Press Release courtesy of Henderson State Athletics
Considered one of the pioneers for women’s athletics in the state of Arkansas, Bettye Wallace will become the second female from Henderson State University to be inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
The 60th Annual Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame (ASHOF) Ceremony will take place Friday, April 6 at the Statehouse Convention Center, Wally Allen Ballroom in Little Rock, Ark. with a cocktail reception at 5 p.m. and the banquet to follow at 6:30 p.m.
A special “Night of the Stars” VIP Reception will take place on Thursday, April 5 at the ASHOF Museum beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Wallace played tennis for Henderson State Teachers College and graduated in 1950.
Wallace began her career coaching basketball at Murfreesboro in 1950 then went on to teach math at Rison (1951-54), and later taught physical education at Malvern (1954-63), before returning to her alma mater as a physical education teacher in 1963.
She took over as women’s tennis coach at Henderson and in 1965 she started the women’s volleyball program.
Wallace would become the first woman in the state to be hired as athletic director in charge of the women’s athletics. For nearly 25 years, she was a pioneer in the promotion of women’s athletics in Arkansas.
In 1966 she was instrumental in the development of an intercollegiate sports association for women, known as the Arkansas Women’s Intercollegiate Sports Association (AWISA) and in 1968 helped develop the Association of Intercollegiate Activities for Woman (AIAW) so that women could compete on a national level, rather than just a state level.
Wallace coached AWISA championships tennis teams in 1967, 69 and 72, and championship volleyball teams in 1972 and 1975. She also led Henderson to the South League Championships from 1977 to 1979. In 1980 and 1981 she was named AWISA Tennis Coach of the Year, and the following year was named AWISA Volleyball Coach of the Year.
She retired in 1988 as Associate Professor Emeritus for Health, Physical Education and Recreation.
Wallace, who received her Master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado and earned additional graduate work from the University of Arkansas, has held many offices during her career.
Wallace was vice president of Arkansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance; and was chairperson of Arkansas Women’s Extramural Sports Association (AWESA), an organization that later became the Arkansas Women’s Intercollegiate Sports Association (AWISA).
In addition, she was chairperson and treasurer of the Arkansas Board of Collegiate Officials, the treasurer of the Southwest Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, and the executive secretary/treasurer of the Arkansas Foundation for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.
Wallace was a member of several professional organizations including a lifetime member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; a lifetime member of the Arkansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance; Arkansas Board of Collegiate Officials, the Arkansas Officials Association; the Arkansas Education Association; and the National Education Association.
Wallace has played a major role for the advancement of women’s athletics around the state. She was an Arkansas delegate for the second National Institute on Girls Sports, a committee that wrote the constitution for the Arkansas Girls Recreation Association for competition not covered by the Arkansas Activities Association.
Wallace also served on every constitution revision committee for AWESA/AWISA from 1966 to 1983 and was one of four people who wrote the constitution and bylaws for AWESA/AWISA. She also served on the editorial board of the Arkansas Journal for Arkansas AHPERD, was a member of the National Association Division of Girls and Women’s Sports Badminton Committee, and was on the executive committee for high school volleyball for the Arkansas Activities Association.
Wallace trained volleyball officials for more than 35 years and officiated high school volleyball after retiring.
In 1995 Wallace received the “H” Award, and in 1997 she was part of the inaugural class that was inducted into the Reddie Hall of Honor.
In 2006 Henderson State’s tennis facility was renamed Bettye Wallace Tennis Center.
Ticket and sponsorship information for this year’s event can be obtained by going to the ASHOF website at www.arksportshalloffame.com or by calling 501-313-4158.