Nate Allen is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Allen is a voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has authored three books about the Razorbacks.
This life of the party will be missed
FAYETTEVILLE - The Razorbacks’ red just lost some of its flash.
No, this has nothing to do with those “anthracite” uniforms that the traditionally cardinal and white clad Razorbacks wore twice, adding more that Arkansas fans prefer to forget from a forgettable 2012 football season.
The red just can’t blaze quite as flashily because Bob McBride won’t be here taking it to shades paling a peacock.
The life of innumerable Arkansas parties died in his sleep at 72 last week.
Whether with his red cars or his red clothes and even his red hair, Bob McBride epitomized the festive side of boosters in Razorback red.
And Cardinal red, too.
An Anheuser-Busch distributor in Arkansas better be in love with the Arkansas Razorbacks and St. Louis Cardinals.
Bob was born in love with both. Few ever loved the Razorbacks and Cardinals so lavishly or enhanced the love of others for the Hogs and Redbirds so joyously by bringing so many along for the ride whether in skyboxes at home or big games on the road.
It was always a party whether at some gala or Roger’s Rec Hall, Fayetteville’s venerable pool hall and among many local haunts that Bob felt most at home.
Funny, the man of such sartorial and vehicular flash actually was soft spoken and an understated philanthropist.
If charity events requested beverages and a sponsor, Bob inevitably quietly obliged.
I never pretended to know Bob really well but knew enough to learn much by one incident.
Bob bought a round as I thanked him but declined because I was friends with Borys Malczycki, the Pabst distributor and former Razorbacks coach and character.
“No problem,” Bob, smiling said, buying me a Pabst. “I like that rascal myself.”
When Borys, who has since passed away, got out of the Pabst business, I switched to Busch because of Bob.
I liked that rascal myself.
DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER
When CBS showed former Razorbacks Coach Bobby Petrino cursing LSU Coach Les Miles during what turned out to be Petrino’s final Arkansas SEC game in 2011, Arkansans blamed CBS for showing the coach cursing.
Just guessing, but likely the publicly unspoken initial reaction at Rutgers last week blamed ESPN for showing the video of its coach, Mike Rice, verbally and physically abusing his basketball players.
That’s a guess because Rutgers had even less choice to fire Rice than Arkansas had choice firing Petrino after the coach’s April Fools’ Day, 2012 motorcycle accident revealed UA hiring policy violations that even successive 10-3 and 11-2 seasons couldn’t absolve.
National outrage over the Rice video compiled by a Rutgers staffer of practices in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 quickly compelled Rutgers to recoil with belated horror and fire Rice and induce Athletic Director Tim Brunetti to “resign.”
Brunetti had seen video of Rice’s misconduct but merely suspended him three games and fined him during the 2012-2013 season instead of firing him.
Rutgers President Robert Barchi currently hangs on but under criticism.
The Rutgers fallout ought to have all athletic directors and their academic bosses less attacking the messenger and more into probing what messages their coaches impart.
Sports, Pages 16 on 04/08/2013