Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Horton bids a very fond farewell
Tim Horton spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Arkansas.
FAYETTEVILLE Tim Horton wants Arkansas fans to know something about his departure from the football staff at his alma mater to join Gus Malzahn’s staff at Auburn.
“Like I told Bret Bielema, I’m going to be a Razorback for 364 days a year, but on that one day, I’m going to try to beat those Hogs,” Horton said this week.
Horton, 45, had a chance to remain on Bielema’s first staff, but after six years of being among the lowest-paid members of the Arkansas staff, he elected on Friday to coach tight ends at one of the Hogs’ SEC West rivals.
That one day Horton will be out to beat the Razorbacks will come Nov. 2 next season at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“That will be interesting,”Horton said, before relating a story about his wife, Lauren, at a 2012 Cotton Bowl function before Arkansas played Kansas State, where he coached running backs during the 2006 season.
“The first function we went to at the Cotton Bowl was at Cowboys Stadium and the K-State people were there too,” Horton said. “They start playing one of the Kansas State songs, the Wabash Cannonball, and the music gets going and the next thing I know my wife is over there clapping like a K-Stater.
“I nudged her and was like, ‘Hey, Lauren,’ so I’ll have to watch out and not call the Razorbacks.”
Horton said the 40-plusdays of limbo he was in between Arkansas’ 20-13 loss to LSU and his decision to take the Auburn job weren’t as filled with anxiety as some would think.
“To be honest, as a coach, you want to be recruiting or in a bowl game that time of year,” he said. “That’s what you do and where you want to be. I was in neither.
“Because of that, I got to do things with my family that I’ve never done before. I got to go duck hunting. I had never done that before. I got to go deer hunting. I had never been deer hunting before.
“I got to take my children to school, and that was something I rarely got to do. I was very much at peace that I was going to be taken care of. I didn’t know where. The last month was good for me and my family.”
Horton said Malzahn has not designated specific recruiting areas for his staff just yet, but he figures he’ll wind up working Arkansas for the Tigers.
“My best friends in Arkansas, without question, are the high school coaches,” he said. “Getting to coach at Arkansas and have that relationship with those high school coaches is what I’ll miss the most.”
Horton said Lauren and their children, Caroline and Jackson, returned to Fayetteville last weekend working on preparations for the move to Auburn.
“I’m just thankful to have had the opportunity to play and work at the University of Arkansas for 10 years,” Horton said. “I feel really blessed that I was able to come home. It was special to me because my family lives in Fayetteville and my wife’s family is from Conway. Not a lot of coaches get that chance in this crazy profession that we’re in.”
Sports, Pages 19 on 01/08/2013