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Arkansas Boys State inducts two into Hall of Fame



Conway, Arkansas – Matt Zimmerman (class of 1985) and Jeff Wardlaw (class of 1997) were inducted into the Arkansas Boys State Hall of Fame on Friday, May 31 at Arkansas Boys State.

The outstanding program alumnus was inducted into the prestigious Arkansas Boys State Hall of Fame, a momentous occasion for Dr. Lloyd Jackson, executive director of Arkansas Boys State.
“Matt Zimmerman and Jeff Wardlaw have lived truly remarkable lives, serving as exemplary role models for our delegates and embodying the core values of Arkansas Boys State,” Jackson said. “They have consistently represented our program with distinction, leaving a lasting impact on their communities and the state of Arkansas.”
In addition to honoring Zimmerman and Wardlaw’s extraordinary accomplishments, the Arkansas Boys State Hall of Fame induction ceremony also praised the program’s capacity for transformation. Arkansas Boys State provides practical civic engagement and leadership training to enable young men to apply their knowledge and abilities to become the state’s future generation of capable leaders and responsible citizens.

A native of Arkansas, 1985 Arkansas Boys State delegate, and University of Arkansas alumnus, Matt Zimmerman has devoted a significant portion of his career to the Razorback men’s basketball program. When Zimmerman returned to his alma mater in 2011, he worked there for eight years in a variety of capacities, serving as the Director of Basketball Operations for three years and a part of the coaching staff for five. He moved to the Razorback Foundation in 2020, maintaining his close ties to the institution.

Zimmerman has been a color analyst for the Razorback Sports Network’s men’s basketball program since 2015. In 2020, he became more involved by helping with football broadcasts, and in 2021, he joined the popular Razorback Daily podcast as a co-host.

The National Sports Media Association (NSMA) honored him as Arkansas Sportscaster of the Year in 2023 in recognition of his achievements to the sports media. Zimmerman has 21 years of experience teaching basketball. He has held coaching positions at the University of Alabama–Birmingham, the University of Missouri, and the University of Arkansas in addition to high school and collegiate levels.

Zimmerman’s career started in high school, where he spent seven years as the head coach of Plainview-Rover High School and Dardanelle High School. He began his career with the Razorbacks as a manager working with head coach Nolan Richardson, a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame. Prior to enlisting in the US Army, Zimmerman, a physical education major from the University of Arkansas, served four years in the ROTC. He graduated in 1990.

He was a member of the armed forces for five years, rising to the rank of Captain, attending Airborne School and serving with the 1st Infantry Division (also known as “The Big Red One”) from 1991 to 1995. Farmer and Republican politician from Hermitage in Bradley County, Arkansas, Jeffrey Reed “Jeff” Wardlaw was a 1997 Arkansas Boys State delegate. He held positions as a platoon leader, shop officer, company executive officer, and battalion adjutant in the military. In the Arkansas House of Representatives, he has served as the representative for District 8, which includes portions of Bradley, Drew, and Desha counties, since 2011.

Following graduation from Hermitage High School, Wardlaw attended the University of Arkansas at Monticello to obtain a Bachelor of Science in agriculture. In addition to being a committed member of the Rotary Club, he enjoys hunting and fishing.

Wardlaw is the owner and operator of Hermitage’s Wardlaw Brothers Farms, Inc. He has held a number of leadership positions, such as chairman of the House Insurance and Commerce Committee’s Insurance Subcommittee and vice chairman of the bipartisan Freshman Caucus.

He was honored with the Arkansas Forestry Association’s “Legislator of the Year” award in recognition of his efforts to the forestry sector. Additionally, Wardlaw is active in the Bradley County Industrial Development Commission and the Bradley County Chamber of Commerce. Due to disagreements on social issues, he left the Democratic Party in November 2016 and joined the Republican Party.

Wardlaw, who is currently in his seventh term, represents District 94, which comprises portions of the counties of Bradley, Drew, and Desha. He is a member of the House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee, the House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee, and the Arkansas Legislative Council. He is the House Chair of the 94th General Assembly. Wardlaw works in medical sales and agribusiness outside of politics.

He lives in Hermitage with his three children and attends the United Methodist Church with his spouse, Laura “Missy” Wardlaw.

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