Having spent the majority of my life in Arkansas, the news that former Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles passed away today at the age of 92 hit everyone hard. The impact that Coach Broyles had on the Arkansas program, SWC and ultimately the SEC cannot be measured. The athletic program and the state of Arkansas was left in better shape after Broyles than it was before, and that is a fact that cannot be questioned.
Frank Broyles was a graduate of Georgia Tech University, as well as a tremendous quarterback. Coach Broyles would break into the coaching profession at Baylor and then Florida. Broyles’ first head coaching job would be for one season at Missouri before spending the rest of his career at Arkansas.
Arkansas would be taken to a whole new level of success with Broyles walking the sidelines. Broyles’ record at Arkansas would be impressive to say the least, going 144-58-5. In 1964, Arkansas would win its only National Championship under the leadership of Broyles.
What stands out to many that have been around Broyles during his tenure at Arkansas, is the impact he had on his assistants. The people Broyles either coached or had as his assistants reads like a Hall of Fame roster. The names include Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson, Joe Gibbs, Johnny Majors and Jerry Jones just to name a few. The Frank Broyles coaching tree is incredible to look at when you sit down and really analyze it. Super Bowl winners, Hall of Famers and national championship winners all make up the list, which is why the Broyles Award has come into existence.
For the younger generations that think of Broyles as just being the older gentleman that was the athletic director at Arkansas, I urge you to go back and watch some of the games that he and Keith Jackson did together. Over the years, I have gone back and watched games that Broyles and Jackson did together for ABC. Broyles had a very simple way of describing the action, which made it easy for people to understand and learn the game. I have learned more from listening to Broyles and Jackson do broadcasts from the ’80s than I have by listening to some coaches today. Simply put, Broyles remained a teacher throughout his life.
The work Broyles did for the Alzheimer’s Foundations cannot be talked about enough, either. Coach Broyles had a huge heart and that is what makes the people of Arkansas hurt tonight. Yes, Arkansas lost its coach and long time athletic director, but the state and people of Arkansas also lost a friend.
Thank you to Coach Broyles and thank you to the Broyles’ family for sharing him with the state, the Southwest Conference and the Southeastern Conference.