Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
SEC stars will fill streets of Music City
The Nashville, Tenn., downtown area and the Cumberland River are shown in this file photo. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
For the first time ever, the SEC football media days will be in Nashville, Tenn., and already there is a problem in that the street in front of the Grand Hyatt, the official hotel, is closed due to construction.
For some reason when that news release was received, thoughts went to two years ago during the meetings at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala., when the driveway in front of the hotel was partially blocked for several hours by a big black Mercedes.
No one told the owner to move, but then most people don’t tell Nick Saban what to do. Saban co-owns three Mercedes Benz dealerships.
All 14 coaches will get interviewed next week and 42 players.
The only two teams not bringing a player who is a senior will also be the top two picks to win the SEC championship.
Alabama and Georgia are both bringing three juniors.
Arkansas will be represented by senior KJ Jefferson and juniors Landon Jackson and Raheim Sanders.
Of the 42 players attending, 28 are seniors, 13 are juniors and the lone sophomore making the trip is Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins, who led the SEC in rushing last season. Sanders was a close second.
Jefferson is one of only five quarterbacks who will be at media days.
Sam Pittman and the Razorbacks will go Wednesday morning along with Saban and Alabama, and this year no one has to worry about the driveway being blocked.
When you lose four signees to the Major League Baseball Draft, it means you are recruiting some of the best players in the country.
Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn expected it since the Hogs had the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.
Former signees Aidan Miller, Kendall George, Nazzan Zanetello and Walker Martin were taken in the first 52 pickcs of the draft Sunday.
What Van Horn will do now is what he always does: Take of the players he has coming back, mix them with the rest of the recruiting class and put together a top-shelf team.
Plus, he’ll use the transfer portal to shore up some spots and add some depth.
Losing four in the first round means Van Horn and staff had signed some blue chippers.
After a decade as the Russellville School District athletic director, Johnny Johnson has retired, effective last week.
In his time at Russellville, Johnson led the way to numerous updates and upgrades in facilities and leaves the school district in a better place than he found it.
Johnson started his career as basketball coach, spent a few years as an assistant coach at Arkansas-Little Rock during a time when the Trojans made two NCAA Tournament appearances.
From there he went to be head coach at College of the Ozarks, where he had great success, leading his team to several NAIA Tournament appearances in his 11 seasons there.
Johnson continued his education with an eye on administration and became the Little Rock School District athletic director in 2001 with a plan to update as many facilities as he could with money coming from the private sector.
He added Buddy Coleman Stadium to the Central High School campus as well as upgrading the Tigers’ weight room and overseeing a new gym at Hall High School to name just a few of his accomplishments.
In 2020 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
Johnson spent a total of 38 years in coaching and athletic administration and his immediate plans are simple, take one day at a time.
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