with 10 points and Coughran had seven points and a career-high three blocks. Neal had three assists and a season-best nine boards.

Hendrix will return to action on Dec. 28 when they host East Texas Baptist.

Blossoms hold off A&M-Kingsville

MONTICELLO – Senior Raija McWright waited until there were 15 seconds remaining in regulation to attempt her only shot of the game, but made it count with a layup to give the University of Arkansas at Monticello women’s basketball team its final lead in a 61-58 win over Texas A&M-Kingsville Thursday night at home.

Nikki Mullen led all scorers with 19 points on a 7-for-14 shooting performance, including 5-for-8 from three-point range. The Green Forest native also added six rebounds and three assists to her final totals. Sophomore Jordan Goforth and Tamia Grady each finished with 16 points. Goforth and junior Brandae Carroll led UAM with eight rebounds each. Carroll also tallied eight points and collected four blocked shots in the win.

UAM closes out the calendar year on Saturday at home against Crowley’s Ridge College.


Rattlers strike Lions in conference opener

FORT SMITH — Four players scored in double-figures but that wasn’t enough for the UAFS on Thursday night as St. Mary’s stunned the Lions 96-89 in the Heartland Conference opener at Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio, Texas.

It was the second loss in three games for UAFS (7-2, 0-1), which dropped out of the NABC/Division II Top 25 this week after being ranked as high as No. 16. St. Mary’s (8-1, 1-0) won its eighth game in a row.

Senior guard Jake Toupal and freshman guard Alex Cooper had 16 points apiece and junior guard Blake Branham and freshman guard Seth Youngblood had 15 points each to lead the Lions.

Senior forward Bo Franklin just missed a double-double, finishing with nine points and a team-high nine rebounds, which helped the Lions out-rebound the Rattlers by one rebound (35-34).

UAFS will finish its road trip on Saturday against Texas A&M International at the Kinesiology and Convocation Building in Laredo, Texas.

Austin College tops Hendrix

SHERMAN, Texas — The Hendrix College men’s basketball team suffered an 81-61 loss to Austin College at Hughey Gym on Thursday night.

Hendrix’ bench produced 45 points, with sophomore guard Jordan Barrett coming in for a career-best 19 points and three steals. Sophomore forward Will Roland recorded 12 points, five rebounds and two steals off the bench and sophomore guard Alec Conard chipped in 10 points. Senior forward Colton Primm scored seven points and grabbed a season-best nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Drew Nikolovski had a career-high eight boards.

Hendrix will return to action on Dec. 31 when they host Centenary College of Louisiana.

Wonder Boys defeat No. 22 Angelo State

RUSSELLVILLE — Four players scored in the double-digits for the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys (6-4, 1-1 GAC) including Tyler Friedel with 18, Bobby Hatchett with 16, Marshawn Arnold with 13, and Darrick Little with 10 as they went on to beat the undefeated No. 22 Angelo State Rams (10-1) 74-64 on Thursday night in Tucker Coliseum.

This gives the Wonder Boys their third victory over a top-25 ranked team this season on their home court in Tucker Coliseum.

Arnold just missed the double-double, going 4-for-7 from the field and gathering nine rebounds to go with his 13 points. Charles Mells finished with four blocks and seven rebounds and Kendell Pinkney contributed with six points, three steals, and four rebounds.

The Wonder Boys will return to action after the holidays on Jan. 2 to face Northwestern Oklahoma in Alva, Okla.