New football coach hired for VHS.....

The Vilonia School Board of Education, Monday night, approved the hiring of Ron Young to fill the position of high school head football coach.

Young, who is currently working as a math teacher and coach in the Lonoke School District, is to begin at Vilonia, Monday.

The board met in executive session for about two hours before making the announcement. By telephone, Monday night, after the announcement, Young said he was “extremely humbled, honored and excited to be a part of Vilonia football.”

Regarding what he will bring to Vilonia football, he said, he will bring “experience and knowledge of the game.” He said he has coached at other schools similar to Vilonia and values the talent as well as the hard work ethics that he has found in them.  Hard work and character, he said, though “beats talent any day of the week.”

“My system of coaching fits well with these type of kids,” he said. He talked briefly about an “aggressive defense and a unique offense.”  

Young said he has been coaching and teaching for about 20 years—10 years as a head coach. He has also served as an assistant coach for three years on the college level.  During his career, he said, he took a break and served as a youth minister for a period of time. His first full-time head coaching job, he said, was at Texas Christian Academy. His longest tenure, he said, was in the Rutherford County Schools in Tennessee for about 10 years.

Young is originally from Hot Springs and that is where he graduated from high school. He played on the high school team as a quarterback in 1971 during a very winning year. That year, he said, the team won a state championship. He was recruited, he said, to the University of Arkansas as a freshmen. He later transferred to Henderson State where he also played football in the quarterback position.

He has been married to his wife, Teela, for about 43 years. The couple have three grown children.

Young will fill the position that was vacated by Coach Jim Stanley last year. During the interim search, Coach Michael Stout filled the position.

Regarding other business, the board tabled discussion on naming the high school gymnasium in honor of long-term board member Jerry Roberts, who died in 2015, after a battle with cancer.   There was about 30 minutes of discussion on the matter. Most of the board voiced their opinion that something needed to be done to honor Roberts but a decision was not clear as to what will be done.

They talked fondly of Mr. Roberts saying he was not only a sports fan but an ambassador for the community and district.

“He was at every event—not just sports,” said board member Jake Turner. “He was probably the school district’s biggest fan. He deserves something.”

It is anticipated the matter will be addressed at the February meeting.

In other business, Dr. David Stephens recognized the school board, saying the seven member board are courageous leaders that “takes on necessary challenges” working in the best interest of the students and teachers without any compensation. They discuss issues, he said, always at length and make tough decisions that are not always popular but that are necessary. 

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