Clinic to bring football coaches together

Published: Friday, February 8, 2019
Arkansas defensive coordinator John Chavis speaks Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, during the annual Kickoff Luncheon at the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center in Springdale.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas defensive coordinator John Chavis speaks Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, during the annual Kickoff Luncheon at the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center in Springdale.

The 10th annual Arkansas Football Coaches Association Ronnie Roach Football Clinic has come a long way since the first one.

High school coaches from across the state and region will converge in Hot Springs today through Sunday for fellowship, listen to speakers and help promote and improve the game.

"We already have 867 coaches preregistered for the clinic,"said association president and Fort Smith Southside Coach Jeff Williams."It looks like it will be the biggest clinic we've had. We've gone from 125 coaches the first year, and this year we have a lot of out-of-state coaches coming because of the quality of speakers."

The association works with the Arkansas Activities Association to improve safety and the game. The two organizations will meet Saturday.

"We're here for kids number one and we want to help our game," Williams said. "As a young coach there were issues that we weren't aware of. Now we're organized, and we have a strong foundation and have done lot of things that have really helped our kids and the game."

Williams said the coaches use the weekend as an opportunity to learn from one another.

"We compete against each other on Friday nights, but the bottom line is we're a fraternity" Williams said.

Approximately 30 speakers will be spaced out through the three-day clinic, including University of Arkansas Coach Chad Morris, defensive coordinator John Chavis and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock on Friday night. The Razorbacks assistants will do chalk-talk sessions.

"Coach Morris and his staff will come in Friday and mix and mingle with the coaches," Williams said. "Coach Morris will speak along with coach Chavis and coach Craddock, and then the assistants will have a breakout session with all of the coaches at the clinic.

"Coach Morris has really bought in with everything we're doing and we've been very supportive of him and his staff. It's just a great weekend."

In an effort to promote the younger coaches in the state, Van Buren Coach Casey Dick, Bentonville defensive line coach Tony Cherico and Hot Springs Coach Darrell Burnett also will speak at the event.

"On Saturday we have skills and drills where we have a lot of young head coaches and assistants and give them exposure," Williams said.

Some of the other speakers include former Arkansas Coach Ken Hatfield, New York Jets offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, Auburn offensive line coach J.B. Grimes and Kansas senior offensive consultant Brent Dearmon.

Coaches who won state championships in December will speak this morning: Steven Jones (formerly of Junction City, now with El Dorado) Eric Cohu (Little Rock Christian), Scott Hyatt (Booneville), J.R. Eldridge (Arkadelphia), Rick Jones (Greenwood) and Buck James (Bryant).

"We have the legendary Buck James speaking and he will provide his vast knowledge and wisdom with us," Williams said.

Retired coaches David Alpe, Barry Lunney Sr., Ellis "Scooter" Register, Ronnie Clark and David Wellman, among others, also will meet this afternoon.

"We have 30 to 40 retired coaches that will get to socialize," Williams said.

One of his favorite parts of the clinic is seeing coaches share information, Williams said. He recalled seeing former Cabot Coach Mike Malham and Warren Coach Bo Hembree together.

"There's Mike Malham sitting down with Bo Hembree and they have total opposite philosophies, just bouncing things off each other,"Williams said. "It's a really neat deal and you get to see a lot of that."

Sports on 02/08/2019

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