This is the latest in a series of features on the 2010 University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor inductees.
FAYETTEVILLE – In the history of Arkansas Razorback football, it can take some players as many as four years to cement their legacy. For former UA standout quarterback Kevin Scanlon, it took just two. Scanlon was a Southwest Conference Player of the Year en route to quarterbacking one of the most successful Razorback football teams in program history.
Even with two years to play for the Razorbacks, it was left up to Scanlon’s senior campaign to make a lasting impact. In Scanlon’s first season of eligibility for UA, it was widely regarded that his position was the deepest on the team. Scanlon jostled for playing time with 2009 Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor inductee Ron Calcagni, who led the Razorbacks in passing from 1976-78. The 1978 season of UA football saw both quarterbacks prove their worth on different occasions on the way to a 9-2-1 record and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl.
Calcagni made the SWC first team in 1977 and Scanlon mirrored his predecessor’s efforts in 1979. As the No. 1 Razorback under center in his senior season, Scanlon led the conference in total offense (1,460 yards) and passing accuracy (.662). The 1979 Razorback football campaign saw the squad finish ranked eighth nationally with a record of 10-2, including a 17-14 win over No. 2 Texas in Little Rock, Ark. Scanlon helped Arkansas claim a share of the league championship before leading UA to the 1980 Sugar Bowl where they faced eventual national champion Alabama.
In the midst of the successful season, former head football coach Lou Holtz praised Scanlon’s leadership of the squad in the Waco Tribune-Herald in November of 1979.
"What I’m most pleased about him is he’s turned into a real leader," Coach Holtz said. "That’s something we really needed. He’s an unselfish player."
Coach Holtz was happy to have Scanlon, even if only for two seasons. Scanlon had sought out Arkansas as his team to play for, coming to the Razorbacks by way of a transfer from NC State. Holtz had coached one season of football at NC State while Scanlon rode the Wolfpacks’ bench, appearing in only one game.
Playing for Coach Holtz wasn’t the only reason Scanlon saw it fit to suit up for Arkansas. He outlined his decision in the questionnaire he completed for the UA sports information office upon his transfer.
"I chose Arkansas because when I decided to transfer, I wanted to go to a school that had a great football tradition," Scanlon wrote. "I like the excitement and pressures of college ball and I love to win!"
Scanlon’s winning attitude undoubtedly propelled the 1979 Arkansas season and his stats reflect that fact. His throwing accuracy mark of .662 stands as the school record to this day. In the 1980 Sugar Bowl, Scanlon completed an all-time bowl high 22 passes for the Razorbacks. Following his UA career, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1980.
COMPLETION PERCENTAGE IN A SEASON: (min. 100 att.):.662 Kevin Scanlon (92-139), 1979.625 Jack Robbins (95-162), 1935.616 Barry Lunney Jr. (180-292), 1995.615 Greg Thomas (67-109), 1986.602 Ron Calcagni (62-103), 1978.592 Ronny South (84-142), 1967.590 Joe Ferguson (160-271), 1971.574 Casey Dick (205-357), 2008.574 Matt Jones (132-230), 2003.573 Casey Dick (150-262), 2007.573 Bill Montgomery (134-234), 1968.572 Matt Jones (151-264), 2004.564 Bill Montgomery (110-195), 1970
COMPLETION PERCENTAGE IN A GAME (min. 20 att. or more):.852 Ryan Mallett (23-27) vs. South Carolina, 2009.818 Ronny South (18-22) vs. Texas A&M, 1967.815 Barry Lunney Jr. (22-27) vs. Tennessee, 1995.800 Kevin Scanlon (16-20) vs. Rice, 1979.773 Ryan Mallett (17-22) vs. Missouri State, 2009.773 Robby Hampton (17-22) vs. SW Missouri St., 2000.767 Ryan Mallett (23-20) vs. Troy, 2009.739 Brad Taylor (17-23) vs. Baylor, 1981.731 Clint Stoerner (19-26) vs. Auburn, 1999.714 Brad Taylor (20-28) vs. SMU, 1984.714 Bill Montgomery (20-28) vs. Texas A&M, 1968.711 Clint Stoerner (27-38) vs. LSU, 1998.708 Casey Dick (17-24) vs. Ole Miss, 2005.700 Greg Thomas (14-20) vs. TCU, 1986.700 Bill Montgomery (14-20) vs. North Texas, 1968.700 Jon Brittenum (14-20) vs. Texas Tech, 1965
COMPLETION PERCENTAGE IN A GAME: (min 13-19 att.):.875 Ryan Mallett (14-16) vs. Eastern Michigan, 2009.857 Billy Moore (12-14) vs. Tulsa, 1962.846 Brad Taylor (11-13) vs. Tulsa, 1984.823 Casey Dick (14-17) vs. Mississippi St., 2007.813 Matt Jones (13-16) vs. New Mexico State, 2004.812 Clint Stoerner (13-16) vs. South Carolina, 1999.800 Mitch Mustain (12-15) vs. Ole Miss, 2006.800 Kevin Scanlon (12-15) vs. Texas A&M, 1979.800 Bill Montgomery (12-15) vs. Oklahoma State, 1970.800 Joe Ferguson (12-15) vs. North Texas, 1972.786 Matt Jones (11-14) vs. South Carolina, 2003.786 Quinn Grovey (11-14) vs. Houston, 1989.786 Greg Thomas (11-14) vs. Texas A&M, 1986
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. 3, at the Springdale Convention Center. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased from the Razorback Foundation. For more information, call the Razorback Foundation at 479-443-9000.