Anyone remember the recruiting guru before Otis jumped on the bandwagon?

In another thread, Clay was talking about when he left the newspaper in Tulsa and started HI around 1992. Someone had accused Clay of starting with a stapled together four page mimeographed recruiting report which he denied vehemently. Before Otis did exactly that, there was a guy, I think, out of north Louisiana or east Texas who was actually the first recruiting guru in this area. I subscribed to his newsletter and it WAS stapled together mimeograph sheets. I can’t remember his name but I remember him getting booked to talk to Jim Elder on the first radio sports talk program in Little Rock. Poor Jim really only cared about baseball, barely tolerated football, and had no idea why his guest or anyone else cared about these high school kids who hadn’t done anything yet. The interview was hilarious. They later replaced Jim with Randy Rainwater and the show didn’t get much better.

That wasn’t the first talk show in Central Arkansas. Pete Perkins had one on some FM station (might have even been what became the Buzz) in 1989 or so. I was one of his guests due to my column at the time in the Gazette. It didn’t last long.

NWA was several years ahead of central Arkansas with sports talk. On KKEG in Fayetteville, back when it was both sports and music, DJ Joel Casey had an afternoon show with Rick Schaeffer; this would have been '81 or '82. No one called. We called from the SIO occasionally just so there would be something besides Joel talking to Rick. Of course Rick knew our voices, but he knew why we were calling too.

Rick could not care less about recruiting and he really doesn’t like football much. I am not surprised not many people called him then and can’t understand why they would now. Before I quit listening to Drivetime Sports a guy finally called in to talk about an exciting pro baseball game the Sunday before. Rick got all wound up talking to him, actually actively participated in a call for a change, until the guy asked something about the final innings because he fell asleep. I almost drove off the road laughing at the exciting baseball game that put that avid baseball fan asleep.

Jim Elder, Rick Schaeffer, and Randy Rainwater are/were all baseball fans who put up with football and recruiting to keep their jobs.

Is it possible that person was Max Emfinger? He is/was from Texas and knew alot about recruiting in the old SWC.

Is it possible that person was Max Emfinger? He is/was from Texas and knew alot about recruiting in the old SWC.


That’s the guy! Thanks.

He was the first in this area that I was aware of.

Are you sure you’re not talking about Otis? He started in the early 90’s out of Mena/DeQueen and sent out 4 page mimeograph descriptions of recruits, with pictures.

Booth bought the Pigpen Board from Channel 4 Little Rock about then, but I don’t think he specialized in recruiting. That was the first Hog board that I remember. Channel thought it was too controversial for them with all the flaming and such, so Booth took it over.

Mike Nail had a small recruiting newspaper back in the early 80’s that didn’t survive for very long. Back then Dave Campbell’s Arkansas Football Magazine was the only source of recruiting, after the fact, giving a brief synopsis of the recruits that Arkansas had signed in the previous February.

There was something called the Hog Call about that time.

Yes, it was Max Emfinger.

As far as I know, Otis and I were the only two in Arkansas doing recruiting back in the 1980s - me at the Northwest Arkansas Times and various Razorback publications and Otis at the Mena paper and his newsletter. We both went on various radio shows.

I once tried to hire Otis for the NWAT when I became sports editor, but he wasn’t ready to move from Mena yet.

We both take quite pride in what we brought it from - which was laughed at by some other writers at the time - to today. We just kept going and eventually it turned into $$$.

His ex-wife used to work for the airport that Barry Seal flew in and out of during his days that ended up being turned into the movie American Made with Tom Cruise starring as Seal.

I met Seal on a few occasions when he came to Fayetteville for Razorback basketball games in the early 1980s, but had no idea what was going on. At least that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

The point about the KKEG show is that people in NWA weren’t tuned in to calling a radio show yet. Was it because not many people were listening? That’s possible too, but there were no Tiger Baits or Eddie from Clarksvilles who were just dying to hear their voices on the radio. And as far as I knew KKEG was the top station in the market. At least it was the only station I listened to.

Of course Rick was on the UA payroll then, and would be until the jar was on JFB’s desk, so it very much sounded like someone on the payroll would on any show – accentuate the positive, largely ignore the negative. Unquestionably, though, his true love is baseball; we all knew that working for him.

