Central Arkansas Bears
First season 1908
Head coach {{{HeadCoachDisplay}}}
Home stadium [[Estes Stadium]]
Stadium capacity 10,000
Stadium surface FieldTurf
Location Conway, Arkansas
Conference {{{ConferenceDisplay}}}
All-time record 540–365–42
Postseason bowl record
Claimed national titles 3 (NAIA)
Conference titles 20
Rivalries McNeese State (rivalry)
Colors {{{Color1}}}             
For information on all University of Central Arkansas sports, see Central Arkansas Bears and Sugar Bears

The Central Arkansas Bears football program is the intercollegiate American football team for University of Central Arkansas located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Southland Conference. Central Arkansas's first football team was fielded in 1908. The team plays its home games at the 10,000 seat Estes Stadium in Conway, Arkansas. The Bears are coached by Nathan Brown, in his first year.


The Central Arkansas Bears were formed in 1901 by William Hawkins. Although they finished 1-4-3 in their first season, and have an unusual record of 23-54-22 in its first twenty years of existence, the Bears would play for 7 championships in that span.

UCA would enjoy its greatest success over a fourteen-year period from 1979 to 1992, when the Bears won or shared thirteen of the fourteen conference championships, as members of the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC). The AIC included in-state schools such as Arkansas Tech, Harding University, Henderson State University, Ouachita Baptist, Southern Arkansas University, University of Arkansas at Monticello, and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. During that time frame, UCA won or shared twelve consecutive AIC titles from 1981 - 1992, as well as three NAIA national championships, in 1984, 1985, and 1991. The Bears were a constant presence in the NAIA Top 20, and made the playoffs twelve out of fourteen seasons.

In 1993, the Bears left the AIC and the NAIA, and moved up in competition to the NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference. Central Arkansas would stay in the West Division of the GSC through the 2006 season, winning the GSC title in 2005. UCA moved up yet again in 2007, joining the Southland Conference, a member of the NCAA Division I-AA, where they currently compete. The Bears have since won three Southland championships in 2008, 2012, and 2017. Central Arkansas also made the playoffs in 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2017 winning their first FCS playoff game in 2011 over Tennessee Tech, while also defeating Illinois State in 2016 before being defeated by Eastern Washington University.

Notable former playersEdit

Notable alumni include:

Championships Edit

Conference championships Edit

1939, 1959, 1960, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2017

The conference championships won between 1979 and 1992, were as members of the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC), an NAIA Division I conference.

The 2005 conference championship was as a member of the Gulf South Conference, an NCAA Division II conference.

The 2008, 2012 and 2017[1] conference titles were as a member of the Southland Conference, an NCAA Division I-AA conference, or Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

National ChampionshipsEdit

1984, 1985, 1991

All three national titles were won on the NAIA Division I level. The head coach in 1984 and 1985 was Harold Horton. The head coach in 1991 was Mike Isom.

UCA was the national runners-up in 1976, after losing to Texas A&I in the national championship game.

FCS Playoffs resultsEdit

The Bears have appeared in the FCS playoffs four times with an overall record of 2–4.

Year Round Opponent Result
2011 First Round
Second Round
Tennessee Tech
W 34–14
L 14–41
2012 Second Round Georgia Southern L 16–24
2016 First Round
Second Round
Illinois State
Eastern Washington
W 31–24
L 14–31
2017 Second Round New Hampshire L 15–21

Division II Playoffs resultsEdit

The Bears have appeared in the Division II playoffs two times with an overall record of 2–2.

Year Round Opponent Result
2001 First Round Catawba L 34–35
2005 First Round
Second Round
Albany State (GA)
North Alabama
W 28–20
W 52–28
L 38–41

NAIA Playoffs resultsEdit

The Bears have appeared in the NAIA playoffs 12 times with an overall record of 12–9–2. They are three time NAIA National Champions (1984, 1985, 1991), with 1984 and 1985 being Co–Champions after ending in a tie in the National Championship Game.

Year Round Opponent Result
1976 Semifinals
National Championship Game
Texas A&M-Kingsville
W 10–7
L 0–26
1978 Quarterfinals Western State L 17–22
1980 Quarterfinals Texas A&M-Commerce L 21–27
1981 Quarterfinals Cameron L 27–48
1983 Quarterfinals
Northeastern State (OK)
Mesa State
W 18–7
L 17–34
1984 Quarterfinals
National Championship Game
Moorhead State (MN)
Central Washington
W 30–6
W 44–6
T 19–19
1985 Quarterfinals
National Championship Game
Pittsburg State
Henderson State
W 32–22
W 21–9
T 10–10
1987 First Round
Northwestern Oklahoma State
W 31–7
L 7–14
1988 First Round Southeastern Oklahoma State L 14–21
1990 Quarterfinals
Northeastern State (OK)
Mesa State
W 26–14
L 9–10
1991 Quarterfinals
National Championship Game
Northeastern State (OK)
Moorhead State (MN)
Central State
W 30–14
W 38–18
W 19–16
1992 Quarterfinals
Southwestern Oklahoma State
Central State
W 14–2
L 23–30


McNeese StateEdit

The two teams have met 12 times on the football field with the series being tied, 6–6. Due to conference scheduling requirements, the most recent game was played in 2018.

McNeese State–Central Arkansas: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting Central Arkansas wins Central Arkansas losses Win %
12 September 17, 1994 (lost 7-21) October 27, 2018 (lost 21-23) 6 6 .545

Arkansas TechEdit

The Bears also had a long time rivalry with Arkansas Tech University, located in Russellville, Arkansas, only 45 miles west of Conway along US Interstate 40. But that series was dis-continued after UCA left the Gulf South Conference, and moved up in competition to the Southland Conference.


External linksEdit

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