Abshier Looks To Build On Legacy

PRAIRIE GROVE (KFSM)--Back in the early 1990's, Danny Abshier arrived at Prairie Grove. At the time, the program was in dire straits.

"In fact there were classes that had a whole new head coach every single year of their football careers, and all the way through," Abshier explained.

After three years as defensive coordinator, Abshier was promoted to head coach. In the 23 years since, he's won 178 games and been to the playoffs 21 times.

"They probably should have fired me after the first year, but they hung on and it just slowly turned around," said Abshier.

"The culture just continues to be positive and expectations are higher. That's one thing, I mean when I first got here the expectation was go out and play hard. Now the expectation is go out and win," defensive coordinator Craig Laird said.

Abshier's methods derive from a well known local coach. "My coaching style comes from Tommy Tice, one of the greatest. I learned what I know from him," Abshier said. Tice, a longtime Huntsville coach, recently retired the second winningest coach in Arkansas history.

Laird called Abshier, "One of the best motivators you'll ever be around. He's called a players coach, that's the term most people use to describe him. The kids love him, he's passionate, he's compassionate and cares about the kids."

An example of the longevity is Dawson West. A senior offensive lineman, West's two older brothers and father all played under Abshier. The turn around that has occurred the past 23 years is not something Abshier takes lightly.

"Doing so much better, I don't know, it just makes you feel accomplished. It makes you feel like the community is what it should be again. It's fun," Abshier said.

The only accolade missing from Abshier's resume? A state championship. The Tigers need just two more wins to accomplish that in 2016. Prairie Grove hosts undefeated Warren in the 4A semifinals on Friday at 7PM.

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