Hog, line and sinker

Gaz­zola driven by pas­sion for Ra­zor­backs

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

Din­ers at his restau­rant can’t get enough of those hush pup­pies. Pat Gaz­zola seemed as though he could never get enough of those Ra­zor­backs.

Gaz­zola, owner of the renowned Cat­fish Hole in Fayet­teville and Alma, is a na­tive of Fort Smith whose love of all things Ra­zor­back be­came a vi­tal part of the Hogs’ pro­gram, from feed­ing re­cruits to host­ing live call-in ra­dio shows with coaches. His friendly face wel­comed all to his restau­rant, but he had a soft spot for the play­ers and coaches who lay it on the line in ath­letic com­pe­ti­tion for his alma mater, the Univer­sity Arkansas.

The sad news of his pass­ing sent rip­ples through the Ra­zor­backs’ pro­gram and across the state. His name was known far and wide be­cause his restau­rant was the site of so many ra­dio episodes in which fans got to ask ques­tions of coaches and play­ers. And be­cause so many Arkansans have en­joyed great meals and mem­o­ries there.

The re­spect for Gaz­zola’s char­ac­ter and de­vo­tion con­vinced Coach Bret Bielema to shuf­fle the team’s sched­ule so he and oth­ers could at­tend Gaz­zola’s memo­rial ser­vice.

Gaz­zola was 68, too young to go. But he made his mark by shar­ing his pas­sions with oth­ers. His pres­ence will be missed.

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