5NEWS and the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club are launching a brand new high school football awards banquet called “Friday Night All-Stars.” The event will be held on Jan. 18 with Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema as the guest speaker. A special television broadcast of the event can be seen on Ch. 5 Saturday, Jan. 25 at 11:30 a.m.
Here are the nominees for coach of the year:1. Brad Harris, Lincoln
2. Doug Loughridge, Alma
3. Barry Lunney, Bentonville
Lincoln wasn’t expected to finish in the top half of the 4A-1, let alone all of 4A but Brad Harris led the Wolves to the best season in school history.
Harris led Lincoln to it’s first ever double digit win season and the won the first two playoff games in school history.
“We`ve got a lot of determination,” Harris said. “This bunch, we talk about something to prove all the time and that`s our little motto. STP. These guys have stepped up each week.”
Doug Loughridge took over at Alma last December and quickly put the Airedales back near the top of class 5A.
The Airedales hadn’t won an outright conference title or been to the semifinals in almost a decade. Loughridge led Alma to both in 2013.
“It came down to the work ethic of our kids,” Loughridge said. “Alma is a tradition rich football town and they love their football team.”
Barry Lunney is always in the conversation of the best coaches in the area and 2013 was no different.
Lunney led Bentonville to the 7A state championship as his Tigers went a perfect 10-0 against teams from the state of Arkansas.
“Our job as coaches is to take abilities that each player has and try to mold it together, play to their strengths and try to keep them out of their areas where they`re not as proficient,” Lunney said.