The Conway Athletic Awards Commission announces that Conway High School graduate Ray Rodgers has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the Elijah Pitts Award for career achievement.
The 2018 Marvin Delph Award for Sportsman of the Year will be presented to University of Central Arkansas men’s soccer coach Ross Duncan.
Central Baptist College softball coach Jordon Jones will be honored with the 2018 Marvin Delph Award for Sportswoman of the Year.
The awards are selected by local media and college representatives.
Pitts was a graduate of Conway’s old Pine Street High School and played with the Green Bay Packers in the 1960’s, helping them win the first two Super Bowls.
Delph won back-to-back state championships with Conway High School before leading the Arkansas Razorbacks to the 1978 NCAA Final Four as part of the famed “Triplets.”
Both men have been inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Rodgers graduated from CHS in 1955, where he earned the nickname “Butterball.”
He then went on to graduate from Arkansas State Teachers College, now UCA.
He played football for the Wampus Cats, but pugilism was his true passion.
He started boxing at age 11 and the sport took him all over the globe.
Rodgers became one of the best “cut men” in the business, working with several world champions.
He was in Jermaine Taylor’s corner when the Little Rock boxer won the middleweight title in 2005 over Bernard Hopkins.
He has been involved in Gold Gloves and Silver Gloves boxing for decades.
Rodgers also runs a gym in Little Rock to teach kids boxing and self-confidence and to keep them off the streets.
He was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
ASHOF executive director Terri Conder Johnson said, “Ray has been a fixture in Arkansas sports for decades. He has traveled the world helping professional boxers, but his biggest contribution is to the countless youths he has mentored across the state.”
A native of Corvallis, Oregon, Duncan played soccer at Oregon State University.
He has served as head coach of the UCA men’s soccer program for seven years.
His teams have shown consistent improvement over his tenure.
In 2017, his Bears won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, earning the program’s first NCAA tournament berth.
In 2018, UCA won the regular season MVC crown, repeated as conference tournament champs, and advanced to their second consecutive NCAA tournament.
“Coach Duncan has steadily improved our men's soccer program over his seven years as head coach,” UCA athletic director Brad Teague said. “His teams of the past two years have been extremely talented. Not only have they produced on the field, but they are outstanding academically and have been recognized for their superior work in the classroom. We are proud of the job he has done for our program and agree with his selection as the Marvin Delph Award recipient.”
A former award-winning CBC softball player, Jones led her alma mater to the 2018 NCCAA softball national championship in her first year as head coach.
The Mustangs finished with a record of 42-19.
CBC athletic director Lyle Middleton said, “We are fortunate to have Jordon here as a positive influence. Ever since she came here as a player, she has been great on the field, in the classroom, as an assistant coach and as a head coach. We are truly blessed to have her and what she achieved last year is remarkable.”
The awards will be presented at the annual CAAC luncheon to be held Jan. 20, 2019, at CBC’s Mabee Student Center.
Tickets are $30 and may be obtained by calling (501) 269-0412.
Several eighth grade students from Conway schools will also be honored with the annual Marvin Delph Student-Athlete Awards.