Founded as Arkansas State Normal School in 1907, the Bears first fielded a football team in 1908.
Over a century later now, the University of Central Arkansas has one of the best football legacies in the Natural State.
In the 110 years from 1908 to 2017, the Bears played 1,003 games in 106 seasons.
Their overall record was 576-385-42, a winning percentage of 59.5.
They took a year off in 1918, and then three years off from 1942 to 1944.
The Bears have 66 winning seasons, including 49 of the last 60.
They enjoyed 22 straight from 1976 to 1997.
Usually, when they have been good, they have been very, very good.
They claim 26 conference championships – 22 AIC crowns from the NAIA days, one from the NCAA II Gulf South Conference era, and three Southland Conference titles in the current NCAA FCS Division.
The Bears have made 17 playoff trips – 11 in the NAIA, two in Division II and four as an FCS member.
From 1935 to 1940, Warren Woodson led the Bears to a record of 40-8-3, a winning clip of 81.4 percent. The best three-year winning percentage in program history came under his watch, 92.0 percent from 1936 to 1938.
Harold Horton won a program-best 84.1 percent of his games from 1982 to 1989.
Amazingly, he never lost more than two games in any of his eight seasons.
His 31 wins from 1983 to 1985 are UCA’s most in a three-year span.
It’s no surprise that the 1980’s was the most successful decade as well, with the Bears winning 91 games and with a winning percentage of 83.5.
Horton’s teams won back-to-back NAIA national championships in 1984 and 1985.
In both finals, both played in Conway, they tied each game.
In what seems beyond belief now, the NAIA in those days had no tiebreaker provision in the national championship game, so the Bears tied Carson-Newman in 1984 and Hillsdale in 1985.
Each year, both teams were declared national champions.
Mike Isom’s 1991 team would win it outright, beating Central State (Ohio).
Isom coached the Bears for a decade, from 1990 to 1999.
The Bears transitioned from NAIA to NCAA Division II after the 1992 season.
Isom would finish with a career record of 68-38-4, a winning percentage of 63.6.
He finished with eight winning seasons, especially noteworthy given the step up to NCAA.
UCA has won double-digit games nine times, five of which came under Horton.
The most wins in a season are 11, twice under Horton and once under Clint Conque.
Conque is the longest tenured coach at 14 years. He won a school record 105 games, and has a winning percentage of 64.0.
Several former Bears have returned to coach their alma mater, including Howard (Pee Wee) Montgomery, Raymond Bright, Ken Stephens, Mike Isom and current coach Nathan Brown who is in his first season.