Well, there was a call a few weeks later. I wrote the foreword for the best collection of Broyles pictures ever — more than 260 of them in a 125-page slick production that is the perfect Christmas present for Razorback fans: An Arkansas Legend, The Life & Legacy of Frank Broyles.
Souza took all of those tubs of photos, both from the newspaper archives and from the Broyles family scrapbooks, to build a wonderful coffee table book. I will cherish mine, presented this week by NWA Media advertising director Crystal Costa.
It was Crystal’s idea. I told her this week that I wish I had come up with it. The execution was as good as the idea, including the chapter introductions by both NWA Media publisher Rusty Turner and Souza.
There are cherished family photos, clippings and photos from Frank’s playing days at Georgia Tech, then the mother lode of Broyles photos from his days as coach. If you can imagine it, it’s probably there.
There are several with Frank in the tower, where he coached during practices. There are action photos from the 1964 championship season with many of the stars, including Jim Lindsey, Ken Hatfield and Jimmy Johnson.
There is a double handful of photos of trusted assistant coaches like Wilson Matthews and Merv Johnson from the glory years of Arkansas football. I turned to Johnson for definition on what Broyles meant to the state of Arkansas and the UA in general.
“What Frank did at Arkansas is incredible, from winning games in football, building facilities as coach and athletic director and hiring coaches,” Johnson said. “He put Arkansas on the map, in everything. You look at all the men he recruited or hired — all of those who won national championships and Super Bowls – and all those that have been successful in business, it’s a record no one can match.
“Most importantly, Frank did it with class, dignity and character that you don’t see everywhere. There is no telling how many tried to hire him — some to run companies — and he never left, or probably even thought seriously about leaving.”
The timing of the book is perfect, and chronicles just exactly what Merv described. It’s been 50 years since the Razorbacks won the national crown in football, in Broyles’ seventh of his 19 seasons as head coach. That ‘64 team is featured prominently, but I enjoyed just as much the press clippings from his high school days and as a triple threat collegian at Tech.
I turned the page quickly when there were a few pictures of Frank coaching Missouri players during his cup of coffee in Columbia. Gosh, what I saw in those pictures and what I saw Friday at Faurot Field, nothing much has changed.
I don’t blame Frank for not unpacking. I know it would look better than that had he stayed. They would have some place to do post-game interviews other than an unlighted tent for the visiting media, as I found last week.
Fund raising and his days of rebuilding the Arkansas facilities are all there in the book. There’s Frank with the architect’s model of a far-out look for Razorback Stadium, best left in that stage in another of his grand decisions as athletic director.
The book, priced at $39.95, is available at the NWA Media offices. It’s a must for this Christmas. For those not in the area, nwaonline.com/broyles is the place for on-line orders.