2013 Lyon College Athletics Hall of Fame Class Inducted


2013 Lyon College Athletics Hall of Fame Class Inducted

Former Lyon College athletes inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame Saturday included (from left) Sarah Meier-Wherry (‘01), Jacob Newton (’98), Michele Melton Barnett (‘86) and Doyce Winningham (’60). (Photo by John Krueger)


BATESVILLE, Ark. – Whether they graduated in 1960 or in the 21st century, one common denominator for the inductees as they entered the 2013 Lyon College Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday was that Batesville and the NAIA institution taught them about enjoying life and working hard to achieve their goals.

Doyce Winningham (’60), Michele Melton Barnett (’86), Jacob Newton (’98) and Sarah Meier Wherry (’01) were inducted into the Hall in the Edwards Commons before a capacity crowd. The four inductions raised the total members of the Hall to 116.


Winningham, who played basketball for what was then called Arkansas College from 1956-60, talked about how playing, and later coaching, basketball came natural because he came from a ‘basketball family’. His father won a high school basketball title in 1942. He also had cousins who coached high school and college. In fact, Doyce’s coach at Arkansas College was his cousin, R.C. Winningham.

“Coaching came easy for me because I was raised around it,” Doyce said during his induction speech. “I wasn’t smarter than any (other coaches), I just worked at it seven days a week. I also had good assistants.”

Winningham talked about two high school assistants in particular, who were brothers and have gone on to successful coaching stints at the collegiate level. James Dickey went on to coach for Eddie Sutton at the University of Arkansas and is now the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Houston. His brother, Randall, was Winningham’s assistant for six years and is currently the Director of Basketball Operations at Auburn University.

Winningham lives in the small community of Center Ridge, Ark., enjoying his 500-acre farm with 200 head of Red Angus cattle. During his speech he joked about the quietness of Winningham Road, on which he lives.

A past president of the Arkansas Coaches Association, he coached basketball at the junior high and high school levels from 1960 through 1990 at Greenbrier High School, Guy Perkins High School and Morrilton High School.

“Truly God has been good to me,” he went on to say. “I want to express my thanks to all those who have touched my heart during my life at (Lyon College). I loved my four years here. I appreciate the education I received here and I appreciate the heritage of this school. It will always have a place in my heart.”


Barnett said being inducted into the Hall of Fame on the same year she turned 50 was a great gift. After a short stint at College of the Ozarks, Barnett said she never truly felt at home until she stepped on the campus at Arkansas College in 1982.

A cross country and track & field standout from 1982-86, Barnett set the school record in the javelin in 1984 and was an All-Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) performer in cross country for three years (1982-84) and twice (1983-84) in track & field. She was a member of the AIC Championship track teams in 1983 and 1984 and was on the cross country squad in 1984 that was voted top 15 nationally by the NAIA Coaches Association.

“All of my teammates and I had something in common,” Barnett said during her acceptance speech. “We all had a competitive spirit and, what I consider, one of the best coaches around [Larry Rogers]. I was part of an amazing team, some of whom are already in the (Lyon) Hall of Fame.

“I sincerely want to thank Coach Rogers for extending that scholarship to me, allowing me to return to Batesville and Lyon College to further my education and be a part of the track and cross country teams.”

She went on to thank her parents for their continuing support, saying they were “the best parents anyone could ask for.”

Barnett admitted that she was an indecisive person, both when she was choosing a college to attend and in other choices in her future from that point. But she admitted choosing Arkansas College was one ‘second choice’ she never regretted.

“I’m still indecisive today as I was back in the summer of 1982,” she stated. “In life we make many decisions; we make good decisions and bad decisions. But I still believe my choice to return to Batesville and Lyon College has worked out the best for me. I’m truly honored.”


A successful Dallas attorney, devoted Christian, loving husband and father of three, Jake Newton told the crowd gathered for the banquet that he was humbled when he read the biography that was posted on the LyonScots.com website about his career.

Newton is a long way from his four-year career at Lyon from 1994-98, but he said that period of his life has followed him through the success he has found, both personally and professionally.

“I’m reminded how much God has blessed me in my life and in my basketball career for the past 15 years,” he said during his acceptance speech after being introduced by former teammate and Hall of Fame member Ryland Kieffer. “I know what successes I’ve had in my past and whatever I may have in the future is because of God and I’m very thankful to Him for that.”

