LITTLE ROCK - The UALR Department of Athletics will induct former student-athletes Tanja Radovic-Eckart (1997-01) and Chris Johnson (2000-05) into the UALR Athletic Hall of Fame at halftime of the UALR men's basketball game against Denver on Saturday at the Jack Stephens Center. Following the hall of fame inductions, the Department of Athletics and the Lettermen's Association will recognize each of the Trojans' returning lettermen.
A native of Zagreb, Croatia, Radovic-Eckart is UALR's all-time leader in kills (1,710), hitting attempts (4,211) and service aces (222). In addition to being the only four-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection in school history, she was named the SBC Freshman of the Year in 1997 and the league's Player of the Year as a senior in 2000. Radovic-Eckart led the Trojans to three conference championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances in her four years on campus, and was a three-time selection to the Sun Belt All-Tournament Team. In 2005, Radovic-Eckart was named to the All-Time Sun Belt Volleyball team as part of the league's 30th anniversary celebration.
"UALR has been a second home to me," said Radovic-Eckart. "Being an international player, it was especially great how coach (Van) Compton and coach (Daniela) Tomic were so wonderful to all of the athletes. I feel extremely grateful and thankful to have had such wonderful and caring coaches that I enjoyed playing for. They helped us develop into complete individuals beyond our athletic careers."
Upon graduating from UALR, Radovic-Eckart was drafted by the Chicago Thunder in the 2001 United States Professional Volleyball Draft and helped the Thunder to a runner-up finish in her first season with the club. She returned to Little Rock the following year and enrolled in UALR's MBA program, which she completed in Dec. 2004.
In 2005, she was hired by one of her former UALR coaches, Daniela Tomic, to be the assistant volleyball coach at FIU. She currently serves as the head coach for the Miami Elite 18U club team.
Radovic-Eckart married former UALR track and cross country student-athlete John Eckart (1998-03) in 2004. The couple owns a business together, Eckart Group, a construction sales and consulting firm in Miami. She and her husband have one son, Filip, and are expecting their second child in July of this year.
A native of El Dorado, Ark., Johnson became the first male athlete in UALR history to not only become a three-time All-American, but also be named to two All-America teams in the same year. In 2002, Johnson became both an indoor and outdoor All-America selection after placing 10th at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60-meter dash and advancing to the semifinals of the 100-meter dash at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Johnson went back to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2005 and placed sixth in the 100-meter dash to collect his third All-America honor.
"UALR provided me with a great opportunity to run, especially under coach (Milton) Williams," said Johnson. "My career really picked up when he got there. But UALR also provided me with an education, and it allowed me to basically excel in life."
Additionally, Johnson won a total of five Sun Belt Conference individual championships in his time at UALR, claiming titles in the indoor 55-meter dash, the outdoor 100-meter dash and both the indoor and outdoor 200-meter races. In 2006, he was named to both the Indoor and Outdoor All-Time Sun Belt Track and Field teams.
Johnson was also highly successful in the classroom, becoming both an indoor and outdoor Academic All-America selection in 2002, in addition to being named to the SBC Academic Honor Roll in each of his years on campus.
Johnson spent three years running on the European track circuit after graduating from UALR with a degree in exercise science in 2005. Currently, he teaches physical education at the Hamilton Learning Academy in Little Rock and is in his seventh year serving as an assistant coach for the football and track and field teams at Little Rock Central High School. With hopes of becoming an education administrator, Johnson is pursuing his master's degree in educational leadership at Arkansas State and is expected to graduate this summer.
Saturday's doubleheader begins with the women's game at 4:30 p.m., followed by the UALR men taking on Denver at 7 p.m. The hall of fame inductions will take place at halftime of the men's game, followed immediately by a short ceremony for all lettermen.