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, has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, and has authored three books about the Razorbacks.
Arkansas fans get best of both worlds
Arkansas fans cheer during a game against LSU on Friday, May 10, 2019, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — After two days of one or the other, Arkansas Razorbacks fans finally get the best of both.
If the weather cooperates, at 1 p.m. today at Baum-Walker Stadium, on ESPN2 they can see their nationally No. 4 and SEC West-leading Razorbacks complete a three-game series with the LSU Tigers, Arkansas’ archest of arch SEC baseball rivals.
And from 5 through 8:40 tonight they can see their nationally No. 1 women’s and nationally No. 20 men’s track and field teams complete the SEC Outdoor Championships that Arkansas hosts at John McDonnell Field.
Baseball and track conflicted Thursday and Friday night.
Coach Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks trounced the traditionally tough Tigers, 14-4 and 11-6 at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Meanwhile Coach Lance Harter’s Razorbacks women and Coach Chris Bucknam’s Razorbacks men are in contention at the SEC meet.
Finally today and tonight comes the best of both separately to savor.
For some Razorbacks fans it stokes fond 1985 remembrances. Hog callers walked back and forth across the street separately yet somewhat simultaneously attending McDonnell’s fourth consecutive Southwest Conference triple crown winner win the SWC Outdoors. Norm DeBriyn’s College World Series-bound Razorbacks won the only SWC Tournament they hosted at the adjacent George Cole Field.
Those were giddy Hog times.
Assisted by Hall of Honor field events coach Dick Booth, McDonnell, the Hall of Fame 42-time national champion/84 times conference champion coach, in 1985 piloted among the all-time best ever collegiate men’s track and field teams.
It was led by Mike Conley, the nine-time NCAA champion and eventual Olympic gold medalist.
Hall of Fame coach DeBriyn in 1985 presided over one of his greatest teams. His Hogs finished 51-15 in Omaha while lighting the way toward Baum-Walker.
Former DeBriyn-coached Razorbacks - by then Major Leaguers - Tim Lollar, Johnny Ray, Kevin McReynolds and their Arkansas native agent, Tom Selakovich, donated the funding to light the old George Cole Field. That lit Arkansas’ full house the 1985 SWC Tournament, beaconing the baseball popularity building into Baum by 1996.
A giddy Hogs’ spring then, and a giddy Hogs’ spring now.
Coming off a 2018 College World Series runner-up, Van Horn’s Razorbacks have won 11 of their last 12 SEC games.
Harter, favored to complete an SEC triple crown after an NCAA Indoor national championship, coaches a team in women’s track rivaling some of McDonnell’s best for men.
Bucknam, with many McDonnell moments coaching 21 SEC championship teams and one national indoor championship, is in a rebuilding mode now, but his SEC Indoor Hogs overachieved for second in the league and will battle tonight.
For the avid all-seasons Razorbacks fan, it’s a best of both worlds worth weathering an unseasonable spring chill.
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