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Greer part of the start of women’s basketball

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Greer part of the start of women’s basketball

The first African-American scholarship recruit for the Razorback women’s basketball team, Little Rock native Erma Greer was a member of one of the first major freshman classes at Arkansas.

A product of McClellan High, Greer was recruited to Fayetteville by rookie coach Matilda Willis. Following two years after inaugural team member Joy Dillard, Greer was the second African-American player for the women’s team, but has the distinction of being the first recruited and the first to receive a scholarship to attend Arkansas.

Along with fellow McClellan High teammate Doris Gaiser, Danville’s Tamara Mathis and Wynne’s Bettye Fiscus, the freshman recruiting class of 1981 became the foundation of the great Razorback teams of the Southwest Conference era.

Greer’s freshman and sophomore seasons saw Arkansas establish Barnhill Arena as a home court as feared on the women’s side as the men’s. The Razorbacks went undefeated at home in 1981-82 and 1982-83, going on a then school-record 21-game winning streak that extended into Greer’s junior season.

In her four years on the Hill, Greer’s teams lost only one game at home to an unranked opponent, and only four total (#1 Texas, #2 LTU, #3 Texas in 84-85, Houston). It took defending national champion and then No. 2 in the country Louisiana Tech to break the Barnhill streak in 1982-83. That same season, Arkansas lost to No. 1 ranked Texas by one point, 71-70, a game that remains one of the 30 greatest in Razorback history.

Playing alongside the school’s all-time leading scorer in Fiscus, Greer was one of the team’s top rebounders, racking up 483 in her career at Arkansas to close as the school’s No. 3 rebounder at the time. She remains ranked 21st all-time in the 34-year history of the Razorbacks.

Greer played in 111 games for her career, and her teams posted four consecutive 20-win seasons and an overall record of 87-45. Spanning the end of the AIAW era and the start of the NCAA years, Greer played on the first Razorback team to reach the national postseason level, the 1982-82 team which reached the AIAW National Tournament in the Sweet 16.

After graduation, Greer went on to a career with nearby Tyson Foods.

The University of Arkansas’ Athletic Department recognizes its heritage and the countless contributions made by African-American student-athletes in all 19 of its varsity sports. The Razorbacks are proud to celebrate this great tradition and recognize some of the inspiring pioneers, great student-athletes and outstanding role models that have worn a Razorback uniform as a part of Black History Month.



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