John Shearer: Frank Broyles Had Some Local Connections

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - by John Shearer
Former University of Arkansas football coach and athletic director Frank Broyles, who died Monday at the age of 92, had a few connections to the Scenic City, even though he spent nearly the last 60 years of his life in Fayetteville.
 
As a football player at Georgia Tech in the 1940s after growing up in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur, he teamed with several former Chattanooga prep players. They included Eddie Prokop and Bill Healy of Baylor, Pat McHugh of Notre Dame High, and Jim Henry of Chattanooga City High, who became the Chattanooga city schools superintendent.

 
Mr. Prokop, who was a little ahead of coach Broyles, ended up finishing fifth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy in 1943 after spending one year at Baylor as a boarding student from Cleveland, Ohio.
 
The Baylor connections might have influenced coach Broyles’ decision in the early 1960s to send his son, John Franklin Broyles Jr., to Baylor as a boarding student. However, the son, who went by Jack, was there for only one year – from 1962-63.
 
For years, a number of well-known college coaches sent their sons to Baylor, likely due to their familiarity with the successful Red Raider football coach Humphrey “Humpy” Heywood.
 
Others who sent their sons there were Gen. Robert Neyland of Tennessee, coach Frank Thomas of Alabama (and formerly the University of Chattanooga) and coach Johnny Vaught of Ole Miss.
 
Coach Neyland at Tennessee had coached coach Broyles’ Georgia Tech coach – Bobby Dodd.
 
When his son was at Baylor, coach Broyles was on the way to enjoying a very successful coaching career. With such players as future coaches Jimmy Johnson and Ken Hatfield and future Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, he would win the national championship in 1964.
 
Around 1969 and 1970, I briefly became a fan of coach Broyles’ Arkansas teams. After watching them upset my Georgia Bulldogs in the 1969 Sugar Bowl, 16-2, when I was a 9-year-old just starting to get old enough to follow football, I started admiring the Razorbacks. I have still not forgotten the outstanding quarterback Bill Montgomery and talented receiver Chuck Dicus.
 
I pulled for them in the memorable game against No. 1 Texas the next season when the No. 2 Razorbacks lost 15-14 after leading 14-0. And I was still pulling for them and Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Dicus when they lost in the subsequent Sugar Bowl to Ole Miss.
 
The Ole Miss quarterback, by the way, was Archie Manning.
 
After they lost to Stanford the next year to open the season, my allegiances to Arkansas waned and I returned to cheering for Georgia, and Tennessee to a lesser extent.
 
But my respect for Frank Broyles as a coach continued, in part due to another loss by Georgia to his Razorbacks. In 1975, Georgia under coach Vince Dooley had enjoyed an overachieving and comeback season, which included a memorable win over favored Florida on an end-around pass for a fourth-quarter go-ahead touchdown.
 
In the Cotton Bowl against coach Broyles’ team, favored Georgia played well in the first half, but in the second half, the elusive Ike Forte led the Razorbacks to a big 31-10 win.
 
Apparently the only time coach Broyles played Tennessee as a head coach was in the 1971 Liberty Bowl, when Tennessee won 14-13 on a late Razorback turnover.
 
Coach Broyles retired from coaching after the 1976 season, which was also the same time that Texas legend Darrell Royal retired. But coach Broyles continued a mostly successful stint as an athletic director, overseeing national championships in men’s basketball and track and field.
 
He also did some color commentating for college football telecasts for ABC.
 
Coach Broyles was also involved at the Augusta National Golf Club and with the Masters golf tournament. There, he no doubt became acquainted with another active Augusta National member, Chattanoogan Jack Lupton, whose family had made money in a bottling business quite familiar to the native Atlantan – Coca-Cola.
 
Jcshearer2@comcast.net


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