Central Arkansas Head Basketball Coach Anthony Boone has heart surgery; will be out indefinitely

University of Central Arkansas men’s basketball coach Anthony Boone underwent successful heart surgery on Thursday and will be out indefinitely, according to Dr. Brad Teague, UCA’s director of athletics.

Boone, in his fourth season as the Bears’ head coach and his ninth overall at UCA, missed the Bears’ home game against Eastern Kentucky on Thursday night at the Farris Center. Associate head coach Jeff Price and assistant coaches Brock Widders and John Cranford are leading the program in his absence.

“Coach Boone is recovering in the hospital after successful surgery and will need some time to heal,” said Teague. “We are confident our coaching staff and student-athletes will continue to compete hard and embrace Coach Boone’s style of servant leadership, as was evident in last night’s game.

“We feel very blessed for Anthony and his family that the surgery was successful and we definitely look forward to seeing Coach Boone back on the court and leading our program.”

Boone, who played collegiately at Ole Miss, spent six years as UCA’s associate head coach, arriving in Conway for the 2014-15 season. He took over the program as interim head coach in December 2019 and led the team for the final 22 games of the season.

As a player for Ole Miss under head coach Rob Evans, Boone led the Rebels to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in 60 years. He was a senior on the team that lost in the 1998 NCAA Tournament to Valparaiso on a memorable last-second shot.

Despite undergoing four knee surgeries, Boone started 79 of 94 games at Ole Miss. Even with relatively modest career averages of 7.2 points and 4.8 rebounds, his inspirational play was recognized by the retirement of his number (41) — only the second student-athlete to be so honored by the school (quarterback Archie Manning, the father of NFL quarterbacks Peyton an Eli Manning, was the first). Boone is a member of the Ole Miss Hall of Fame.

UCA’s next game is Saturday at Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tenn.


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