Entry Category: Individual and Team Sports - Starting with A

All American Red Heads

A nationally known women’s basketball team, the All American Red Heads formed in 1936 in Cassville, Missouri, with Connie Mack Olson as its founder and coach. Originally, the team, all sporting dyed or natural red hair, publicized Olson’s Beauty Parlors in Kansas and Missouri, and though later the team moved to Arkansas, they kept their name. The team became so popular with the sports’ crowds that the team hit the road and successfully challenged men’s teams with their trick shots, athletic ability, and “hijinks.” The Red Heads thrilled audiences all over the United States with behind-the-back shooting, back-hand passing, and athletic ability on the court. They played men’s teams using men’s rules and won seventy percent of their games. While …

Allen, Dick

aka: Richard Anthony Allen
Richard Anthony “Dick” Allen—or “Richie” Allen, as the media called him early in his career—was the first African American to play for the minor league baseball team based in Little Rock (Pulaski County). That same year, 1963, official baseball records first recognized the team’s name change from the Little Rock Travelers to the Arkansas Travelers. After one season in Little Rock, Allen had a memorable, though controversial, career in the major leagues. Dick Allen was born on March 8, 1942, in Wampum, Pennsylvania, the second youngest of nine children born to Era Allen and Coy Allen, a traveling truck driver and self-employed sanitation worker who later divorced her. Era Allen raised Dick Allen primarily on her own. Allen’s family was …

Aluminum Bowl

On December 22, 1956, War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock (Pulaski County) hosted the Aluminum Bowl football game. The game pitted Montana State College against St. Joseph’s College of Indiana in the first national football championship game of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The NAIA governs hundreds of small college athletic programs across the United States. The Aluminum Bowl marked two historic events in Arkansas. It was the first time that a national collegiate football championship game was played in Arkansas, and it is thought to be the first racially integrated college football game to be played in the state. In an era of tense race relations across the South, the game came to Little Rock due to …

Alworth, Lance Dwight “Bambi”

An All-American football player at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1961, Lance Dwight “Bambi” Alworth was the first player from the American Football League (AFL) to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Lance Alworth was born on August 3, 1940, in Houston, Texas, to Richard R. Alworth, an oilfield construction executive, and Elizabeth L. Parrish Alworth, a teacher. When he was a child, his family moved to Hog Chain, Mississippi, where his father’s company, Humble Oil, had an operation. At high school in nearby Brookhaven, Alworth won fifteen letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football, and track. The New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates both offered Alworth contracts to play professional baseball, …

Andrews, Glen

Glen Daniel Andrews Sr. is considered one of the all-time great professional bass anglers. Bobby Murray, two-time Bassmaster Classic champion, describes him as “the first true professional bass angler.” He mentored such fishing greats as Bill Dance, Billy and Bobby Murray, Ray Scott, and Jerry McKinnis. In addition, Andrews manufactured lures, promoted tournaments, wrote a syndicated outdoor column for the Springdale News called “Anglers World,” and wrote Techniques of Bass Fishing, a manual he used to teach fishing classes across Arkansas and throughout the Midwest. Andrews was inducted into Garry Mason’s Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame in 2010. Glen Andrews was born on May 31, 1931, the third of seven children, to Earl and Ruth Andrews on …

Arkansas Derby

The Arkansas Derby is the most lucrative thoroughbred horse race in Arkansas, currently offering a “purse” of $1 million. The purse is the prize money that is divided among the horses competing in the race, based upon their finish, with the winner receiving sixty percent ($600,000). The one-and-one-eighth-mile race is restricted to horses that are three years old. It is traditionally held each year at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs (Garland County) on the second Saturday of April. Over time, it has developed into one of the nation’s leading preparatory races for the Triple Crown, which comprises the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The Arkansas Derby was first held in 1936 and carried a $5,000 purse. The …

Arkansas Diamonds

The Arkansas Diamonds professional football team competed in the Continental Football League in 1968 and 1969. The Continental Football League, a fledgling professional league, operated from 1965 to 1969. A. B. Chandler, former Kentucky governor and Major League Baseball’s second commissioner, was the league’s first commissioner and provided the upstart league with a recognized level of credibility. Nevertheless, by 1968, Chandler had departed and the league was struggling to survive. Still, the Continental Football League provided players with an opportunity to be paid to play, although in 1968 team payrolls were capped at $5,000 per game, and no player could earn more than $200 per game. Furthermore, the league offered players a chance to continue playing after their collegiate careers …

