SI Vault
 
BROYLES: Right Man, Right Time
Dan Jenkins
October 03, 2007
HOW ONE COACH REINVENTED THE RAZORBACKS AND GOT A WHOLE STATE CALLING, "WHOOOO, PIG, SOOEY!"
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
October 03, 2007

Broyles: Right Man, Right Time

HOW ONE COACH REINVENTED THE RAZORBACKS AND GOT A WHOLE STATE CALLING, "WHOOOO, PIG, SOOEY!"

View CoverRead All Articles
1 2

Largely, Broyles enjoys talking about Arkansas and how it was just sitting there, waiting for somebody to do the job. "When I was at Georgia Tech, and we were constantly fighting Georgia for athletes, we used to sit around and think how wonderful it would be to have a whole state to ourselves," he says. "I tried like the dickens in 1953 to get this job, when they gave it to Bowden Wyatt, and I tried again in 1955, when they gave it to Jack Mitchell. But I'm glad now that I didn't get it then. It wasn't ready. It was perfect when I arrived."

Broyles arrived in 1958 when Arkansas's physical plant was just taking shape. Athletic director John Barnhill had been scrounging for the funds, and getting them: to build the stadium in Little Rock, to enlarge the Fayetteville stadium, to build a new field house and a new athletic dormitory.

"Thanks to Barney," Broyles says, " Arkansas had begun to lose its old image, that of a northwest Arkansas institution. At last, it had something good to show the athletes and to keep the good ones from leaving the state. South Arkansas kids used to go to LSU, and east Arkansas kids used to go to Ole Miss. Well, look who got away. Players like Don Hutson, Bear Bryant, Ken Kavanaugh. In the old days if you didn't sign a kid in his home, you didn't sign him. You couldn't let him see the campus."

Now you can. And the improvements continue with the victories. Pre-Broyles, there were just three Arkansas booster clubs in the state. Now: 23. Pre-Broyles, the Fayetteville stadium held 31,000. Next year: 51,000. Pre-Broyles, the Little Rock stadium held 32,000. Now: 47,000. The athletic dorm is being redecorated, with study and recreational rooms added.

One last factor in Arkansas's favor is an ideal schedule, annually. In every season since 1961 Broyles has scheduled a hand-chosen patsy. "It gives us a mental rest," he says. "As General Neyland used to say, 'When they look back at that 9-1, they don't ask who the nine were.' "

When he first came to Arkansas, Broyles had a little trouble selling the soft spot in the schedule to the fans. But he was speaking to a booster group a few years ago, and a fellow in the audience spoke up.

"Coach," he said, "it looks like to me if we're tryin' to win a lot of ball games, it would be nice to have several Northwest Louisianas on our schedule."

Broyles squealed delightedly, like a sooey pig.

1 2