FAYETTEVILLE – Lance Harter has been famously excused from coaching his Razorbacks women’s outdoor track team’ Friday portion of the University of Florida hosted Tom Jones Invitational concluding Saturday in Gainesville, Fla.
Women’s team assistants Chris Johnson and Bryan Compton will oversee the Razorbacks women Friday while Arkansas Coach Chris Bucknam and assistants Doug Case and Mario Sategna mastermind the Razorbacks men both days in Gainesville.
Harter is famously excused because, along with former Razorbacks baseball great/retired Major League baseball great Johnny Ray, and Tim Horton, the Air Force Academy running backs coach/special teams coordinator and former Razorbacks football receiving great and 2007-2012 assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, Arkansas’ six-time national championship/ 40 times SEC championship head track and cross country coach will be inducted Friday night in Little Rock into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
“I’ll finish the Hall of Fame Friday evening and there’s a 6 a.m. Saturday flight out of Little Rock that goes to Atlanta,” Harter said. “And from Atlanta, I go to Jacksonville and then rent a car and drive across to Gainesville. I’ll catch up with the team around 1:30 if all objectives are met.”
It may take a week to catch up on sleep with that schedule but Harter will suffer that gladly.
“I am very humbled and very honored,” Harter an inductee into various track halls of fame, said. “This is a very special honor because it’s all inclusive to all sports. The ones I’ve been inducted to prior were almost exclusively to track and field. So to be included with a group of peers coming from other sports is quite an honor. I’m really excited for my family and wife to be a part of it and meeting the other honorees.”
Bucknam, succeeding retired Razorbacks men’s coaching legend John McDonnell in 2008 with Harter Arkansas ensconced since 1990 after winning Division II national championships at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, said he wishes he could attend in Little Rock.
“I’m really proud and humbled to work beside Lance,” Bucknam said. “When I came in in 2008 he put his arm around me right away and was an incredible friend to me and has been over this period of time. I can tell you that Lance is not only a great friend, but a great colleague to work with and it’s so impressive to watch his coaching every day. Lance is on a great run with his national championships but what gets lost is that he’s been consistently good from a long, long time ago. I’m just so happy and thrilled for him for his great national success and this great honor.”
In the meantime Bucknam and his staff and Harter’s staff try to keep their teams on course toward the SEC Outdoor Championships in May in College Station, Texas.
“The SEC is only five weeks away and we want to get some NCAA qualifying out of the way,” Harter said.
Bucknam said, “We’ve only had one meet. Two weeks ago we were in Oregon and we got some distance qualifying done and now we’re opening up our sprint crew this week and next week (at the John McDonnell Invitational meet in Fayetteville). Two big weekends coming up for us and this is the start of it.”
At Gainesville, both coaches run their steeplechasers for the first time the outdoor season.