Clay Henry is the publisher and executive editor of Hawgs Illustrated. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and its All-America Committee, voter for the Heisman Trophy and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
When I was hired: Broyles wouldn't take Brad McMakin's no for an answer
Arkansas men's golf coach Brad McMakin is shown Friday, May 24, 2019, on the 16th fairway during the first day of play in the Men's NCAA Golf Championships at Blessings Golf Club in Johnson.
Brad McMakin pushed back in his desk chair at the Blessings Golf Club and rubbed his crew cut when a reporter asked to go back to the day then-athletics director Frank Broyles hired him as golf coach.
McMakin, who just finished his 14th season at Arkansas, still marvels at the way he landed in Fayetteville, insisting that he was trying to turn down Broyles for the entire two days of the interview process in 2006.
It points to the Broyles charm and not willing to take no for an answer. He did that in hiring coaches when he was the Arkansas football coach, just as he did to recruits who tried to say no. He just wouldn’t let them and he sure didn’t let McMakin.
The McMakin hire was one of Broyles' final hires and one of his best. McMakin led the Razorbacks to a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2009 and won the SEC title last spring in one of the nation’s best golf conferences. In 2017, freshman Mason Overstreet was individual runner-up at the NCAA Championships.
McMakin has taken Arkansas to six NCAA fields, and the Razorbacks have won 28 tournament titles under him.
Five golfers who were recruited to Arkansas by McMakin - Andrew Landry, Austin Cook, David Lingmerth, Sebastian Cappelen and Ethan Tracy - have earned PGA Tour cards. Landry, Cook and Lingmerth have all won on the tour.
McMakin was in his 10th year as Lamar coach when Broyles asked him to interview for the vacancy after Mike Ketcham resigned in the middle of a season. McMakin told him there was no need. The Oklahoma job was about to come open and he was waiting on a chance to go back to his alma mater.
When I Was Hired
This is the fourth in a multi-part series detailing the backstory to head coaches being hired at Arkansas.
Under Oklahoma coach Gregg Grost, McMakin was a sophomore when the Sooners won the 1989 national championship in Edmond, Okla., with a stunning upset of top-ranked Oklahoma State.
Grost was instrumental in McMakin getting the Lamar job. McMakin, a native of Beaumont, Texas, signed with Lamar when Grost coached there, then followed him to Oklahoma. McMakin graduated from OU in 1991.
The Lamar storyline goes back to McMakin’s prep days at Beaumont Kelly. He played for former Lamar coach Charles Rodemacher. That’s another reason it was a long shot for McMakin to leave for Arkansas. Just getting an interview from McMakin was a chore for Broyles.
“Coach Broyles convinced me that it would be good practice for the (potential OU) interview,” McMakin said. “I came with my wife and told him again I wasn’t going to take the job, but we went through the process anyway.
“The next day – and my wife was waiting in the car – I came to the Broyles Center to tell him no again. I was brought into a conference room with all the assistant athletic directors.”
Lo and behold, Broyles introduced McMakin “as our new golf coach.” He began to point to different administrators with specific assignments.
“You get him and his wife a car," Broyles said, according to McMakin. "You get him an apartment for temporary quarters. You get him keys. You get him the employment papers.
"When he’d made the last of the assignments, he turned and went out the door on the other end of the conference room. I was left standing there.”
There was nothing left to do but go out to the car and tell his wife he had a new job.
“It was really incredible,” McMakin said. “He was an incredible man with great vision and ability to do almost anything. I had no intention of becoming golf coach at Arkansas, yet here I was, his new golf coach. It was clear to me how much he loved Arkansas and golf.”
Yes, Broyles loved golf.
“Oh, he did,” McMakin said. “He came to hit balls at our facility almost every day and he would hit two big buckets. I told my players if they practiced as hard and as well as Coach Broyles, we’d be just fine.
“I’d give him lessons almost every time. He had a huge quest for golf knowledge. He absolutely loved the game and I loved working for him. He was a really good ball striker, always.”
One of McMakin’s great thrills was going to Augusta National Golf Club with Broyles, who was a member. McMakin holed a double eagle on the par-5 15th while playing in a group with Broyles.
“Coach Broyles was more excited than I was,” McMakin said. “He got out his phone in the fairway and started calling people to tell them I made a double eagle at No. 15. We waited a few minutes while he called a bunch of people.
“I was excited, too, but not as much as he was. It was a lot of fun.”
McMakin got the call asking if he would take the Oklahoma job a few years later in 2009, but he was too happy at Arkansas to return to his alma mater where he was a two-year captain.
By then, McMakin and the Hogs were rolling.
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