To help you count down the days until football season arrives, the 5NEWS Sports crew has put together 11 different countdowns looking at players, coaches and games to be looking forward to this fall.
Those countdowns started on Thursday with a look at five new head coaches who could have an immediate impact in their first season at a new school.
#1 – Casey Dick, Fayetteville
He spent just one season as the head coach at Van Buren but the former Arkansas quarterback and Bentonville West offensive coordinator is back in Northwest Arkansas. Dick takes over a Fayetteville program that’s always one of the favorites to win a state title. He has the luxury of returning 12 starters and that doesn’t include two of the top quarterbacks in the area.
#2 – Craig Bentley, Mena
After helping turn around Mansfield, Bentley jumped at the chance to return to his alma mater at Mena this summer. The Tigers won eight games and reached the second round of the playoffs in 2018 and could make a run at a conference title this year. Bentley’s new team did the same as they reached the 4A playoffs second weekend and the Bearcats have a shot at making a push for the 4A-4 title.
#3 – Greg Werner, Poteau
It’s not deja vu but it might feel that way for the other members of the 4A-4 in Oklahoma as Werner is back for his second stint with the Pirates. He led Poteau to their first state title appearance in 50 years before he took over at Van Buren. Last season, Werner led Hilldale to a 9-3 mark but now he’s back in the shadow of the big hill and takes over a team that went 12-1 a year ago.
#4 – Crosby Tuck, Van Buren
He spent last season as the Pointers offensive coordinator but now he takes a step up to lead Van Buren after number one on this list moved up I-49. Tuck takes over a team that showed drastic signs of improvement plus they return seven offensive starters, including a quarterback that can change a game by himself.
#5 – Ricky May, Charleston
It might have a bit of a surprise when he was announced as the Tigers new coach but May showed what he could do when he helped jump start Waldron a few years ago and pulled the Bulldogs out of the cellar. Charleston is a proven winner and returns 17 starters which should put them back into the conversation of a home playoff game despite playing in a tough conference.