A national champion first
As a part of its series in celebration of Black History Month, the Razorback Athletic Department is saluting Trailblazers from the African-American community who have attended the University of Arkansas and excelled as student-athletes.
1979 National Champion — 600 yards
As a junior in high school, Diann Ousley was one of the best in the country, but an injury as a senior kept coaches from recruiting her. Coming to Arkansas, Ousley regained the form from her junior year and raised the bar for Razorback track and field winning program’s first national title.
Competing in the 600-yard run at the 1979 national collegiate meet, Ousley shocked the country by beating the defending national champion, Lee Ballenger of Colorado, and the meet record holder, Doraine Lambelet of Villanova, for the title. Her time of 1:21.22 is still a school record in the event and paced the Razorbacks to a fifth-place national finish.
Her national title in the 600-yard run and All-America honors were the first for Razorback women.
Nearly 30 years later, Diann Ousley’s name is still sprinkled throughout Arkansas’ record books. She ranks in the Razorback top five in the 300-yard, 440-yard and 600-yard runs as well as the mile relay.
Ousley’s success was passed on through the generations as well. She married Jerry Jones and the couple settled in Blytheville, Ark., and started their family. Ousley’s fourth child, Whitney Edwina Jones became the first legacy player for the Razorback women playing for the basketball team during the 2006-09 seasons.
Jones was a steady force for the Razorbacks in the paint. At 6-0, she was shorter than most of the post players she faced in the SEC, but her physical play is legend.
Jones finished her career fourth in the Razorback record books with 132 blocked shots and fifth in rebounds with 697.
Ousley-Jones’ other children also went on to successful athletic careers. Daughters Wendlyn and Audrey played basketball at LSU and Xavier, respectively. The Jones’ also have a son, Ahmed and younger daughter, Natalie.
For more notable first women of African American heritage, please jump to The Legacy of Silas Hunt pages presented by the University of Arkansas.