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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Lundquist's stories included ties to Arkansas

by Wally Hall | August 31, 2021 at 2:07 a.m.

Verne Lundquist was definitely worth the price of admission.

For a little more than 50 minutes, the national play-by-play sportscaster kept more than 400 people at the Little Rock Touchdown Club in their seats and wanting more.

He told funny story after funny story while sharing personal experiences.

The first time he did a football game for a major network, ABC, his expert commentator was Frank Broyles. They, along with their wives, became close friends.

Out of respect for Lundquist, Betsy Broyles Arnold -- founder of the Broyles Foundation, an organization dedicated to educating and helping people understand Alzheimer's disease -- and her daughter Molly Harrell drove from Fayetteville to attend the luncheon.

The first regional game Lundquist broadcast was Texas A&M at Arkansas.

Cliff Harris, Ouachita Baptist University's most famous graduate and a former Dallas Cowboy, is one of Lundquist's best friends. If Lundquist had a cousin living in Arkansas, the group might have called the Hogs.

Lundquist is an accomplished speaker, and he brought just enough video highlights to make the meeting perfect.

For 16 years he was with the Cowboys, but ABC called and then CBS, where he became one of the most well-known voices in the country.

Next week's speaker, when the lunch moves to Tuesday, is Vince Young, who played for the Texas Longhorns before spending six seasons in the NFL. The Razorbacks play the Longhorns five days later.

Young finished runner-up to Reggie Bush in the Heisman Trophy voting, but the Texas quarterback led his team to a victory over USC to win the national championship.

    1. .

It didn't seem odd to see Bret Bielema coaching Illinois on Saturday.

He looked comfortable, like he was back home, which in a lot of ways he is.

Bielema spent seven seasons as the head coach of Wisconsin before coming to Arkansas for five seasons.

Wisconsin, like Illinois, is in the West Division of the Big Ten. That's the division that doesn't have Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State or Penn State in it.

Bielema coached the Badgers to three Rose Bowl appearances.

It is still early in the season, but Illinois did not look like a playoff team. Bielema's squad opened his first season with the Illini with a 30-22 victory over Nebraska.

    1. .

That game, or specifically Nebraska's loss, may have made Cornhusker Coach Scott Frost No. 1 on the coaches hot-seat list.

Frost was hired to return the Huskers to the glory years of old. So far they have floundered.

Frost is 12-21 in his fourth season, and the .364 winning percentage is the sixth worst in school history for anyone who coached at least 10 games.

What Nebraska should do before it fires Frost at the end of the season is find out who is available that is better.

Frost, who played for the Cornhuskers, was 19-7 in two seasons with Central Florida, including 13-0 his final season.

Maybe the Nebraska program was so far down that it will take five years to fix.

    1. .

In 2011 and 2012, Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide won back-to-back national championships.

In a column predicting the final Top 25 of this football season it was written the Tide had not won back-to-back championships.

So it is only five times at Alabama and once at LSU Saban has won the national championship but did not repeat.

Regardless, the pick here is Texas A&M to win the SEC, beat Alabama a second time in the College Football Playoff and lose to Oklahoma in the championship game.

Print Headline: Lundquist's stories included ties to Arkansas

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