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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Arkansas’ loss will be Texas-Arlington’s gain

by Wally Hall | June 29, 2022 at 3:22 a.m.

He will be missed at the University of Arkansas.

Jon Fagg was the UA's deputy athletics director, one of Vice Chancellor and Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek's most trusted soldiers.

He was part of the three-person team, including Yurachek and Steve Cox, who is sports chairman for the Board of Trustees, who found and hired Sam Pittman.

Fagg also helped find and hire Eric Musselman.

Fagg got to know Pittman during his stint as offensive line coach at Arkansas and liked what he saw.

Fagg joined the UA staff in 2008, bringing with him 16 years of athletic department experience.

When Jeff Long was fired, many assumed Fagg would be named interim AD, but then-Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz went with Julie Cromer, who along with Steinmetz hired Chad Morris to be Arkansas' football coach.

Shortly after that hire, Yurachek was named as full-time athletic director.

While nothing has ever been said, if Yurachek had been hired sooner, or Fagg had been the interim AD, the Razorbacks and their fans probably would not have suffered through two horrendous football seasons.

Fagg was valued for his insight, intelligence and heavy dose of common sense, but he never sought the spotlight, preferring to work hard behind the scenes.

He was everywhere, but you had to look for him to find him.

No job was too big or too small for Fagg.

He never complained, not even when he was overlooked as the obvious choice to be the interim athletic director, and he was trusted by all who knew him.

Fagg's work ethic, patience and the ability to respect privacy paid off, and beginning Aug. 1, he will be the athletic director at the University of Texas at Arlington.

UT-Arlington just left the Sun Belt Conference for the Western Athletic Conference, so there will be no shortage of challenges for Fagg.

. . .

Neither rain, nor tornado warnings, nor gloom of night have stopped the Busch Softball Classic. This weekend, hotels are once again full in Central Arkansas as the longest running tournament still run by its founders celebrates its 43rd year.

Despite taking a slight hit from the USSSA, there are 151 teams from nine states participating, including some of the top teams in the nation. There are seven divisions for men and women in all classifications.

The prize package has increased for teams this year, up to $2,000 in some divisions. There are many other prizes including berths to the USSSA world championships.

The Busch was a charter member of the World Series Conference USSSA tour. Don DeDonatis, former chief executive officer of the USSSA, worked hard to put that tournament together and recruited Clint and Marla Albright hard as a men's and women's conference event.

It was a great marriage, but earlier this year DeDonatis, who had given his word that the Busch would be a lifetime participant in the World Series, retired, and almost immediately five events were canceled. The Busch was one of them, with the excuse of a small airport.

A 20-year labor of love was gone.

However, Clint and Marla dug in and will still have one of the biggest and best softball tournaments in the country. It has been for 43 years and is on the Fourth of July weekend.

In their continuing effort to make a difference in their community, another feature will be the "Home Runs for the Hungry" event. This is a home run derby with all the proceeds going to the Arkansas Food Bank. It is Friday night from 5:30-7:30 at the Sherwood Sports Complex.

Print Headline: Arkansas’ loss will be Texas-Arlington’s gain


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