Celebrating Razorback Trailblazers

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In honor of Black History Month, the Razorback Athletic department will release “Trailblazer” stories throughout February celebrating the success and accomplishments of some of the first African-American student-athletes in University of Arkansas history.

In addition, videos of student-athletes and coaches highlighting the significance of Black History Month will be featured on ArkansasRazorbacks.com and all athletics social media platforms.

“As we observe Black History Month, it is important that we take an opportunity to celebrate those who helped lead the way for the diverse group of more than 460 Razorback student-athletes who represent the University of Arkansas today,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “Athletics has always been an important instrument of change in our society and on our campus. These courageous men and women helped define a new future for thousands of Razorback student-athletes to follow. We are grateful for their contributions to our University and are honored to share their legacy.”

The former student-athletes featured in this series will include:

Thomas Johnson, the first black student-athlete on the Razorback men’s basketball team for the 1967-68 season, will be honored on Thursday, Feb. 4

Joy Dillard and Deborah Cooper, the first black student-athletes on the Razorback women’s basketball team for the 1976-77 season, will be honored on Friday, Feb. 5

Keara Glover will be recognized for being the first black gymnast in Razorback history on Tuesday, Feb. 9

• For the 1976-77 season, Linda Bedford and Rochelle Armstrong were not only the first black female student-athletes for the Razorback women’s track and field team, but also members of the inaugural team roster. Bedford and Armstrong will be lauded on Friday, Feb. 12

Darrell Brown became the first black football student-athlete in University of Arkansas history, joining the Hogs as a freshman on the 1965-66 roster. Brown will be honored on Monday, Feb. 15

• In addition to being the first black volleyball student-athletes for the Razorbacks, Krystal Osborne and Melanie Davis were also a part of the program’s inaugural 1994 season. Osborne and Davis will be featured on Wednesday, Feb. 17

Kendra Howard was the first black female tennis player for the Razorbacks, joining the team during the 1998-99 season. Howard will be recognized on Monday, Feb. 22

Denise Brown was the first black soccer student-athlete for the Razorback soccer program, making her mark in a notable three-year career with the team. Brown will be honored on Thursday, Feb. 25.

Chip Hooper was not only the first black tennis student-athlete, but perhaps the program’s greatest singles player in Razorback history. Hooper will be celebrated on Monday, Feb. 29.

Razorback men’s and women’s track and field student-athletes Jarrion Lawson and Taylor Ellis-Watson, Arkansas women’s track and field associate head coach Chris Johnson, and women’s basketball assistant coach Tari Cummings will be featured in video releases throughout the month as well.

The release dates for their video profiles will be: Johnson on Wednesday, Feb. 10; Cummings on Thursday, Feb. 18; Lawson on Friday, Feb. 26; and Ellis-Watson on Saturday, Feb. 27.