This Week in Arkansas Sports History June 17-23

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Editor’s Note: Welcome to the latest This Week in Arkansas Sports History by Evin Demirel. In this column you will find tidbits of sports news from years gone by, pulled from sources and newspaper archives from around the state. Our hope is that we will remind you of a sports story you may have forgotten and share some you never knew. If you have tips for us to check out, let us know in the mailbag form at the bottom of the post. Our objective is to make this column interactive.

10 years ago…

This week in Arkansas Sports History Frank Broyles with John White

Frank Broyles with John White

University of Arkansas Athletic Director Frank Broyles accepted an offer for a five-year contract from Chancellor John A. White. Broyles, 78, has been AD since 1973 after a head football coaching stint in 1957-1976. Still, his future as the  department’s leader appeared in doubt in preceding weeks when White told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he was trying to offer Broyles job options, not force him to resign. White cited the health problems of Broyles, who had surgery last year to remove a cancerous prostate, and of Broyles’ wife, Barbara, who has Alzheimer’s disease. White also scheduled a meeting for Broyles on June 11 that was soon afterward canceled, leaving Broyles to wonder why it had been called in the first place.

Most problems seem smoothed out, though, when White let it be known he wanted Broyles to stay by making the contract offer. UA

System President B. Alan Sugg said: “Frank Broyles’ position as athletic director is as solid as a rock, and I expect him to be here for many years to come. John White’s position is as solid as a rock, and I expect him to be here for many years to come.” [ADG; June 18, 2003]


Fired Alabama football Coach Mike Price sued Time Inc. and writer Don Yaeger, claiming he was defamed by Yaeger’s Sports Illustrated article about a strip club visit that led to his ouster.

Price  had arrived in Tuscaloosa only a few months before and signed a seven-year deal with Alabama. But an April night of drunken carousing at a golf tournament in Pensacola, Fla. changed things.

Price said he went to Arety’s Angels strip club that night and got so drunk a woman had to ride back to the hotel with him in a cab and help the married 57-year-old to his room.

Price said he fell asleep and denied any sex was involved. In the lawsuit, Price cites seven parts of the article as being inaccurate including the one about him having sex with two women in his hotel room and using the phrase “It’s rolling, baby” during what the story called “aggressive sex.”

The contract for coach Mike Shula, Price’s successor at Alabama, has been approved.

Three years later, Nick Saban would replace Shula and usher in the Crimson Tide’s current age of domination. How might things have been different for Arkansas and the rest of the SEC West had Mike Price never lost every last ounce of his self-control on the bare bosoms of complete strangers? After leaving LSU and the NFL, would Saban ultimately have landed elsewhere?

25 years ago…

Nelson Catalina This week in Arkansas Sports History

Nelson Catalina

After a 21-win season and two straight postseason tournament trips, Arkansas State’s head basketball coach predicted an average home attendance of seven to nine thousand people during the upcoming season.

Nelson Catalina told the Blytheville Chamber of Commerce that ASU was becoming a hot commodity and he soon expected all home tickets to regularly sell out at the one-year-old 10,500-seat ASU Convocation Center.

The Indians, who beat Stanford the previous season, are finding it hard to find teams to play. Regional teams like Memphis State, UA and UALR want no piece of ASU, Catalina said, but the University of Southern California shows interest. So does the USA Network, which chose ASU as a prospective opponent for a televised Wichita State game. In the attention-attracting department, it also helps that ASU will have the largest player in major college basketball next season. The 7-5, 295-pound center is from Great Britain.

“Our season next year could be very, very good,” Catalina said with a sly grin. “We have a very, very good chance to be a preseason top-40 team.” [Blytheville Courier News; June 21, 1988]


This week in Arkansas Sports History kevin mcreynolds

Former Razorback Kevin McReynolds had his best game in a slumping season to lead the New York Mets to a 9-0 demolition of the Pittsburgh Pirates. McReynolds hit a grand slam and tied a career high by driving in five runs. The 25-year-old had been batting .240 with runners in scoring position heading into the game.

McReynolds ranks #556 all-time on‘s fan rating system. Sliding into the spot in front of him is former Arkansas Traveler Mike Trout.

50 years ago…

This week in Arkansas Sports History Lamar HuntEl Dorado native Lamar Hunt moved his Dallas Texans professional football team to Kansas City. The Texans lasted three seasons in the American Football League, and in the last one won a title, but Hunt had trouble convincing fans the Texans were on the same level as the NFL’s Cowboys.

All-AFL tackle Jerry Cornelison is the only player who stays. He tells the Associated Press he feels he can’t afford to leave his insurance business in Dallas for as long as a football season.

Hunt died in 2006 but his legacy reverberates today. His Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs and another brainchild of his – Major League Soccer – has become the nation’s most popular pro soccer league.

100 years ago…

Legendary Henderson College football coach James Haygood will likely be replaced by Whiteford Maulding, a star player from one of his six state championship teams. Maulding, a recent Henderson graduate, was elected to the college faculty to will begin his duties this fall. [Arkansas Gazette; June 22, 1913]


This week in Arkansas Sports History chess news

The Little Rock Chess Club beat their Lewisville (Ark.) counterparts in what was apparently quite a comeback. The LR Club opened the match with a poor move, and Lewisville’s chess club took advantage with an “‘Evan’s Gambit,’ considered one of the brilliant openings in chess play.

Little Rock  recovered to find its groove, though, and stormed back to force Lewisville to resign after the 26th move. After LR received word of the resignation (it was a correspondence game), the local players started “celebrating the victory in fine style.”  [Arkansas Democrat; June 21, 1913]

Does chess have a legit claim to being a sport? There’s no denying it takes a lot of stamina – mental as well as physical – to be an elite player. 

Keep up with the very, very latest in sports history here

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