Jones: Broyles taught coaches how to coach

By: Clay Henry
Published: Friday, August 18, 2017
Oklahoma State football coach Pat Jones looks on during a 1993 game in Stillwater, Okla. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)
Oklahoma State football coach Pat Jones looks on during a 1993 game in Stillwater, Okla. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)

— Pat Jones asked the question: Who would you put on the Mount Rushmore of Arkansas?

There was some debate. It could include Bill Clinton, a former President. It could be Wilbur Mills, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Perhaps could be former U.S. Senator J. William Fullbright.

Several former sports celebrities come to mind, too. Dan Hampton is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Sidney Moncrief was an NBA basketball great from the state.

Jones didn't argue against any of those, but he said you'd be just fine with only one person on the mountain. It would be Frank Broyles.

“He'd be the one out of all of those who did the most for Arkansas,” Jones said. “I am not sure anyone else is even close.”

Jones is proud to be from the Broyles coaching tree, one of around 40 major college coaches who worked at Arkansas during Broyles' 19 years as head coach.

“I'm one of the lesser ones,” Jones said. “But I am so proud to be in that group, to say they worked for Coach Broyles. You look at that list, it's incredible. And, some of them like Hayden Fry, Jimmy Johnson and Johnny Majors have huge coaching trees, too. So you include them under Coach Broyles, too. It's really incredible the reach across college and pro football, still today. It keeps going.”

Jones was a graduate assistant under Broyles in 1974, then worked as defensive line coach in 1975 under Johnson, the coordinator. That team won the Southwest Conference and the Cotton Bowl - Broyles' final championships as head coach.

Jones went on to coach under Johnson at Oklahoma State, then served as the Cowboys' head coach for 11 seasons. His teams won 10 games three times and played in four bowl games.

“I am a native Arkansan,” Jones said. “I grew up in Little Rock, close to War Memorial Stadium in Pulaski Heights. I went to Arkansas games in the 1950s when Jack Mitchell and Bowden Wyatt were the head coaches.The stadium was empty.

“Coach Broyles came in 1958 and changed all of that. It took about one season to fill the stadium in Little Rock. It was amazing how quickly he did it. And, in a time when there were only six bowl games, suddenly Arkansas was playing somewhere every year: Cotton, Sugar and Gator. Those were big-time bowls.”

Those were the glory years of Arkansas football. The UA staffs were among the bests in college football. The giants got their start on the Broyles staffs.

“They sure did,” Jones said. “And, they all learned how to be a head coach. He showed them. He taught them.

“Did we know that's what was going on? Did we know we were learning to be a head coach?

“I think we did. You didn't have to be a brain surgeon to figure out the way he was doing it was the way you needed to do it, too.

“He taught us how to dress, how to hire staffs, how to conduct business in meeting rooms, staff rooms and on the field. He showed us how to work with the press. You watched it. What he did became the way everyone did it all across the country.”

Jones said it was sometimes subtle corrections and sometimes firm. It might be how to conduct yourself in the home of a recruit.

“When I was there was during the time when the old Steak and Ale was rolling pretty good over by North Little Rock High School," he said. "That's where Coach Broyles might meet a booster for dinner. We ate a lot of meals there and they were really good.

“We were going to see a player at Little Rock Hall and eventually to his home, his grandmother's place. We ate this huge meal at Steak and Ale, desserts, the works. We were full. Coach Broyles was full.

“But the next thing we knew we were in the home. The grandmother had prepared a nice meal with apple pie. I immediately said I was full. Coach Broyles pulled me in the next room.”

There was a not-so-gentle message whispered.

“He made it clear that no matter how much I'd just had for dinner, I was going to eat again and every bit of it, including the pie,” Jones said. “You cannot refuse a meal in the home of a recruit. It's going to be really good, too.”

They returned to the kitchen table.

“Coach Broyles announced that we couldn't wait to eat,” Jones said. “And we made sure she knew how good it was when we finished it.”

Apparently, Broyles asked for a second plate.

“Like I said, you learned how it was done with Coach Broyles,” Jones said. “He taught you every step. You saw how to carry yourself. It was big time, in living color.

“I don't know that I've seen anyone better in the home of a recruit. He could adapt to any situation. He was brilliant there and could close and seal the deal. If he saw you doing it wrong, he could explain how it was done.

“Maybe some you didn't have to be a brain surgeon to understand, but he showed you how to be a head coach in every area.”

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