He’s a man that lives and walks by faith, and not by sight.
Many know him as the long-time Sports Information Director for the University of Arkansas and current Communications Director for Springdale Schools. You can almost say, he’s lived his life conveying a message, whether it’s through scripture or with education. Humble by nature, Rick Schaeffer isn’t the kind of person to boast. In fact, he’ll be glad to tell you the who’s who of Razorback royalty he’s been associated with.
Schaeffer says, “I had the wonderful opportunity to work with some great leaders. And when you talk about Movers and Shakers, the people I worked with was that.” “To be able to work with Eddie Sutton, Nolan Richardson, Lou Holtz, Ken Hatfield, Houston Nutt, Norm DeBryrian….I can name them all.”
Growing up in Oklahoma, Schaeffer first fell in love with the Hogs as a youngster in 1965, while traveling the state with his family. ” I always like the Razorbacks, cause in ’64 was the first year that they had the Hog on their helmet. I thought that was the coolest thing, Hog on the helmet. So we came over in ’65 and everywhere you ate, you had the placemats had cartoon drawings of all of the victories from 1964 and all of that. So I became a Razorback fan.” says Schaeffer.
After graduating and working at Oklahoma State for a few years, he was offered his dream job with Arkansas in 1976. It was at that time he forged a lasting relationship with the legendary Frank Broyles. Schaeffer says: “To work for the same man for 24 years, that’s just never happened and I don’t think that it will happen in college athletics again.”
During the quarter century of working for the Razorback icon, Schaeffer took away many life lessons.. some of which included compassion. “He’s the most forgiving man that I’ve ever known. He could blow up on you. There were three or four times, I thought I was going to be fired, but 15 minutes later he’s in your office, “Rick, how’s it going?!” And you’re thinking did he not remember what we just talked about.” says Schaeffer.
Along with his media relations duties, broyles offered schaeffer additional roles in the department to enhance his brand and pay. Something schaeffer continues today. “Basketball was not a highly profitable sport at that time. And you had your play-by-play guy and whoever was traveling, you were the color guy. So that gave me some opportunities immediately in radio.” says Schaeffer.
He left the U of A in 2000, pursuing a different passion. He noticed the large amount of children in Springdale Schools, without a stable household. So in a show of mercy, he stepped in to help. Schaeffer says, “And during the course of 6-7 years, we had as many as 10 to 12 different teenagers that has lived in our home. That gives you an understanding of not just loving kids, but seeing them in difficult situations.”
It’s a humble life for Schaeffer, to which he’s been rewarded by relationships gained, rather than money.