By Mark Buffalo
Defensive coordinator Jack Keith is the new head football coach at Carlisle High School.
Keith, who came to Carlisle in 2013 after a three-year stint at Warren High School, was hired to replace Brandon Barbaree, who resigned last month to become an administrator in Pangburn. Keith's hiring came during a special meeting of the Carlisle School Board on Thursday night.
In 2013, the Bison finished 12-2, advancing to the Class 2A state semifinals with Keith calling the defense.
"This is a wonderful opportunity … you couldn't ask for a better place to get the opportunity with the tradition that we have here at Carlisle," Keith said after the school board meeting. "I feel like I can just jump in and get going."
Keith said the Bison will continue to run the football in a similar manner, something that former coach Scott Waymire installed eight years ago.
"We're going to do what the kids know to do," Keith said. "I'm looking forward to it. I think you have to fit your scheme to the kids and not your kids to your scheme. These kids have shown they are good in this system. Why change what is not broken?"
Keith has been running the program since Barbaree resigned. He conducted spring practice as well as the organized team activities during the summer season.
"It was going through the back of my mind that you hate to waste reps," Keith said. "I thought we may go through all this and it be for naught. Luckily it worked out. All of the spring reps are going to work for us."
Keith is a 2003 graduate of Hamburg High School. He played football one season at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello in 2010. He worked for three years at Warren before coming to Carlisle a year ago.
"When I took the job at Warren, I honestly think God talked to me the day I signed that contract that 'you'll be there for three years,'" Keith said. "When those three years were up, God talked to me again and said it was time to go. He led me here [Carlisle]. I firmly believe that."
Keith said he played football at UCA with Barbaree.
"It was nice to come in somewhere where I already knew someone on the staff and that we would be able to work well together," he said.
Keith and his wife Mary have been married more than three years. They have a 2-year-old daughter Collins.
Carlisle superintendent Jason Clark was complimentary of Keith while recommending him to the board following the executive session.
"I think he has earned the right to have a chance at this job," Clark said. "He comes from good football stock. He works well together with his current staff [Lonnie Roberson, Blake Dorsey]. They were advocates of Coach Keith."
Clark said the board will start looking for an assistant coach and teacher because of the vacancy of Barbaree.
The board also voted to hire high school principal Brad Horn to replace Barbaree as athletic director.
Sept. 5 vs. England
Sept. 12 vs. DeWitt
Sept. 19 at Augusta*
Sept. 26 at Des Arc*
Oct. 3 vs. Marvell
Oct. 10 at Hazen*
Oct. 17 vs. Palestine-Wheatley*
Oct. 24 at Brinkley*
Oct. 31 vs. Clarendon*
Nov. 6 vs. McCrory*
*-2A-6 conference game
Jack Keith, coaching in a game last season.
New Bison coach Jack Keith talks to a player during spring practice.
(Photos by Mark Buffalo)