The Razorback Nation lost more than a legend in the passing of former Football Coach and Athletic Director Frank Broyles.
For most of us, this is the first time we have ever know the Arkansas Athletic program without Broyles. Though we briefly met once, I don’t have any great stories to tell that many in the media haven’t been able to share. All I can speak of is how he treated my boys and his smile, pat on the back, or handshake as he interacted with crowds and media. He said “thank you” often, and whether or not you agreed with him, he was going to make the decision he felt was best for the program.
A line of great leaders were speakers at the celebration of life held Saturday in Bud Walton Arena, a landmark facility that was part of the vision of Broyles. Quinn Grovey and David Bazzell spoke of his personal interest in the lives of athletes, and are the embodiment of the Broyles influence on the program. The award given to the best assistant coach in the nation bears Broyles’ name and his efforts to retain and reward assistant coaches helped change the landscape of college sports.
Jerry Jones, who played under Broyles on the national championship team in 1964 said Broyles was a vital influence in his life, while Ken Hatfield shared what it was like to work for him. In one of the more stressful and polarizing jobs in the state, Frank Broyles made the best of his days, leaving behind a program steeped in history and high on expectations.
In his time, he won a national championship, was the athletic director for many, including track and field dominance and a basketball program rising to the top. Under his watch, new facilities for almost every sport have been built, Hog Heaven was unveiled, and the Basketball Palace of Mid-America was opened. After winning the basketball championship, the school received a bonus of nearly a million dollars, which Broyles gave to the scholarship fund, continuing his efforts to improve education. He never took the allotted funds made possible by the NCAA from the University funding but raised the necessary monies so that education would not lose anything to athletics.
As the crowd gathered together at the end of the ceremony Saturday, you know Frank Broyles was looking on with a smile as the generations joined together, and, through tear-filled eyes, called those hogs one more time.