Broyles Final Day on the Job

Fayetteville-The Razorback Foundation offices next to Baum Stadium were a little more crowded than usual last Friday morning. A retirement day celebration for Frank Broyles and his longtime secretary Donita Ritchie attracted friends of the two and Razorback fans from all over the state. In some ways, however, the day wasn't much different from most that Broyles spent at the University of Arkansas over the previous five plus decades. Broyles was used to hosting visitors during his workdays.

"His door was open," Ritchie told the Razorback Nation. "He always wanted to see people. Unless he was in a closed door meeting it was, 'come on in.' "

On his last day at work a fan brought Broyles a binder of trading cards featuring many of the Razorbacks he coached over the years. There was even an old card of Broyles in the collection. It probably took months to assemble. Fans have that kind of affection for Broyles who said their loyalty had not gone unnoticed over the years.

"It's been a labor of love," Broyles declared. "I was blessed to have the only job I really wanted. People supported me for fifty-five years. How many people get to have that opportunity? It's been a blessing and I've appreciated every bit of it."

Ritchie probably knows Broyles as well as anyone outside of his family. "He's not an emotional person," she noted. "However, he has told me every afternoon when we left this past week and the week before, 'I didn't expect this to be emotional but it is.'

"It's going to be really hard (saying goodbye for the last time) this afternoon," Ritchie added.

"It's tough," Broyles admitted. But in typical fashion he also pointed to the fact that he still has a job. "I've got a place to go," Broyles said with a smile. "My daughter's (Altheimer's) caregiver's association, I'll be working with her." 

Also for those who are interested, from time to time Hog fans will still be able to catch Broyles at the Foundation offices according to Ritchie who explained, "I plan to come back. Coach plans to come back and visit and so we'll have a future here. We'll never not be a part of the Razorback Nation."

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