January 20, 2020
By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
Todd Wood, the defensive coordinator at Russellville High School since 2017, became the new leader of the Heber Springs Panther football program at Monday night’s school board meeting.
Wood was hired on a vote of 3-2. Kevin Thomas, Dr. Ryan Buffalo and Bryce Farmer voted in favor of Wood, while Judy Crowder and Jason Jones voted no.
Wood was one of six candidates interviewed by a five-member search committee and Superintendent Dr. Alan Stauffacher. Wood is expected to be on campus Wednesday and begin his duties on Feb. 3. He also will teach social studies.
Wood was the defensive coordinator at Pulaski Academy from 2003-2016. The Bruins won six state titles during that time frame. He also a baseball coach at Pulaski Academy.
Wood and five other candidates were interviewed in December and then again in January. The position became vacant in July when Darren Gowen resigned to accept another coaching position. Assistant coach Will Cox was interim head for the 2019 season.
“We started this process in the summer when coach Gowen resigned,” Stauffacher said. “We are ready to move forward.”
Stauffacher said Wood will work with a contract to finish the spring semester before he will have a new contract for the 2020-21 school year.
Wood is the first football coach hired that had not previously served on the coaching staff since Steve Janski in 2005 and only the third head coach hired outside of the program since 1974, joining John Richardson in 1989. Richardson came to Heber Springs from Huntsville.
The Panthers will open their 99th football season against Newport in September.
(Editor’s Note: Philip Seaton contributed to this article.)