Last fall, I started highlighting athletes and coaches with local ties who are inductees of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame (ASHOF).
There are several dozen.
This week, we’ll look at coach Warren Woodson.
Woodson was inducted into the ASHOF in 1979 along with Johnny Adams, Ike Tomlinson, James Abraham and Lance Alworth.
A Texas native, Woodson was a basketball standout at Baylor in the early 1920’s.
But he made his hall of fame career coaching college football for nearly half a century.
Woodson began in 1927 at Texarkana Junior College before moving on in 1935 to Arkansas State Teachers College, now the University of Central Arkansas.
His tenure in Conway was so successful that he is known as the “Father of Bear Football.”
In the six seasons from 1935 to 1940, Woodson’s teams went 40-8-3 while winning four AIC championships.
His 1936 team went 8-0.
His 1937 squad matched that regular season mark but lost in the Bears’ very first postseason game to finish 8-1.
Los Angeles was the setting as Woodson took his team west to play Fresno State in the Charity Bowl on Christmas Day, losing by just a point.
During his time at UCA, Woodson also coached basketball, going 114-40, winning five AIC titles, and qualifying for several trips to the National AAU Tournament.
He also captured a few conference crowns in track for good measure.
He coached the Bear baseball team in 1936, going 10-4.
After Woodson left UCA, he proved his success with the Bears was no fluke.
He returned to his home state to coach Hardin-Simmons from 1941 to 1951.
Woodson had a great offensive mind, and it was here that he is often credited with inventing the Wing-T offense, although he likely started tinkering with it while at UCA.
Despite four seasons cancelled due to war, he went 58-24-6, made a few more bowl trips, and had another undefeated season in 1946.
Woodson coached the Arizona Wildcats from 1952 to 1956, again posting a winning record.
Then it was on to New Mexico State where he had even more success with the Aggies.
His 1960 squad went 11-0 and won their second consecutive Sun Bowl. The American Football Coaches Association named him their college division national coach of the year.
From 1958 to 1967, his teams went 63-36-3.
Woodson wrapped up his career by coaching Trinity in the early 1970s.
All told, his career football record at four-year colleges was 203-94-14.
Woodson was inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Hall of Fame in 1989.
He was a member of the inaugural class of the UCA Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
He has been similarly honored by Hardin-Simmons and New Mexico State University and is a member of the State of Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
The Conway Athletic Award Commission named him the 2000 winner of the Elijah Pitts Award for career achievement by a Conway sports figure, the first person to be presented with that honor.
Woodson passed away in 1998, two days before his 95th birthday.