[MENA, ARK | April 8, 2019] As excitement continues to grow around the expanding athletic programs at UA Rich Mountain, reaction to a social media post last week by Bucks Athletics elevated the excitement to a whole new level. The announcement included not only a new baseball program but named one of the state’s most accomplished high school coaches to lead the program, Horatio’s Lance Spigner.
“I could not be more excited to announce the addition of Coach Lance Spigner as the first baseball coach for the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain,” said Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson. “Coach Spigner is as good as any coach in Arkansas and he comes with a pedigree that is rarely matched. He is a winner, a leader, and a baseball visionary.”
And being a ‘visionary’ will prove to be a strong asset as UA Rich Mountain continues to grow its athletics program, announcing and competing in cross country in 2018, announcing soccer in 2018 to compete fall 2019, and now the addition of a new baseball program that Coach Spigner will have the opportunity to build from the ground up to compete in 2020.
UA Rich Mountain’s Vice-Chancellor of Finance/Administration and Athletic Director Morris Boydstun explained that the college leadership began research and has developed a comprehensive five-year athletics plan. “This isn’t something we just jumped into. Every phase of the plan and the optimum sport to incorporate has been well thought out two years ago. The addition of baseball just makes solid financial sense because it is a sport that pays for itself based on the student-athletes. No resources are being pulled or reallocated for the addition of athletics, however, by launching these programs and the competitive advantage we believe it will bring, it will allow us the additional revenue to implement new academic programs.”
UA Rich Mountain joined the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletics Association) in 2018. They are in trade negotiations with the City of Mena in assuming the fields and tennis courts, of which, upgrades and improvements would be made.
Spigner’s dad was a coach and he, himself, has been playing the sport since he was 6. He graduated from Ashdown and was able to walk on to play for the Bears at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), where he lettered all four-years and was named All-Conference.
Spigner has been coaching in Horatio since 1991 and became the school’s athletic director in 1998-1999. In the summer of 2002, he served as an envoy for Major League Baseball to Great Britain. He was the 2002-03 Horatio High School Teacher of the year. On three occasions (2000, 2007 and 2015) he has been named the American Baseball Coaches Association/Diamond Sports Region 6 Coach of the Year. Five times (1997, 2005, 2007, 2015 and 2016) he was named the Texarkana Gazette’s Southwest Arkansas/Northeast Texas High School Baseball Coach of the Year. In 28 years he has had numerous selections as Conference Coach of the Year, AHSBCA All-Star Coach, AAA All-Star Coach and Xtra Innings Summer Class Coach. During his tenure at Horatio, the Lions have won 17 conference/district championships (1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018), been regional tournament champions 10 times (1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 (co-champs), 2012, 2016 and 2018), made the state tournament Final Four 13 times (1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018) and won five state championships (1997, 2000, 2005, 2007 and 2016).
Dr. Wilson realizes that it was quite an accomplishment to lure Spigner into the collegiate arena, “I know that Coach Spigner struggled with this decision. He has been an exemplary coach and leader for the Horatio School District. I want to thank Superintendent Dr. Lee Smith and his leadership team for being so supportive of Coach Spigner’s desire to coach at the collegiate level.”
Horatio Schools honored Coach Lance Spigner’s legacy by naming the road into Lane Fields after him, as Spigner Road. Dr. Smith joked that renaming the baseball field as “Spigner Dome” will likely be their next project.
Spigner will officially begin with the UA Rich Mountain Bucks Baseball program on January 1. AD Morris Boydstun hinted that additional sports are yet to be officially announced.
PICTURED LEFT TO RIGHT: Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson, Coach Lance Spigner, and Vice-Chancellor of Finance/Administration and Athletic Director Morris Boydstun.