GRAVETTE -- Bill Harrelson, who led the Gravette football program to unprecedented heights in 12 seasons, has resigned to take a similar position at Ramay Junior High in Fayetteville.
Harrelson, who made the announcement last month, will oversee the eighth-grade team at Ramay as well as work with the new seventh-grade football program, which begins in the fall.
"It was something I felt like I needed to do for myself," Harrelson said. "I'm getting up in years, and I think the move will help me. Ramay is a good place to work, having been there a couple of years before. So when (Fayetteville coach) Billy Dawson gave me the opportunity, I took it."
Harrelson had been at Gravette for 12 years and compiled an 84-54 overall record, including a 52-27 mark in conference games. The Lions went 4-6 his first year in 2006 and missed the playoffs, but they made it to postseason play every year after that.
In his second season, Gravette enjoyed an undefeated conference mark in 2007 and finished the season with a 10-3 mark and made it to the semifinals. The Lions went on a five-year run of at least nine wins per season. His 2011 team also went 10-3 and reached the playoff quarterfinals that year, losing to Pine Bluff Dollarway.
"It will be sad leaving Gravette because I've poured a lot into it," Harrelson said. "I have a lot of people to thank for helping me make the job a success.
"It's going to be hard to leave those people, especially the kids. I am proud of the level the program has reached, but I think the next coach will take it to an even higher level."
Since Harrelson's arrival, the Lions have completely overhauled the football program, opening a state-of-the-art football fieldhouse and football stadium under his watch.
Ironically Harrelson leaves the Gravette program at the same time as longtime defensive coordinator Duke Mobley, who announced last November that this would be his last season.
Gravette athletic director Norman Mitchell said Harrelson's departure would leave a big void.
"Obviously we hate to lose someone of Bill's character," Mitchell said. "He has been good for this district. He is one of the classiest football coaches I have ever been around."
Mitchell said the district would begin its search to find a new football coach quickly, but no time frame for a replacement will be set.
"It's a little late in the game, but we'll move as fast as we can," Mitchell said. "We're hopeful we can fill it quickly."
By the numbers
Bill Harrelson compiled an 84-54 record in 12 seasons as the head football coach at Gravette.
2006 4-6 2007 10-3# 2008 9-3 2009 9-3 2010 9-2 2011 10-3% 2012 4-7 2013 3-8 2014 6-5 2015 7-4 2016 7-5 2017 6-5
- Advanced to state semifinals
- Advanced to state quarterfinals
Chip Souza contributed to this report.
Sports on 05/16/2018
Print Headline: Harrelson resigns as Gravette head coach