Feb. 17, 2007
By Jean Neuberger
Special to CSTV.com
Jean is a contributor to CSTV.com.
Frank Broyles came to the
Now, 49 years and 45 national championships later, Broyles has announced that at the end of this year, he will step down as athletic director, a position he has held for 33 years.
Though Broyles was born and raised in
Broyles will leave
His success carried on through his assistants, some of whom played for him at
It wasn't always a smooth ride though for the folks in
It would start with Lou Holtz, who succeeded Broyles as head football coach, but was fired after seven seasons, apparently coming from a heated dispute over Holtz making a political commercial endorsing North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms. Holtz was replaced by Ken Hatfield, who argued with Broyles so much that he took the job at Clemson without visiting the campus. Hatfield's move was so abrupt that Broyles called then-offensive coordinator Jack Crowe off a plane to Clemson to offer him the head coaching job. Eddie Sutton, who was brought in to rebuild a lifeless basketball program, left on bad terms and fled to Kentucky, where he told reporters he'd `crawl on his hands and knees' to get there.
Then came the infamous showdown with Nolan Richardson, who coached the basketball Hogs for 17 seasons. Broyles made
And now, ironically, with constant controversy plaguing the
He clashed with fans as well, most notably over the "Great Stadium Debate". Broyles announced that one home football game would move from
However, history will remember Frank Broyles for much better things than clashes with coaches and fans. They will remember his success as a coach, and for not only the 45 national titles, but the 84 conference titles won by Razorback teams. They'll remember it was Broyles who moved Arkansas from the Southwest Conference to the Southeastern Conference, which not only triggered the demise of a conference, but started the trend of `super-conferences' that exist today.
They'll remember his ability to dream big, and then raise the money to make those dreams reality. In the past 12 years, Broyles managed to build new state-of-the-art basketball, baseball, and indoor track facilities, as well as oversee the $120 million renovation and expansion of Reynolds Razorback Stadium. What makes the above so miraculous is that no state money was used for renovation or construction; Broyles raised the money on his own through private donations.
They'll remember his passionate crusade to fight Alzheimer's disease, which took the life of his first wife, Barbara. They'll remember his deep Southern drawl, his never ending optimism, and how he would call the Hogs whenever a new coach was introduced.
It's the end of a long journey at