That’s right. I knew there was some particular incident that prompted Abe to make that comment, but I didn’t remember what it was.
Dang, there are some great memories associated with Arkansas basketball. And unlike football, almost all of mine came after I reached adulthood. (If you’d asked me when I was a junior in HS to name the UA basketball coach, I couldn’t have done it.) I was in college during the Lanny Van Eman years. I attended several games–mostly because I had to (I covered them for the Pine Bluff Commercial as a freshman & soph & worked for the SID as a freshman.) Watched Martin Terry but the teams were bad. I cheered for the team, but never lost sleep when they lost. All that changed when Sutton came.
I remember Duddy Waller having a Sunday afternoon TV show before Van Eman. That one probably had a total viewing audience in the teens (not rating; total number of viewers). Duddy averaged less than 8 wins a year in four seasons.
He was a dud in every sense of the word. No offense intended to Mr. Dawson.
Lived in Austin during the Abe days & watched his demise, primarily due to being overshadowed by Eddie Sutton & Arkansas. ut fans were unable to accept the usual beating by Sutton’s Hogs in the SWC, & Abe took that personally. Remember the embarrassing video on Austin tv of Abe’s post-game altercation that was released a few days afterwards. That video contradicted Abe’s claim that AR fans attacked one of his staff after a loss at Barnhill. That was effectively the end for Abe at ut.
However, Abe did have some funny one liners:
“We went to Alaska once and they made us honorary Alaskans. Then we went to Hawaii and they made us honorary Hawaiians. We’re going to the Virgin Islands this year.”
I covered Abe when he was at Oklahoma City. Got to know him. Was good to me. Then really didn’t have many chances to talk to him at Texas. Of course, he eventually came back to OCU but the World did not cover them as much because they dropped to NAIA.
Years later I went to the dinner when my mentor Bill Connors went in to Oklahoma sports hall of fame in OKC.
Abe was at next table from Bill’s guests, directly behind me. He made nasty comments to me three times related to what he thought was biased coverage in favor of Eddie Sutton. You have to know that Abe was always jealous of Eddie, an Oklahoma State and Iba man. After the third time, Bill heard it and went to his table and whispered something in his ear. That ended it.
Next day Bill called me on the phone, on the front end to thank me for driving 4.5 hours to the dinner. Then he said, “Last night when I came down from the head table and heard Abe’s remarks towards you, I told Abe you were the best reporter to have worked at the Tulsa World during my time and he needed to drop that before I embarrassed him in my acceptance speech.” I doubt Bill would have done that but Abe didn’t know it. Bill later repeated that story to Eddie Sutton. Eddie loved it.
I don’t know how much truth there is to this story, but a friend told me Abe had a gripe about Arkansas sending off a couple of players to a small school out west during the summer so they could get academically eligible. When asked rather than gripe about it why didn’t he do the same. His response was “if I sent my players to that school they would come back with a doctorate and go through graduation.” .
That sounds right. Eddie coached for three seasons at the College of Southern Idaho before Creighton hired him. I think a couple of his UA players later went to CSI to get eligible. Certainly there have been some academic shenanigans at jucos over the years (remember the Moo U player who “passed” like 38 hours in one semester to get eligible).
I believe Ron Brewer’s pilgrimage to Southern Idaho to gain eligibility was viewed as something of a minor miracle at the time.
Brewer was the one many raised eye brows over.
Hmm. Ron went to Westark, which was then a juco (now it’s UAFS). I didn’t remember a side trip to Idaho but maybe he did.
If I remember correctly, Brewer’s transcript from Westark was not going to get him into UA. He went to Idaho that summer and passed enough hours to get admitted at UA in the fall.
Back then you didn’t have to graduate from JC to get into a four-year school, and we had several guys come to UA after one year in juco: Brewer, Darrell Walker, Alvin Robertson.
Now if you go to JC because your academics weren’t good enough, you have to graduate. If you go to JC because nobody recruited you but your grades were OK, like Mason Jones, you can transfer after one season.
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