SBD/August 15, 2017/People and Pop Culture

Influential Longtime Arkansas Coach, AD Frank Broyles Dies At 92 After Alzheimer's Battle



Broyles was UA's football coach from '58-'76 and the school's AD from '73-'07
FRANK BROYLES, the "most prominent figure in Arkansas sports history," died yesterday at 92 from complications of Alzheimer's disease, according to a front-page piece by Bill Bowden of the ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE. Broyles spent more than 50 years at the Univ. of Arkansas, where he became "one of the most familiar and powerful figures in college sports." He served as UA's football coach from '58-76, winning the school's only national championship in '64. He also was the school's AD from '73-'07, "steering the Hogs from the Southwest Conference to the Southeastern Conference in 1991 in a move that has helped ensure the program's long-term financial stability." Former SEC Commissioner ROY KRAMER said that the move to the conference has "made a significant difference in television royalties" for UA. Broyles since retiring as AD "worked as a fundraiser for the Razorback Foundation until '14 while also assisting caregivers and family members of those who have Alzheimer's disease" through his foundation (ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE, 8/15). In Little Rock, Bob Holt notes Broyles "built an all-sports program and first-class facilities" while AD, as UA spent more than $230M on facilities during his tenure. The athletic department's "annual budget grew" from $900,000 to $44.8M during his 34 years as AD. Broyles additionally "earned acclaim after his retirement from coaching as ABC's top college football analyst" from '77-85, when he was "teamed with play-by-play man KEITH JACKSON" (ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE, 8/15). Broyles as a student-athlete also "won 10 letters in three sports at Georgia Tech," including being named All-SEC QB in '44 and '46 (, 8/14).

INCREDIBLE HIRING RECORD: In Austin, Brian Davis noted that Broyles was "known for his ability to identify top coaches, both head coaches and assistants." He was "responsible for the hiring of basketball coaches EDDIE SUTTON and NOLAN RICHARDSON as well as LOU HOLTZ and KEN HATFIELD in football." Broyles also hired track coach JOHN MCDONNELL, who "won 40 national championships with the Razorbacks." Richardson led UA to the '94 men's basketball title (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 8/15). In N.Y., Frank Litsky notes Broyles' acumen in "choosing assistant coaches was renowned." At least 30 became "head coaches of college or professional teams." JIMMY JOHNSON, BARRY SWITZER and JOHNNY MAJORS "went on to win national college championships," while Johnson, Switzer and JOE GIBBS won Super Bowls. The National College Football Awards Association in '96 "created the Frank Broyles Award, given to outstanding assistant coaches" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/15).

JERRY JONES REFLECTS: Cowboys Owner JERRY JONES played on the '64 UA national championship team and said that Broyles was the "most influential man in his life outside of his father." Jones called the loss "immeasurable." Jones: "He was the singular most important man of sports in the history of the State of Arkansas, and his impact on the game of football across our country was just as significant." In Ft. Worth, Drew Davison notes Broyles was "mentioned prominently" in Jones’ Pro Football HOF speech earlier this month (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/15). Jones said that no one "taught him more about the game than Broyles did" (, 8/15).
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