University Staff Member Recalls Gazzola’s Passion For The Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)-- Just hours after the news of Pat Gazzola's death, there was an outpouring of support and condolences from friends, customers and employees.

One of those people was University of Arkansas Associate Athletics Director Kevin Trainor.

He said Gazzola was more than just a business owner, he was a huge supporter of the Hogs.

Gazzola held a coach's show at the Catfish Hole in Fayetteville, it's a restaurant that the Hog fan owned, along with his wife Janie, for two decades.

Trainor said there was no one more passionate about the team than Gazzola.

“There’s nothing like calling the Hogs with Pat Gazzola leading you," Trainor said. "So the passion that he exuded from that was not just something he was doing. You could see it was deep in his soul, he was a true Arkansas Razorback.”

Those who knew Gazzola well said he had some medical issues but were not sure what his specific cause of death was.

Trainor had the opportunity a few weeks ago to see his friend and to tell him thank you for everything he has done over the years.

He explained there was more to Gazzola than just his passion for the team.

Trainor said his favorite memory with him involved a network sports host who came into town for a Razorback game.

This host wanted a taste of the area.

Trainor knew just the place to send him.

“Pat put on the usual show that he would put on, which is the outlay of food and hospitality," Trainor said. "Just blown away whether it was the catfish, the chicken, the world-famous hush puppies, the fried pies and by the time we left that day it was four o'clock and we were full beyond belief.”

He continued to say that it was that hospitality for fellow fans and strangers that made a lasting effect on many.

“He really invested in the lives of others, wanted to make an impact and there’s no question that his legacy is the impact he made in the lives of others and in our community," Trainor said.

Arkansas Razorback Football Coach Bret Bielema posted on Twitter about the loss of a man who he called, "a great friend."