Happy Anthony Mahfouz, former UALR basketball coach and athletic director who shepherded the Trojans into the NCAA, has died in Alexandria, La. He was 80.
Mahfouz, born in Brinkley, Ark., attended high school in Alexandria. He was head coach of the Trojans from 1967 until he gave up the coach’s bench to become athletic director at UALR in 1979.
“His biggest single achievement was to move UALR from the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) to the NCAA Division 1,” said Richard Turner, assistant athletic director who was hired by Mahfouz in 1978.
In a January 1979 interview with the Arkansas Gazette, Mahfouz explained his reasons to leave his 34 years basketball career as a player and coach for the front office.
“When you can compete at the classification you’re in, you want to set your goals a little higher,” he said. “You always want to improve your position. The university has been growing and we want the athletic program to grow along with it.”
He was inducted into the UALR Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.
A mass will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept 26, at St. Rita Catholic Church. Interment will be in Alexandria Memorial Gardens under the direction of John Kramer & Son. Visitation will be held from 5 until 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, and from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, at John Kramer & Son. A rosary will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, at the funeral home. Online notes of condolence may be sent to the family at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mahfouz was named Outstanding Defensive Linemen in high school in 1950 and attended Springhill College in Mobile, Ala., on a basketball scholarship.
In the Army, he was recognized as Mobile’s Outstanding Amateur Athlete. He was also a member of the All Gulf States Conference Basketball Team and the All Army Basketball Team and was selected as Small College All American Athlete ranking 10th in the nation on free throws.
He is survived by his wife, Joan Fazio Mahfouz of Alexandria, and daughter, Rosemary Mahfouz Young and her husband Mark of Ramstein, Germany; three sisters and three brothers, all of Alexandria; three granddaughters and three great-grandsons.