This is the latest in a series of features on the 2009 University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor inductees.
Billy Joe Moody was a three-year football letterman for the Razorbacks (1960, ’61, ’62) at fullback and defensive back. During his playing career at Arkansas, the Razorbacks won the 1960 SWC championship and were co-champions in 1961. UA played in three New Year’s Day Bowl games (1961 Cotton, 1962 and 1963 Sugar). He was drafted by Denver in the 1963 AFL Draft and by Los Angeles in the NFL Draft. ArkansasRazorbacks.com spoke with Moody recently so he could share his thoughts on being selected into the UA Sports Hall of Honor:
What does being in the UA Sports Hall of Honor mean to you?“When Harold Horton first called to tell me I’d been selected, I told him I thought they might need to recount the votes. Of course, I was thrilled to get nominated for such an honor. I was very thankful. The coaches we had really pushed us back then and they could get on you hard, but you still loved them after practice was over. Dixie White, Jim Mackenzie, and especially Wilson Matthews had a lot to do with helping me in my career.”
The UA Sports Hall of Honor Banquet will be held Sept. 18. Why is the date of the event going to be very meaningful to you?“I was married to my wife, Rosemary, Dec. 1 of my senior year. She was the Homecoming Queen that year, and it was right before we went down to play Sugar Bowl. She passed away this past year on Sept. 18 and that is the exact date of the Hall of Honor banquet this year. I know it is going to be very hard for me to get up there and speak about it, but I know she’ll be watching and she’s going to be thrilled.”
After you finished at the University of Arkansas, what was next?“After the Sugar Bowl, I talked to the Rams and eventually signed a contract to play with them. Myself and a few other players went down to play in a game called the Southwest Challenge in Corpus Christi, Texas, and while I was there a guy from Denver had a contract there for me to sign. I told him I’d signed with Los Angeles, and he left mad. I went to L.A. and went through the rookie camp and made the team. One day I woke up and really wanted to come back home. I walked in and told Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch I was going home and he told me I’d regret it the rest of my life, and he was right. I came home, and got into the insurance business. I started by working for Jerry Jones’ dad for several years and then work for the Farm Bureau Insurance for 28 years. Today, I work for the Steve Standridge Insurance firm. I really enjoy spending time with my four granddaughters though.”
Talk about your favorite game as a player.“Playing SMU was always special, but one team in the Southwest Conference I thought always hit like we hit was Texas A&M. We went to College Station in 1960 and it was storming and raining all night. I played both ways all but maybe two minutes of that game because everyone was hurt. Texas A&M had some big time players that year and got ahead in the game, 3-0. It was a great game and we ended up beating them, 7-3. I scored the winning touchdown, and I can remember it like it was yesterday. Billy (Moore) handed me the ball and he hollered. We went to the sideline for the kickoff and he told me you could have driven a truck through that hole”
You never lost to Texas A&M in your career, what are your thoughts on having them return to the schedule for the Southwest Classic?“It should be real exciting for the fans, and I think it should be sold out. It is an old tradition that has been brought back into being. It is a thrill to know we are going to get to play them again. It is going to be a lot better for our fans since it is going to be in Dallas. I would think it would be easy for a lot of our fans to get to. There is a great Razorback Club there in Dallas and the game should be a great one.”
Compare the Razorback program today to when you played.“We didn’t have near the facilities, and we didn’t have a weight room. We had to play both ways, and freshmen couldn’t play. Today, the players are so specialized and they play one way. Our group wouldn’t be big or strong enough to play on today’s team. There are player’s on today’s group that could play for us, but I think a lot of them wouldn’t be able to since they don’t play both ways.”
What do you think of the current coaching staff at Arkansas?“I was thrilled with the way the season ended last year and with the coaching staff. I think Coach Petrino has them going. I think they are all good men, but the best asset is Tim Horton. He is a good coach and a good man. I think Coach Petrino really made a great decision to have him on the staff.”
UA Sports Hall of Honor members are selected by a vote of former letterwinners in conjunction with the “A” Club. The official induction is Friday, Sept. 18, at the Holiday Inn in Springdale. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased from the Razorback Foundation. For more information, call the Razorback Foundation at 479-443-9000.