University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff director of recruitment and former head football coach Lee Hardman will be leaving the university in the near future, UAPB Chancellor Laurence Alexander confirmed Friday.
“He’s going to be leaving us soon,” Alexander said of Hardman. “But recruitment will continue and we continue to place a very high priority on recruiting new students to UAPB and place the highest priority on retention towards graduation. We want students to succeed and to find jobs in their professions.”
Several attempts to reach Hardman for comment over a two-day period were unsuccessful.
Hardman was UAPB’s head football coach from 1993 until 2003 and was the first head coach to lead the team after the program returned from two years on the sidelines. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics handed UAPB a one-year “death penalty” for the 1991 season after an investigation uncovered multiple violations of NAIA regulations. The university decided not to field a football team in 1992 because of financial reasons.
In the program’s second year back, Hardman led the Golden Lions to the NAIA national championship game at UAPB’s old Pumphrey Stadium. The Golden Lions lost 13-12 to Northeastern State University of Tahleqhah, Okla.
Later, Hardman oversaw the program’s transition from the NAIA back to the NCAA Division I-AA Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Hardman finished his tenure as UAPB’s head coach with a record of 64-58 in 11 seasons.
Before becoming UAPB’s head coach, Hardman was the head coach at Dollarway High School football coach from 1982 to 1992. In his 11 seasons leading the Cardinals, Dollarway compiled a record of 114-20-1. Dollarway won four state championships under Hardman and won 63 of its final 64 games under his direction, including a 51-game winning streak.
Hardman played high school football at Stuttgart and was a defensive back at UAPB from 1968-71.
Commercial sports editor I. C. Murrell contributed to this report.