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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Bazzel does it again with LRTDC speakers

by Wally Hall | August 3, 2022 at 2:58 a.m.

Overlooking Simmons Bank Field at War Memorial Stadium, a crowd gathered to learn this year's speaker lineup for the Little Rock Touchdown Club.

There were probably three times as many people there Tuesday as there was at the first LRTDC meeting.

That was 17 years ago, and under the direction and leadership of David Bazzel, the football lunch bunch has grown from 45 to more than 600 members.

It is so efficient and successful that the Memphis Touchdown Club has asked if its members can attend to see how the LRTDC runs.

All of the meetings will again be at the downtown DoubleTree Hotel. All but two meetings are on a Monday.

Arkansas Razorbacks Coach Sam Pittman will kick the season off on Aug. 15, and every week for 16 weeks a football expert will be at the microphone.

Somehow, Bazzel always manages to outdo the previous years, and this year is no exception. The second week features ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit.

Herbstreit is ESPN's No. 1 college football analyst and starts each Saturday with the ever-popular "College GameDay" and finishes on air at the game of the week location.

Following him there will be consecutive meetings on Tuesday featuring Jon Gruden, who won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay, and former LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, who won a national championship with the Tigers.

The face of the SEC Network, Paul Finebaum, is next up. Finebaum is the popular host of the SEC Network's "Paul Finebaum Show." He's actually skipping his show that day to speak to the LRTDC.

Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek will be next, and he always has an insightful look at the state of Razorback and SEC football.

Marty Smith of the "Marty and McGee" show is next. Smith has become one of ESPN's most versatile commentators since joining the network in 2006 to cover NASCAR and now can be seen at almost every major event, including the Masters.

Peter Burns follows. Burns works for the SEC Network and has a national morning radio show on ESPN Radio.

Robbie Bosco, former Brigham Young quarterback, is up the Monday before the Razorbacks travel to BYU.

University of Central Arkansas Coach Nathan Brown makes his annual visit on Oct 17.

The next speaker was a big get for Bazzel, as Tim Brando comes to town. Brando is a national radio show host and does work for CBS and Fox. He spent eight years as a host of "SportsCenter" before choosing to return to his home town of Shreveport.

Arkansas State's Butch Jones takes center stage on Halloween.

The following Monday will feature UAPB Athletic Director Chris Robinson and football Coach Doc Gamble.

Houston Nutt, former head coach at Arkansas and Ole Miss and now an analyst for CBS Sports, is up the Monday before the Razorbacks host the Rebels.

The regular season closes out with SEC Network star Dari Nowkhah. Nowkhah has been the lead anchor since the network started in 2014.

The annual banquet that honors high school football players and coaches will be Friday, Jan. 13, and the speaker will be Joe Theismann, who quarterbacked the Washington Redskins for 12 years. He led them to consecutive Super Bowls and beat Miami in the 1982 Super Bowl.

The LRTDC has five levels of membership beginning at $90. More information can be found at

Simmons Bank, which has 230 branches in six states and holdings of $27 billion, is the presenting sponsor and goes a very long way in enabling the club to have such great speakers.

Of course, membership is a big part of it, too, and this year's speakers tab will be more than $100,000.

Print Headline: Bazzel does it again with LRTDC speakers


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