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) manages wildlife and natural habitat and sets hunting, fishing, and trapping regulations. It works with public, private, local, state, and federal groups to enhance conservation efforts and educate the public about the importance of healthy wildlife populations and their habitats. AGFC also publishes the bimonthly Arkansas Wildlife magazine, which began as Arkansas Game and Fish in 1967 but changed its name in 1992. The AGFC is overseen by a board of seven governor-appointed commissioners who serve seven-year terms. An ex-officio member is the chairman of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) biology department. Commission meetings usually are held at AGFC headquarters in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on the third Thursday …

Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference

The Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) was an athletic confederation of Arkansas colleges and universities that was formed in 1928 as the Arkansas Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The AIC was affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), which was headquartered at Kansas City, Missouri. Most of the state’s four-year colleges and universities were members of the AIC at one time or another during its existence, with what are now Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County) and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) among the original members. The league disbanded in the spring of 1995. During most of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, the AIC consisted of five state schools and five private schools. The state schools …

Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the history of sports in Arkansas while honoring those who have played or coached in the state. The organization began in February 1958 when a group of prominent Arkansas businessmen began discussing the need for such an entity. On August 16, 1958, the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame was incorporated, with Little Rock (Pulaski County) construction executive Jack Pickens as its president. Pickens was the force behind the Hall of Fame in its early years, serving as president from 1958 to 1971. Other officers in 1958 were Milton Green as vice president, Cliff Shaw as treasurer, Warren Wood as legal counsel, and Allan Berry as secretary. The first …

Arkansas Travelers [Baseball Team]

For parts of three centuries, the Arkansas Travelers baseball team has used only one nickname, played on only three home fields, and become owned by its fans, something unusual in professional sports—in 1960, shares were sold to fans to ensure that the team would not leave Little Rock (Pulaski County). In 1957, to draw fans from the entire state, management changed the name from the Little Rock Travelers to the Arkansas Travelers, making it the first professional team to be named after a state. In addition, five future National Baseball Hall of Famers played for the Travelers: Tris Speaker, Travis Jackson, Bill Dickey, Jim Bunning, and Ferguson Jenkins. The minor league team had many failures in the Southern Association and …

Arkansas-Missouri League

aka: Arkansas State League
The Arkansas State League/Arkansas-Missouri League was a professional baseball, Class D minor league that operated from 1934 until 1940. The league was one of only three Depression-era leagues to exist in the state, the others being the Northeast Arkansas League and the Cotton States League. The Arkansas State League began on May 8, 1934. It paralleled a rapid growth in professional baseball minor leagues around the country and was a by-product of the farm system created by St. Louis Cardinals vice president, Branch Rickey, wherein the Cardinals organization sponsored and managed teams and players in order to develop players for the St. Louis major league team. The league began play with teams in Fayetteville (Washington County), Siloam Springs (Benton County), …

ATA Martial Arts

ATA Martial Arts, previously known as the American Taekwondo Association, was founded in 1969 by Haeng Ung Lee and is headquartered in Little Rock (Pulaski County). ATA has over 300,000 members worldwide, making it the largest organization in North America dedicated to the discipline of taekwondo. The organization maintains that its instructors and students live by its founder’s philosophy: “Today not possible, tomorrow possible.” After teaching taekwondo for several years at the U.S. Air Force base at Osan in South Korea, Haeng Ung Lee immigrated to the United States in 1962 at the invitation of Richard Reed, an American military officer and one of Lee’s top students. Frustrated by the inconsistent quality of taekwondo instruction in the United States, Lee …

Ausbie, “Geese”

aka: Hubert Ausbie
Hubert “Geese” Ausbie joined the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team in 1961 following a standout college career at Philander Smith College in Little Rock (Pulaski County). For the next twenty-four years, Ausbie played for the Globetrotters in more than 100 countries and became known as the “Clown Prince of Basketball” for his entertaining antics on the basketball court. Geese Ausbie was born in Crescent, Oklahoma, on April 25, 1938. He was one of eight children and the youngest son of Bishop and Nancy Ausbie. As a youth, Ausbie excelled in baseball, basketball, tennis, and track. He once scored seventy points in a basketball game for Crescent’s Douglas High School and helped lead Douglas to four straight Oklahoma Basketball State Championships. After …