State of the Hogs: Harold Horton

Harold Horton has a few weeks left in his role at the Razorback Foundation. As always, things will be in perfect order. That's the way it always is with "Coach Horton." That goes for his work, his family and in the duck woods or crappie lakes.

I talked to Coach Horton early this morning when I was told this story. That's Harold Horton to some, but it will always be Coach Horton to me.

Coach Horton said it was still "developing" although I'm sure his retirement was done at that time. He asked for a little more time before he wanted me writing it. That was fine by me. I'd leave it to someone else to write "multiple sources confirmed." I had it from Coach Horton, but let it go.

I do not know that official settlement terms for his retirement have been received by Coach Horton, but an agreement has been reached. These are his terms and his chosen time. He is happy and content that he went out with everything in order, iike everything else he's done. He's done a wonderful job in every role he's ever accepted with the Razorbacks, or anywhere else.

I knew Coach Horton was headed this direction several weeks ago. We were planning a duck hunting trip for January and he told me, "I can hunt every day of this coming duck season. If you want to crappie fish, we can do that, too." I didn't have to ask anything else. I'm sure there were some days in the last couple of weeks where he went back and forth on whether he wanted to step out now. But I saw it coming, as did most who are close to Coach Horton.

I was not going to break this story. Sometimes you are just too close.

I've known the Horton family since I was small. My wife Jean Ann is from DeWitt. She's an Ashcraft. Her mother's sister is married to Don Horton. She was raised with the Hortons.

Christmas dinner was in the Ashcraft home, with Hortons bringing wild game to the table. Oh, what fun celebrations. Don is Uncle Donald to my wife, my daughters and me. Jean Ann's dad, Bobby, coached Harold in little league baseball. Mr. Ashcraft was in high school at the time. It was Harold who told me Mr. Ashcraft's nickname for the first time. Mr. Ashcraft played tailback for Sam Cook before the Horton boys. They called him Slick and Harold told me about him playing tailback at Ouachita Baptist. Great times to hear those stories.

Duck hunting or fishing with the Horton clan is a special treat. I've been along for some of those. You better be up to your game, because it will be competition. There are charts on the walls in the Horton garage with the actual numbers whether it be ducks, squirrel, catfish, crappie, bream, deer or turkey. Harold hunts with a 10 gauge. He hits the ducks before I think they are in range. Let me emphasize that he hits them. They fall dead.

When my brother was sports information director at Arkansas isn the 70s, he lived next door to Harold. His boys were raised with Tim and Holly. Tim still sends Christmas cards and birthday cards to my brother's sons. Harold is as good as they come and Betty, his wife, is above him. Harold won't mind me saying that.

I've got more stories on Harold than I could ever write. He's got a few on me. But what I like to tell is when I told him that Jean Ann was struggling with her eye last summer. He said, "Clay, I got Jean Ann on my prayer list. I will pray for her every night for her eyesight. Every night." Every time I see him, he says, "Clay, I prayed for Jean Ann last night." And I know he did.

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