August 14, 1999 – I count 55 signatures on this signature
panel football that I had signed at Fan Appreciation Day 1999.People with long lines (Coach Houston Nutt,
Quarterback Clint Stoerner, Wide Receiver Anthony Lucas, etc.) were skipped on
this day so that my goal of getting the signature of nearly everyone else could
be accomplished. You can actually make out many of the signatures on this ball,
a significant achievement from the perspective of a left-handed person with
poor penmanship. The autographs written in blue ink don’t seem to have held up
well 13 years later. In contrast, you can clearly make out most of the
signatures in black ink. I’d like to
express a big “Thank you!” to the players that included their uniform # alongside
their “John Hancock”.
This helps me identify the following signers of my 1999
Arkansas Razorbacks football team ball: Kenoy Kennedy, Raymond House, Derrick
Johnson, Jamel Harris, Delancy Kent, D’andre Berry, Jim Ed Reed, John Geitner,
Joe Dean Davenport, Curt Davis, Andre Ackee, Chris Brooks, Eric Parks, Orlando
Green, Joe Bailey, Sparky Hamilton, Bobby Williams, Robby Hampton, Josh Melton,
J.J. Jones, David Barrett, Chris Akin, Lazerius White, Nathan Ball, Rossi
Morreale, Matt Burnstein, George Wilson, Mark Bokermann, Randy Garner, Michael
Jenkins, Gary Brashears, Rodney Hampton, Jared McBride, Tony Dodson & Bo
Thanks guys for your contributions to the
Razorback football program and to my Razorback memorabilia collection!
September 2000 – Southwestern Bell produced this promotional
towel to hand out to fans ahead of the 2000 Arkansas Razorbacks football season.
I can’t recall if I received this at Fan Appreciation Day in August or prior to
the game on September 30, 2000 against the Georgia Bulldogs. My wife, brother
and sister-in-law were standing outside the stadium looking for 4 tickets
together when a kind stranger handed us free tickets to the game. We had great
upper level seats on a beautiful day at Razorback Stadium. Unfortunately, Robby
Hampton threw a pick-6 on the first series of the game and it was all downhill
from there in a 38-7 shellacking.
The 2000 season was anything but fun. Arkansas
finished 6-6 on the season (3-5 in Southeastern Conference play) and the
Houston Nutt era was in a steady decline from the magical start to the 1998
season. I’ve recalled the “NUTTin’ But Fun” slogan from this towel several
times since, mostly during the down years with Houston Nutt at the helm (of
which there were way too many). Thankfully, the state of the Razorback program is
much better today, even in light of recent events that saw the departure of
Bobby Petrino and the hiring of John L. Smith as the interim coach. Hopefully,
Hog fans will have much more fun during the upcoming season than they did
twelve years ago.
February 10, 1991 – This game was bigger than big. It’s the #1
UNLV Runnin’ Rebels taking on the #2 Arkansas Razorbacks in Barnhill Arena in
Fayetteville, Arkansas. It’s Tark the Shark vs Rollin' with Nolan. It’s Todd
Day taking a swing at Larry Johnson. It’s the men vs the boys. It’s me getting on
national TV by walking behind Lesley Visser during the CBS pre-game (true story - check the tape). It’s college
students camping out all week for the best seats in the student section. It’s a
controversial Sunday morning tip-off in the conservative, Bible-belt region of the country.
This pom-pon was given to each of the 9,640 fans
in attendance that day. I’d venture a guess to say that I have one of the few
remaining specimens in mint condition. This promotional item was sponsored by
Magic 107.9 KEZA FM & Maxie’s Better Burgers To Go and included a plastic
pull-off tab with a Maxie’s coupon. While the Hogs lost the game 112-105 (the
final score not indicative of how much UNLV really dominated the game), they
finished the season 34-4 (15-1 in Southwest Conference play) and made it to the
Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament (losing to Kansas, 93-81). The Runnin’ Rebels,
on the other hand, finished the season 34-1, their only loss in the NCAA
Championship game to the Duke Blue Devils.
August 1999 – Fan Appreciation Day is the one day set aside
for the Arkansas Razorback football team to meet face-to-face with the public.
Coach Houston Nutt scheduled this day on one Saturday each fall, typically
prior to a major pre-season scrimmage. Unfortunately, it usually meant battling
the intense August heat as you wait in line, moving from table to table to meet
your favorite player and get his signature.
Anthony Lucas, from Tallulah, Louisiana, was a
star wide receiver for the Hogs from 1995-1999. He was two-time All-SEC First
Team (’98, ’99) and held the team record for career receiving yards (2,879)
until it was broken by Jarius Wright during the 2011 season. While I had other
players sign a team ball at Fan Appreciation Day, Anthony Lucas was one of my
favorite players and deserved to sign this Riddell Mini Football Helmet all by
himself. Three months after signing this helmet, “Stoerner to Lucas” would be
etched into the memories of Hog fans everywhere as one of the greatest
redemption games in college football history.