The Legacy of John Franklin Broyles
Frank Broyles always said he lived a “charmed life,” and it was true. He leaves behind a multitude of legacies certain never to be replicated. Whether it was his unparalleled career in college athletics as an athlete, coach, athletic administrator and broadcaster, or his tireless work in the fourth quarter of his life as an Alzheimer’s advocate, his passion was always the catalyst for changing the world around him for the better, delivered with a smooth Southern drawl.
He felt he was blessed to work for more than 55 years in the only job he ever wanted, first as head football coach and then as athletic director at the University of Arkansas. An optimist and a visionary who looked at life with an attitude of gratitude, Broyles lived life to the fullest for 92 years.
Coach Broyles’ legacy lives on through the countless lives he impacted on and off the field, through the Broyles Foundation and their efforts to support Alzheimer’s caregivers at no cost, and through the Broyles Award nominees, finalists, and winners that continue to impact the world of college athletics and beyond. Today, we celebrate them all!
Wilson Matthews: A Treasured Friend
Even with his amazing list of former assistants, when it
was time for Frank Broyles to select the one assistant he wanted to have depicted looking over his shoulder on the winner’s trophy, there was no hesitation. It had to be the late Wilson Matthews.
Matthews, a legendary figure in Arkansas sports, joined Coach Broyles’ Razorback staff in 1958, after one of the finest success stories in all of Arkansas prep history. At Little Rock Central High School, his teams won 10 state championships in 11 years and posted a remarkable record of 111-14-3, losing only 3 games to in-state teams. His 1957 team was ranked number one nationally and he left Central for the University of Arkansas with a 33-game winning streak.
He helped Coach Broyles and the Arkansas program reach new heights with a National Championship in 1964 and 8 bowl game appearances. Regarded as one of the most fierce, intense, demanding, but most loved coaches ever, the glowing and appreciative accolades of both his former high school and college players serve as the perfect example of the relationship between a great assistant coach and his players.