Leader Blues

Monday, November 24, 2008

SPORTS > > McFarland resigns job at Searcy

Bart McFarland, who struggled through four seasons as head football coach at Searcy, has resigned his position.
The resignation became official when the Searcy School Board accepted it on Wednesday night.
McFarland, a Searcy native and Searcy High alum, took over the job from Danny Mallett in 2005, posting a 3-37 record over four years. The Lions beat Little Rock Fair in Week 2 this season before dropping their final eight games, including all seven of their 6A-East Conference contests.
McFarland could not be reached for comment on Thursday afternoon.
Searcy athletic director Terry Dawkins said McFarland’s decision was “totally voluntary,” though McFarland was under constant fire from the community after posting season records of 1-9, 0-10 and 1-9 in his first three seasons. Dawkins said McFarland has accepted an academic reassignment and that he would not be a part of the Searcy athletic program through the rest of the 2008-09 school year.
Dawkins said it was too early to discuss possible replacements.
“We are posting the job internally first,” he said. “We want to look at the coaches on the staff and see if we can hire from within first. We might have someone on staff that might do a great job for us.”
Searcy’s assistants this fall included Clay McCammon, Eric Simmons, Bryan Morgan, Steven Leonard, Mike McCain and Tony McCoy. McCammon is the head baseball coach.
Dawkins, in his first year as athletic director at Searcy, said he appreciated McFarland’s efforts.
“He’s a great person and I know he was under the gun a lot,” he said. “I don’t think he read a lot of the blogs or the newspapers or the media that criticized him a lot. I didn’t read any of it and I’m glad I didn’t.
“But he did a great job under the circumstances.”
McFarland’s former defensive coordinator, Mike Bush, who is now a head coach at Barton, said he hated to see his “close, personal friend” go out the way he did.
“I tell you this, when he took that job, he had high aspirations and high expectations to lead his former team as the head coach,” Bush said. “Nobody cared more as far as wanting those kids to be successful. He put a lot of work into it and it just didn’t work out.”
Bush is one of several potential candidates for the job, along with Riverview head coach Stuart Hill, who led the Raiders to the playoffs in the school’s first season of varsity football. Hill, a former Searcy coach, was a candidate when Mallett left in 2004. But Bush said he hasn’t been contacted and has no comment about the job.
“Right now, I’m just trying to rebuild a program down here,” he said.