Source: Arkansas AD Broyles to retire this weekend

Updated: February 17, 2007, 12:44 AM ET
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Longtime Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles is expected to announce his retirement sometime this weekend, a source said Friday.

Arkansas officials had prepared for a time Friday to announce that the 82-year-old former football coach would speak to the university's trustees Saturday, but at midday the school issued a statement that said only that the board would gather.

University spokesmen Tysen Kendig and Steve Voorhies said the school was never sure Broyles would appear before the board.

A university official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made, told The Associated Press school officials still expected Broyles to say this weekend that he would retire.

Citing people close to Broyles, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports in its Saturday editions that Broyles will announce at the board meeting that he is retiring, but will stay on as a fundraiser and athletic director emeritus.

An airplane registered to the school's Board of Trustees -- dispatched to pick up Broyles in Chicago, where he was visiting a sick friend -- landed at Fayetteville's Drake Field late Friday afternoon but the athletic director was not aboard. An airport official said the plane's pilots dropped Broyles off in Springdale after being tipped that media were awaiting him at the Fayetteville field.

Broyles' retirement announcement would come amid turmoil in the school's football program -- the athletic director recently met with concerned parents of three freshmen. Also, the Razorbacks' offensive coordinator quit and two of the freshmen -- including 2005 Parade magazine prep player of the year Mitch Mustain -- asked for and received permission to transfer.

Television stations KHBS-KHOG in Fort Smith-Fayetteville and KATV in Little Rock, citing sources, reported Thursday night that Broyles would quit. Broyles has not returned telephone calls seeking comment.

Broyles was hired at Arkansas 49 years ago, after a year at Missouri. The Georgia native, who starred in three sports at Georgia Tech, has been football coach, athletic director or both at Arkansas since December 1957.

Chancellor John A. White was unavailable for comment and the office of University of Arkansas System president B. Alan Sugg declined to take a message for him.

Broyles became athletic director in 1974 and was Arkansas' football coach from 1958-76. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 after compiling a 144-58-5 record as a head coach, including one year (1957) at Missouri.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press