I thought you might like that
This may be a long shot! Odds are, he would not be interested. But, without question the “most qualified person on the planet” to succeed Jeff Long is former Clemson A.D., Terry Don Phillips.
Terry Don should have been given the job twenty years ago; at the very least when Coach Broyles retired. But timing is everything. He had it going at Clemson in 2007.
As many recall, T.D. made a gutsy call in hiring an obscure assistant named Dabo Sweeney, after Tommy Bowden was let go. Everyone knows the rest of the story! Terry Don Phillips had success before Clemson! As A.D. at Oklahoma State, the Longview Texas native, took the Cowboys from “Oklahoma’s other team,” to a perennial Big 12 contender, with excellent facilities and a balanced program. I got to know Terry Don when he arrived in Fayetteville in 1988. He was named President of the newly formed Razorback Foundation. Prior to that, he served as A.D. for Louisiana-Lafayette.
Everyone at KHOG-TV, where I worked; and the Athletic department, thought that he was being groomed to replace Frank Broyles as Athletic Director. It was widely assumed that the state would evoke “state mandatory retirement” on Coach Broyles. Prior to then, when you reached 70, you retired. This didn’t happen, however! As everyone knows, Coach Broyles hung around until he was finally forced out at age 82.
Meanwhile, Terry Don was “dressed up with no place to go.” He stayed in Fayetteville long enough to complete his law degree. Then, it was off to Stillwater and eventually, Clemson.
Terry Don Philips embodies the Razorback spirit. He has done it all, from an administrative standpoint. Everything that he has touched, has turned to gold! Perhaps more significantly is his time as a Razorback football player. That’s right! Terry Don played for Coach Broyles between 1966-69. He participated in the famed “game of the century,” December 6th, 1969. He ruefully, yet proudly recalsl the “fourth quarter club” exercises orchestrated by Coach Wilson Mathews. He talks fondly of Mathew’s assertion that, “fatigue will make you cowards!”
Terry Don Phillips will inspire any football coach, with the belief that “no excuses are acceptable! It’s about work, grit, and the development of a winning habit.” This is what’s needed currently. There are those who believe(sincerely) that Arkansas cannot complete with the elite SEC schools! Same held true when Coach Broyles arrived in Fayetteville in 1958. From the outset, he was told that Arkansas could not complete with the elite Texas schools, their money and superior athletes. With the help of Coach Mathews and a constant progression of “exceptional head coaches in waiting,” he proved them wrong!
Again, I don’t know whether Terry Don would be interested in leaving his comfortable retirement in Seneca, South Carolina. It’s a beautiful area. The people there are very nice. Arkansas’ program is in turmoil! But, it’s not an impossible situation. The administration is strong. The facilities are as good as any in the nation and the support is there. Arkansas does need both an A.D. and a Head Coach who understand the importance of recruiting in Texas. Terry Don does!
So did Kenny Hatfield. His winning percentage is still better than any U of A Coach in history. Terry Don remembers Hatfield’s dilemma and abrupt departure. He understood why. This is important. Only from past mistakes do we find ways to make future adjustments. Learning from previous mistakes comes only with life experience.
Terry Don is a “young 70.” Would he hang around as long as Coach Broyles did, assuming that he took the job? Probably not! But Arkansas doesn’t need twelve years!Four or five is all that it would take, to ultimately “right the ship!” Which translates to getting the football program back where it was forty years ago. After all, this is where the big revenue is! Basketball and baseball are very good. The spring sports and women sports are good. So are the “classroom results.” Yet sadly, it’s luster is lot when the football program is mediocre…
In short, the elements are all there. It amounts to the right steward taking control and preparing the program for the future. Terry Don Phillips would be that person! It would come down to his willingness to “take on the headache.” I can tell you, from knowing him, watching him work and how he interacts with Razorback fans: He loves Arkansas, the overall program and the fans. And people love Terry Don! Call Clemson! Talk to his former work associates in the Clemson Athletic department. He’s the real deal!
If he were to do it, it would not be for the money. It might come down to merely be asked…
Terry Don Phillips is 70 years old and several years into a well-earned retirement. We already have a caretaker AD. We don’t need another one.
By the way, I would not object if the current interim AD has that tag removed. Yes, even though she lacks a Y chromosome.
I was actually thinking that this morning. Wonder if it’s been discussed
I doubt they’ve discussed too much of anything just yet. Certainly if things go smoothly during her interim period it will improve her chances. She doesn’t seem to be campaigning for the job, which IMO is wise on her part. Just do the job and let that serve as an audition.
So far, so good. But I probably just jinxed em