Bedford described him as warm, welcoming and having “an air of dignity that you don’t see very often. He was one of those people that you look at him and you instantly knew there was something special about him.”
Broyles enjoyed a singular career. He was a three-sport athlete at Tech, a two-time All-SEC quarterback and the 1944 SEC player of the year. He was drafted in baseball, basketball and football. In the six years when he was an assistant to Dodd, 1951-56, the Jackets were 59-7-3 and won the Sugar Bowl three times and the Orange, Gator and Cotton once each.
He had a hall of fame coaching career at Arkansas, winning almost 70 percent of his games over a 19-year span. He had a successful run as a college football analyst. As an athletic director, he led the school’s jump to the SEC and hired, among others, basketball coach Nolan Richardson. Razorbacks teams won 43 national championships under his watch.
“I’m blown away by everything he was able to accomplish,” said Bedford, now an analyst on the Tech radio broadcast team. “It’s incredible to think that somebody could pack that many accomplishments and achievements into a single lifetime.”
In his conversations with Broyles, Bedford recognized the place that Tech held in his heart, though he was long identified more for his contributions at Arkansas. Bedford recalled the two sang “Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech” together, though they cut the duet mercifully short.
“(Tech) certainly was very special to him,” Bedford said. “And I think it was a pretty massive part of who he was and how he’d gotten to where he’d ultimately end up.”
The figure that Broyles cut made the conversations Bedford shared with Broyles in 2010 and in later years when he returned to be a part of Burlsworth Trophy presentations all the more meaningful.
“To see that he was genuinely interested in me and my story, that was touching, in my mind,” Bedford said. “He was the icon. He was the legend. I was just lucky to be in the same room with him, and for him to take an interest in me, I thought was special.”