LIKE IT IS:

Good guy Horton deserving of recognition

By: Wally Hall
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012

— It is time to honor and say thanks to one of the all-time greats in Arkansas Razorbacks history.

The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame will honor Harold Horton at 6 p.m. Friday at the Hall of Fame in Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.

Cost is $25 for members of the Hall of Fame and $50 for nonmembers, but a membership with voting and nomination privileges comes with the $50.

It is an informal drop-by event with beverages and hors d’oeuvres, and a chance to give heartfelt thanks to a great guy and the lady who has put up with his long hours at work all these years, his wife, Betty.

Horton started his association with the University of Arkansas in 1958, first as a player — he was a captain his senior season — who helped the Hogs go 25-8 during his playing days.

Later he was an assistant coach and held several administrative positions before retiring July 31 as president of the Razorback Foundation. Under his leadership and direction, the foundation exceeded every expectation and goal.

The only time Horton wasn’t a Razorback in one form or another, he was mostly a young high school coach or leading the University of Central Arkansas to great success as its head football coach, including two national championships.

Horton’s success on the field was nothing compared to the lives he touched as a role model and mentor. He always had an open door policy for the players. He was never too busy to help with any problem a young man might have.

His popularity rivals that of Wilson Matthews, whose dedication to the UA led to his name being included on the prestigious Broyles-Matthews award that goes to the best assistant coach in college football.

To know Horton is to like him, even if he had to say, no, there were no more parking passes.

The way he says Deee-Wittt, his hometown, makes you want to go there for Thanksgiving.

Horton was inducted into the ASHOF in 1989 and has served on its board of directors ever since. He also has been inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor and the University of Central Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

A limited number of tickets are available for this chance to honor a living legend, and that can be done by calling (501) 663-4328.

More information can be found at www.arksportshalloffame.com, but tickets can only be purchased by calling that phone number or at the Hall of Fame.

When Horton was asked to be honored, he didn’t want to do it. Then he agreed but asked if admission really had to be charged.

He agreed, but only after he understood it was to cover expenses and that if anything was left it would go to the Hall of Fame, and with the stipulation it would be informal and not stuffy.

Our man Jimmy Dykes, who is always an Arkansas ambassador, has signed a new multiyear contract with ESPN as a basketball analyst.

Dykes joined the ESPN team 17 years ago and has advanced to where he does numerous SEC games each year. He also does studio work.

He was a valued walk-on for the Razorbacks, and after graduation in 1985 he served as an assistant coach at Arkansas, Kentucky, UALR and Oklahoma State before turning his attention to broadcasting.

Dykes and his family live in Johnson, and his favorite story as a player was when starting point guard Ricky Norton’s shoe came apart during a game. Dykes was sitting near the end of the bench when Eddie Sutton looked down and summoned him to come sit by him.

Dykes was sure his moment had come.

Sutton put his hand on his shoulder and asked Dykes, “What size shoe you wear?”

Dykes gave up a shoe to Norton, who stayed in the game, and the Hogs won.

Moral of the story?

Jimmy Dykes has always been a team player.

Sports, Pages 17 on 10/25/2012

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