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Meet Marvin Caston

02/18/2013
Athletic Communications
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The University of Arkansas Athletics Department is recognizing current Razorback administrators and coaches as part of a series celebrating Black History Month on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.

Throughout the month of February, individuals will be featured on the web site for their contributions to the University of Arkansas, the Razorback program and society. This marks the fifth year Razorback Athletics has celebrated Black History Month with a special features series on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.

This year's list includes Razorback administrators Eric A. Wood, Byron Hatch, Marcus Sedberry and Marvin Caston along with coaches Melvin Watkins (men's basketball), Tari Cummings (women's basketball), Chris Johnson (women's track and field) and Randy Shannon (football).

Few people have benefited the Arkansas Razorback athletic department and its goal to improve diversity outreach among students more than Marvin Caston. He currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Razorback Foundation. He returned to Fayetteville from the University of South Florida, where he held a compliance position with the Bulls. Caston played fullback for the Razorback football team from 1996-1999. He was recruited to play at Arkansas from Winnsboro, La.

"When I came on my visit to Arkansas, it was two days before Christmas," Caston said. "The basketball team played Delaware State and there were 20,000 people in the gym for Delaware State. The fans stood up the entire time. I wondered if they did this for football. The people said 'absolutely'. I committed the next day."

Caston led the way for running backs on teams that went 9-3 in 1998 and 8-4 in 1999. The 1998 team played Michigan in the Florida Citrus Bowl and ended the year ranked No. 16. The 1999 squad beat Texas in the Cotton Bowl and finished the season ranked No. 17.

"I was being recruited by Nebraska, Texas A&M, LSU, everybody. I felt comfortable with the coaching staff here at Arkansas. I felt real good about the University of Arkansas, when it came to signing day, it was an easy choice."

Lots of things have changed since Caston played football at Arkansas in the 1990s. One of the most notable things has been the outreach for diversity among students and faculty. Caston believes that the department is still growing and there is still work to be done.

"I think there is no question that we have grown leaps and bounds in our efforts to increase diversity on campus," Caston said. "Not only in faculty and staff, but with students as well. When I first came here in 1993, we probably wouldn't have scored very well in the diversity efforts. The staff at Arkansas has made a real push to increase diversity among the students and staff. I can't be more proud to say that I am an alum of the University of Arkansas. I know we have some work to do, and all institutions do, but I am proud of where I come from."

Caston has been a big part of the efforts on campus to increase diversity. He worked as the chairman of the A-Club while spending time developing and serving as the co-director of the Athletic Prevention Programming & Leadership Education (APPLE) Program.

"I believed in growing diversity in our younger generations," Caston said. "Being a football player I was interested in the A-club and in our alumni. We still have a push to get younger student-athletes involved in diversity at the University of Arkansas."

Before he returned to Arkansas, Caston spent time at the University of South Florida. He was a Compliance Assistant for one year before being promoted to Compliance Coordinator the last two years. Caston returned to his alma mater in 2005 to become the Director of Compliance. When he returned, he brought a wealth of knowledge back with him.

"I worked for a great leader in South Florida," Caston said. "I was the first African-American to be hired as an administrator at USF. It was growing and it wasn't what it is now. They were not the powerhouse that they are now. It was a great opportunity for me and it gave me the experience I needed to get my feet wet in the profession."

The administrator is now the first African-American to work with the Razorback Foundation, an honor that Caston holds very close to his heart. He has embraced his new role with the department as Assistant Director of the foundation.

"It is huge to be the first African-American to work with the foundation," Caston said. "It's great to have an opportunity to interact with our fans and our members that supported me. You want to be able to be a good role model for those who come behind you. I have taken that role extremely seriously. I try every day to make the foundation proud of the efforts that I am doing. I also want to show our minority student athletes that you can do well and you can do it here at the University of Arkansas."


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