FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior associate athletic director Bill Gray will step down from his role in the athletic department on July 31, 2008, after 29 years of service to Razorback Athletics as a student-athlete, football coach, recruiting coordinator and athletics administrator.
“There comes a time when even the good things in life have to come to an end,” Gray said. “That is the reason that I have made the decision to move on now. I know in my heart this is the time for me to end this wonderful experience.
“Working for the Razorbacks has been a privilege and an honor. To do something you really love, to meet so many wonderful people and to get to go to the bowl games and NCAA basketball tournaments has been an incredible experience. I want to thank the Razorback fans and the athletic department staff and administration for the opportunity to be a part of the Razorbacks. I also would like to thank Ken Hatfield for giving me the opportunity to work for the Razorbacks and Coach Broyles for keeping me for so many years.”
During his 24-year tenure as an athletics administrator at Arkansas, Gray has been instrumental in nearly every facet of the Razorback athletic program. As a senior associate athletic director and executive associate athletic director, Gray supervised event management, football and basketball scheduling, post-season football and basketball, academics and compliance.
Gray has also been involved in numerous capital improvement projects over the years, including serving as the department’s point man for the renovation and expansion of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
He was also instrumental in the creation of the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor, now in its 19th year. He was chairman of the committee in charge of the details of Arkansas’ football centennial celebration.
Gray joined the Razorbacks as recruiting coordinator in 1984. He served in that capacity for four years before moving into full-time administration. As recruiting coordinator, he helped build the Razorback Belle program.
“Bill Gray has been an unsung hero of the Razorback program for more than a quarter of a century,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “While his contributions were most often made behind the scenes, his influence helped chart the direction of this program under Coach Broyles’ leadership. Bill’s commitment and dedication have helped pave the way for thousands of student-athletes to pursue their dreams academically and athletically.He has continued to be an invaluable resource to me in the transition and combining of the men’s and women’s athletic programs. I wish Bill and his wife Peggy the best as they pursue a new direction in their lives. And although Bill won’t be directly affiliated with our program moving forward, he will remain a trusted advisor and treasured member of the Razorback Family.”
Gray lettered three years each in football and baseball at Arkansas while being a captain of the 1964 national championship team. He played quarterback and defensive back, and played in one Cotton Bowl and one Sugar Bowl during his career. His 68-yard toss to Jerry Lamb in the 1963 Sugar Bowl is still a school record for longest pass completion in a bowl game. He led the 1963 Razorbacks in scoring with 30 points on five touchdowns and led the ‘64 Hogs with three interceptions. Gray also led the 1965 baseball team with a .322 average.
After his college career, he played professional baseball for a year in the Minnesota Twins organization, and then served as a graduate assistant football coach under Frank Broyles at Arkansas for a year. He then spent four seasons as a defensive backfield coach for the Oklahoma Sooners.
He left coaching and was in the restaurant business for 12 years in Little Rock. He then served three years as business administrator for Baptist churches in Wichita, Kan., and Shreveport, La., before returning to Arkansas.
A 1966 graduate of Arkansas with a degree in business administration, Gray and his wife Peggy have four children, Ken, Mike, Kristi and Carrie, and four grandchildren, John, Carley, Jacob and Isabella.
“I would like to thank Jeff Long for keeping me on and offering to let me stay for as long as I wanted to stay,” Gray said. “In a short period of time, Jeff has become a Razorback and is committed to doing what is best for the Razorbacks. Jeff is the right person to lead the Razorbacks and has a great plan for taking us to a higher level. He deserves our total support and I know all the great Razorback fans will give him that support.”