Clarksville, Ark.-Baseball star Steve Higgins, accomplished athletic trainer Don Kessler, championship football coach George Loss and soccer star Lindy Swatzell Mantooth were inducted into the University of the Ozarks Sports Hall of Fame October 13 at a ceremony in the Rogers Conference Center.
The new inductees were presented a plaque commemorating their accomplishments at a university banquet. Following the dinner, the new inductees unveiled their permanent plaques in the Sports Hall of Fame area housed in Mabee Gymnasium.
Higgins, 1979 graduate, was among the top baseball players in the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) during the 1970's. The versatile Higgins was the team's top pitcher and hitter under head coach Lonnie Qualls. In the 1979 season, Higgins led the conference in strikeouts (68) and finished second in hitting (.423). He also led the AIC in strikeouts (70) in 1978. He finished his career as a three-time All-Conference player, including earning All-Conference as a designated hitter and pitcher in 1979. He is a native of Glenroe, Missouri.
Kessler, a 1970 graduate, is a highly-respected athletic trainer with over 40 years of experience at the collegiate, professional and Olympic level. He is currently the athletic trainer for the United States Navy Seals. He has served as the head athletic trainer at San Diego State University, Rutgers University and Princeton University. He has won numerous regional and national awards for his service and contributions to athletic training and is a member of the Athletic Training New Jersey Hall of Fame. A native of Riverside, New Jersey, he has been an athletic trainer spotter for the National Football League and served as a trainer for US Olympic teams.
Loss, a 1954 graduate, built a powerhouse football program at St. Ann's Academy in Fort Smith from 1954-66. During that stretch, Loss posted an impressive 116-15-3 overall record. At one point during his stint at St. Anne's, his teams won 44 straight games. As a head coach, he had seven undefeated seasons. Following his success at St. Anne's, he went to Little Rock Catholic High School where his team won the State Championship in 1968 and 1969. He also served as the head coach at Bryant and North Little Rock. He was named the head coach of the 1965 Arkansas Activities Association All-Star Football Game. A native of Hartford, Ark., Loss was a durable player on the Ozarks' Football team starting in every game over four years.
Swatzell Mantooth, a 2005 graduate, is considered the greatest player to ever suit up for the women's soccer team and was one of the most prolific scorers in the American Southwest Conference (ASC). A native of Westwood, Kansas, Swatzell holds nearly every offensive record at Ozarks. She owns the program record for career goals (42), career points (95) and career goals per game (0.63). Her single season records include most goals (21) and most points (46). She holds the program record for most goals in a game (6). The team leader in goals all four seasons, she finished her record-breaking career as a four-time All-Conference performer. In 2001, she was named the ASC East Division Co-Offensive Freshman of the Year.
A complete list of Sports Hall of Fame members can be found here: https://ozarks.prestosports.com/information/hall_of_fame