And he quickly found his guy.
Eli Cranor was hired Wednesday night as head football coach at Clarksville.
Cranor takes over the Panthers program after spending the past two seasons as offensive coordinator at Arkadelphia. The Badgers won 21 games and averaged more than 43 points per game over the past two seasons.
Cranor was a standout high school quarterback at Russellville before playing collegiately at both Florida Atlantic and Ouachita Baptist.
“Both my wife and I are from the area but once it started coming up and as soon as I started talking to people involved, it was a pretty easy decision,” Cranor said. “There are truly some amazing people involved in the process. It seemed like a great place.”
Cranor replaces Banning, who spent 15 seasons as head coach.
“He is a young man who may lack experience but has the ability to provide a lot of enthusiasm and energy,” Banning said. “He has a philosophy where he wants to run a play every 3.5 seconds and as an A.D. point of view, which is what I am now, it’s something interesting that he can put out there.”
Cranor said his offense at Arkadelphia average 89 plays a game last season.
“As far as scheme goes, what we’re going to do depends on the type of players we have,” Cranor said. “You have to do a self-diagnostic test. You look to instill your system but you can’t go out and recruit like you can in college.”
Clarksville went 3-7 in 2013 and 2-5 in the 5A-West.