Rick Fires is a reporter and columnist for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Fayetteville chooses former Hog quarterback to lead program
Former Van Buren coach and former Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick speaks to his players Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, against Alma during warmups at Airedale Stadium in Alma. Dick was named the Fayetteville High School football coach.
FAYETTEVILLE — Fayetteville will turn to a former University of Arkansas quarterback to lead its high school football program.
Casey Dick will be officially hired as head football coach pending a vote during Thursday's school board meeting to replace Billy Dawson, who resigned after two years as head coach of the Bulldogs to enter private business. Dawson’s final day is April 30.
“Coaching the Fayetteville Bulldogs is a dream destination job for me,” Dick said in a press release Wednesday afternoon. “My daughter is currently enrolled in Fayetteville Public Schools, and I have been connected to Fayetteville since my time at the University of Arkansas playing for the Razorbacks. I hope to provide stability and affect generations of Fayetteville kids as well as provide a unified culture for all of the Fayetteville community.”
Dick, 32, was hired just over a year ago at Van Buren, where the Pointers finished 4-7 overall and 3-4 in the 7A-West Conference. Prior to that, Dick spent two seasons as offensive coordinator at Bentonville West and five years as an assistant coach at Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club, Texas. He spent one year at Lakeside Junior High in Springdale before moving to a varsity coaching position at West.
“I’m proud to say Casey is a good friend of mine and I’ll do anything I can do to help him, except in Week 4 when we play them,” West coach Bryan Pratt said. “Some people might be a little concerned about his age and inexperience, but he’s an up-and-comer who’s been around a lot of good coaches in high school and in college when he played at Arkansas. Casey has a good offensive mind. He takes things he’s learned and applies them to fit his system.”
Dick played quarterback for the Razorbacks from 2005-08 under both Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino. He threw for 5,856 yards during his career, which ranks sixth in career passing yards at Arkansas.
Dick arrived at Arkansas from Allen, Texas, where he was a standout quarterback for the Eagles.
Tom Westerberg, his former high school coach at Allen, said Fayetteville will benefit having Dick as the head of its high school football program.
“Casey is a great young man,” said Westerberg, who is currently the head football coach and athletic director at Barbers Hill High School near Houston. “He’s down to earth and just a good guy. He was a great quarterback and a studier of the game. Fayetteville will do well under his leadership.”
Dick is the fourth head coach in five years at Fayetteville, which went 10-3 in 2018 and advanced to the second round of the Class 7A state playoffs, where the Bulldogs lost 28-25 to eventual state champion Bryant.
Fayetteville finished third in the 7A-West Conference with a 5-2 record.
Dawson was 18-8 in two seasons at Fayetteville, where he replaced Bill Blankenship, who won a state title in his only season. Blankenship replaced former coach Daryl Patton, who had led the team to a state title the year before.
Dick won’t have much time to settle in at Fayetteville, which begins spring football practice on May 6. He’ll take over a team that averaged 41.7 points per game last season and returns two standout receivers in Beau Stuckey and Connor Flannigan.
Flannigan led the state with 102 catches for 1,695 yards and 20 touchdowns. Stuckey caught 63 passes for 991 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Quarterback Darius Bowers signed with Central Arkansas University, but rising senior Hank Gibbs will be back to compete for the starting position with Quinn McClain, a transfer who passed for 2,700 yards and rushed for 887 yards as a junior last season at Elkins.
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