U.S. Reed’s NCAA Buzzer Beater Still Stirs Emotions in Arkansas

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U.S. Reed’s NCAA Buzzer Beater Still Stirs Emotions in Arkansas
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As chaplain at Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock, Marilyn Reed comforts and cares for families, who often ask her to preside at church services. 

She isn't the only member of her family known for bringing people together. Her husband, former University of Arkansas basketball player Ulysses "U.S." Reed, retains his popularity more than four decades after suiting up for the team.

At one church service conducted by his wife, the former player was summoned to the front. When he arrived, everyone rose. All in attendance then performed a ritual chant.

They called the hogs.

Razorback Nation United by Memories

Calling the hogs is a University of Arkansas tradition. The university’s athletic teams, nicknamed the Razorbacks, are known affectionately as the hogs. 

The “woo, pig, sooie” calling of the hogs, voiced three consecutive times with arms raised, is capped by a yell of “Razorbacks!”

It happens everywhere in Arkansas — at sporting events, at restaurants, at church.

To Reed, 63, the calling of the hogs underscores the unifying importance of sports in his state. He still hears people's stories about how excited they were after he made a miracle shot during the final seconds of an NCAA tournament game. 

In 1981, Reed secured his place in Arkansas lore when he launched a 49-foot, half-court, nothing-but-net missile to defeat the defending national champion Louisville Cardinals. For 35 years, it was the longest buzzer-beating shot in NCAA tournament history. That shot helped spark the annual college basketball spring frenzy known as March Madness.

“When you hit a shot like that, you know you are affecting families,” Reed told Gambling.com.

The basketball that Reed let fly that day, retrieved by a cheerleader, is enshrined in Bud Walton Arena on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville. The ball is signed by Reed.

Check out: 5 Most Important Buzzer-Beaters in March Madness History

‘A Consummate Gentleman’

To Arkansas’ 3 million residents, nothing stirs emotions like the Razorbacks. 

Even with the continued adulation he receives, Reed recalls what his dad, a doctor, told him.

“He said, ‘It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice,’” said Reed, corporate gift officer at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Institutional Advancement Department.

Though Reed is not one to brag, others are quick to praise him.

Carlton Saffa, chief market officer at Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, said Reed is “a consummate gentleman” who puts everyone at ease. Saffa has used Reed in Saracen advertising.

The casino executive said Reed’s 1981 buzzer-beater “is the stuff of Razorback  legend.”

“It’s such a thing here that Arkansans remember where they were when they saw it on TV,” Saffa told Gambling.com.

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Larry Henry

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