It’s the last call for original music bands to submit entries to the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. It finally dawned on the organizers (mainly me) that, having not printed a regular edition last week and with musicians perhaps just now reading about the Showcase and Jan. 13 being their deadline, that might be too tight a window for the stragglers. So, we’ll take late entries up until 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17. That will still allow us to announce the 16-band semifinal field next Thursday and plan the week-to-week competition, set to begin Thursday, Jan. 27.
The final round, made up of each week’s winner, will be Friday, March 4.
Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom, which has been the site for the showcase since its inception around 1991, will again be the venue. KMJX-FM, Magic 105, always there for us as the radio sponsor, is back again as well.
Recording time from Blue Chair Studio, a photo shoot, music equipment, a guaranteed spot in the Riverfest lineup, food from Trio’s and more make up the prize package for the winner. The 15 other semifinalists, including the three who advance with the winner to the final, get that all-important recognition of playing a gig at Juanita’s before a packed house.
We take all kinds of music — we’re looking for the best songs, no matter the genre. So, submit a sample of your best work and fill out the registration form on page 33 (or, come by the Times and fill one out here). You could be joining a list of previous winners that, most recently, includes Grandpa’s Goodtime Fandango, the Salty Dogs, Runaway Planet, Mojo Depot, Big Silver and Brenda and Ellis.
For more information, call me at 375-2985.
The football awards wrap up in Little Rock this week with Saturday’s presentation of the KATV Landers Award, presented to the top high school football player in the state as determined by a committee of media and former players.
On Tuesday, six of the nation’s top assistant coaches were honored at the Rotary Club of Little Rock meeting at the Doubletree as nominees for the Broyles Award, with Auburn defensive coordinator Gene Chizik ultimately taking the big prize. The award is named for Arkansas athletic director and former coach Frank Broyles, himself a longtime assistant under Bobby Dodd and who had more than 50 assistants move on to head coaching jobs, many with great success. Nominees told the packed ballroom they were humbled at being among the group selected by a selection committee of big-name former coaches.
Ironically, while Chizik won the Broyles Award, it was Auburn first-year offensive coordinator Al Borges, who wasn’t a Broyles nominee, who was credited by the national media throughout the season with helping the Tigers become a potent force in 2004, enough to finish 13-0 and No. 2 in the nation. Chizik’s defenses have been tough for all three years he coordinated them, including this edition that led the country in fewest points allowed.
Iowa’s defensive coordinator, Norm Parker, deserved some award — he was by far the funniest guy at the podium, while in 2004 he suffered from diabetes, lost a toe to amputation, and buried his son, who had suffered from Down Syndrome and died from a stroke.
The veteran coach quipped, “What does it mean being in the business 39 years? It means you’ve gotten your butt kicked in every state in the Union.”
While the award carries Broyles’ name, the Razorback coaching staff has only had one assistant nominated for the award since its inception in 1996. Keith Burns, the defensive coordinator during Houston Nutt’s first two season, was a 1998 nominee.
Maybe nothing spells out the fall of the Arkansas football program since its peak in the 1960s and ’70s than this: Under Broyles and his successor, Lou Holtz, Arkansas produced assistant coaches who moved to head coaching jobs at Oklahoma, Iowa State, Tennessee, SMU, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, North Carolina State and Louisiana Tech. No one from Danny Ford’s staff left to be a head coach, and under current coach Houston Nutt, Arkansas assistants have gone on to (and failed at) head coaching jobs at Tulsa and San Jose State, while another took another coordinator’s job for a year before being head coach and failing at East Carolina. A few Nutt assistants have gone to mostly nondescript professional jobs. While we know little about new defensive coordinator Reggie Herring, one has to feel it’s a reach that anyone else on Nutt’s current staff is head coaching material.
Imagine, powerhouse Oklahoma went to Arkansas’s staff for its head coach in 1966, during a decade when Arkansas was the second-winningest program in the country; in essence, Arkansas in the 1960s would be like today’s Florida.
The Arkansas of today is like the 1960s Baylor.