The win over South Carolina takes some of the pressure off Broyles and places it on the shoulders of Woods, who has now lost six straight. At South Carolina the Gamecocks storm onto the field at Williams-Brice Stadium just as the theme from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey reaches its thrilling crescendo. Perhaps that date is prophetic for South Carolina in its first SEC season; in falling to a 31-0 halftime deficit against Arkansas, the Gamecocks looked to be a good nine years away from contending for the championship of their new league. Woods's teams have slid steadily from 6-4-1 in 1989, his first season in Columbia, to 3-6-2 last year, and the good feelings that accompanied his arrival are fading fast.
With Alabama on deck for the Razorbacks this Saturday, Broyles knew he had to act quickly. With the appointment of Kines as interim coach, he says, "I've given the fans renewed hope." And if that hope is vain, and the Razorbacks win, say, just three more games this season? "We always have the option of going to a big-name coach later." In other words, Joe, don't redecorate your new office.
But Broyles may find it difficult to lure an established coach to Fayetteville because of his reputation as an athletic director who is hands-on to a fault. It was not a coincidence that Hatfield fled to Clemson shortly after learning that Broyles had signed that five-year extension. Did Broyles's meddling contribute to Hatfield's surprise departure? "His name is on the building down there," says Hatfield. "Let that be my answer."
"I don't know if we'll be able to hire a top head coach from somewhere else as long as Frank is here," says George Billingsley, a past president of the Razorback Foundation and one of the few Arkansas boosters to give voice to that view. "If Holtz and Hatfield had known what they'd have to put up with, working for Frank, I doubt they'd have come."
Broyles can't help himself. This is his baby. As he sees it, a license to meddle is his reward for long, meritorious service to the program. Despite being wooed many times, he says, "I have never considered going elsewhere. Longevity makes the important things and the little things in life all the sweeter."
That's something that Jack Crowe will have to discover elsewhere.