Watts Named 2023 Champion of the Year

November 27 - December 3, 2023

By Angelita Faller


Grant Watts, coordinator of intramural sports at UA Little Rock, has been named the 2023 Champion of the Year by the Arkansas Recreation and Parks Association.


The Arkansas Recreation and Parks Association recognizes outstanding individuals and programs throughout the state. Watts, a Benton native, received the award during the association’s annual conference held Sept. 21 in Jonesboro.


“It was very humbling to receive this award,” Watts said. “It was very nice of the Arkansas Recreation and Parks Association to recognize me for the service I’ve put into the recreation world over the years. I’m really grateful for all the people that have helped guide, mentor, and put me in positions to be successful. I couldn’t do it without that support.”


The Champion of the Year Award honors an individual whose efforts as a volunteer made a significant contribution to parks and recreation in the state of Arkansas.


“For me, it’s all about giving back,” Watts said. “My parents were teachers and coaches, and I’ve been officiating games since I was 14. I’ve been around sports and the outdoors all my life. We live in the Natural State, and it’s very important that we should showcase what we have to offer. Cities and people alike are doing a lot to enhance the quality of life for their citizens and to attract visitors to our state.”


Watts has been involved with the Arkansas Recreation and Parks Association since 2017, and he serves as the central regional representative for its board of directors. Additionally, he has helped plan and host social events for members, served as program chair of the annual conference, and helped plan the association’s annual Women and Recreational Leadership Summit. He’s also a member of the Arkansas Officials Association and the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association.


At UA Little Rock, he coordinates activities for the hundreds of university students and employees who participate in intramural sports every year, including six team sports and four individual sports. He also encourages students to be active by participating in outdoor activities, such as renting out outdoor and sporting equipment and leading outdoor recreational trips. His most recent trip was leading a group of a dozen students on a kayaking trip on the Arkansas River.