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Razorbacks begin secret search for new AD

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Moments after Frank Broyles announced
his retirement, talk began of who might replace him as Arkansas'
athletic director.

Most people seemed to agree on one thing:

"I feel a little sorry for the next one that comes in -- to step
into those shoes," football coach Houston Nutt said.

Broyles told the university's board Saturday that he will retire
at the end of the year, ending a 50-year career at the school. He
became the Razorbacks' football coach in December 1957 and remained
in that spot through the 1976 season. He became athletic director
in 1973.

Broyles' announcement even prompted a response from Arkansas
native Bill Clinton.

"All Americans should be grateful for Frank's decades of
dedicated service as a championship football coach and legendary
athletic director with excellent programs in many men's and women's
sports," Clinton said in a written statement.

"The university will miss his immense talent, unique leadership
and loving devotion, but his legacy will endure as long as
Razorback fans call the Hogs," the former president said.

Fayetteville campus Chancellor John White said the search for a
replacement won't involve a committee. White will conduct it
himself, in consultation with B. Alan Sugg, president of the
university system, and Stanley Reed, chairman of the board of
trustees.

White said limiting the process to a smaller group will help
preserve confidentiality.

"It's very important to maintain confidentiality," White said.
"Recent events demonstrate to me that maintaining the
confidentiality of the process is very difficult in Arkansas when
the subject is athletics."

Reports of Broyles' possible retirement began Thursday, two days
before the official announcement.

Jim Lindsey, vice chairman of the board of trustees and a former
Arkansas football player, said he's comfortable with the process in
the hands of White, Sugg and Reed.

"With that group there, I will give my proxy," Lindsey said.

Lindsey agreed that the search needs to remain secretive,
pointing out that if it becomes publicized, possible candidates
might shy away since they could be criticized in their current
positions for seeking other jobs.

Lindsey was, however, willing to provide the name of one
candidate he hopes is a possibility -- Ken Hatfield, a former
Arkansas football coach and player.

"I have a great affection for Ken Hatfield," Lindsey said.
"He's a teammate, he's a magnificent person, wonderful person.
He's the only person that I know right now that comes to mind."

Lindsey also responded positively when asked about Terry Don
Phillips, a former Arkansas football player who has been athletic
director at Oklahoma State and now Clemson. Phillips is a former
associate athletic director for Arkansas.

"He's got ties here," Lindsey said. "He's one of us."

White said he's asked Broyles to remain a consultant and
fundraiser for the school, and Lindsey said he expects Broyles to
be brought "into the loop" during the search for a successor.
Basketball coach Stan Heath said he expects Broyles will still be
an important figure in Arkansas athletics.

"I'm sure coach Broyles will have a strong impact on the
direction and the future of our programs here," Heath said.

White said he'll seek input from anyone who wants to offer it,
but that big-money donors won't have too much clout.

"The measure of someone's influence on this decision is not ...
their net worth," White said.

Nutt -- who said he has no interest in being athletic director --
said the school should be able to find a worthy replacement because
of the foundation Broyles has laid. Arkansas has some of the
nation's best sports facilities.

Nutt said the next athletic director should be someone similar
to the last one.

"You've got to take the copy of coach Broyles," he said. "You
can't replace that. You want some of the qualities -- the integrity,
the communication, the people skills, a few of those things."

Right now, it's unclear whether having Arkansas ties will be a
prerequisite for the job, but Nutt said it shouldn't hurt.

"I think it always helps when someone truly understands the
passion of the Razorback people -- the fans, the students, the
athletes," Nutt said. "I think it's real important that they
really know and have the pulse of what it means to be a
Razorback."