Longtime Hendrix men’s basketball coach Cliff Garrison, University of Central Arkansas volleyball star Chloe Smith and Hendrix baseball standout Daniel Ward have been named recipients of the 2009 Elijah Pitts and Marvin Delph Awrds.
The awards are presented annually by vote of the Conway Athletic Awards Commission composed of local media and athletic officials.
Garrison will receive the Pitts Award for career achievement.
For the first time, the Delph Award, given to the sportsman of the year, will have a male and female recipient.
"When it came down to making the final decision on the Delph Award, it quickly became obvious to our selection committee that this was the perfect time to begin presenting an award for both male and female athletes," said David Grimes, who heads the awards commission. "Daniel and Chloe were both just too good pass up, both for their accomplishments on the field or court, their academic achievement and their citizenship and leadership off the field.
Garrison served as head basketball coach of the Warriors from 1972 to 2003, winning 463 games and five Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference championships. He was named coach of the year in both the old AIC and the Southern College Athletic Conference. A Forrest City native, Garrison is a member of the Hendrix Sports Hall of Honor, UCA Sports Hall of Fame and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
"Cliff is a true Arkansas jewel," Grimes said. "He’s one of the best coaches to come around and one heck of a nice guy. This completes a very special cycle. In various years, the Pitts Award has now been presented to all three of the individuals who are considered icons of the Hendrix athletic program, Ivan Grove, Bob Courtway and Cliff Garrison."
Ward, a native of Tacoma, Wash., was a senior outfielder and leader on a Hendrix baseball team that made history. In April, he helped lead Hendrix to an undefeated tournament run to SCAC baseball championship, the school’s first men’s SCAC title in any sport. The Warriors earned an automatic bid to the NCAA DIII baseball tournament. Ward hit .375 while being named to the All-SCAC first team for the third consecutive year. He also earned various all-region and All-America recognition.
Smith, a San Diego native, repeated as the Southland Conference Player of the Year for the Sugar Bears. UCA swept the SLC regular season title with a 16-0 record, finishing 27-3 overall. Smith was also named an academic all-American by "ESPN the Magazine."
Garrison, Ward and Smith will be honored at a banquet to be held in early 2010 at a date and place to be determined. Several eighth-grade students from Conway will also be honored with the annual Marvin Delph Student-Athlete Awards.