It’s been six decades since Deward Dopson scored his last basket for the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys, but the legend of the man known as “Swish” still reverberates around the state of Arkansas.
Dopson’s lasting impact on basketball in his home state were recalled and rewarded on Saturday, Aug. 6, when he was inducted as a member of the inaugural class of the Union County Athletics Hall of Fame.
A product of Strong High School, Dopson played center on the teams that established head coach Sam Hindsman’s basketball dynasty at Arkansas Tech in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
The Wonder Boys compiled an overall record of 91-17 and an Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference mark of 64-6 during Dopson’s playing career from 1948-52. Arkansas Tech was AIC champion in each of his four seasons in the green and gold, the beginning of a string of seven straight AIC titles for the Wonder Boys.
Standing 6-foot-7, Dopson utilized an unstoppable hook shot to score many of his 1,863 career points.
Dopson ranks ninth in Tech history in career scoring and third in career scoring average (20.9 points per game).
The greatest night of Dopson’s storied Wonder Boy career came on Feb. 24, 1950, against Henderson State University. Dopson dazzled the Reddies with 56 points on 22-of-39 shooting from the floor as Arkansas Tech registered an 84-64 victory.
That 56-point effort remains the Tech school record for points in a single game by an individual. It still stood as the AIC record for points in a game when the league disbanded 45 years later.
Dopson returned to his alma mater as head coach in 1966. Dopson’s Wonder Boys won 103 games from 1966-73, and his 1969-70 squad reached the NAIA National Tournament. It was Tech’s only national tournament berth in men’s basketball from 1963-1995.
Dopson entered private business after his coaching career. Today, he and his wife of 60 years, Anne, are among Tech’s most generous benefactors.]]>