Harold Horton, Class of 1989

Harold Horton, Class of 1989 (courtesy Univ. of Ark.)

On Friday, Oct. 26, the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame will hold a special reception from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. to honor Harold Horton, who retired in July as executive director of the Razorback Foundation. The reception will be held at the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Museum on the west side of Verizon Arena in North Little Rock. Tickets for the event are $25 for Hall of Fame members and $50 for those who are not members of the organization. The $50 tickets include one-year memberships, allowing purchasers of those tickets to vote on the next induction class to the Hall of Fame. Those desiring to purchase tickets should call Ray Tucker or Jennifer Smith at the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame at (501)663-4328. Dating back to his playing days at DeWitt High School, Horton has had an impact on sports in the state at every level. Horton, a 1989 Hall of Fame inductee, served for many years as a member of the organization’s board of directors and is now a member of its senior advisory board. His son Tim, an assistant football coach at the University of Arkansas, is now a member of the Hall of Fame board. Horton replaced Chuck Dicus (a 1995 Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inductee) as the Razorback Foundation director in November 2008. Horton entered the University of Arkansas in the fall of 1957 during Jack Mitchell’s final year as head coach of the Razorbacks. He redshirted in 1958 during Frank Broyles’ first year as head coach. Horton played on Razorback teams that tied for a Southwest Conference championship in 1959 and won conference titles outright in 1960 and 1961. Arkansas was 9-2 overall and 5-1 in conference in 1959, including a win in the Gator Bowl. The Razorbacks were 8-3 overall and 6-1 in conference in 1960, finishing the season with a loss in the Cotton Bowl. The Hogs were again 8-3 overall and 6-1 in conference in 1961, concluding the season with a Sugar Bowl loss. Arkansas was ranked in the Top 10 in the final Associated Press poll in each of those three seasons – ninth in 1959, seventh in 1960 and ninth in 1961. After earning his degree in physical education in the spring of 1962, Horton spent three years as head football coach at Bald Knob High School and three years as head football coach at Forrest City High School. His combined record in those six seasons was 43-15-3. Horton joined Broyles’ staff at Arkansas in 1968. Broyles retired from coaching at the end of the 1976 season, but Horton remained on Lou Holtz’ staff through the 1980 season. Horton became the head coach at the University of Central Arkansas in 1982. His teams went 74-12-5 in his eight seasons there, winning NAIA national championships in 1984 and 1985. The Bears won seven consecutive Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference championships under Horton, who was the AIC coach of the year five times and the NAIA national coach of the year in 1983. After retiring as the head coach at UCA, Horton returned to Fayetteville. He served as Arkansas’ recruiting coordinator for four years and as the director of football operations for another four years before joining the Razorback Foundation. Horton once summed up his approach to life this way: “Keep your faith in God. Keep working and plugging every day. Keep your head down, doing things the right way, and success will come.” The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 1959. Little Rock insurance executive Andrew Meadors is the organization’s president. The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Museum is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. It includes an 88-seat theater with a video highlighting the careers of Arkansas sports greats and a touch-screen kiosk with a database of all Hall of Fame inductees. Members of the Hall of Fame vote each year on inductees. Membership forms may be obtained here.