HOG CALLS:

Recalling the greatness of Clyde ‘Smackover’ Scott

Published: Saturday, February 3, 2018
Clyde Scott, center, of Arkansas clears first hurdle in preliminary heat of 110-meter high hurdle event at NCAA meet in Minneapolis, June 18, 1948, before going on to win and set a record of 14 seconds flat. (AP Photo/Chet Magnuson)
Clyde Scott, center, of Arkansas clears first hurdle in preliminary heat of 110-meter high hurdle event at NCAA meet in Minneapolis, June 18, 1948, before going on to win and set a record of 14 seconds flat. (AP Photo/Chet Magnuson)

FAYETTEVILLE -- Last week's death at 93 of Arkansas Razorbacks all-time football/track great Clyde "Smackover" Scott recalls a story gratefully running against the grain.

Not fully appreciating to downright disrespecting the achievements of previous generations seems an inherent trait, unfortunately, passed on since mankind first could recall its history. Especially in athletics.

When we're in our 20s we tend to view those in their middle and old age as always that age rather than envisioning them back in their athletic prime.

I confess writing such from experience. At the age of 23 in 1974, I wrote extolling the greatness of present-day basketball players while with know-nothing silliness flippantly underappreciating their predecessors.

The late George Cole, the gravel-voiced former Razorbacks All-American football player, coach and athletic director still working then as AD emeritus, politely but firmly educated me there were players back in the day that "were pretty damned good."

Of course, he was absolutely right about my idiocy belittling what I hadn't researched.

That experience enhances appreciation of athletes appreciating athletes before their time.

Mike Conley, in his Razorbacks' national triple jumping-long jumping championship prime, at a banquet thanking former distance great Niall O'Shaughnessy as John McDonnell's pioneer athlete putting Arkansas on the track map to attract the national championships to follow comes to mind.

Todd Day, never Mr. Humble during his Razorbacks basketball days from 1988-92, matured to paying more attention to his fellow 2002 Razorbacks Hall of Honor tributes than his own also struck a positive chord.

Most still with us who saw Scott perform recall him as one of and maybe THE best all-time Razorbacks athlete.

Called "Smackover" because of his hometown but also his abilities to run smack over or around defenses as an All-American wingback for John Barnhill's 1946 Southwest Conference champions, Scott accomplished even more on the track. Especially since Smackover didn't have a track and the UA then didn't have a full-time track coach.

Nevertheless, Scott the self-taught hurdler, in 1948 became the Razorbacks' first NCAA track champion and first Olympic medalist claiming silver for the U.S. in London.

Scott remained the Razorbacks' lone national track champion until Randy Stephens won the 1982 NCAA Indoor 1,000.

McDonnell's men won so much thereafter it drew scant notice in 1997 when Russellville native Shannon Sidney, a receiver on Danny Ford's 1995 Razorbacks SEC West champions, won the SEC Outdoor 400-intermediate hurdlers. Few in Sidney's peer group knew that Sidney had joined Scott as the lone Razorbacks winning titles in football and hurdles.

But Sidney did, marveling when Scott approached him at an awards program both attended.

"Mr. Scott came up and introduced himself and I immediately asked someone 'Take our picture!" Sidney recalled. "If I ever was going to meet a Razorback from the past, I wanted it to be him. 'Wow! That's Clyde Scott and he's telling me 'Congratulations!"

More congratulations to Shannon Sidney back then as the rare young man appreciating history when he sees it.

Sports on 02/03/2018

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