Frank Broyles’ impact recalled by University of Arkansas leaders

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 392 views 

In this file photograph from 2003, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, left, spoke with Frank Broyles and Walton College Dean Doyle Williamson after donating $7.1 million worth of software to the UA's Information Technology Research Center.

When the University of Arkansas basketball team won the national championship in 1994, a formula used by the NCAA designed around monetary “units” meant the athletics program received a “substantial” bonus.

According to longtime UA public relations official Steve Voorhies, when athletic director Frank Broyles told Chancellor Dan Ferritor about the gift, Ferritor replied, “Our scholarship fund could really use that money.”

The money, Voorhies said, went to the scholarship fund.

It’s one of the many ways Broyles showed his support for the UA during his association with the school for nearly 60 years. Broyles died Aug. 14 at his Fayetteville home due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 92.

“During his tenure as a coach, athletic director and fundraiser, Coach Broyles did more to help and support the University of Arkansas than anyone who has ever been associated with the institution,” said former UA System President B. Alan Sugg (1990-2011). “We will miss him.”

While Broyles’ accomplishments as the Razorbacks’ football coach and athletic director are well-documented, his support of the university’s academic mission is no less essential in describing his impact.

In a story written by Voorhies and published at arkansasrazorbacks.com, Broyles’ direct involvement with academic campaigns is recounted, beginning in 1982 when he agreed to chair the university’s first major fundraising effort, the Campaign for Books. Chancellor emeritus G. David Gearhart was vice chancellor for advancement at the time. “Through his efforts as chairman of the campaign we added 100,000 volumes to the university library,” Gearhart recalled.

Ferritor, a faculty member when the campaign started, believes Broyles’ efforts were the reason the $2 million fundraiser was successful.

When Ferritor was named chancellor in 1985, he also sought Broyles’ help in a campaign to save the signature building on campus — Old Main. At that time, the building had been closed and fenced off for almost five years, with little chance state funds would pay for renovations. Broyles agreed to open doors, introducing the new chancellor to friends and supporters.

“We developed a strategy where we would contact these potential donors and say that Dan Ferritor and Frank Broyles would like to see them to talk about an important project for the University of Arkansas,” Ferritor said. “I have no illusion that they agreed because they wanted to see Dan Ferritor. Frank would renew his friendship with the potential donor and introduce me, saying ‘Dan has something really important to tell you about my school.’

“After I made my case, as we were leaving, Frank would say, ‘I hope you can help us on this. I think it is the most important thing we have going on now, and we need your help.’ Was it successful? Go look at Old Main today. I cannot remember how many such visits Frank made, but I do remember he never said no.”