In the fall of 2003, Arkansas Tech University announced it intended to overtake the state vocational school, Arkansas Valley Technical Institute, in Ozark, the seat of Franklin County. As of July 1, 2004, the Ozark campus has acted as a satellite campus of Arkansas Tech and has begun offering coursework leading toward an Associate of Science degree in various subjects.
Alma Mater, Alma Mater,
Cherished beacon of our youth
Radiant emblom, shining symbol
Guide that leads us onto truth.
Down life's pathway, beaming 'or us
Ever lead us by thy light
Should we falter then restore us
By thy spirit's glor'us might!
Arkansas Tech's two greatest moments of athletic glory were provided by the back-to-back NAIA Division I national championships captured by the Golden Suns basketball program in 1992 and 1993. The 1991-92 team finished with an overall record of 35-1. The 1991-92 Golden Suns won each of their final 28 games by 12 points or more, including an 84-68 win over Wayland Baptist University (Texas) in the national championship game. The Suns won their second consecutive national crown in 1993 by defeating Union University (Tenn.) 76-75. Joe Foley, Tech head women's basketball coach from 1987-2003, was the architect of both national championship teams.
Today, the Golden Suns basketball program ranks among the top four in NCAA Division II history in winning percentage and all-time wins. The Suns finished as NCAA Division II national runners-up in 1999, and they made it back to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time in three years during the 2006-07 season.
Arkansas Tech has made four appearances in football national playoffs (1971, 1994, 1999 and 2004). The 1971 Wonder Boys made it to the national championship game of the NAIA Playoffs, losing to Livingston State (now University of West Alabama) in the title game. In 1994, Tech lost in the first round of the NAIA Playoffs after capturing the final Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) football crown earlier that season.
Tech won AIC football championships in 1931, 1935, 1939, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1954, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1964, 1968, 1970, 1971 and 1994.
Arkansas Tech left the NAIA after the AIC disbanded following the 1994-95 academic year. Tech joined NCAA Division II and the Gulf South Conference at that time. Since then, Tech's football program has made appearances in the NCAA Division II Playoffs in 1999 and 2004. The 1999 team was the first from Arkansas to win the GSC football championship outright, while the 2004 Wonder Boys were the first team from Arkansas to host or win an NCAA Division II Playoffs game. Tech earned that honor by defeating Catawba College (N.C.) 24-20 on Nov. 13, 2004.
Steve Mullins has served as head football coach at Arkansas Tech since 1997. He has won more games than any other Wonder Boys football coach since the World War II era and ranks third on the all-time football coaching wins list at Arkansas Tech. Mullins has also served as athletic director since April 16, 2003.
Tech's greatest men's basketball success came under the guidance of head coach Sam Hindsman, who led the Wonder Boys from 1947-66. Hindsman, who also won two AIC football titles at Tech during the 1950s, was ahead of his time with an up-tempo style that dazzled fans and opponents. Hindsman and the Wonder Boys won seven consecutive AIC basketball titles from 1949-55. In 1954 and 1955, Tech reached the semifinals of the NAIA National Tournament. Tech's only other NAIA Final Four berth in men's basketball came in 1995.
In all, Hindsman won 11 conference men's basketball titles and 355 men's basketball games to set school records that are unlikely to ever be eclipsed.
Tech won AIC baseball titles in 1950, 1964, 1976, 1981, 1985, 1988 and 1992. The Wonder Boys captured a share of the GSC West Division baseball crown in 1998.
Arkansas Tech's men's golf team was AIC champions in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1984, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995. Tech became the first school from Arkansas to win the GSC Championship in men's golf in 2004. The 1998 Wonder Boys reached the NCAA Division II National Tournament for men's golf.
The Golden Suns volleyball program won AIC titles in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1987. The Suns captured GSC West Division volleyball crowns in 1997, 1999 and 2000. The 2000 team became the first from Arkansas Tech to qualify for the NCAA Division II Volleyball Tournament.
In 1919, Arkansas Tech's football team played what is now Arkansas State University, which were heavily favored to win the game. However, Tech won the game on the shoulders of John Tucker, a student at Tech at the time, who returned two punts for touchdowns and kicked two extra points. The sportswriter for the Arkansas Gazette referred to the team as "a bunch of Wonder Boys." Tech's men's athletic teams have been known as the Wonder Boys ever since, and Tucker was labeled as "The Original Wonder Boy."
Tired of being referred to as the "Wonderettes," the female athletes of Arkansas Tech held a contest in the spring of 1975 to determine what their new mascot would be. Several names were nominated, but in the end, the athletes selected Golden Suns as their new mascot.
On July 10, 2007, Arkansas Tech announced that it had formed a committee to discuss the future of the university's athletic nicknames. Committee members were presented with three options: adopt a university-wide mascot, create visual identities for current nicknames or stay the same.
After an afternoon session on Tuesday, Aug. 7, to review poll results, comments and feedback, the Arkansas Tech mascot committee made a recommendation to President Robert C. Brown to begin the process of creating logos for the long-standing nicknames Wonder Boys and Golden Suns.
The committee was in consensus with Dr. Brown that on-line poll results along with many comments, suggestions and feedback were inconclusive and in fact pointed to a division among Tech constituents on the idea of adopting a university-wide mascot. The group agreed that the information did not support a fundamental change at this time.
Dr. Brown accepted the committee recommendation. He thanked them for their willingness to work on behalf of the university and asked that they oversee the design process for Wonder Boys and Golden Suns with the assistance of a professional collegiate identity firm.