Coach Broyles, 92, died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, on August 14, 2017. A man of faith and a true Southern gentleman, Coach Broyles was a native of Decatur, Ga., but adopted Arkansas as his home in December 1957, when he became the head football coach for the University of Arkansas. He leaves an unmatched legacy of more than five decades of service to the University of Arkansas, the Razorback athletic program, and Arkansas.
Born Dec., 1924, to O.T. and Mary Louise Solms Broyles in Atlanta, Broyles was the youngest of five children and was a three-sport athlete throughout high school and college. He received a B.S. degree in industrial management from Georgia Tech University in 1947, where he lettered in football, basketball and baseball.
Broyles arrived in Fayetteville in December 1957, beginning a more than five-decade affiliation with the University of Arkansas and the Razorbacks as a coach and athletics administrator. In 19 seasons (1958-76) as the Razorbacks’ head football coach, Broyles amassed a record of 144-58-5, seven Southwest Conference (SWC) titles, 10 bowl bids, 20 All-Americans and 88 All-SWC selections.
Broyles was an avid golfer and a member of the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., for more than a half-century. Seven times Broyles hosted the awards ceremony at the Masters, including presenting the coveted “Green Jacket” to such legendary golfers as Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. In 1982, Broyles appeared in the TV miniseries “The Blue and The Gray.” Broyles played the doctor who pronounced President Abraham Lincoln (played by Gregory Peck) dead after being shot at Ford’s Theater.
In 1945, he married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Day, who remained his sweetheart until 2004, when she died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Coach Broyles and Barbara had four sons, Jack (Janet) Broyles, Hank (Mary Bassett) Broyles, Dan (Debra) Broyles and Tommy (Tisha) Broyles; twin daughters, Betsy (David) Arnold and Linda (Jim) Mayes; 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. In December 2005, Broyles married the former Gen Whitehead of Fayetteville, doubling the size of his family to include Gen’s seven children, Bruun (Kim Willis) Whitehead, Kathleen (George) Paulson, Eric (Jennifer) Whitehead, Joan (John) Threet, Ruth (Kevin) Trainor, Ted (Kelley) Whitehead and Philip (Kamron) Whitehead, as well as 13 grandchildren. Additionally, he is survived by his sister, Louise Broyles Ferguson of Cornelia, Ga., and numerous nieces and nephews. Broyles was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers (O.T. Broyles Jr., Charles Edward Broyles and Bill Broyles).