Casey Dick / Photo: ArkansasRazorbacks.com
Some might question the decision by Fayetteville High School to hire a coach with just one season of head coaching experience as its latest head football coach.
Fayetteville High’s officially named Casey Dick, 32, as its head football coach Thursday night at its School Board Meeting, and he has just one-year of high school head coaching experience a 4-7 mark last year at Van Buren.
All things considered, the head football coach job at Fayetteville High is one of the best in the state, and dating back at least to the early 1990s, the school has not only hired experienced, but well established head coaches when necessary.
So why opt for a young coach like Dick, who is best known as a starting quarterback for the Arkansas Razorbacks under Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino from 2005-08? Why take that kind of risk?
Not a bad thought, but then again, isn’t every hire a risk on one level or another?
Hiring two veterans like former Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship, who departed Fayetteville after one season to return to his home state to coach at Owasso (Okla.) High School, and Billy Dawson, who stayed at Fayetteville for just two seasons before seeking greener pastures outside of coaching, didn’t exactly work out as planned.
That’s not to dismiss what Blankenship and Dawson accomplished. A loaded Bulldog team won a state title under Blankenship in 2016, and after a rebuilding-type season in 2017, Dawson had Fayetteville back near the top of the state’s largest classification in 2018, bowing out in the second round of the 7A state playoffs to eventual state champ Bryant.
But, it’s doubtful anyone on the Fayetteville School Board expected the high school to need to hire three coaches in a matter for just four years.
Casey Dick, his wife Felicia, and their two children / Photo courtesy of Fayetteville High School
When hiring a head football coach at the state’s highest level, the intention isn’t to see the coach leave after one or two seasons, particularly if they are successful.
That begins to weigh heavily on a program, even one rich with talent like Fayetteville’s. The program needs stability.
While Dick, a native of Allen, Texas, doesn’t have much of a track record as a head coach, he no doubt impressed peers and his administrators with his work as an assistant coach. He spent two years as the offensive coordinator at Bentonville West after working five years as an assistant at Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club, Texas. He started his career coaching for a single season at Lakeside Junior High in Springdale.
With his work as an assistant and one year at Van Buren, Dick impressed enough people to land the Fayetteville job. Certainly, Dick will learn on the job at Fayetteville, all talented young employees do when they get their shot, whether its teaching science, math, or football.
And no doubt, the Fayetteville School Board wants to see Dick mature as a football coach at Fayetteville High.
Had Fayetteville not plucked Dick from Van Buren when they did, some other school system would have. Wait another five years, and the young man’s roots might settled too deeply in the community for him to be easily drawn away.
That’s what all involved with his hire hope will happen with Dick at Fayetteville.
What Fayetteville needs now is a coach who can commit to the Bulldogs for more than a year or two. Again, the Bulldog program needs stability. Maybe, Dick is just the right coach to establish that in Fayetteville.
If he is successful, one hopes he grows attached to Fayetteville High, and it grows attached to him.
Chances are Fayetteville won’t be Dick’s final coaching stop. Things just don’t work like that anymore. But it would be nice for the Bulldogs and the former Hog if their time together lasts for more than just a couple of seasons.