The fifth annual Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportcasters Hall of Fame induction ceremonies went down Saturday night in Conway. Youngsters might be surprised to see Frank Broyles as one of the two inductees.
Yes, Broyles is in many Hall of Fames as an athlete, coach and
administrator. But a sportscaster?
Just like everything else he's done in his 86 years, Broyles was as
good as anyone during his nine seasons as Keith Jackson's sidekick on
ABC's college football game of the week.
Broyles joins Paul Eells, Bud Campbell, Jim Elder and Pat Summerall as
sportcasters enshrined by the hall created by Conway's Arkansas Sports
Club. The new sportswriter is Wadie Moore, joining
Orville Henry, Jim Bailey, Harry King and Jerry McConnell. Moore and
was a longtime staffers for Henry at the old Arkansas Gazette.
Moore followed McConnell as the paper's top prep writer and developed a
fantastic relationship with state high school coaches.
Joe Mosby, the first editor of the Gazette's outdoor page, was given
a lifetime achievement award. He writes in the communication division
at the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission now.
I worked with both Moore. My best memories of Moore are from
the pickup basketball games he took me to at his alma mater, Philander
Smith College when I was in high school.
For those too young to recall the Jackson-Broyles work on ABC, those
games are still replayed as part of ESPN Classics. You will notice them
first from their Georgia drawl. Broyles paid tribute to Jackson, still
his close friend, in his speech Saturday night.
"I learned a lot from Keith Jackson," Broyles said. "He made sure I
understood that the game was the event. If ever I tried to do too much
or say too much, he said, '˜Wait a minute, you are not the event. They
didn't turn on the TV to hear us.'
"He was a great teacher and friend to me. It was interesting because we
were both from Georgia. When we started working together for ABC, we
found out we played American Legion baseball against each other. We had
a lot of things in common. He wanted me to be successful, so he helped
The critiques from Jackson sometimes were public.
"I remember once," Broyles said, "right on the air he said to me after
I tried to explain something and I became complicated and way too long,
he said, 'Frank, would your mother have understood that?' I said,'No, I
don't think she would have.' He said, '˜Then, don't ever do it again!' We
all laughed. He coached me as we went along from his long-time
experiences. I was so fortunate."
Broyles was also lucky that the top brass at Arkansas gave him
permission to be gone on game weekends.
"I was athletic director," he said, "but the board and my bosses always
thought it was good public relations for me to do the ABC broadcasts."
It was also healthy for his relationship with the new football coach
"It got me out of town where I didn't worry about our games," he said.
"That kept me from analyzing our coaches. It allowed Lou Holtz to tell
me what happened on his own terms. It was great for him.
"I think I had great preparation for TV work because of my working
relationships with both Orville Henry and Bud Campbell. They both played
a role in getting me ready because I learned to explain the game for
those that hadn't played. In what Orville wrote, it was so readable for
our whole state -- women and children, too. Bud helped me understand how
to do that on my (coaches replay) TV show. You have to learn not to talk
in coaching terms."
The ceremony Saturday night included a taped video tribute from Broyles' old sidekick at ABC, Jackson. And, there was also a live, in-person introduction from another Keith Jackson, the current color analyst for Razorback radio broadcasts.
Jackson, the former Oklahoma tight end, delivered his tribute to Broyles with a cute story about the time he was confused for the older Keith Jackson.
"I was honored for my academics after my OU career, at the Top Six banquet," Jackson said. "I got to take my mom to the banquet. She and I checked into the hotel and we were given the Presidential Suite, bigger than our house in Little Rock.
"She was so proud. I had stepped out of the room when Coach Broyles called and left a message for Keith Jackson to meet him. We couldn't figure out what he might want. But I knew I would see him later at the dinner.
"Then, a man entered the room when my mom was alone. It was the other Keith Jackson and he told her she was in his room. She said, 'No, my son is Keith Jackson, too, and this is his room and we weren't going to leave. It was really funny."
The Conway crowd roared in laughter, as did Broyles. When the coach/sportscaster got this turn at the microphone, he made sure to call the old ABC announcer "the other Keith Jackson" and the crowd roared every time.
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