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PEA RIDGE -- The long-awaited opening of the new Pea Ridge High School gym and arena was held Friday with special ceremonies in addition to the basketball games.

"It was exciting to see everyone's reactions when they walked in," athletic director Tony Travis said. "I think everyone was very proud of the new facility."

Former basketball coaches Larry Walker and Charley Clark were recognized for their years of service to the Blackhawks as each presented the game balls for the girls' and boys' games.

Walker coached both the girls and boys basketball Blackhawks for 17 seasons, the boys for 21 seasons. He lead the Blackhawks onto the floor more than 1,000 times from 1984 to 2005.

Clark, who is now Pea Ridge High principal, served as assistant coach from 2004 to 2006 when he took over head coaching duties for the boys Blackhawk basketball team, where he coached from 2006 to 2013. While Clark was head coach, his teams averaged more than 20 wins per season including conference championships in 2008 and 2013, district tournament championships in 2008 and 2011 and state playoff appearances in 2007 and 2011.

"Coach Walker and Coach Clark have been a part of a lot of basketball history in Pea Ridge," Travis said. "It was good to see them have a part in opening night.

"I'm already looking forward to the day when we can pack this place out without the covid seating restrictions," Travis said.

Annette Beard may be reached by email at [email protected]

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