LR Touchdown Club unveils speaker lineup

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The Little Rock Touchdown Club unveiled its 2015 speaker list Aug. 11 in the lobby of the Simmons Bank Tower in downtown Little Rock. In its 12th year, the club again presents a mixture of speakers with Razorbacks ties, and former legendary NFL and college coaches and players.

University of Arkansas football Coach Bret Bielema kicks the season off with a Aug. 24 appearance downtown at the Little Rock Marriott.

In conjunction with the Razorbacks’ games against the University of Tennessee and the University of Alabama, respectively, club creator David Bazzel is bringing in two former standout quarterbacks. Former Vol Heath Shuler will offer insight on his alma mater Sept. 28, and former Alabama signal caller Jay Barker, who hosts a radio show in Birmingham, Alabama, will preview the Alabama-UA matchup, among other topics, when speaking Oct. 5.

Bazzel says the complete lineup of Razorbacks induced into the SWC Hall of Fame will come Aug. 13, along with the unveiling of the awards banquet speaker, who Bazzel calls “one of football’s all-time greats.” Last year, former Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin spoke at the banquet, and the previous year was former UA and Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz.

Aug. 24: Bret … Read more >

A Q&A with University of Arkansas pitcher Jackson Lowery

NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE
Reliever Jackson Lowery of Arkansas celebrates after getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning against Missouri State Saturday, June 6, 2015, in the Super Regional at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE Reliever Jackson Lowery of Arkansas celebrates after getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning against Missouri State Saturday, June 6, 2015, in the Super Regional at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE
Reliever Jackson Lowery of Arkansas celebrates after getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning against Missouri State Saturday, June 6, 2015, in the Super Regional at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

The University of Arkansas baseball team has its share of stars. Sophomore outfielder Andrew Benintendi has won different national player of the year honors, junior outfielder Tyler Spoon is a four-year starter and a standout power hitter, Keaton McKinney was a freshman All-American pitcher, and All-SEC closer Zach Jackson has endeared Hogs fans by pitching more than three innings in a Super Regionals clinching game against Missouri State University Sunday, June 7.

However, the team is also loaded with a talented supporting class that has helped the Hogs dig out from a 1-5 start in the SEC to one of the more dangerous teams in the College World Series field. Senior relief pitcher Jackson Lowery, a Pulaski Academy alumnus, is one of those role players who has stood out. Lowery has notched a 7-1 record, mostly coming out of the bullpen, but in just the third start of his career, he led the Hogs to a 4-3 win against St. Johns Univeristy to clinch … Read more >

McEnroe glad he didn’t play in social media age

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MELISSA SUE GERRITS - 04/17/15 - John McEnroe points out he'd been right about 2 contested plays against Mark Phillipousis in the Power Shares Series at UALR April 17,  2015.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MELISSA SUE GERRITS - 04/17/15 - John McEnroe points out he'd been right about 2 contested plays against Mark Phillipousis in the Power Shares Series at UALR April 17,  2015.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MELISSA SUE GERRITS – 04/17/15 – John McEnroe points out he’d been right about 2 contested plays against Mark Phillipousis in the Power Shares Series at UALR April 17, 2015.

John McEnroe is glad he hit his peak in pro tennis in the 1970s and 80s long before the 24-hour news cycle and social-media scrutiny of today.
“I haven’t gotten into [Twitter] yet, so I can only imagine,’” says McEnroe, who won nine Grand Slam singles titles and  played in the PowerShares Series event Friday night at the Jack Stephens Center on the campus of UALR. “It seems like anywhere you go, everything is seen and is out there. People think they are all journalists or something. I don’t know. If someone wants to say something bad about you, they can pick one person in the world that says something bad about you on Twitter, and all of a sudden that’s the way the whole world feels about someone. In a way, I am glad I am old, happily married and boring now.”
As good as McEnroe was, he is almost as well-known for his confrontations with umpires as well as his off-the-court relationships, including his first marriage to … Read more >

Passing down my love of the Globetrotters

Harlem Globetrotters 2

I became a basketball fan early growing up. I was seven when I latched on to the Los Angels Lakers and their gangly point guard, Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Like most 80s and 90s kids I became a fan of Michael Jordan, too. I was lucky to grow up in the “golden age” of the NBA and watched as many games as I could and followed many of the stars of the time.
However, my first basketball heroes didn’t play in the NBA. I vividly remember at 5 watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports and being mesmerized by the Harlem Globetrotters. I became familiar with them from Saturday morning cartoons and loved watching them when they were on ABC.
I loved the ball-handling tricks, and being a kid, I loved the antics. The way the players went through women’s purses and threw water into the crowd, and then confetti. I was a big fan.
As I grew older, I perfected Larry “Gator” Rivers’ trick of dribbling with the basketball and sliding on the floor while continuing to dribble. I could also almost spin the ball on my finger.
In third grade, I nearly got in a fight over the Globetrotters … Read more >

Hill signs with Ohio State as high school coach noticeably absent

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Screen_Shot_2015-02-04_at_9.26.02_AM_t630

Photo by Gavin Lesnick North Little Rock’s K.J. Hill signed with Ohio State Wednesday.

North Little Rock standout receiver K.J. Hill signed with Ohio State University Wednesday without his high school coach, Brad Bolding, present. Rumors have swirled about Bolding’s job status for weeks, and his absence at the school’s signing day event was telling.
While North Little Rock School officials are mum on Bolding’s stratus, Hill and his stepfather Montez Peterson made it clear any alleged wrongdoing by Bolding didn’t include the recruitment of Hill contrary to rumors that have circulated on social media.
“They swear [Bolding] gave me money, but I didn’t get any money,” Hill told a throng of reporters shortly after he inked with the defending national champion Buckeyes. “That’s what they say. “People say he gave me money … I don’t know what the real situation is,” Hill says. “It’s all good, though.
“I’m not worried. People swore I couldn’t sign, but it is all good.”
North Little Rock’s silence and Hill’s decommitment from Arkansas last month has only fueled speculation that Hill’s recruitment is tied to Bolding’s troubles.
“Everything that we have done as parents and K.J. has done have been on the up … Read more >