Shiloh Opening Drew Plenty Of Interest

Jeff ConawayBen Mayes, the president of Shiloh Christian School, said Tuesday that more than 40 coaches from more than 20 states applied for the head football coaching position.

Mayes said after an exhaustive search, the list of candidates was whittled down to 8, then down to three finalists, then finally one as Jeff Conaway was formally introduced as the Saints’ new coach.

At Tuesday night’s introduction at the school, Mayes stressed repeatedly that Conaway, who was a former offensive coordinator at Shiloh for 4 seasons under former coach Josh Floyd, was “the right  fit at the right time.”

Conaway left SC in 2008 to become the head coach at his alma mater Greene County Tech. And while he led the program to two state playoff appearances and the only playoff win in program history over six seasons, the GCT program is not Shiloh Christian. It doesn’t have nearly the tradition of the seven-time state champions at SC. Greene County Tech, while home to Conaway, simply cannot produce the success the Saints can.  While going home was nice, winning is what it’s all about. Conaway can win, and win big at Shiloh Christian.

Hiring Conaway will make the change from Floyd to his staff as seamless as could be hoped for. He and Floyd are tight, having once been college teammates and roommates at Ouachita Baptist University. When Floyd got the head coaching job at Shiloh as a 24-year-old in 2004, the first thing he did was bring Conaway in as his offensive coordinator.

Conaway will hit the ground running as he has to name an offensive and defensive coordinator. The previous OC (Austin Tucker) and DC (Adam Caine) are leaving to join Floyd’s staff in Alabama.  Saints assistant coach Crosby Tuck played for Conaway for several seasons, including when the Saints won the 3A state title in 2006.

There was a nice crowd for Tuesday’s gathering as Conaway renewed acquaintances with the parents of former players, and shook hands for the first time with a lot of the players who will make up his first team at SC.

He comes into a program with a lot of returning skill position players, but he must find a quarterback.  The Saints, if they can stay healthy, should make a lengthy playoff run in 4A.

This was an attractive position for a lot of candidates, but this job, because of the timing of the hire, was all about the fit. The Saints had to get someone who was familiar with what the Saints have been successful with. A new scheme would be next to impossible to put in before the season starts.

Mayes was spot-on when he said Conaway was the “right fit, the right man, at the right time.”

Chip Souza

Chip Souza

Sports Editor at NWA Media
Chip Souza is the sports editor of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. His primary beat is Benton County schools. He is a native of East Texas with more than 30 years of sports writing experience in Texas and Arkansas. He has earned numerous writing awards in both states.
Chip Souza

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