Stars WBB finishes top 10 in nation for academics

The women’s basketball program at South Arkansas Community College recently learned that its 2021-2022 team was among the top 10 finishers for NJCAA Academic Team of the Year in its sport.

The Stars were seventh for the national honor, which is bestowed to the team with the highest mean grade-point average among all NJCAA teams across each sport, regardless of division of play. Their 3.65 grade-point average placed the Stars women second among all NJCAA Division II women’s basketball teams.

There are 135 NJCAA Division II women’s basketball programs and more than 400 total NJCAA women’s basketball programs across the country.

Additionally, four Star student-athletes received individual recognition as NJCAA All-Academic First Team. They were Darbee Forte of Monticello, Addison McNiel of Emerson, Lexi Pyle of Emerson and Christian Marshall of Hermitage. Each completed the academic year with 4.0 grade-point averages.

"I'm so proud of our girls on their academic achievement, both as a team and as individuals,” head coach Nate Evans said. “We take great pride within our program on being relentless in the classroom, and to see it be recognized on a national scale is incredible. These girls have raised the bar high for what it means to be a SouthArk student-athlete.”

Evans also applauded the work of SouthArk instructors and support staff in the academic effort.

“This achievement is also a testimony to the relentless efforts that our faculty and staff sows into our students here at SouthArk,” he said. “It's a great time to be a Star.”

Forte Darbee

Darbee Forte

McNiel Addison

Addison McNiel

Marshall Christian

Christian Marshall

Pyle Lexi

Lexi Pyle

Students compete at SkillsUSA nationals


ATLANTA—Several student representatives of South Arkansas Community College competed at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference here recently.

Diego Roman placed 23rd in postsecondary automotive service technology. Olivia Creager was 26th in postsecondary extemporaneous speech.

The team of Kinsley Dumas, Josephine Gallipeaux and Kadedra Henry was 26th in secondary crime scene investigation.

Evans named interim head coach

southark evans
Newly-named SouthArk women’s basketball interim head coach Nate Evans, right, leads the Stars women through drills last fall.

South Arkansas Community College assistant basketball coach Nate Evans has accepted the role of interim head coach for the Stars women’s program after current women’s head coach Nate Davis this week announced his pending departure.

Evans, an El Dorado native, was an assistant for both the women’s and the men’s teams under Davis during the 2021-2022 season. Both programs improved during his tenure, the women from winless in the 2020-2021 season to 7-10, and the men from 5-15 in the 2020-2021 season to 12-12.

Evans was among the first group of players to suit up for the Stars, having played under Davis for the inaugural SouthArk men’s team in 2019-2020. He was a student assistant for the Arkansas Tech University men’s basketball program in 2020-2021.

Evans will assume duties officially later this month when Davis leaves for an assistant women’s basketball coaching position at the NCAA Division II level.

"I am extremely blessed to be in this position,” Evans said. “Being able to coach in my hometown at the school where I played is an incredible honor, and one I won't take for granted. The sky is the limit for SouthArk women's basketball." 

He was an accomplished player at the high-school level, having been selected as All-State once and All-Conference three times at Parkers Chapel High School. He currently is a university studies major at Southern Arkansas University, due to graduate with a bachelor’s degree next month.

“Nate Evans’ familiarity with SouthArk basketball runs deep,” SouthArk athletic director Dr. Derek Moore said. “During this past season, coach Evans served as head coach during times of coach Davis’ absence. Additionally, Coach Evans helped to recruit the incoming student athletes for the 2022-2023 season. Naming coach Evans as interim head coach provides the continuity needed as the women’s program prepares for the 2022-2023 season.”


Upward Bound awarded grant through 2027

Upward Bound awarded $1.5 million grant

The Upward Bound program at South Arkansas Community College recently was awarded a grant of more than $1.5 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Education.

Upward Bound is part of TRIO, a set of federally-funded educational outreach programs for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, founded in 1964 through the Economic Opportunity Act. Today more than 1,000 colleges, universities and community entities host about 3,100 different TRIO programs, serving in excess of 800,000 students nationwide.

That includes Upward Bound at SouthArk, which has been in place since 2007 with the goal of encouraging and assisting students to achieve education beyond high school. It serves low-income and potential first-generation college students in grades nine through 12. Currently 63 students participate.

“Upward Bound’s pre-college planning framework assists its students in embracing more intensive academic performance habits to help their transition to post-secondary education,” SouthArk student support services dean Dr. Cassie Tavorn said. “This funding makes a very real and positive difference in the lives of our future decisionmakers.”

Upward Bound participants receive educational support throughout the academic year. The program also includes Saturday learning academies, college visits and service activities. It seeks to motivate and support students to overcome class, social and cultural barriers to accessing and succeeding in higher education. Additionally, the grant-funded program sponsors an annual six-week summer academy and a bridge program for high-school seniors who are transitioning to college.

More information is available about TRIO Upward Bound at SouthArk by contacting director Kelsey Jackson at (870) 864-7100 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

College receives national recognition for workplace diversity

southark diverse
South Arkansas Community College president Dr. Bentley Wallace, right, receives a trophy recognizing SouthArk as one of 24 Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges by NISOD executive director Dr. Edward Leach.

AUSTIN, Texas—South Arkansas Community College recently was noted as one of the nation’s Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges for 2022 by the magazine Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

SouthArk president Dr. Bentley Wallace received the recognition on behalf of the college at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development annual meeting here over the weekend.

SouthArk was one of 24 colleges in the nation, and the only one in Arkansas, to receive the commendation. Selection was based upon family friendliness, salary, benefits and professional development opportunities, with a focus on workplace diversity, staffing practices and work environment.