9 Arkansans inducted into Southwest Conference Hall of Fame

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I really enjoyed attending this lunch.

Old conference, 9 new honorees

Razorbacks enter SWC Hall

By Jeremy Muck

This article was published November 11, 2014 at 2:52 a.m.

billy-moore-right-accepts-his-medal-from-southwest-conference-hall-of-fame-president-carroll-dawson-monday-during-the-2014-southwest-conference-hall-of-fame-induction-ceremony-in-little-rock

Billy Moore (right) accepts his medal from Southwest Conference Hall of Fame president Carroll Dawson Monday during the 2014 Southwest Conference Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Little Rock.

The moment of being inducted into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame caught up with Billy Moore.

“I had enough b.s. in me to convince them that I was as good as anybody,” an emotional Moore said Monday. “Every young man dreams about things like this.”

Moore, who starred for Arkansas’ football teams in 1960-1962, was one of nine former Razorbacks athletes and coaches inducted into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame’s fifth class Monday at the Little Rock Marriott.

Former Razorbacks basketball coach Eddie Sutton, basketball player Sidney Moncrief, football players Moore, Lance Alworth, Leotis Harris, Loyd Phillips and Clyde Scott, and track and field stars Mike Conley and Melody Sye were honored during a luncheon that was included in the Little Rock Touchdown Club’s fall lineup.

Arkansas was a member of the Southwest Conference in 1915-1991 before moving to the SEC. The SWC lasted until 1996 when the conference was dissolved. The conference’s property rights were transferred to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. In 2013, the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame was created.

Before Monday, the only University of Arkansas figures in the Hall were former football coach and athletic director Frank Broyles, basketball coach Nolan Richardson, track and field coach John McDonnell, and football players Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones.

Moore played at Arkansas in 1960-1962 and was the Razorbacks’ quarterback in 1962 when they finished the season ranked No. 6 in the nation. During Moore’s career, the Razorbacks were 25-8 and won two SWC championships. Arkansas went to the Cotton Bowl in 1960 and to the Sugar Bowl in 1961 and 1962. He became the first Arkansas quarterback to earn All-American honors in 1962.

Sutton led the Razorbacks to five SWC championships and was 260-75 in 11 seasons. He took Arkansas to the Final Four in 1978. His .776 winning percentage is the highest in SWC men’s basketball.

Former Arkansas and NBA player Joe Kleine, now an assistant coach for the UALR men’s basketball team, spoke in place of Sutton, who did not attend because of health reasons.

“Everyone needs to keep Coach Sutton in their prayers,” Kleine said. “He is struggling right now. He really wanted to be here.”

“Coach Broyles saw things that not even the people that lived here could see. Part of that was hiring Eddie Sutton.”

Moncrief, a Little Rock Hall graduate, was Arkansas’ all-time leading scorer until 1992. He helped lead Arkansas to the Final Four in 1978 and was the conference’s MVP in 1979.

The Milwaukee Bucks drafted Moncrief fifth overall in 1979. He played 11 seasons in the NBA, was an All-Star five times and also won the Defensive Player of the Year award twice.

“It struck me, where you are from runs deep,” Moncrief said. “Arkansas is my home. I think about all of the support I’ve had for so many years and it’s so awesome.”

Alworth, who did not attend Monday’s ceremony, led the nation in punt return yardage in 1960 and 1961 en route to being a two-time All-American at Arkansas. He played 11 seasons in the AFL and NFL and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978. He finished with 543 receptions for 10,266 yards and 85 touchdowns as a professional with the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys.

Conley won 16 NCAA championships, four TAC national titles and 13 SWC titles between 1981 and 1985. He won a gold medal in the triple jump at the 1992 Olympics and a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics. The Chicago native still owns the U.S. indoor record in the triple jump at 58 feet, 3 1/4 inches.

As a freshman at Arkansas, Conley completed against future Olympians Carl Lewis (Houston) in the long jump and Keith Connor (SMU) in the triple jump. So the road to success on the collegiate level didn’t come early for Conley.

“I hate to lose, but I learned real quick. I got humble real quick,” Conley said. “That’s one of the reasons for my success.”

Conley also credited McDonnell, his former coach, for his success at Arkansas.

“He pushed us to our limit,” Conley said of McDonnell, who coached the Razorbacks to 40 national championships in indoor and outdoor track and cross country. “I could have landed anywhere at any university. But I’m not naive to think that the results would have been the exact same.”

Harris, a Little Rock native, played on the offensive line at Arkansas in 1974-1977. He helped the Razorbacks set a school record in rushing with 320.3 yards per game in 1975 as they earned a share of the SWC title. In 1977, Harris was an All-America selection and was named to the All-SWC first team.

The former Little Rock Hall star was appreciative of being inducted into the SWC Hall of Fame.

“Success comes with a price,” Harris said, “and that’s hard work.”

The Green Bay Packers drafted Harris in the sixth round of the 1978 draft, and he went on to start 55 of 74 games during six seasons with the team.

Phillips, who was part of Arkansas’ 1964 national championship team, won the Outland Trophy in 1966. The three-year starter at defensive tackle (1964-1966) was a three-time All-SWC selection and an All-American pick twice. During Phillips’ three seasons at Arkansas, the Razorbacks were 29-3.

Scott, a Smackover native, gained 1,463 yards in 1946-1948. He was Arkansas’ first three-time All-SWC player and led the Razorbacks to the 1947 Cotton Bowl. He won the silver medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the 1948 London Olympics. He also played in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions in 1949-1952.

Scott’s son Steve relayed a message to Arkansas fans from his father, who turned 90 in August and is currently battling dementia.

“He’d like to say, ‘Thank you so much for remembering me,’ ” Steve Scott said.

Sye was a five-time All-American in cross country. The New Jersey native led Arkansas to a top 10 finish in the 1986 NCAA championship meet. In 1987, Sye broke an 11-year-old record in the 5,000 meters at the SWC Championships. She qualified for the NCAA Championships eight times and completed in the 1987 U.S. Indoor Championships.

In 1996, Sye became the second woman to be inducted into the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor.

Sports on 11/11/2014

Print Headline: Old conference, 9 new honorees

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