JONESBORO (ASU) – The Jonesboro YMCA honored former ASU coaches Nelson Catalina, Larry Lacewell, Guy Kochel and Steve Roberts at the fifth annual "Toast of the Town" held Tuesday night at the Southwest Church of Christ.
The benefit event for the local YMCA, which honors outstanding community members on an yearly basis, drew a large crowd as those in attendance heard from each of the guests of honor discussing the great impact the YMCA has on the community and telling stories about their time at ASU.
Catalina was A-State's head men's basketball coach from 1984-85 and Kochel its head track and field coach from 1972-89, while Lacewell and Roberts both served as ASU's head football coach from 1979-89 and 2002-2010, respectively.
Catalina, a 2010 Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inductee, led ASU to 188 victories and four 20-win campaigns during his 11 seasons as head coach. He guided the basketball program to four National Invitation Tournament appearances, including 1988 and 1991 when A-State advanced to the quarterfinals. Under his direction, ASU won the American South Conference championship in 1991 when it posted a school-record 23 victories.
During his 17 seasons at ASU, Kochel piloted teams to three men's outdoor and two indoor conference titles and two women's outdoor and two women's indoor conference championships. He coached three Olympians, two Olympic medal winners (one gold and one bronze), one world record holder, two American collegiate record holders and 29 NCAA All-Americas. Kochel also began ASU's women's program.
Lacewell led ASU to a school-record 69 victories on the gridiron, including 12 victories during the 1986 campaign when it finished as the NCAA Division I-AA national runner-up. Lacewell coached four teams that advanced to the I-AA playoffs, including the 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987 squads. He also guided ASU to back-to-back Southland Conference titles in 1985 and 1986.
Roberts, the 2005 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year, holds the fifth most victories in school history and led ASU to the 2005 New Orleans Bowl, ASU's first bowl appearance as an NCAA FBS member. Roberts led ASU to bowl eligible seasons in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008 while guiding ASU to its most victories over a nine-year span since 1985-93. Under Roberts, the Red Wolves had 70 All-Sun Belt Conference selections, a Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, an SBC Offensive Player of the Year, two SBC Defensive Players of the Year and an SBC Newcomer of the Year.