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Two men and a woman holding a framed letterman jacket

Sheila Jones, accompanied by UAFS Athletic Director Curtis Janz and Fort Smith Mayor and UAFS alumnus George McGill, accepted the Forever Letternan award on behalf of her late husband Stacey Jones.

Bell TowerOctober 04, 2023

Legends of the Games They Played

Written By: Ian Silvester

The UAFS Lions Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed by the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Athletics Department. The Lions Hall of Fame honors former student-athletes, coaches, and friends of the University athletic department.

Following a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAFS Lions Hall of Fame was back this year with its Class of 2023, and it did not disappoint.


1994-95 Women’s Basketball NJCAA National Championship Team

Head coach Louis Whorton taught the team to play an aggressive style of basketball that resulted in an undefeated 35-0 season capped off with a national championship. The championship game against Trinity Valley Community College, 82-75, was the only single-digit win all season long. Whorton was named NJCAA Coach of the Year for the success of the Westark College Women’s Basketball team.

Jane Sargent, UAFS Volleyball Head Coach

Sargent built the team from nothing in the spring of 1998 and has remained the team’s head coach for the past 25 seasons. She enters the UAFS Lions Hall of Fame with more than 700 career wins and is Arkansas’s winningest collegiate volleyball coach. The Lions have never had a losing season under Sargent.

John ‘Taz’ Tongier, UAFS Baseball

Tongier came to the River Valley in 1996 and has been a fixture of UAFS Baseball practically ever since. He approached then-Westark Community College baseball head coach Bill Crowder and the rest is etched in the history of his field maintenance and infield raking. With additional duties like scorekeeping, announcing, running the scoreboard, and driving the team bus, Tongier is a living Lion legend on the baseball diamond.

Seth Youngblood, UAFS Basketball

Youngblood was a crucial piece of the Heartland Conference Championship team and the other UAFS teams that earned trips to the NCAA Tournament. He finished his UAFS career with 1,912 points and remains the all-time leading scorer for the Lions. Youngblood’s points total and 339 made three-point shots are ranked second all-time in Heartland Conference history.

Stacey Jones, Forever Letterman

Topping the Lions Hall of Fame Class of 2023 with its highest distinction, the Athletics Department named Stacey A. Jones a UAFS Forever Letterman. Jones, who retired as the associate vice chancellor of campus and community events after managing the UAFS Season of Entertainment, arrived at the Westark Junior College campus in 1969 and stayed for more than 50 years. In 2012, the Alumni Association recognized him with its highest honor, the Diligence to Victory Award, now the Distinguished Alumni Award. A decade later, he served on the Alumni Advisory Council. In his honor, the Season, which has brought Broadway shows and Broadway-caliber entertainers to Fort Smith, has been renamed The Stacey Jones Season of Entertainment. Sheila Jones, his wife of 46 years, accepted the Forever Letterman award in his name. 


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  • Volleyball
  • Hall of Fame
  • Athletics
  • Baseball
  • Basketball

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