FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Former University of Arkansas-Fort Smith women’s basketball coach Louis Whorton has died.

According to a news release from the university, Whorton is the winningest UAFS women’s basketball coach in program history, compiling a 648-277 overall win-loss record at the NCAA and NCAA Division II levels over a 30-year span with 19 20-win seasons and six 30-win seasons.

Whorton was inducted into the UAFS Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019 and NJCAA Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, and is a member of the University of Ozarks Eagles Athletics Hall of Fame.

“Coach Whorton is a UAFS legend,” said UAFS Director of Athletics Curtis Janz. “He set a standard for not only UAFS women’s basketball, but for the entire department. He set a standard for excellence on the court and made an impact on so many people’s lives. Coach will be missed but he will always be remembered here. We love him and his family and they will always be in our hearts.”

Whorton won a national championship in the 1994-95 season by going 35-0 and was named the NJCAA Coach of the Year. His team placed second in the NJCAA national tournament in 1993-94.

In their 1997-98 and 2005-06 national tournament appearances, the Lady Lions finished seventh. In 2003-04, they finished fourth, and in 2004-05 and 2007-08, they finished third.

Former UAFS women’s basketball head coach Tari Cummings, who planed for and served as an assistant coach under Whorton, and now serves as an assistant coach at Baylor, remembered her mentor.

“Words can’t describe the impact that Coach Whorton has had on my life on and off the court,” Cummings said. “He was my coach, my mentor, and he was like a father to me; I’m thankful God brought us together. I will forever love and cherish him.”

The releases says during 23 seasons of competition at the junior college level, he compiled a 538-195 record – an average of 23 wins per season. His junior college teams posted 16 20-win seasons and six 30-win seasons.

In that span, Whorton took the team to one Arkansas JUCO Conference championship, three Arkansas State Tournament championships, seven Bi-State East Conference championships and seven Region II championships. His teams also were Region II runners-up six times.

The release says Whorton’s junior college teams produced four WNBA draft picks – Kim Williams, Alisa Burras, Gillian Goring and Tanisha Smith.