One Marvin Delph Award winner began his acceptance speech by paying tribute to another Sunday afternoon.
University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bear star Megan Herbert patiently posed for pictures with young people.
With cameras flashing and smart phones aiming from all directions, several high school scholar-athletes had their picture made with Delph, a legendary Conway High and Razorback basketball star.
Hendrix swim coach Jim Kelly was treated to a surprise visit by three of his four children.
The 2012 Marvin-Delph-Elijah Pitts Awards luncheon turned into a combination prom/family reunion at Central Baptist College’s Mabee Student Center.
"I had no idea I would receive such at honor; I came here to turn UCA basketball around and it’s been up and down and crazy. Only by the grade of God have I been able to receive something like this," said Herbert, who received a Delph Award for Sportswoman of the Year.
David McFatrich, UCA’s volleyball coach was presented a Delph Award for Sportsman of the Year. began his remarks by pointing to Herbert, "What a special player. I’m amazed by such a steady player who hustles all the time and never seems to get tired. Thanks for letting me watch you play."
Sandra Rushing, the first-year Sugar Bear coach, echoed those sentiments for the player who has scored more than 2,000 career points and has more than 1,000 career rebounds.
"Megan is the type of athlete a coach dreams of coaching," Rushing said. "She is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around and the most humble athlete I’ve ever coached."
"It (my career) at UCA has gone by so fast," said Herbert, a two-time Southland Conference Women’s Player of the Year who has 79 career double doubles. "Like in life, there have been ups and downs but you have to work hard and learn to trust the people you are around."
McFatrich served as a volleyball assistant at UCA for 12 years before becoming the head coach two years ago. He led the Sugar Bears last season to a 30-5 mark and the program’s first appearance in the NCAA Division I tournament.
"He’s one of the most competitive people I know — all out all the time," said UCA athletic trainer Steve Hornor in introducing the coach. Honor has roomed with McFatrich on every road trip. "Tenacity is a good word for him. I’ve seen him head-butt his players. He’s asked his players to head-butt each other. To him, it’s more than just volleyball. I’ve seen him begin practice by asking his players how they are doing in class. He talks to them about their families. he prays with them."
"The players are really the magic," McFatrich said. "If we coaches forget that, we are in trouble."
The Sugar Bears were among seven on 330 Division I volleyball teams to win 30 or more games last season.
"I still can’t get my head around that," he said. "But anytime you win 30 games, there is a lot of luck involved"
Kelly, who earned the Elijah Pitts Award for lifetime achievement, has headed the Hendrix swim program for 31 years. He took a leave of abasence this season for health reasons. He has coached 80 All-Americans in 50 different events and his teams have consistently ranked academically among the top teams in the country.
"The main thing is how you got here," said Kelly. "I’ve had good swimmers. I’ve had great assistants who’ve done the hard work. People have asked how our staff has stayed together for awhile. The answer is simple, "We like each other.
"I don’t look on myself as a king holding court but jut another person serving others."
Junior high students from Conway‘s public and private schools, selected by their coaches, were presented Marvin Delph Student-Athlete Awards for both academic and athletic achievement. They were: Futra Banks, Alyssa Wells, Beau Hadley and Erik Webster from Conway Blue; Savannah Lowe, Sydney Hawkins, McCall Dail and Nicollus Fletcher from Conway White; Amber Briggler and Noah Bray from St. Joseph; and Adrianna Ferrand and Cameron Horton from Conway Christian.
The recipients were selected by the Conway Awards Commission, composed of local media and athletic officials at high schools and colleges.
"The special thing to me about this honor is my name is associated with a Godly guy, Marvin Delph, and that means the world to me," McFatrich said.