Head football coach promoted to district level position


After finishing the 2022 football season 1-10, head football coach Chris Wood has been promoted from his position. This past season’s record is the worst in the school’s 17 years of football.  On Thursday, Dec 1, 2022, Wood sent an email to the Har-Ber High School staff, explaining that he will be taking a district level position working in the athletic department. Before the press release, he met with players and coaches at a team workout that morning. The news came as a surprise for assistant coach Chris Gragg.

“I was a little surprised and shocked,” Gragg said, “but I understand that it’s a business and that things happen and different opportunities come up.”

Similarly, it came as a shock to sophomore football player Luke Altom. Coach Wood has been the first and only football coach in the Wildcats’ 17 year history. He has won 115 games, 4 conference championships, has appeared in the playoffs 15 times, and has been to 3 state championship games, winning it all in 2009. 

“It felt weird just because he’s been the coach here for so long,” Altom said. “It’s going to be hard getting used to Coach Wood not being the head coach.”

Wood noted in his email to the faculty that one of his dreams was to build a program from the ground up, and that he was glad he was able to do it in the town of Springdale. He also expressed his gratitude to the teachers, his fellow coaches, and the administration.

“It has been an honor to serve as the head coach at Har-Ber these past 17 years,” Wood said. “I look forward to serving all athletic programs in our district as I have tried my best to serve at Har-Ber.”

Junior wide receiver Evan Curry recognized that Wood taught the team more than just the X’s and O’s of football. He made sure to teach them valuable life lessons through the game.

“He taught us all how to work hard and fight through adversity,” Curry said. “We faced a lot of adversity this year and he really helped us get through it emotionally.”

Altom accredits his growth on the field to Wood. He notes that Wood pushed him to be the very best that he could be, something Altom is grateful for. 

“I think he pushed me because he saw a lot of potential in me,” Altom said. “He wasn’t just gonna tell me what I was doing good, but he was also going to tell me what I needed to do better, and I think my play benefited from that.”

Altom admired Wood’s toughness as a coach and ability to not get too high or too low emotionally, something he hopes the next football coach can also bring to the program.

“He was a tough coach,” Altom said. “He didn’t really care about what other people thought about him. He just stayed focused on our team which is something I appreciated.”

Wood will be conducting the new head coaching search as a part of his new administration role. Curry is confident that Wood will choose the right coach because of his knowledge of the program and players. Nevertheless, Curry and Altom seem to only have one requirement: a coach who will do their best to help the team win.

“I want our next head coach to be hard working. I want him to really want us to win,” Curry said. “Just try and win. That’s what really matters for us.”

According to principal Paul Griep, the administration will start conducting interviews for the job this week. Gragg notes that whoever the new head coach is, they will need to start by getting the players to buy in.

“He would just have to come in and be firm with the guys,” Gragg said, “and he’s got to get them to believe and buy in to whatever he is preaching and whatever he wants the guys to do.”