Legendary Arkansas football coach Frank Broyles dies at 92

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 788 views 

Frank Broyles, the football coach who led the University of Arkansas to its only football national championship in 1964, died Monday (Aug. 14) in Fayetteville from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 92.

Broyles had been resting at his Fayetteville home under hospice care since suffering a stroke in July.

A statement released by the Broyles family said the following:

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Coach Frank Broyles. He passed peacefully in his home surrounded by his loved ones.”

For 56 years, Broyles was associated with the Razorbacks, and he is easily the winningest football coach in school history with a record of 144-58-5 in 19 seasons from 1958-76. He was an inaugural member of the UA Sports Hall of Honor and was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, the same year as his longtime friend and counterpart from the University of Texas, Darrell Royal.

Broyles was a star quarterback at Georgia Tech in the mid-1940’s, then held assistant coaching positions at Baylor University, the University of Florida and Georgia Tech, and a head coaching position at the University of Missouri for one season.

But it was at Arkansas where he made his biggest mark, leading the Razorbacks to 10 bowl appearances and seven conference championships. His Razorbacks won 10 games in 1965 and 1968. In 1964, the UA finished 11-0 and was named national champion by the Football Writers Association of America. Broyles added the title of athletic director in 1973 and served in the administrative role until retiring on Dec. 31, 2007.

While Broyles was athletic director, the UA claimed 43 national titles, 57 championships in the now defunct Southwest Conference and 47 Southeastern Conference titles. In his honor, the Broyles Award has been presented annually since 1996 to the top assistant football coach in the country.

Broyles’ official involvement with the UA ended June 30, 2014, when he retired from the Razorback Foundation, the private fundraising arm of the UA athletics department. He had been working there for seven years since retiring as athletic director.

One of Broyles’ lasting legacies as an administrator is his decision to lead the UA out of the crumbling Southwest Conference and into the more lucrative Southeastern Conference in 1992.

Another is the construction of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of new and upgraded athletic facilities. From Bud Walton Arena, completed in 1993, to the renovated and expansion of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in 2007 to 72,000 seats, Broyles wanted his coaches to have facilities that would rival any in America.

His vision also resulted in nationally acclaimed facilities including Baum Stadium at George Cole Field, John McDonnell Field and the Fred W. and Mary B. Smith Razorback Golf Center.

His contributions to the UA and the state extended off the playing field. In 1982, he chaired the UA’s “Campaign for Books” and more than 100,000 volumes were added to the University Libraries.

He co-chaired of the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century that raised $1.046 billion for the university and was a generous personal benefactor to the university’s academic programs. Broyles was an active fundraiser and advocate for victims of Alzheimer’s disease, which his late wife, Barbara, succumbed to in 2004. Two years later he started the Broyles Foundation, to help families learn how to care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.

Frank Broyles

Broyles made numerous appearances in front of both the state legislature and the United States Congress to encourage further research and funding to combat Alzheimer’s. He also co-authored a book to help families deal with loved ones suffering from the disease.

Broyles is survived by his wife of 11 years, Guendaline “Gen” Whitehead Broyles, and his children Jack (Janet) Broyles, Hank (Mary Bassett) Broyles, Dan (Debra) Broyles and Tommy (Tisha) Broyles; twin daughters, Betsy (David) Arnold and Linda (Jim) Mayes; 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., who played for Coach Broyles at Arkansas, issued this statement: “Outside of family, the people who had the greatest influences on my life were my coaches and teachers. Perhaps none more so than Frank Broyles.

Coach Broyles was larger than life, always doing what he thought was best for the University of Arkansas. As a coach and longtime athletic director for the university, his devotion to the school, and the young men and women who attended it, helped put young Arkansans on a path to success while turning the University of Arkansas into a sports powerhouse. In his later years, his passionate advocacy on behalf of those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease raised awareness for the devastating impact it has on those affected and their caregivers, as well as funding for research. 

I will be forever proud to be a Razorback and to have had the opportunity to be one under Coach Broyles.

Coach Broyles was fond of saying there are two types of people in this world: givers and takers. Live your life as a giver, not a taker. We lost a giver today, but we are so much better for what he gave us.”

Click here to read the full obituary.

Click here to read a statement from the University of Arkansas, and University of Arkansas Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long.

Talk Business & Politics will update this story.

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