ATU Alumna Elected to Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame

Carla Crowder
Carla Burriss Crowder

Arkansas Tech University alumna Carla Burruss Crowder has earned election to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2024.

She will be inducted during a ceremony on Friday, April 19, at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.

Crowder appeared in 90 games at Arkansas Tech from 1978-81. Over the course of her three seasons in the green and gold, Crowder helped head coach Jim Yeager and the Golden Suns compile an overall record of 82-9 with three Arkansas Women’s Intercollegiate Sports Association championships and the first national tournament berth in ATU women’s basketball history.

Crowder’s 494 career rebounds ranks her among the top 25 Golden Suns of all time in that category.

After making the transition from player to coach, Crowder embarked upon a 38-year career in high school girls’ basketball that included four state championships (Bryant in 1988, 1989 and 1991; Cabot in 2012), four state runner-up finishes (Bryant in 1990, 1993 and 1996; Cabot in 2004) and 840 wins. From 1988-90, Crowder’s Bryant teams won 63 consecutive games.

Two of Crowder’s fellow ATU alumni and fellow coaches with multiple state championships reflected upon her career in a 2019 article written for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette by Tim Cooper.

“Carla doesn’t get enough credit,” said Daryl Fimple, head girls’ basketball coach at North Little Rock High School. “She was an innovator. A lot of stuff that people do, she was doing it before it was normally used. She’s adapted to her personnel.”

“She raised the bar for girls’ high school basketball coaches across the state,” said Rickey Smith, head girls’ basketball coach at Fort Smith Northside High School. “And she did it in a classy way. There’s always the professionalism. When I’ve called her for a scouting report she was always very helpful, very in-depth. She’s just been a great ambassador for girls’ basketball for the state of Arkansas.”

Crowder will become the 25th individual with ties to Arkansas Tech to gain induction into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

The others, listed with the sport they are most associated with and the year in which they were inducted, are: John Tucker (football, 1962), Wilson Matthews (football, 1971), Raymond “Rabbit” Burnett (football, 1974), Charles “Foot” Clement (football, 1975), Eddie Meador (football, 1978), Sam Hindsman (basketball, 1981), Deward Dopson (basketball, 1982), Aubrey “Cobb” Fowler (football, 1982), Ragon Kinney (boxing, 1985), W. Howard Pearce (football, 1986), Raymond Peters (football, 1996), Firman Bynum (football, 1998), Bill Stancil (football, 1998), Clyde Horton (track and field, 2000), Joe Foley (basketball, 2002), John Widner (basketball, 2003), J.P. Lovelady (basketball, 2005), E.C. O’Neal (basketball, 2006), Kenny Saylors (basketball, 2009), Bill “Sleepy” Curtis (football, 2011), Wyn Norwood (golf, 2013), Stephanie Strack Mathis (basketball, 2014), Sherry Raney White (basketball, 2019) and Billy Joe Murray (basketball, 2021).

Learn more about the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame at