Hog Calls:

Nobody did it 'bettah' than Broyles

By: Nate Allen
Published: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Retired Arkansas athletics director Frank Broyles sits with his wife, Gen Whitehead Broyles before the start of Arkansas' men's basketball game with Alabama Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Bud Walton Arena.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Retired Arkansas athletics director Frank Broyles sits with his wife, Gen Whitehead Broyles before the start of Arkansas' men's basketball game with Alabama Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Bud Walton Arena.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Even the women's track and field coach could tell a Frank Broyles anecdote if addressing today's 2 p.m. public celebration of life at Walton Arena for the Arkansas Razorbacks' football coach and men's athletic director.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville's head football coach from 1958-76 and athletic director from 1973-2007, Broyles died last Monday at 92.

They limited today's speakers to five. Good thing.

Reynolds Razorback Stadium might overflow if all told a tale there of Frank Broyles.

Lance Harter would be among them.

The then-Lady Razorbacks program was led by since retired women's athletic director Bev Lewis when she hired Harter 27 years ago to succeed herself as track coach.

So Harter, the now two-time Arkansas national championship/31 times SEC champion coach, technically never worked directly for Broyles but can say that Broyles ran for him.

It was autumn 1991 in Athens, Ga. Broyles, then almost 66, had moved the UA from the Southwest Conference to the SEC actively effective in 1992 except two sports: Men's cross country, coached by John McDonnell and his incomparable 1974-2007 string of SWC and SEC cross country championships, and women's cross country coached by Harter.

Harter recalls the "footrace" for the trophy presentation announced after the Deena Drossin-led Lady Razorbacks won the 1991 SEC championship.

"It was a footrace between young lady athletes and an older man," Harter said. "Because when they announced the trophy presentation the team ran to it and Coach Broyles sprinted right with them. He was so excited hoisting the trophies for John's team and our team to start Arkansas in the SEC winning championships. Nobody wanted Arkansas to win at everything like Coach Broyles."

And nobody spent practically every waking minute working on Arkansas winning like Frank Broyles whether hiring Hall of Fame coaches or frugally fashioning state of the art facilities.

Bill Gray, a quarterback-defensive back for Broyles from 1962-64 and associate athletic director from 1987 through Broyles' retirement, marvels that Broyles could spot a trend and innovate off it before it existed.

"As a player and as an administrator I learned Coach could foresee things in the future," Gray said. "He saw things that everybody else didn't have a clue about."

It made Broyles an exhilarating, yet sometimes exasperating man to work for.

"Coach would come to work with new ideas all the time," Gray said. "And I would always wait until the next day and ask if that was what he really wanted to do. Because about half the time after a day running it through his mind he wouldn't."

Broyles would have thought of something "bettah," the most imitated word of his fabled Georgia accent.

From championships, to fundraising for athletics and academics to lending Arkansas national recognition as ABC's top college football analyst paired with iconic play-by play man Keith Jackson to authoring the Alzheimer's Playbook for Alzheimer's caregivers, nobody represented Arkansas longer or "bettah" than Frank Broyles.

Odds loom large that nobody ever will, especially not the "bettah."

Sports on 08/19/2017

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