Thursday, August 2, 2018
SPRINGDALE — Ten former sports standouts will be inducted into the Springdale Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday.
The banquet will be held at the Central Junior High cafeteria starting at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for the event are per person.
The list of honorees for the 2018 class is Jimmy Culp, Jon Dellinger, Joan Tubb Ricks, Brian Hency, Justin Combs, Mike Jones, Allicia Kellogg Kelly, Kirsten Lee Lilly, Josh Fohner, Epiphany Smith and Carroll McFerrin.
Dellinger was an all-conference point guard at Springdale High and graduated in 1982. He attended Northeastern State in Tahlequah, Okla., then later transferred to Arkansas Tech to play baseball.
“It’s quite an honor,” Dellinger said. “Being an ol’ Springdale boy, I was pretty much raised on Springdale athletics. When I was a kid on Friday nights we went to Springdale football games, and on Tuesdays and Fridays, we’d go to Springdale basketball games. It was just what we did.
“We played cup baseball under the bleachers at the little league park, and tackle the man with the ball at Bulldog Stadium.”
Dellinger said boys in Springdale grew up wanting to be a Bulldog. Springdale did not offer high school baseball in the early 1980s, but the youth programs in the city were highly successful and Dellinger played on several state championship teams.
Culp moved to Springdale before his junior year of high school in 1971 and was a track and basketball standout. Culp also ran track at the University of Arkansas-Monticello where he was a pole vaulter and hurdler. As a senior at Springdale, Culp averaged 20 points per game and helped the Bulldogs beat Fayetteville three times that season.
Hency graduated from Springdale in 1987 and was an all-state football player for the Bulldogs. Hency was selected to the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Game at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. He received a scholarship to Ouachita Baptist University.
Fohner was the rare Springdale player who played varsity football at both Springdale and Har-Ber. He was a starting receiver on the 2005 state championship team under Gus Malzahn, then transferred crosstown when Har-Ber opened and played two seasons for the Wildcats, earning all-state honors.
“He was fortunate to be the product of two really good football programs,” said Mike Fohner, Josh’s father. “First for Gus and later when Chris Wood took over at Har-Ber. I wonder sometimes how good a player would he have been if he had not had those kinds of experiences. And he rode on some good shoulders, too, catching passes from Mitch Mustain or running routes alongside Andrew Norman or Damian Williams. Those guys were stellar players.”
Josh Fohner was seriously injured in a cycling accident in Colorado and continues to rehab from the injuries, Mike said. The Fohner family will be at Saturday’s induction.
Combs was the co-captain of the 1989 state champion football team at Springdale, and he was named the Most Valuable Player in the title game. Combs guided teams at Southwest Junior High and Springdale to a 37-5 record while earning all-conference honors as a senior.
Jones was also a member of the 1989 state title team as an offensive lineman, earning all-conference and all-state honors. As a senior, Jones was named to the Arkansas Associated Press Super Team and signed with Missouri State University.
Tubbs-Ricks was a standout gymnast and gymnastics coach. She earned high-point honors twice and led her squad to state runner-up as a junior. She was also a member of the Springdale track team. She competed in gymnastics at Southern Arkansas Technical University, where she placed fifth nationally in the all-around and helped her team win the national championship. She graduated from the University of Arkansas and was a championship coach at several Oklahoma high schools.
Kellogg-Kelly was a three-sport star at Springdale in track, cross country and basketball. She helped the 2002 Lady Bulldogs basketball team advance to the final four and played collegiately at the University of Central Arkansas, helping the Sugar Bears reach the Division II final four.
McFerrin, who died in 2017, played football and ran track at Springdale. He graduated in 1963 and served with the Air Force for six years, including tours in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Turkey. He was a Kiwanis Kids Day football coach for more than 40 years.
Smith was a standout member of the Lady Wildcats basketball team at Har-Ber, where she averaged 14.3 points and 4.1 assists per game to earn all-state honors. She played collegiately at Texas-Pan American and Saint Anselm and was an assistant coach for four seasons the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She is currently the athletic director at St. Anne’s School in Annapolis, Md.
Dellinger said he is hopeful his parents can be there for his induction on Saturday.
“They are both hanging in there and this is something they always hoped would happen,” Dellinger said. “Dad’s had a stroke and mom has in-home hospice care. They spent a lot of time with us as kids. Our baseball group was like a big family.
“They are both in wheelchairs. We’re going to try to get them there because I think it would be real exciting for them.”
Chip Souza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@NWAChip.
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