Greenway Native Slated for Induction
Greenway native Richard Benson, now residing in Forrest City, has been named as one of four new inductees announced to represent the Arkansas Officials Association in the Hall of Fame, comprised of the joining of the AOA, Arkansas Activities Association and Arkansas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fames into one organization in 2013.
Benson was born in Greenway, and graduated from Greenway School in 1971. After attending Arkansas State University, Benson joined radio station KXJK-KBFC in Forrest City and has been with the company since 1973.
In addition to on air and advertising duties, Benson is the voice of the Forrest City Mustang football radio broadcasts. Over the years he has never missed a Mustang game resulting in a streak of 410 consecutive game broadcasts dating back to 1975. His analyst on the broadcast for the past 21 seasons has been his wife, Janet. In 2008 Forrest City school officials surprised Benson with the naming of the "Richard Benson Press Box". He also is a member of the Forrest City Athletic Hall of Fame. His three sons -- Blake, Tyler and Dean are all graduates of Forrest City High School.
Benson's first officiating assignment was in Palestine in 1981 where Hall of Famer Glen Siler was principle and athletic director. He quickly began calling games with Siler, Larry Jayroe, Sonny Holmes, Tom Machen, Bob Durham and Perry Webb. By 1984 he was officiating for Harry Hall in the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference and was honored to be selected by the coaches to work the playoffs his first year. That was followed by several consecutive seasons of officiating high school and college tournament, playoff and All-Star games. Along with Holmes and Webb, Benson also worked the first game in the AIC featuring a 3-man crew.
Benson's background in broadcasting and officiating made him a natural to be the voice of the basketball training video shown at fall basketball meetings at locations all around the state. He has served as president of the Forrest City Area Chamber of Commerce, five years as president of the Mustang Booster Club and two years as chairman of the St. Francis County United Way.
Richard and his wife are members of First Baptist Church in Forrest City, where Janet is involved in the women's ministry and has authored a book that was published this spring. The Bensons stay busy with work, Cardinal baseball, and keeping up with their five children and 10 grandchildren.
He is the son of Odean Benson and the late Doyce Benson of Greenway.
A release by the AAA listed Benson, Joe Fakouri of Monticello (basketball), Tony Smith of Des Arc (basketball) and Carl Williams of Bono (basketball).
The six new AHSCA honorees are the late Al Bolen of Junction City (baseball), Don Carnahan of Russellville (track), Morgan Gilbert of Tuckerman (basketball-baseball), Lee Hardman of Dollarway (football), Leo Johnson of Bradley (basketball) and Darrell Jones of Deer (basketball).
The three new members of the AHSAAA are Dick Johnson of Fayetteville, Fred Lilly of Camden and Johnny White of Cabot.
The installation banquet will be held on Friday, July 11, 2014, at Horner Hall in the Hot Spring Convention Center starting at 6:30 p.m. Those wanting ticket information may contact Nicole Cunningham at (501) 955-2500.