University of Central Arkansas softball coach David Kuhn and Conway High School softball coach Chata Hickey have been presented with the fifth annual Raymond Bright Awards for the 2020-21 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 coaches led their teams to outstanding seasons which were among the best in their program’s histories.
In his 13th year as head coach at UCA, Kuhn led the Bears to a 37-19 overall record, going 21-6 in Southland Conference play. The Bears had a runner-up finish in both the conference regular season and tournament.
Kuhn said of the distinction, “It is quite an honor to be recognized as the Raymond Bright College Coach of the Year. Our team had an outstanding season on and off the field. I am so grateful to be surrounded by a great coaching staff, an amazing administration and a wonderful team. I am truly blessed to be called ‘coach.’ It is an honor and a privilege.”
Hickey led the Wampus Cats to a 23-8 record and finished as Class 6A state runner-up. It was the first championship game appearance in program history.
“I am deeply honored to be acknowledged in the same category as these phenomenal coaches before me,” Hickey said. “Coach Bright worked to better the student-athletes of this city on and off the field of play. That same goal is embedded into our mission within the Conway softball program.
“I am grateful to have worked with some great coaches and players in my tenure here at Conway High, and I want to continue to make an impact in the lives of my student-athletes yet to come. I am truly grateful for this recognition.”
Bright’s widow, Doretta Bright, will present the awards to each honoree.