The Arkansas Razorbacks enjoyed a stellar year in 2014-15, which started with the football team achieving bowl eligibility for the first time since the 2011 team won the AT&T Cotton Bowl under former coach Bobby Petrino.
Under second-year head coach Bret Bielema, Arkansas went 6-6, but ended the year by winning two of its final three Southeastern Conference games in dominating fashion, blanking No. 17 LSU and No. 8 Ole Miss by a combined 47-0.
It was the first time in college football history that an unranked team had managed to shut out two consecutive ranked opponents.
Arkansas ended the year with a resounding 31-7 victory over former longtime Southwestern Conference rival Texas in the Texas Bowl in Houston on Dec. 29.
Bielema’s third season begins on Sept. 5 with Texas-El Paso visiting Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. There are also home games with Texas Tech, Auburn, Tennessee-Martin, Mississippi State and Missouri, and the Razorbacks will play Toledo in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium on Sept. 12.
Returning for Arkansas on offense will be senior quarterback Brandon Allen, along with senior running back Jonathan Williams and junior running back Alex Collins, as well as junior tight end Hunter Henry and senior wide receiver Keon Hatcher.
On defense, the Razorbacks return defensive linemen JaMichael Winston and Bijhon Jackson, linebacker Brooks Ellis, cornerbacks Henre’ Toliver and Jared Collins as well as safety Rohan Gaines.
The men’s basketball team enjoyed one of its best seasons in recent memory under head coach Mike Anderson, returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008 after winning 27 games and finishing second in the SEC behind Kentucky.
Arkansas earned a No. 5 seed in the West region, and defeated Wofford 56-53 before falling to perennial college basketball power North Carolina in the round of 32, 87-78.
Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls both declared for the NBA draft shortly after the season was over, and freshman guard Nick Babb elected to transfer to Iowa State. Arkansas guard Rashad Madden and forward Alandise Harris both graduated, but the Hogs return a number of players that saw extensive playing time last season, including guards Anton Beard and Anthlon Bell, as well as forwards Jacorey Williams and Moses Kingsley.
Arkansas is also bringing in a talented recruiting class of guard Jimmy Whitt from Columbia, Mo., and forward Ted Kapita from Huntington, W. Va., who is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They will also get guard Dusty Hannahs eligible, a transfer from Texas Tech who originally hails from Little Rock.
Jimmy Dykes had a brilliant debut as head coach of the women’s basketball team, making the NCAA Tournament as a 10 seed with only nine players. Arkansas won its first round game over Northwestern, but fell to Baylor in the second round.
Dykes signed a highly touted nine-person recruiting class in the spring, and the increased depth and the return of Jessica Jackson and Kelsey Brooks should lead to even more success in 2015-16.
On the diamond, Dave Van Horn just keeps finding ways to impress, leading his team to the College World Series for the fourth time since he took over in 2003 for legendary coach Norm DeBriyn. After a slow start, the Razorbacks caught fire behind SEC Player of the Year Andrew Benintendi and a much-improved pitching staff.
Under Van Horn, Arkansas has never missed the NCAA tournament, and the streak of making the postseason is now at 14 consecutive years, which only four other teams in the country can match.
Benintendi was selected in the first round in June’s Major League Baseball draft by the Boston Red Sox with the No. 7 overall pick.
Other UA varsity sports include track and field and cross-country, in which the Razorbacks have won an unprecedented 42 NCAA national championships, including 12 straight NCAA indoor titles from 1984 to 1995.
Longtime women’s track and field coach Lance Harter won his first national championship during the 2014-15 campaign in indoor track, which was held in Fayetteville.
The success of the program has played a role in the construction of world-class facilities, including the Randal Tyson Track Center for indoor competition and John McDonnell Field, named for the Hogs’ legendary former head track coach.
UA also field teams in golf (men and women), gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis (men and women) and volleyball.
More information for all UA sporting events is available online at arkansasrazorbacks.com, which recently underwent a complete remodel, or wholehogsports.com. Ticket information is available by calling (800) 982-4647.