When Walter Godwin joined the chemistry faculty at the University of Arkansas at Monticello in 1974, he quickly became a fan of the Boll Weevil basketball team and established a reputation as the “loudest mouth in the gym.
“I was a fan,” he said. “I yelled at the referees constantly.”
Two years later, when new basketball coach Doug Barnes was looking for someone to serve as official scorekeeper at home games, he asked Godwin if he was interested. Godwin accepted and 39 years later, when UAM opens the 2015-16 basketball season, he’ll be in his familiar position at the scorer’s table keeping the official book. For his service to UAM athletics, Godwin is the 2015 recipient of the UAM Spirit Award.
“I was absolutely thrilled when I heard,” Godwin said. “I never thought this was something that I would receive.”
In addition to working every home men’s and women’s basketball game, Godwin has worked in the press box at Boll Weevil football games since 1979, first operating the play clock and now the scoreboard.
As official scorer at basketball games, Godwin is not allowed to cheer and berating an official is out of the question. “I had to make myself calm down and be quiet,” he said. “Once in a while, I still have a little problem, but I’ve never lost control and I’ve never had an issue with a referee.”
Godwin’s biggest thrill in UAM athletics came in 1990 when the women’s basketball team, led by All-Americans Tina Webb and Rose Avery, reached the championship game of the NAIA Division I National Tournament in Jackson, Tenn. “I went to that game as a fan and got to scream my head off,” he said.
Godwin retired from the UAM faculty in 2007 but has no plans to walk away from his passion — Boll Weevil and Cotton Blossom athletics. “I’ll keep doing this until they tell me to stop,” he said. “I love it.”