Wharton High School alumnus Gary Segrest

Courtesy photo

Wharton High School alumnus Gary Segrest (shown with award around his neck), is joined by numerous friends and family members during his Arkansas Activities Association Hall of Fame induction. Segrest is the author of several books, including “Bigfoot Encounters, Ghost Stories and UFO Sightings,” “Adventures in the Great Outdoors,” “50 Tips for Sportsmen,” and “50 Ways to Stay Fit Over 50.” These books may be purchased at Milam Street Coffee Shop & Junque.

This past weekend, Gary Segrest was inducted into the Arkansas Activities Association Hall of Fame in front of hundreds of people, including those who went to school with him as a youth decades ago in Wharton.

This honor came during a 25th annual AAA induction ceremony on Saturday, July 12 inside the Hot Springs Convention Center.

Segrest graduated from Wharton High School in 1966. Born the oldest of four sons in Corpus Christi in 1948, his family moved to this area where Segrest eventually attended Wharton schools beginning in third grade.

He competed in all sports his junior and senior years of WHS. He was a four-sport letterman his senior year.

His high school athletic accomplishments included the following: all-district football (two years), track (three-year letterman), all-district basketball (three years), baseball (three-year letterman, team captain).

He eventually earned WHS Outstanding Student Athlete.

Segrest would eventually make a name for himself in Arkansas, continuing his education and athletic career at Henderson State University from 1966 to 1971. He helped the Reddies earn football titles, while also garnering individual awards. He graduated with a BSE in physical education.

He became a staple in Nashville, Ark., coaching championship teams in football, tennis and track, becoming the Scrappers head coach in each sport and the school district’s athletics director until 1992.

He also coached at Lakeside High School in Hot Springs, Ark. from 1993 to 2004 and then at Mineral Springs, Ark. from 2005 to 2009.

He was A.D. at both schools; his athletes won numerous titles.

Segrest’s last season as football and track coach was in 2015 while at Arkansas High School in Texarkana, Ark., capping a 44-year coaching career with Arkansas schools.

Personal accolades included being named the Arkansas Football Coach of the Year in 1983, the Lowell Manning Award in 1984.

Segrest was invited to speak at the Arkansas High School Coaches Clinic four times, and he spoke at the Arkansas Athletic Administrators Conference. He was also a speaker at the 1990 National High School Coaches Clinic.

Segrest served as president of the Arkansas High School Administrators Association, served on the NIAAA Board of Directors, AHSAAA president, received a NIAAA national citation, and earned an athletic administration certification.

Segrest went on to be a basketball official for many years. He officiated the All-Star games in 1982 and 1990, and he was an AIC and Southwest Conference basketball official.

Segrest is married to the former Jan Allen of Bradley, Ark. They have two daughters and sons-in-law, Jeni and Brian Davidson, and Katie and Skylar Kirkland. He is “Pop” to Denver and Ava Davidson.

He is an avid hunter, fisherman, and he is the author of several books. Milam Street Coffee Shop on the Square in downtown Wharton has copies of Gary’s books for purchase.

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