The great Razorback Floyd Sagely, “the last of iron men”, dies at 89

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FAYETTEVILLE – Whether on offense or defense for the Arkansas Razorbacks, Floyd Sagely caught the ball.

As a senior in 1953, Sagely led the University of Arkansas and the Southwest Conference with 30 receptions for 542 yards and 3 touchdowns. A first-team All-SWC pick, Sagely also recorded three interceptions, a team-high, for the 1953 Razorbacks for 51 back yards.

Sagely, the last Razorback to have started for three years in the varsity football (1951-1953) and basketball (seasons 1951-52 to 1953-54), died Tuesday night at Fort Smith. He was 89 years old.

“I know Floyd Sagely was one of the greatest athletes we ever had at the University of Arkansas,” said Harold Horton, Arkansas football player, assistant coach and administrator. “He loved the Razorbacks and he will be sorely missed.

“If we had a Razorback feature, you knew Floyd would be there. “

Sagely, who also played in the NFL, was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1985 and the UA Sports Hall of Honor in 1997.

“This is the last of the Iron Men,” said Henry Iba, the legendary Oklahoma state basketball coach, when Sagely graduated from the UA, the Arkansas Gazette sports columnist , Orville Henry, wrote about Sagely in 1985.

Sagely, a member of the Arkansas football team during the 1950s, played three seasons in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Cardinals before retiring from professional football to go into the oil business. and gas.

Between stints with the 49ers and Cardinals, Sagely served in the U.S. Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma for nearly two years.

Among Sagely’s teammates in Arkansas and with the Cardinals was Pat Summerall, a kicker who became a renowned sports broadcaster on television.

Horton said Sagely has become a close friend of Frank Broyles, the football coach and athletic director of the Razorbacks.

“I know Floyd and Coach Broyles played a lot of golf together,” said Horton. “Floyd has become a confidant of Coach Broyles.”

Sagely served on the Arkansas State Golf Association board of directors for nine years in the 1980s, most notably as president for three years.

Along with Summerall and Ray Tucker, Sagely started the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Golf Tournament in 1999, which became an annual fundraising event and is now known as the Pat Summerall Celebrity Golf Classic. .

Sagely was also an early sponsor of the First Tee program in Fort Smith.

Born in Rudy, Sagely distinguished himself in four sports at Van Buren High School, where he played in football, basketball, baseball and track and field. As a baby, Sagely’s father was laid off during the Great Depression and he lived with his parents, two grandmothers and four older siblings in a one-room cabin.

According to Henry, Sagely kept a photo of the family standing in front of the cabin in his wallet.

“I keep this photo because it makes me grateful,” Sagely said in 1985.

After graduating from Van Buren, Sagely played in a high school All-America basketball game in Murray, Ky. One of his teammates Bob Petit, who went on to play LSU and NBA for the St Louis Hawks and became a Pro Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee.

After retiring from the NFL in 1958, Sagely started in the oil and gas business as an oil field man for various companies. In 1962 he established his own oil and gas exploration company which continues to operate as Floyd E. Sagely Properties, Ltd., in Fort Smith.

In the mid-1960s, Sagely was one of the three founders of the first association of Christian athlete organizations in Arkansas. He also coached baseball and basketball with religious leagues in Fort Smith; served as president of the deacons council of the First Baptist Church; was a Sunday School teacher who served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of First United Methodist Church; and served on the Fort Smith School Board.

Sagely is survived by his wife of 67 years, Jimmie Lou; son, Floyd E. Sagely Jr., and two grandsons, Weston and Colton Sagely of Fort Smith; and several nieces and nephews.

A private family service will take place.

Donations on behalf of Sagely can be made to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, 1 Children’s Way, Little Rock, AR 72202, or the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club, 8800 Dallas, Fort Smith, AR 72903.


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