HOG CALLS:

Harter a no-brainer for HOF pick

By: Nate Allen
Published: Monday, September 14, 2020
Arkansas women's track and field coach Lance Harter watches Saturday, April 23, 2016, during the John McDonnell Invitational at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas women's track and field coach Lance Harter watches Saturday, April 23, 2016, during the John McDonnell Invitational at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Worthy candidates abound for election into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in Little Rock.

But it seems any ballot received by the Hall's Oct. 31 deadline without a check mark by Lance Harter is a ballot cast by the uninformed.

The University of Arkansas' most honored national championship coach this side of John McDonnell should have been inducted long ago.

In their history the UA's Razorbacks have won 48 national team championships.

Mark 46 in track and field and cross country alongside Frank Broyles' 1964 football Razorbacks and Nolan Richardson's 1994 basketball Razorbacks.

Retired coach McDonnell's Razorbacks men officially won 40.

Coach Chris Bucknam's Razorbacks men won the 2013 NCAA Indoor.

Harter's Razorbacks women won five, two Indoor Championships, two Outdoor Championships and one Cross Country.

In 2019 starting with the March Indoor, June Outdoor and November Cross Country, they won them all. A national triple crown, the second in NCAA women's Cross Country, Indoor, Outdoor history previously achieved by Texas in 1985-86.

Because NCAA precautions due to the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships the day before they were to begin and cancelled the entire 2020 Outdoor season, Arkansas remains the women's defending national champion for the NCAA Indoor that Harter's women and Bucknam's men host in March and NCAA Outdoor in Eugene, Ore.

The NCAA Indoor will mark Harter's Razorbacks next national title defense. For while the SEC runs cross country this fall with Harter's women seeking their eighth consecutive SEC Cross Country title Oct. 30 in Baton Rouge, La., the NCAA has cancelled this fall's NCAA Cross Country Championships. More than half of competing NCAA schools cancelled their cross country season because of coronavirus concerns.

The SEC for Indoor and Outdoor track, is nationally acclaimed the by the toughest league.

Harter's Razorbacks dominate it. Into his 31st year coaching the Razorbacks, Harter's teams have won 38 SEC championships, 18 through a women's unprecedented six SEC Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor triple crowns.

Including their last SEC competition winning the 2020 SEC Indoor, Harter's women have won seven of the last eight SEC Indoor Championships and four of the last six SEC Outdoor Championships.

Harter and field events assistant Bryan Compton, and assistant head coach/sprints coach Chris Johnson and former Arkansas coach now Kentucky head coach Lonnie Greene have coached 17 Olympians.

UA athletes under Harter have won 25 individual NCAA Championship events.

Off the track, 28 from Harter's teams, some twice or thrice, have earned Academic All-American.

Internationally he's coached on five United State staffs including assisting at the 1992 Olympic Games. He head coached at the 1999 World Championships and 2003 World Cross Country Championships.

Given his California-San Luis Obispo teams won a NCAA Division II record 14 national championships plus his Arkansas accomplishments to that date, Harter in 2015 was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame.

Seems more than about time for the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame to recognize him, too.

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