Frank Broyles has always been bigger than life in Arkansas. Appropriately, the bronze statue unveiled Saturday morning of the legendary coach and athletic director was bigger than Broyles.
Measuring 7.5 feet and weighing in at 700 pounds, the sculptor of Broyles is positioned at the top of the steps leading in to the Broyles Center, the building that bears the name of the man who coached Arkansas to 144 victories in 19 seasons, the last three as part of his almost 34 years as athletic director.
UA Chancellor J. David Gearhart and athletic director Jeff Long preceded Broyles to the microphone, as did former players Jim Lindsey and Ken Hatfield. Hatfield was not scheduled, but Lindsey spotted him in the crowd behind the ropes and called him to join him in honoring Broyles.
Gearhart repeated a question he had to his wife earlier in the week in his remarks with the statue still covered in red cloth. Would it be a "very young Broyles, or a very senior Broyles?" Gearhart said, "She said what does it matter?"
It was a young Broyles, at least from his coaching days. Without question, it captured the essence of Broyles -- with his shirt tail out -- raging on the sideline getting with it as an official raised his blood pressure or one of the four don'ts of the kicking game was violated.
"That was when all hell was about to break loose, that's what it meant when you saw the shirt tail come out," said Jerry Lamb, former player. "He was about to go after someone. That's what you knew when you looked from the field and saw that shirt tail flying and that's a great look for this."
It left Lindsey beaming.
"That's Frank!" said Lindsey, one of Broyles closest friends after starring as a Razorback. "He's about to break loose right there. Great!"
Long said it was his honor to participate, just as it was his honor to replace Broyles as athletic director.
"He told me he had a charmed life here," Long said. "He couldn't imagine himself any other place and that I would feel that way soon. I do feel that way. But he told me his hours now are 10 to 2 with an hour off to lunch. I hope I can get it down to that at some point."
Gearhart promised the statue of Broyles "would stand as long as there are games played, as long as the Hogs were called, until there ceases to be a University and as long as there is a state of Arkansas."
Gearhart also recalled the troubled time that faced the state in 1957 when Broyles came to be coach, giving those around the nation something positive to write about Arkansas.
Broyles, obviously humbled, repeated his favorite line about "living a charmed life" for the last half century since he was hired as Arkansas coach in December of 1957. As his turn at the microphone came, it was clear his eyes were misty.
"I'm very, very proud," he said. "It was a priviledge to come here. I first saw the Razorback passion in 1948 when I came here (as a Baylor assistant coach). From that point, it was the only job I wanted."
As he continued, he looked up at the 7.5-foot tall statue and said, "I used to be that tall. The shirt tail out, that was my trademark. I never knew it was out. I guess that's how I was up and down the sideline. I've just led a charmed life, charmed, charmed. It's been a most wonderful life, to be a part of the best fans in America. Thank you very much."
Harold Horton played, coached and served in administration with Broyles. He was as excited as everyone else as he visited after the ceremony.
"This is no slam on any other coach, but he's the best coach we ever had at Arkansas," Horton said. "I say that because he was involved in everything -- offense, defense, the kicking game and recruiting. He maybe wasn't the best at any one thing, but best at putting it all together.
"Coach Broyles had intensity in all of it and knew all of it. I look back and see that Lou Holtz was great at offense, but not involved in all those other areas. I'd say that about the others, too. All of them. Coach Broyles was intensely involved."
Hatfield was caught off guard when Lindsey asked him to step through the crowd to the microphone.
"Thanks for letting me know that I was going to be asked up here, Jim," said Hatfield, who handled it admirably. "This is such an honor for Coach Broyles. I think I can say this for every player who put on a uniform for Coach Broyles, he instilled in is so much. We all learned so much from Coach Broyles. He had an impact on all of us in everything we do. I think what we learned, we all passed it on, too. We were all blessed."
Lindsey recalled the many times Bud Grant, his pro coach with the Minnesota Vikings, asked him about Broyles.
"What did you learn from him," Lindsey said. "I told him about the four don'ts from the kicking game -- don't be offsides, don't rough the kicker, don't let the ball hit the ground and don't clip.
"The next day he had it written on the board. I thought, 'Oh, Frank is still going on -- now he's taking over the pro game, too.'
"In my seven years in the NFL, I never found anyone who felt about their school the way we felt about our school."
The Frank Broyles statue
David Gearhart (from left), Jim Lindsey, Frank Broyles and Jeff Long participate in the unveiling of the Broyles statue.
Broyles Statue Unveiled
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