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What Will the Final Legacy Be for Frank Broyles?


Coach Frank Broyles and Jeff Long

Would the UA have had a more peaceful next decade with folks in charge who had learned and worked under Broyles? Would we have seen such acrimony in the early 2000s from the former basketball coach, or such polarization of the football fan base in 2006 had Broyles moved on to other interests? Or were we blessed that Broyles had such an interest in Arkansas, from that first moment he saw the Arkansas people in the stands supporting their Hogs in 1948, that he simply could not step away until he had no choice, but giving every ounce of what he had?

As a builder of an athletic program that has succeeded despite a small population base and a limited amount of funds, Broyles still must be viewed — at least early in his tenure — as one of the most successful athletic directors in college sports history.

As a football coach, he won more than 70 percent of his games at a school that, prior to his arrival, was mostly mediocre. Again, he overcame a lack of resources at his disposal to contend with the best, particularly from 1959-71.

In both roles, as AD and coach, he astutely was ahead of the game. His offenses in the late 1960s were running “counter-trey” and the like before the NFL’s Washington Redskins made it famous starting in 1982. He always had an eye on the up-and-coming coaches and got the best ones on his staff. He saw the importance of TV in the college game and befriended the men in that profession, resulting in success both personal for Broyles and for the Hogs. He saw the distant future of college football and assured Arkansas’ place in it by maneuvering the Hogs into the Southeastern Conference in 1990, on the front end of conference realignment.

He lost his first wife, Barbara, to Alzheimer’s, and has dedicated the rest of his life to bringing attention to that debilitating disease while raising funds for treatment and a possible cure.

As a man, Broyles has been ever gracious, ever giving of his time. To the Razorback fan, to the sports reporter and to just anyone on the street, he has been a true gentleman. That should be the most important legacy he leaves behind. …

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Jim Harris is the former editor of ArkansasSports360. He has covered Arkansas sports for decades at papers including the Pine Bluff Commercial and the Arkansas Gazette. He a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). Jim is also in search of the best gumbo.

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