Newton continues to hold positions in the Lyon College men’s basketball record books. He is one of the top rebounders, sitting at No. 8 with 591 during his career. He was also near the Top 10 in scoring (420) and rebounding (214) his senior season.

He scored 998 points in his career, while making 59.1% (398-of-673) of his field goals and 66.7% (222-of-333) of his free throws. He finished his four years averaging 8.8 points per game and 5.5 boards.

One of the memories that stood out in his career at Lyon was when he was a freshman and Coach Terry Garner decided to let his players ‘coach themselves’ in a second half of a game at Williams Baptist College. Despite being his first season it was Newton who put himself into the game first, which resulted in other bench players following suit and causing an amusing tale for them all to tell later.

Newton also remembered playing No.1-ranked Birmingham Southern, which entered James C. Becknell Gymnasium not only top-ranked, but unbeaten at 20-0. But it was the Scots who were victorious that night giving BSC the first blemish on its record his senior season.

He said his personal life was ever changed when he met his wife, Christy Decker Newton, when she played basketball and ran cross country for the Pipers. He also thanked others who were tremendous assets to his life at Lyon.

“Coach (Kevin) Jenkins we had some good times,” he said to the present director of athletics at the institution, referring to the win over Birmingham Southern when Jenkins was the coach of the team. The Scots went on to post a 9-4 record in the TranSouth Athletic Conference in 1998-99, the most conference wins by a Lyon men’s basketball team in the past 30 years.

“I have no doubt that I had the privilege of playing with some of the finest players who have ever played for Lyon,” Newton said. “I was never concerned with individual stats or accolades. During senior year my teammates bought into that and that’s why we were so successful.

“And I want to thank (President) Dr. (Donald) Weatherman for taking extra time to help me adjust to college life my freshman year. You made a big impression on me.”


After wanting to play collegiate basketball out of state and spending her freshman year at North Texas University, Wherry found out that Lyon College was much more to her liking and immediately felt at home as a member of the Pipers.

Wherry, who played for Lyon from 1998-2001, went on to not only have a stellar career at Lyon, but to put her name throughout the women’s basketball record books. She is fifth in career blocked shots (63), 10th in career points (1,215) and 15th in career rebounds (452). She currently ranks first in field goals made in a season (206), fourth and fifth in field goal percentage in a season (54.1% as a senior and 53.1% as a junior), sixth in points in a season (533), seventh in rebounds in a season (228) and ninth in free throws made in a season (121).

She was a NAIA D-I All-American Honorable Mention her junior (1999-00) and senior (2000-01) seasons. Her best season was her junior year when she led the Pipers in points per game (15.4) and rebounds per contest (4.9). She was a TranSouth Athletic Conference Scholar Athlete twice, a TSAC Player of the Week on two occasions her senior year and an All-TranSouth First-Team player during her junior and senior seasons.

Wherry said her teammates immediately ‘took her in’ and treated her as one of their own, something she didn’t feel at North Texas.

“I should have been an outsider here, but I wasn’t,” she stated. “My classes here were small and my professors had doctorates. I had true friends here. I was introduced to a set of girls that had my back through it all. When I needed a push they were there. When I was exhausted they were there with me. When I needed a shoulder to cry on, they were there. I knew they always had my back and I always had theirs.”

Wherry summed up her time at Lyon by saying, “Lyon College introduced me to many great things and for that I’ll always be grateful. I’ll always be grateful and this place will always have a special place in my heart.”

Former members of the Lyon College Athletics Hall of Fame in attendance included: Brian Krug (’98); Dick Bernard; David Brogdon (’93); Ronnie Brogdon (’70); Jasper ‘Doc’ Freeman (’55); Carl Garner (’38); Jack Haney (’64); Jim Haney (’68); Donald Hedden (’50); Kristie (Gay) Jenkins (’92); Kevin Jenkins (’86); Ryland Kieffer (’98); Tracy Stewart-Lange (’86); Elbert Lindsey (’76); Elizabeth (Grace) McDowell (’91); Jennifer (Walls) Payton (’98); LaVaughn Robertson (’64); Birdie Rogers (’62); Larry Rogers; David Seward, Jr. (’65); Fred Wann (’59); and Kirk Kelley.

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