FAYETTEVILLE – Former Razorback football standouts David Bazzel and Dennis Winston along with former women’s basketball coach Gary Blair are among the 11 members of the 2014 Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame class it was announced on Sunday.
The 2014 class will be honored when the organization holds its 56th annual induction banquet on Friday, Feb. 28. The banquet will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2014 will consist of six inductees from the regular category, three inductees from the senior category and two inductees from the posthumous category. The Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 1959.
Bazzel played football for the University of Arkansas under head coaches Lou Holtz and Ken Hatfield. Bazzel, a native of Panama City, Fla., was a team captain, a three-year starter and a four-year letterman at linebacker from 1981-85. He was a defensive team captain for the 1985 unit that set a Southwest Conference record of allowing no rushing touchdowns during the conference season. Bazzel, who now co-hosts the morning drive-time program on Little Rock radio station KABZ-FM, 103.7, has since made a name for himself with various sports awards and promotions. He was the chairman of the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Fitness for nine years, was a founder of the Little Rock Touchdown Club in 2004, created the Broyles Award for the nation’s top college assistant football coach in 1996 and created the Golden Boot that is awarded each fall to the winner of the Arkansas-LSU football game. Earlier this year, Bazzel created the Cliff Harris Award to honor the top small college defensive player in the country. Bazzel also was a founder of the state high school weightlifting championships.
Winston, a Forrest City native who played high school football at Marianna and later was a linebacker for the Arkansas Razorbacks from 1973-76. Winston was part of a signing class that included 13 black players, the most ever to that point at Arkansas. He went on to play 11 seasons in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New Orleans Saints. Winston was a member of Steeler teams that won the Super Bowl following the 1978 and 1979 seasons. He started at left outside linebacker for the injured Jack Ham in Super Bowl XIV. He also made history for the Saints in the New Orleans Superdome in November 1984 when he returned an interception 47 yards for a touchdown, leading New Orleans to its first win in prime time on Monday Night Football. Winston began his coaching career in 1992 as Grambling University’s defensive coordinator under the legendary Eddie Robinson, serving in that role for five years. Winston coached the Razorbacks’ outside linebackers in 1997, Danny Ford’s final season as head coach. Winston later was an assistant coach at Arkansas State University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He served this year as the interim head coach at Grambling.
Blair is a former head women’s basketball coach at the University of Arkansas and currently the head women’s basketball coach at Texas A&M University. Blair led Arkansas to five NCAA appearances including the 1998 Final Four and four second round appearances including his last three seasons with the Razorbacks. During his tenure (1993-2003), the Razorbacks made eight postseason appearances in 10 years including earning a WNIT championship in 1999. Blair’s overall record at Arkansas was 198-120 (.623). Blair is one of only three NCAA Division I women’s basketball coaches to lead two schools to the NCAA Women’s Final Four. Blair led Texas A&M to the 2011 national championship. At the start of this season, Blair had a 237-100 record at Texas A&M and a 645-263 overall record. He was the head coach at Stephen F. Austin from 1985-93, compiling a 210-43 record at the Texas school. He ranks among the top 20 in career victories and in the top 30 by winning percentage among active Division I coaches. Blair already has been inducted into three halls of fame: the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002, the Stephen F. Austin University Ladyjack Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Southland Conference Hall of Honor in 2009.
Other 2014 inductees into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame include professional golfer Ken Duke, former high school basketball star Bennie Fuller, Arkansas Tech women’s basketball player Stephanie Strack Mathis, longtime high school football coach Don Campbell, University of Arkansas at Monticello coach Alvy Early, former University of Central Arkansas (UCA) football coach Ken Stephens, former NBA star Jim Barnes and former basketball player and coach Harry Vines.
Another honoree at the Feb. 28 banquet will be Ronnie McFarland of Searcy. McFarland is a longtime member of the board of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and has served the organization in numerous capacities through the years. He will receive the William H. "Buddy" Sutton Meritorious Service Award.