Entry Category: Individual and Team Sports - Starting with L

Lacewell, Larry Wayne

Larry Wayne Lacewell, the former football coach and athletic director at Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County), took his teams to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I-AA playoffs for four straight years, to two Southland Conference championships, and to the 1986 Division I-AA National Championship game. In 1992, he began work as a scout for the Dallas Cowboys professional National Football League (NFL) team. Lacewell is the only coach in the nation to have led college teams to back-to-back championships and been a part of back-to-back NFL Super Bowl wins. Larry Lacewell was born on February 12, 1937, in Fordyce (Dallas County) to Arvel and Eloise Lacewell. He was the second of four children. He attended …

Lee, Clifton Phifer (Cliff)

Arkansas native Cliff Lee is a major league baseball pitcher. He has pitched in both the National and American Leagues, winning All-Star recognition in both circuits. Clifton Phifer Lee was born on August 30, 1978, in Benton (Saline County) to Steve Lee, who was a firefighter and one-time member of the Benton City Council, and his wife, Sharon Lee. Lee grew up in Benton and graduated from Benton High School in 1997. Following graduation, he was drafted by the Florida Marlins but decided to attend Meridian Community College in Meridian, Mississippi. Drafted in 1998 by the Baltimore Orioles, he again deferred, instead attending the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). The left-handed Lee had one solid season pitching …

Lee, Haeng Ung

Haeng Ung Lee was the founder of the American Taekwondo Association (which later became ATA Martial Arts), 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. Haeng Ung Lee was born on July 20, 1936, in Manchuria in northeastern China. Little is known about his early life, but shortly after World War II, he and his family moved to Korea. He began training in the martial arts in 1953. Lee progressed rapidly, earning his first-degree black belt only a year later. Upon graduating from high school in 1956, Lee joined the Republic of Korea Army, serving as a martial arts instructor for military …

Liston, Sonny

aka: Charles Liston
Charles “Sonny” Liston was a noted boxer who briefly reigned as Heavyweight Champion after a first-round knockout against Floyd Patterson. However, his career was marred by criminal activity and, later, accusations of mob connections and throwing fights. Sonny Liston was born on May 8, probably 1932, to Tobe and Helen (Baskin) Liston, African-American sharecroppers in rural St. Francis County. He was one of many children—one account lists twenty-two siblings and half-siblings. Liston was raised on heavy farm work, many beatings, and with virtually no schooling. At the age of thirteen, he ran away to St. Louis, Missouri, following his mother, who had left earlier. There, he became a thug, committing various muggings and robbery. Soon caught (his crimes were inept, …

Little Rock Marathon

The Little Rock Marathon, the largest marathon in the state, began in 2003 with 2,527 registered participants and has grown to well over 10,000 runners and walkers as of 2013. It is traditionally held each year on the first Sunday of March. The course begins in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) and runs through the River Market District and Quapaw Quarter District, and then by the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park, Little Rock City Hall, the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Philander Smith College, Central High School, the Arkansas State Capitol, and Murray Park before reaching the finish line in Riverfront Park. The Little Rock Marathon began in 2003 as a fundraiser for the City of Little Rock’s …

Lollar, John Sherman Jr.

Sherman Lollar was a major league baseball player who was considered one of the best catchers in baseball during the 1950s. However, despite being a seven-time All-Star, his accomplishments, including winning the American League Gold Glove award the first three years it was given, were sometimes overshadowed by other players, such as New York Yankee Yogi Berra. John Sherman Lollar Jr. was born on August 23, 1924, in Durham (Washington County) to John Lollar and Ruby Springfield Lollar. When he was three years old, the family moved to Fayetteville (Washington County), and his parents opened a grocery store. Lollar’s father died suddenly during surgery when Lollar was eight. His mother sold the grocery store and supported her young family by …

Long III, Dallas Cutcher

Dallas Long, born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), is an Olympic gold and bronze medalist who was consistently ranked as one of the top shot put competitors in the world. Dallas Crutcher LongIIIwas born on June 13, 1940, in Pine Bluff, the son of Dallas Long Jr. and Connie Long. Raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where his father practiced medicine, he played football and threw the shot put at Northern Phoenix High School. As a high school senior in 1958, Long established a national high school record of 21.10 meters in the twelve-pound (5.44 kilograms) shot put, and tossed the sixteen-pound (7.26 kilograms) shot put 18.60 meters. At the Amateur Athletics Union (AAU) national track and field championships, he finished second to …