ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – The Ouachita Baptist University Athletic Department announced today that there will be a special ceremony prior to this Saturday’s (9/12) home football game at Cliff Harris Stadium to honor Ouachita coaching legend, Buddy Benson. The ceremony will officially mark the renaming of the Tigers’ home field to Benson-Williams Field.
The ceremony will take place at 6:30 PM, prior to kickoff of the 7:00 PM game versus Southeastern Oklahoma State. In attendance will be Mrs. Janet Benson, son Gary Benson and family, and daughter Laurie Jordan and family. Former players, coaches, trainers, friends and other members of the Ouachita Football program during the Benson era will also be in attendance.
Ouachita Interim President Dr. Charles Wright reflected fondly on his association with Coach Benson during their time together at Ouachita.
"He was truly a unique person," Dr. Wright said. "A hard worker, straight as an arrow, always focused on his objective. And that objective was to be a winner. And, a winner he was for 35 years, four as assistant football coach and 31 years as head football coach for the Ouachita Tigers."
Dr. Wright added, "We, at Ouachita, consider it our privilege to honor Coach Benson by naming the football field after him. He gave his all and is loved by all. We miss him. In addition, we wish to congratulate his wife, Mrs. Janet Benson, daughter Laurie Benson Jordan, and son Gary Benson. We would also like to express appreciation to former President Rex Horne for his efforts in making this day a reality."
Buddy Benson walked the sidelines as the Ouachita head football coach from 1965 to 1995 and compiled an overall record of 161-140-9. His tenure was highlighted by four conference championships in 1966, 1970, 1975, and 1982. He coached 16 All-Americans and 208 All-Conference selections. Benson coached during the program’s 300th and 400th victories and was named the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference Coach of the Year four times.
After retiring from coaching in 1995, Benson became Ouachita’s Athletic Director until 1999. Benson is a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame and an inaugural member of the Ouachita Athletic Hall of Fame.
"I am very pleased for the Benson Family, and especially for Mrs. Benson, that our football field now bears Coach Benson’s name," Athletic Director David Sharp said. "He influenced a lot of lives and developed many football players into young men."
Coach Sharp added, "We are also very grateful for Dr. Rex Horne and his efforts in seeing that the renaming of the field coming to fruition."
The voice of the Ouachita Football Network, Rex Nelson, will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event.