Former Lion to enter track hall

Elbert Stinson, a four-time NAIA All-American track runner at what is now Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the 1960s, will be inducted into the Arkansas Track and Field Hall of Fame along with two Arkansas-Monticello alumni and four others June 8 at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock.

“I’m honored, for one,” Stinson said Monday. “Starting out as an athlete, it’s not something you really think about, but it’s a great honor.”

Former Arkansas-Monticello athletes Milton Williams and Greg Culp will be inducted as well.

Stinson was part of a national-championship mile relay team and was runner-up for the 1967 Charles T. Meyer Foundation Amateur Athlete of the Year award. He also competed in the Pan-American Games that year in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, helping the 1,600-meter relay team win the event.

Stinson graduated from Dunbar High School in Texarkana, Texas, in 1963. As a sophomore at the Peach Blossom Relays in Nashville, he won the 100-yard dash in 9.8 seconds, 220 in 22.3 seconds and 440 in 49.5 seconds.

Two years later, he won the state 440-yard title with a time of 48.5.

At Arkansas AM&N College, which later became the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Stinson was named the Student Body Outstanding Athlete of the Year in 1965, was a member of a SWAC and NAIA mile relay championship team and won the 440-yard dash in 1966. His 440 relay team in 1966 posted a mark of 40.4 seconds, which was fourth-best in the country and 0.5 second short of the world record.

He was ranked fifth in the nation in the 440 at one point and was a member of an AM&N mile relay team that was ranked second in the nation (3:06.1) only to San Jose State, which set the American and collegiate record of 3:03.5. AM&N lowered its mark to 3:05.4.

“It was an excellent team,” Stinson said. “We didn’t have a big team, but we had quality kids.”

In 1967, Stinson finished fourth in the 440 at the national AAU championships. Two years later, he ran for the U.S. on the AAU Goodwill tour of Sweden and won eight out of nine races.

In 1970, Stinson was rated the fastest quarter-miler in the Army after he won the gold medal at the All-Army Track and Field Meet. His fastest 440 while running for the Army was 45.0 seconds, 0.2 short of the world record.

Stinson earned his degree from UAPB in 1972 and worked for 22 years as a teacher and coach at Arkansas Boys Training School in Pine Bluff. He coached 12 more years at Jack Robey Junior High before retiring.

Williams, Arkansas-Little Rock’s head coach since December 2004, was the 1980 shot put champion in the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference while attending Arkansas-Monticello, where he graduated in 1982. He competed in the 1984 Olympic trials and placed 11th in the 1985 U.S. national championships.

Culp finished third in the NAIA decathlon in 1980 and won the event in 1982, becoming the only Arkansan to do so. He finished second in the 1984 NCAA Division II decathlon while competing for Abilene Christian (Texas), but entered the 1984 Olympic trials ranking first in the U.S. He sustained a career-ending injury in the first event of the trials.

Other 2013 Arkansas Track and Field Hall of Fame inductees include: former Stephens High and Arkansas runner Glenn Babb, former Central Arkansas letterman W. Wayne Beadles, longtime Genoa Central coach and athletic director Byron Neil “Bear” Bryant, 1957 Missouri state champion and Arkansas letterman Jack Nelson and Pulaski Robinson graduate and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Michael Tinsley.