NORTH LITTLE ROCK — East Arkansas was well represented Friday night when eight people were inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Marcus Brown was a star basketball player at West Memphis; Sonja Tate was one of the best female basketball players ever at Arkansas State University, and Jeremy Jacobs owns Southland Park at West Memphis.
Also inducted were former University of Arkansas golf star Stacy Lewis, former UA track and cross country standout Frank O’Mara, former high school and college basketball coach Don Nixon, former golf coach of both the men’s and women’s programs at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, and the late John Outlaw, a high school coach who won more than 300 games.
Brown led West Memphis to the 1991 Class AAAA state championship and the overall championship and was the second-leading scorer in the country in his senior year at Murray State. He played briefly in the NBA, but spent most of his 13-year pro career in the Euroleague where he was the all-time leading scorer and the highest-paid American ever in the league.
Tate, who played at ASU from 1989-93, is still the school’s scoring leader with 2,312 points, including a one-season record 820. Five times, she scored 40 or more in a game. Prior to the current season, Tate returned to ASU to serve as an assistant coach.
Jacobs, who owns the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League, is often included on lists of the country’s most influential sports personalities. Jacobs became chairman and CEO of Delaware North in 1968. The company operates more than 50 pro sports venues.
Lewis’ induction is particularly timely since it was last weekend that she captured her sixth career LGPA title, winning in Singapore. The Golf Writers Association of America named her 2012 LPGA Player of the Year after she won four times and finished second three times. She was third on the LPGA money list with $1.87 million.
O’Mara, who competed for the Irish national team in three Olympic Games, ran for John McDonnell at Arkansas. In 1983, he became McDonnell’s first outdoor NCAA champion, wining at 1,500 meters. He was on McDonnell’s staff in 1985 when Arkansas won its first NCAA Triple Crown.
Nixon was a winning high school coach at Pulaski Robinson, Mabelvale, and Little Rock Central before coaching the men’s team at the University of Central Arkansas from 1972-79. While at Central, Nixon’s teams won the AAAA state championship in 1970 and 1972 and the first overall championship in 1972.
Norwood won two Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference golf championships at Arkansas Tech and three state amateur titles. At UALR, Norwood revived the men’s golf program and began a women’s program. For 13 years, he was head coach of both programs. Five times, he was named Sun Belt conference Coach of the Year for both programs.
Outlaw, who died of a heart attack in December 2011, put together an 84-20-1 record at Arkadelphia High School, winning state titles in 1979 and 1987. At Sherman, Texas, his teams were 57-21-1. At Lufkin, they were 162-46-1. He recorded his 300th victory in October 2011.