Hendrix College beach volleyball coach Ryan Havice and Conway High School basketball coach Ashley Hutchcraft have been presented with the seventh-annual Raymond Bright Awards for the 2022-23 school year.
The awards, sponsored by Centennial Bank, are presented each year to both a college coach and a high school coach in the City of Conway.
The award is named in honor of Raymond Bright, who was one of the most successful and revered coaches in Conway’s history and impacted many lives through his dedication.
A native of Hope, Bright served in the Navy during World War II. He then graduated from Arkansas State Teachers College, now the University of Central Arkansas.
Bright began his coaching career at Conway Junior High School in 1949 then continued at Conway High coaching football and track from 1951 to 1958. His Wampus Cats won three track and field state championships.
Bright moved across town to UCA to coach track from 1959 to 1965 and then football from 1965 to 1971. His teams won multiple AIC titles in both sports.
Bright passed away in 2008 at age 85. He is a member of the Wampus Cat Sports Hall of Fame, the UCA Sports Hall of Fame, the Arkansas Track & Field Hall of Fame, and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Both honorees led their teams to championship seasons and were recognized on the national level.
In his first year as head coach at Hendrix, Havice led the Warriors the 2023 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Small College Beach National Championship.
Havice said of the distinction, “The Hendrix and Conway communities have been incredibly welcoming and supportive. I feel fortunate to be able to work with such a mature, driven, and dedicated group of student-athletes. I am grateful that they, and Athletic Director Amy Weaver, put their trust in me.”
Hutchcraft led the Wampus Cats to a 28-5 record and won the Class 6A state basketball title. They were ranked nationally all season long and had the opportunity to play on ESPN.
Said Hutchcraft, “It is an honor to receive an award named after Coach Bright. Like Coach Bright, being a Wampus Cat and graduate from UCA makes it more meaningful. I would like to thank Centennial Bank and the Bright Family for this award.”
Coach Bright’s widow, Doretta Bright, will present the awards to each honoree.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.