Yeah, it was Emfinger and I thought of him as I typed my response about Snout possibly confusing Otis’ newsletter for an early version of HI. But I did not mention him since he was a “national” recruiting service, whereas Otis was Arkansas only, and was, in fact, an early member of the HI team.

Max was “national”, but anyone who reviewed his newsletters knew he had an obvious Southwestern bias. Or, at the least, his information from that region was far, far better than it was elsewhere in the country. Being fair to him, 30 years ago there was no internet and getting video on prospects was exponentially more difficult than it is today. Still, “scouting” for these services was just as much snake oil then as now. But I was so starved for ANY kind of information that I subscribed to his newsletters for a few years.

Beyond that, Max was/is an “interesting” dude. He is one of those guys that you wonder how he got to where he was. Kind of like some early people who randomly stumbled into the movie and TV business that were early “stars” (and you look at them decades later an wonder - “why?”), Max was just a guy who thought of it before anyone else. His newsletter often resembled something he literally put together/produced out of the back of his minivan. And on his radio appearances (usually clustered around signing day), he had a “Christmas Morning” approach - EVERYBODY and every team had some goodies under the tree. Seems like every prospect he was asked about was a 4 or 5 star, and the callers ate it up.

Just for grins, I looked Max up (using Google) and see that he still has a website, . Coincidentally, I scrolled down his typically rambling first page there and found this little goodie . . . which is sooooo Max (he loves to name drop and talk about thing “he has done”):

[color=#0000FF]"Then, in 2005, I became Great Friends with Springdale Head Coach Gus Malzahn when his Springdale Team went 14-0 and Won The Arkansas 5A State Championship. I Invited Two of his Super-Stars, Wide Receiver Damian Williams and Tight End Ben Cleveland To Play in my 2005 All-American Bowl Game and they both were MVP’s in My All-American Bowl Game.

Coach Malzahn was Going to be one of my Coaches in The All-American Bowl Game, but was Offered a Coaching Job at Arkansas and he had to Start Immediately. [color=#BF0000]In Fact, I was In The House of Former Arkansas Head Coach, Frank Broyles, when Coach Malzahn was excited and Called me about Getting The Arkansas Wide Receiver Job.[/color]"[/color]

Here’s an intesting article on Max from a Dallas Morning news writer that’s almost 30 years old. Ironically, it includes a quote from then Arkansas coach Ken Hatfield about not using Max’s service. … ng-service

It’s funny, but the Drive Time regulars Ray T, Rick S, Randy R, and the former football player (can’t remember his name) do not follow recruiting or know anything about recruiting, Trey B. being the exception, who is on 5-5:30.

I was one of the people who got rip off by Mike Nial. I had just renew my subscription, when he discontinued his newspaper on recruiting. I’m still angry over be rip off by Mike 30 years later.

I had purchased for my father, what turned out to be his last birthday present from me before he died, a subscription to his newsletter. My father was so excited with the subscription. When the paper folded, and my father never having received even 1 paper, I found Nail’s phone number and asked for my money back. I never got even an apology, much less any money.

That would be Marcus Elliott who has not quit moaning since Stan Heath got fired. He is the most negative former Razorback I have ever heard on the radio. Quinn Grovey needs to give him lessons on how to not bore to tears his listening audience with his negativity. None of those guys know or care anything about recruiting. When they finally get Trey Biddy on there (who does know a lot) they keep interrupting him, keeping him from passing on too much information and making them look lame.

I generally like the sports talk radio shows that emphasize the Razorbacks. Rick can occasionally get annoying, but he clearly loves the hogs & has a wealth of information about them. On balance, I like listening to him. Don’t like to hear Marcus Elliot. He’s a bit too negative & he’s picked up some of Randy Rainwater’s goofy enunciation habits. I’d rather hear fingernails scaping a blackboard than listen to Randy Rainwater.

I enjoyed Bo Mattingly’s show when I could hear it. Mostly enjoy the guests. If it’s on a station in LR, I’m unaware of it.

IMO, Chuck Barrett’s show was far & away the best.