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Mountain Home to Honor Three Tech Alumni


Former Arkansas Tech University head football coach and physical education faculty member Don Dempsey and former Arkansas Tech student-athletes D.A. Dahlke and Belinda Baker-Stephens will be inducted into the Mountain Home High School Athletic Hall of Honor on Saturday, Oct. 13.

The Mountain Home High School Athletic Hall of Honor is inducting its third class in 2012. Dempsey, Dahlke and Baker-Stephens were selected for induction from among more than 200 nominees.

Dempsey is best known in Arkansas Tech circles for leading the Wonder Boys to Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference championships in 1968, 1970 and 1971 and a berth in the 1971 NAIA national championship game.

In Mountain Home, he is known as the coach who built a winning football tradition the likes of which they had never seen.

Dempsey became head coach of the Mountain Home Bombers in 1955, shortly after he completed an All-America collegiate playing career and graduated from Arkansas Tech.

Before Dempsey's arrival, the Bombers had never won more than six games in a season. In Dempsey's first two seasons, Mountain Home posted back-to-back overall records of 9-2, won the 1A Conference championship in 1955 and finished as conference runner-up in 1956.

Fifty-five years after the fact, Dempsey's 1957 Mountain Home team is still remembered as one of the greatest in school history. The Bombers finished 11-1 overall and won their second 1A Conference title in three years.

The 11 wins remain a school record, a figure that has only been matched once (1986) in Mountain Home.

The 1958 Bombers, Dempsey's final team at Mountain Home, went 8-2-1 and finished as conference runners-up. Dempsey completed his tenure at Mountain Home with a 37-7-1 overall record. His .822 winning percentage is the highest of any head football coach in Mountain Home High School history.

“My dad really loved his time in Mountain Home,” Dempsey’s daughter Donna Gwaltney told the selection committee. “My parents made some great friends that have been special to them all their lives. My dad is very much honored to be included in this group and says thanks to all who supported him in his time there and beyond.”

Dempsey returned to Arkansas Tech as assistant football coach and instructor of physical education in 1959. He served as the Wonder Boys' head coach from 1967-75 and remained on the physical education faculty until 1996. He is now retired and living in Russellville.

Baker-Stephens helped Mountain Home win back-to-back state volleyball championships in 1976 and 1977. She was named all-district in volleyball for her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

She was also a three-time all-district selection in basketball. Baker-Stephens averaged 27.6 points per game as a high school senior.

Baker-Stephens went on to play volleyball for four years and basketball for three years at Arkansas Tech. She was a member of three Arkansas Women's Intercollegiate Sports Association (AWISA) championship basketball teams with the Golden Suns.

A member of the teaching profession for 28 years, Baker-Stephens has spent the last 21 years teaching in the schools at Rockwall, Texas.

Dahlke was a starter in football, basketball and baseball at Mountain Home. He graduated from Mountain Home in 1960 and went on to play football, basketball and baseball at Arkansas Tech. Dahlke graduated from Arkansas Tech in 1964.

He was head football coach at Mountain Home from 1969-72, and after a stint in private business, Dahlke returned to the Mountain Home School District and served as head junior high basketball coach, assistant junior high football coach and softball coach during his career.

Dahlke coached four conference championship teams. His 1996 Lady Bomber softball team advanced to the Class AAAA State Tournament semifinals.

Now retired, Dahlke raises cattle on his farm near Midway.

Learn more about Arkansas Tech Athletics.