UAFS Mourns Passing of Coaching Legend Louis Whorton
The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Athletics family mourns the loss of Hall of Fame Head Women's Basketball Coach Louis Whorton, who passed away over the weekend.
Whorton is the winningest UAFS women's basketball coach in program history, compiling a 648-277 overall win-loss record at the NJCAA and NCAA Division II levels over a 30-year span with 19 20-win seasons and six 30-win seasons. He was inducted in to the UAFS Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019 and the NJCAA Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, and is a member of the University of the Ozarks Eagles Athletics Hall of Fame.
"Coach Whorton is a UAFS legend," said UAFS Director of Athletics Curtis Janz. "He set a standard for not only UAFS Women's Basketball, but for the entire department. He set a standard for excellence on the court and made an impact on so many people's lives. Coach will be missed but he will always be remembered here. We love him and his family and they will always be in our hearts."
He won a national championship in the 1994-95 season by going 35-0 and was named the NJCAA Coach of the Year. His team placed second in the NJCAA national tournament in 1993-94. In their 1997-98 and 2005-2006 national tournament appearances, the Lady Lions finished seventh. In 2003-04, they finished in fourth, and in 2004-05 and 2007-08, they finished third.
Former UAFS women's basketball head coach Tari Cummings, who played for and served as an assistant coach under Whorton, and now serves as an assistant coach at Baylor, remembered her mentor, and friend fondly. "Words can't describe the impact that Coach Whorton has had on my life on and off the court," Cummings said. "He was my coach, my mentor, and he was like a father to me; I'm thankful God brought us together. I will forever love and cherish him."
Another former player and friend of Whorton's, Brenda Frederiksen, – who introduced Whorton at his UAFS Hall of Fame induction – will remember Coach Whorton by a simple phrase he taught her – "Always keep the main thing, the main thing."
"And, as he always said, 'Once a Lion, always a Lion,'" Frederiksen added.
During 23 seasons of competition at the junior college level, he compiled an impressive 538-195 record – an average of 23 wins per season. His junior college teams posted 16 20-win seasons and six 30-win seasons.
In that span, Whorton guided the Lady Lions to one Arkansas JUCO Conference championship, three Arkansas State Tournament championships, seven Bi-State East Conference championships and seven Region II championships. His teams also were Region II runners-up six times.
Whorton's junior college teams produced four WNBA draft picks – Kim Williams, Alisa Burras, Gillian Goring and Tanisha Smith.
During seven seasons of NCAA Division II competition, Whorton guided the Lady Lions to a 110-82 record and a Heartland Conference championship, a conference tournament championship, a runner-up finish in the conference tournament and a berth in the NCAA Division II South Central Region Tournament.
He was inducted into the NJCAA Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, the UAFS Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019 and is a member of the University of the Ozarks Eagles Athletics Hall of Fame.
Arrangements are pending.