Clyde Scott, a two-sport star and All-Amer­i­can for the Arkansas Ra­zor­backs and an Olympic sil­ver medal­ist in 1948, dies.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - TOM MUR­PHY

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FAYET­TEVILLE — Clyde “Smack­over” Scott, a twosport star and All-Amer­i­can for the Arkansas Ra­zor­backs and an Olympic sil­ver medal­ist in 1948, passed away at his home in Lit­tle Rock on Tues­day.

Scott was 93.

Scott’s No. 12 is one of only two foot­ball jer­seys re­tired by the Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville, and it was the only one retied for a liv­ing for­mer Ra­zor­back.

He was in­ducted into the in­au­gu­ral UA Hall of Honor class in 1988 with Frank Broyles, John McDonnell, Sid­ney Mon­crief, Lance Al­worth and Glen Rose.

“Peo­ple talk about who was the best ath­lete in Arkansas. Well, I ar­gue that he’s the best ath­lete who ever lived,” said Bud Whet­stone, a Lit­tle Rock lawyer and long­time friend of Scott. “The out­stand­ing thing about Scotty is he was more in the cat­e­gory of Jim Thorpe. There wasn’t any­thing he couldn’t do. What­ever he tried he was the best at it, or one of the best.”

Scott had been in hospice for a few days but died at his home, a friend of the fam­ily said.

Scott earned his nick­name “Smack­over” be­cause the town in Union County in the south­ern part of the state was his home­town af­ter his fam­ily moved from Dixie, La.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Smack­over High School, Scott at­tended the Naval Academy and played foot­ball there in 1944 and 1945. He trans­ferred to Arkansas in the sum­mer of 1946 so he could marry his girl­friend, Les­lie Hamp­ton of Lake Vil­lage, Miss Arkansas 1945. The cou­ple would have two chil­dren, Mar­sha and Steve.

Scott told the Arkansas Demo­crat in 1982 that he started work­ing on gain­ing ad­mis­sion to the Naval Academy while in the ninth grade.

“Back then it was some­thing real great, cer­tainly for a kid from Smack­over,” he said prior to the first foot­ball game be­tween Arkansas and

Navy. “The Naval Academy was some­thing su­per and very glam­orous at the time. It was truly, truly a great place.”

Scott’s sense of hu­mor was ev­i­dent in a Western Union tele­gram he sent to his wife on June 26, 1946, which is pre­served at the UA’s Pryor Cen­ter for Arkansas Oral and Vis­ual His­tory.

“My sur­prise at­tack found the op­po­si­tion off guard,” he wrote. “I sub­mit­ted my res­ig­na­tion without fir­ing a shot. Ex­pect a counter at­tack to­mor­row. Will let you know the out­come. Love, Scotty.”

Scott’s mod­esty about his ath­letic ac­com­plish­ments is note­wor­thy.

“He was a quiet, hum­ble man,” for­mer UA sports in­for­ma­tion director Rick Scha­ef­fer said. “The last per­son he wanted to talk about was him­self. He was a re­mark­able guy.”

Wally Hall, Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette sports editor and pres­i­dent of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame from 2014-2015, met Scott dur­ing func­tions for the hall, which in­ducted Scott in 1963.

“He was a true South­ern gen­tle­man,” Hall said. “If ev­ery other ath­lete was like him, the world would be a bet­ter place.”

Whet­stone said he was 6 years old when he met Scott in 1948. Scott signed his hel­met and wrote him a let­ter.

“There wasn’t any­body in Arkansas who didn’t know who he was,” Whet­stone said. “He was ev­ery­body’s hero. He was such an out­stand­ing ath­lete.

“There’s a cer­tain bur­den that comes with fame but that never af­fected him. He un­der­stood that he was Clyde Scott but he would never say that to any­body.”

Scott played tail­back for three sea­sons at Arkansas and earned All-Amer­ica sta­tus in 1948 when he rushed for 670 yards on 95 car­ries for 7.0 yards per at­tempt. He won the sil­ver medal in the

110-yard high hur­dles at the Lon­don Olympics, los­ing in a photo fin­ish to USA team­mate Bill Porter of North­west­ern.

“I thought I’d won the dog­gone thing,” Scott told the Arkansas Demo­crat in 1982. “It took them a long time to de­cide.”

Scott won the high hur­dles at the NCAA Out­door cham­pi­onships in 1948 to be­come Arkansas’ first in­di­vid­ual NCAA cham­pion. That same sea­son, the only year he com­mit­ted to track-and-field pur­suits, he won the 100-yard dash, the high hur­dles and the low hur­dles; fin­ished third in the javelin; and ran a leg on the third-place 440 re­lay team at the South­west Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onships. The feat would equal 42 points by to­day’s scor­ing rules.

Whet­stone said Scott never had a coach for track and field in high school or col­lege.

Scott also played safety for the Ra­zor­backs and was cred­ited with mak­ing a touch­down-sav­ing tackle on LSU quar­ter­back Y. A. Tit­tle at the 1 to pre­serve a 0-0 tie in the 1947 Cot­ton Bowl on the day af­ter an ice storm struck Dal­las.

“In­ter­est­ing in this day when you’ve got to have speed, speed, speed, in that era, there wasn’t much of it and he had more than any­body,”

Scha­ef­fer said. “A run­ning back run­ning a 4.5 in the 40 was not com­mon then. He was way ahead of his time.”

Scott played four NFL sea­sons with the Philadel­phia Ea­gles and Detroit Lions, win­ning NFL cham­pi­onships with the Ea­gles in his rookie year of 1949 and with the Lions in 1952. In­juries to his an­kle, knee and shoul­der side­lined his pro­fes­sional ca­reer.

“His ma­jor re­gret was that he was hurt all of his life,” said Whet­stone, who added that Scott told him his best sport was prob­a­bly base­ball. “He played with a brace they made for him at Navy. When he ran track, some­times he was hurt so bad he had to use the al­ter­nate leg.”

Whet­stone said Scott was in line to join pole vaulter Bob Richards to be­come the first ath­letes pic­tured on the front of a Wheaties box in 1958.

“This guy comes by to pick him up in a car in Lake Vil­lage but he had the flu and couldn’t go to the photo shoot,” Whet­stone said. “He was sup­posed to be on the front of the box with Bob Richards or al­ter­nat­ing or some­thing. They hadn’t worked it out yet.”

Wheaties be­gan putting ath­letes on their boxes in 1934, de­but­ing with Lou Gehrig, but they had al­ways been on the side or back un­til Richards.

Scott had his No. 12 jer­sey re­tired to be­come the first Arkansas foot­ball player to earn that dis­tinc­tion. How­ever, when the Ra­zor­backs were re­cruit­ing star place kicker Steve Lit­tle out of Shawnee Mis­sion, Kan., in the 1970s and Lit­tle wanted that jer­sey num­ber, Scott agreed to let the num­ber be worn for four more years.

Af­ter re­tir­ing from the NFL, Scott went on to be­come an ex­ec­u­tive in the in­sur­ance busi­ness and never moved away from Arkansas again.

“Peo­ple talk about who was the best ath­lete in Arkansas. Well, I ar­gue that he’s the best ath­lete who ever lived. The out­stand­ing thing about Scotty is he was more in the cat­e­gory of Jim Thorpe. There wasn’t any­thing he couldn’t do. What­ever he tried he was the best at it, or one of the best.” Bud Whet­stone, a Lit­tle Rock lawyer and long­time friend of Clyde Scott

Scott

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