Bielema chokes up when talking about death of Springdale WR

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This was a touching/sad moment today. The last question of the press conference, Clay asked Bret about Springdale WR Kyler Williams, who died Saturday in a car crash. Bret got choked up when talking about Kyler, who he took a photo with when Kyler made an unofficial visit for the Texas State game.

Some of you may already know this, but I covered high school sports in Northwest Arknasas prior to transitioning to WholeHog, specifically Springdale. I’d gotten to know Kyler really well over the last few years. He was only about 5-9, but was an incredible athlete and a great playmaker. He had 575 yards and seven touchdowns through four games to start his senior year while also playing key snaps at CB.

But aside from being one of the best players in the state, he was a great kid. Down to earth, genuine and much more mature than an average high schooler. Very humble for as good as he was.

He skipped Springdale’s homecoming dance Saturday night to go hunting with his grandfather in Huntsville, something they’d done together countless times. He loved to hunt. He left something in Springdale, went back late Saturday night to get it and lost control of his car on the way back. It flipped and he wasn’t wearing a seat belt, so he was ejected and died on the spot. His grandfather was the one who found him after he went out looking for him when he didn’t return. Heartbreaking.

Hundreds of people from NWA gathered at Springdale’s stadium early Sunday morning and again Sunday afternoon in remembrance. For Friday’s game at crosstown rival Har-Ber, both fan bases are wearing red in his honor, which is huge given the intensity and dynamics of that rivalry. A GoFundMe has already raised more than $27,000 in his name in about a day.

He was a special kid. He was too small for Arkansas to have pursued, but came with another Springdale prospect to the game. This turned out lengthier than I anticipated, but I wanted to point out Bret’s reaction because it was a pretty touching moment and again goes to show the type of person he is.

Kyler had been the cornerstone of a resurgence in Springdale football under Zak Clark, the former Razorback QB who is in his second year as head coach. The program has been pretty bad for the last decade, but was 3-1 this season with wins over Conway, Alma and Rogers Heritage. The town was excited about the Bulldogs again and the game against Har-Ber - which is No. 1 in the state and has beaten Springdale nine straight years - was the talk of the town. Obviously it has all taken a back seat now.

There is talk that many high school student sections are going to wear red Friday night. The hundreds who were at Jarrell Williams Stadium last night included players from several high schools across the area. It’s a very sad situation, but at the same time very touching to see young kids show that kind of support for the Springdale kids. Our area has grown by leaps and bounds the last 15-20 years, but there is still a strong sense of community in Northwest Arkansas and I think that event illustrated it.

I came into the interview wanting to ask Bret about whether or not Arkansas had begun to feel that they might recruit him even though he was small. I thought they should, although I’m no expert on what constitutes a college prospect. I decided to ask the question a bit differently after thinking more about it and I did know to wait until it was the last question. I figured Bret would have trouble asking. His face immediately went red and he wept. I did, too. Some might wonder why I’d ask a question like that, but I think it was something that needed to be put in front of Bret and I’m glad I did.

I think Kyler was on the way to being the player of the year in the 7A West. I think that could have happened. It may still happen and I would not argue against it.

Clay I think I remember an article on Kyler sometime last year by you. I might be mistaken, but I think not.
If it wasn’t, then it was about someone very similar.

Anyway that is just tragic, May God bless that family and the whole community.

And yes that is the true color of CBB for sure.

This is when wons & losses seem irrelevant

The human factor we see in Coach B over and over makes him so much more appealing to families & recruits than he is given credit

And Hog Fans should never lose sight of this