SWC Hall continues to catch up with Hogs

Posted: November 1, 2017 at 2:39 a.m.

Former Arkansas quarterback Joe Ferguson, back, signs an autograph for Tommy Fisher following the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame inductions during the Little Rock Touchdown Club meeting Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Little Rock.

At a table for founding members, sitting with Bruce James, John Pieron, Scott Miller and Clint Albright, it was interesting to note the respect and attention everyone had for the latest class of inductees into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame on Monday at the Little Rock Touchdown Club luncheon.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville was a charter member of the SWC from 1914 until it left for the SEC in 1991, which might explain why it took so long get some Razorbacks in the SWC Hall of Fame, which is housed in the Texas Hall of Fame.

It took Bill Montgomery, one of many Texans who played winning football for the Razorbacks, being on the SWC Hall of Fame board for change to be made, and in the past four years some catching up has been done.

In each of those four years, Harriet and Warren Stephens have sponsored the luncheon and each year it has been a huge success, and Monday's was no different when 14 names were added to the walls of the SWC Hall of Fame.

This year, though, it came at a time when apparently a growing number of Razorbacks who gave their blood, sweat and tears for success in the SWC feel maybe they are being forgotten. However, all of the Hogs who were named All-SWC are still listed in Arkansas' media guide.

Although some of the memorabilia that was in the old museum, which along with the Broyles Complex, was leveled for expansion, has been donated to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, where it proudly hangs now.

Also listed in the media guide are the names of every player who made All American, regardless of conference, starting in 1929 with Wear Schoonover, who was inducted into the SWC Hall of Fame on Monday, to Frank Ragnow last season.

Arkansas' first two-time All American, Ronnie Caveness, who still ranks first and second for tackles in a single game, was part of Monday's class.

The others in the class were Jim Benton, Ronnie Brewer, Joe Ferguson, Edrick Floreal, Orville Henry, Steve Little, Fred Marshall, Cynthia Moore, Amber Shirey, Billy Ray Smith Sr., Darrell Walker and Dennis Winston.

All very deserving people.

A few interesting notes; Smith Sr. and his son Billy Ray Smith Jr. are the only father-son selected into the SWC Hall of Fame. They are both also in the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Arkansas Sports Hall of honor.

Only two of the 14 are not in the Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor, and one of those is long time Arkansas Gazette sports editor Orville Henry, who became only the second media person inducted into the SWC Hall of Fame and the first to be listed as a sportswriter.

Mr. Henry covered the Razorbacks for more than 60 years, including at this newspaper and for Stephens Media.

No one did more to make the Hogs the statewide team than Mr. Henry, whose game stories and follow-up columns are legendary in the world of sports writing.

Brewer was the second of The Triplets to be inducted. Sidney Moncrief was chosen in 2014 and that means Marvin Delph can't be far behind. Those three players are the foundation of Razorbacks basketball.

The current executive committee of the SWC Hall of Fame, its board and everyone involved has worked very hard to help get the once ignored Razorbacks honored.

An example of how one-sided it was can be seen in the fact former Houston head basketball coach Guy Lewis was inducted in 1994, but Eddie Sutton and Nolan Richardson were not until 2014.

That, though, is history and Monday was a crowning moment for some legendary Arkansas athletes and a journalist.

Sports on 11/01/2017