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.
No slip from DeBriyn to Van Horn
Former University of Arkansas baseball coach Norm DeBriyn speaks during the 14th annual Rogers Mayor's Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, May 1, 2014, at Cross Church in Rogers.
FAYETTEVILLE -- With his wonderfully self-deprecating wit and Wisconsin accent mixed into his embellished imitation of Frank Broyles' energized Georgia drawl, Norm DeBriyn relayed the conversation the day he resigned to then-Arkansas Athletic Director Broyles after 33 years coaching Razorbacks baseball.
Now finishing his 12th year as an associate athletic director of the Razorback Foundation, DeBriyn addressed a gathering of baseball program donors Thursday at Bear's Place restaurant in Fayetteville regarding Coach Dave Van Horn's Razorbacks before their Friday night opener in the Charlottesville (Va.) Regional.
"So I go in," DeBriyn said, "and say 'Coach Broyles, I think it's time I hang them up.' And he said, 'Do you think we can get Van Horn?' "
Norm had to wait awhile for audience laughter to subside.
"I said, 'I think we can,' " DeBriyn said. "And we did and he has done a great job."
DeBriyn's second baseman for his 1982 Razorbacks and an assistant from 1985-87 that included two trips to the College World Series, Van Horn has done a great job with 12 regionals in 12 years and three College World Series appearances after taking Nebraska to the Cornhuskers' first two CWS appearances.
However, it should be recalled that DeBriyn, a College Baseball Hall of Famer, did a great job at Arkansas before him.
Norm raised Razorbacks baseball from no conference affiliation in an American Legion park to George Cole Field and then to the college baseball mecca that is Baum Stadium with four College World Series appearances and Southwest Conference and SEC championships along the way.
Bob Carver always answered the phone: "Carver, here."
Whenever the Razorbacks called, the car dealer from Mena always answered.
Bob always had a car available for a Razorbacks coach along with hands-on encouragement and hands-off interference for the coaches driving the cars.
He was a booster who knew the rules and knew the game. He knew the game so well that he was the constant spotter for his close friend, the late Paul Eells, on the Razorback radio network football broadcasts.
Dean Weber, the former longtime Razorbacks trainer who is about to become a Razorback Foundation assistant director, knew Bob best among the Razorbacks staffers mourning his death earlier this week at 78.
"He was traveling with us and donating cars back when I came here in 1973," Weber said Tuesday night. "Just a great supporter. He helped so many people and donated to so many other areas of the university. He was a great friend of Nolan Richardson and Houston Nutt and all of us."
Richardson, a former basketball coach, and Nutt, a former football coach, both expressed condolences.
"Great guy," Richardson said. "He will be missed by me and Rose [Richardson's wife]. He never asked for anything. He just helped people. We all will miss him."
Nutt also cited Carver's unwavering Arkansas loyalty.
"He was a giver, " Nutt said. "He gave us cars and gave us time. I felt like he was family and I know he did a good job for the radio crew.
"You knew he loved the Razorbacks, and he gave and gave."
Sports on 05/31/2014