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Wonderful tributes honor Broyles' legacy

By: Wally Hall
Published: Wednesday, August 15, 2018
A helmet with the initials of longtime Arkansas coach and athletics director Frank Broyles is shown during a game against Florida A&M on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Little Rock.
Photo by Benjamin Krain
A helmet with the initials of longtime Arkansas coach and athletics director Frank Broyles is shown during a game against Florida A&M on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Little Rock.

From Gov. Asa Hutchinson declaring it Frank Broyles Day in Arkansas to the amazing film the University of Arkansas did on Broyles, Tuesday was great.

David Bazzel and Roger Scott had hall of fame coaches calling 103.7-FM, The Buzz to share memories of working for Broyles.


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TV stations honored Broyles with video.

It reminded yours truly of some of the personal interactions with Broyles, mostly on a trip to Japan and Hong Kong with the basketball team in 1984.

It was like a big family trip. All the coaches brought their wives and kids, if they were still living at home.

Broyles was -- let's see, what's the right word -- frugal. From the time we landed in Japan, he would tell his wife Barbara all the shopping would be done on the last leg, in Hong Kong, where things were much cheaper. He knew she would be buying for all six of their children and any grandchild.

Most days on that trip started with a tennis match between the teams of Broyles and Ted Harrod, and Eddie Sutton and Bill Brown.

Sutton and Brown definitely had an age advantage and it was a sport they played regularly, but of the six or seven matches they never won. Harrod was a regular tennis player and Broyles, with his long legs and reach, was so agile you would have never known his sport was golf.

We traveled to six cities in Japan plus Hong Kong, so we never had a meal in the same place. One night the restaurant was so traditional we sat on the floor on cushions, and Broyles poured himself a cup of tea, took a big gulp and his eyes opened like he had sat on a nail.

He sputtered: "That's alcohol ... I've never had a sip of alcohol in my life." He swallowed it, picked up the saki and handed it to the waiter, saying we didn't need it.

On the final day, with the international tournament over and the Razorbacks finishing second (Joe Kleine and Alvin Robertson left before the final two games to join the Olympics team), part of the deal was the players and coaches got to go shopping in a jewelry store. Whatever they bought was at cost, which in Japan isn't all that cheap.

It was there Barbara Broyles was looking at Rolex watches, men's and women's. Broyles said something, but his wife calmly said: "Those are my kids, and they are getting something nice, but I'll wait for Hong Kong."

In Hong Kong your trusty scribe bought a fake Rolex for $5, and when Broyles and Sutton saw it they literally ordered me back on the street to find the guy. Minutes later, Broyles and Sutton were on their knees in one of their suites hand-picking watches for family and friends.

By the time the official party made it to the airport to come home, the Broyles had bought three extra suitcases for Barbara's family gifts.

Fast forward a few years and a couple of weeks after the Arkansas Democrat bought the Arkansas Gazette, and a call came from Broyles' longtime assistant who wanted to make an appointment for Broyles to meet with me in my office.

When Broyles arrived, five minutes early, I was ready.

Broyles sat down and without pause basically told me how the cow ate the cabbage, that the Razorbacks were bigger than the old Gazette and bigger than the Democrat-Gazette. That things might change but that would never change.

After about five long minutes of listening, during a pause, I said: "All I want is a professional relationship."

Broyles stood up, looked me in the eye and said with a genuine smile, "Perfect," and he walked out.

Sports on 08/15/2018


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