National Title Teams Selected for Hall of Fame

The 1991-92 and 1992-93 Arkansas Tech University women’s basketball teams have been selected for induction into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

The induction banquet will take place on Friday, Sept. 16, at John E. Tucker Coliseum in Russellville. Tickets, which are $80 apiece and available to the public, may be purchased by calling the Arkansas Tech Department of Athletics at (479) 968-0345 or by contacting the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame at (501) 663-4328.

The Golden Suns of the early 1990s are the only four-year college basketball teams from the State of Arkansas to ever win back-to-back national championships.

“At the time those national championship teams were playing, I think all of us and the people from in and around Russellville who did such a great job of supporting us knew that those teams were good,” said Joe Foley, who was head women’s basketball coach at Arkansas Tech from 1987-2003. “Now that some time has passed, I think everyone has a better appreciation of just how good they were. The longer it has been, the more I have grown to appreciate what those teams accomplished, especially no bigger than they were.”

The paths traveled by Arkansas Tech’s only national championship teams were very different.

The 1991-92 Golden Suns put together one of the most dominant seasons in the history of women’s college basketball. They finished 35-1 overall, including 29 consecutive wins to close the season. Their final 28 victories that season were all by 12 points or more.

Arkansas Tech won its five games at the 1992 NAIA National Tournament by an average margin of 24 points, including an 84-68 victory over Wayland Baptist College in the national championship game at Oman Arena in Jackson, Tenn., on March 10, 1992.

Defending the title brought with it the challenges of being a marked team. The 1992-93 Golden Suns did not win the regular season Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference title, but they went to Monticello to defeat the UAM Cotton Blossoms 70-64 in the 1993 NAIA District 17 championship game and earn a return trip to Jackson.

The largest crowd in Arkansas Tech women’s basketball history — 6,515 fans — watched the Golden Suns defeat hometown Union University 76-75 in the NAIA national championship game at Oman Arena on March 9, 1993. Carin Pinion made the game-winning layup with three seconds left.

“After that first year, I really didn’t have to do a lot of explaining and things like that because they knew the game that well and played together that well,” said Foley. “We’ve probably had more talent on some teams, but maybe those other teams didn’t know the game as well or maybe they didn’t play together as well. That’s what makes you appreciate a team like that.”