In Pictures: Arkansas' Top 10 High School Football Coaches
August 1, 2012
Football practice begins around the state this week, accompanied by preseason questions about which teams will be the best in Arkansas this year.
But what about the best coaches?
The level of high school football has increased substantially across the state in the last 15 years, thanks in large part to several talented head coaches.
How talented? Consider this: Tommy Tice (Huntsville), Mike Malham (Cabot), Dave King (Batesville) and Jerry Clay (Lake Hamilton) have combined for more than 900 wins in their careers, but none made our list of the best current head coaches.
With football season just around the corner, we ranked the top 10 current football coaches in the state of Arkansas.
Jeff Williams has led Fort Smith Southside to at least the state semifinals in the largest classification five of the last six years, but didn't make the cut. Billy Dawson, who returned to Nashville over the off-season, wasn't included despite going 65-4 with three state titles in his first stint with the Scrappers.
Up-and-coming talents such as Clint Ashcraft at Conway and Steve Janski at Heber Springs were considered, but left out in the end.
With some of the state's all-time greats and most notable names failing to make the cut, you might be wondering: what constitutes the best? While there is no exact formula, we took state championships, conference championships, level of competition and winning percentage over the last several years into heavy consideration. We also looked at success in past coaching stops.
Our top 10 concluded with a good mix. Six coaches are from the western side of the state and four are from the east. To no surprise, we found the best football is being played in the northwest corner of the state, with four of our top 10 hailing from there, including three in the ever-difficult 7A-West conference.
Three coaches from each the 7A and 6A are on our list, with two from 5A, and one from each the 4A and 3A. Eight of our coaches are at public schools, while two are at private institutions.
Altogether, our 10 coaches have combined to win 33 state championships overall, including 25 at their current schools.