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Several Northeast Arkansas football programs have coaching changes

Coaches coming and going in Northeast Arkansas

By Kyle Sutherland 

There has been an abundance of coaching changes on the football front throughout the state this offseason, many recent openings coming within schools in the northeast region and rather quickly. With the whirlwind that is the coaching carousel we look at the latest updates: 


After 26 seasons and 207 wins, Dave King decided to take off the headset for good but will remain as athletic director at Batesville. 

It was announced Wednesday evening that King promoted Pioneers assistant coach and player Ryan Morrow. A 2006 graduate, Morrow returned to Batesville in 2017 to join King’s staff and has coached the offensive line. 

King won nine conference titles with the Pioneers and helped them to the state championship five times, winning it in 2003 defeating Vilonia. King retires as one of the Top 5 winningest active coaches in the state.


Outgoing head coach Eric Munoz accepted the same position at Rogers Heritage. Munoz played under Gus Malzahn at Springdale, then served on Malzahn’s staffs at Arkansas State and Auburn, where he was a part of the 2013 national runner-up team. He returned to northeast Arkansas as an assistant on the Valley View staff for the 2018-19 seasons and the Blazers won at least a share of the 5A-East title in the two years he was on staff.

In 2020, Munoz accepted the Brookland job in which he faced an uphill battle not only taking over a struggling team but doing so in a COVID season. The Bearcats won three games in 2020, including a 12-7 victory over Valley View, then improved to 5-5, clinching a playoff spot in 2021. Munoz faces another tall challenge across the state in taking over a Heritage program that has not won a conference game since 2017 and has just one win overall in the past two years.


After winning the school’s second state title at his alma mater this past season, Chris Kennon resigned in late March to pursue outside opportunities after compiling a 79-32 record with the Jaguars. Kennon has led McCrory since 2012 following a six-year stint as an assistant. Six years later, he guided the Jaguars to a 13-1 record in 2021, capping the year by defeating Fordyce to win the 2A state championship alongside his son, Reid, who will graduate this year. McCrory announced the job opening via its Facebook page on April 4 but has not made any public announcement on Kennon’s replacement. 


Following a 7-4 season and a second-round playoff appearance, Casey Moreland resigned as head coach at Melbourne and was replaced with Stu Smith. Smith brings more than three decades of coaching experience, including a three-year stint as head coach at Van Buren, and has been a long-time assistant at Batesville. Smith has experienced immense success throughout his career coaching football, baseball, and track and field, contributing to 32 conference titles and 11 state titles per a release from the school.


For the first time since 2015, Newport will have a new face of its football program as Mark Hindsley stepped away to become the Dean of Students for the Newport Elementary School. Hindsley won 54 games in seven seasons with Newport The Greyhounds won at least eight games in six out of seven years under Hindsley, highlighted by an 11-win season in 2016, when Newport made it to the state semifinals. Former Greyhound Brian Reardon, who led Southside to the second round of the playoffs last season, will take over as head coach and athletic director after two seasons with the Southerners, where he went 11-11 in two seasons.

Southside (Batesville)

After two seasons leading the Southerners, Brian Reardon is returning home to Newport to take over as athletic director and head coach. Reardon went 2-8 in his first season but turned things around in a big way last year, leading Southside to a second-place finish in the 4A-2 despite being picked second-to-last in the preseason. The Southerners hired from within, promoting offensive coordinator Kenny Simpson, who served as head coach of the Southerners before taking the Searcy job in 2020 for one season and then came back to Southside as OC in 2021.