In the spring of 2006, the Carlisle High School boys athletic program was in shambles because of an unfortunate situation that eventually cost two coaches their jobs. I won’t rehash that here but, needless to say, it was a black eye for everyone involved.
During the summer of that year, former Carlisle superintendent Sherry Holliman and the Carlisle School Board hired a football coach who had been an assistant at Class 5A Vilonia. I remember my mom telling me about his hire after she covered a school board meeting for the paper.
A few days later, I went to the Carlisle practice field and watched as the coach was going through some drills with his new offensive backs. That coach was Scott Waymire.
I remember talking to Scott for a few minutes and doing a story about him for the newspaper the following week. I really didn’t know what to think about him at the time. I was reserving judgment.
When the season started, the Bison were on a nine-game losing streak, having beat Palestine-Wheatley in the first game of the 2005 season but then lost nine straight to end the season.
The Bison opened the 2006 season with a 21-15 win over the England Lions, breaking that losing streak.
In fact, Carlisle won its first six games that year before stumbling a couple of times. The Bison then routed Walnut Ridge in Week 10 before losing to eventual Class 2A state champion Jessieville in the first round of the playoffs. They finished 7-4.
The next two seasons, Carlisle made runs to the Class 2A state semifinals, losing to eventual state champion Mount Ida in 2007 and Junction City in 2008. Waymire was named the Little Rock Touchdown Club Class 2A coach of the year for the 2007. During the banquet, David Bazzel declared “Bison football is back.”
Waymire went on to win 71 games during his seven seasons at Carlisle. He won or shared four conference titles and went to the playoffs every year, highlighted by a trip to the Class 2A state championship game in 2011, losing to Strong-Huttig.
Working for a hometown newspaper is different from working for a major metropolitan newspaper. You make relationships with the people you cover or work with on a daily basis and with Scott Waymire, that is no exception.
Scott gave me all kinds of access to his team and program, the kind of access that other reporters/photographers would only dream of. And with that sort of relationship, Scott and I became good friends.
There are quite a few coaches I’ve become close with over the years, especially at Carlisle HIgh School since it is my alma mater. It has pained me to see some of these coaches leave for bigger and better situations. Some of those include girls basketball coach Toby Tevebaugh and baseball coaches Rieke Stewart and B.J. Greene. I’m extremely lucky that I get to cover my brother Jonathan’s teams.
However, when I found out that Scott was going to leave Carlisle for a job at Class 4A Trumann, it caught me off guard. Trumann isn’t exactly a powerhouse in football. In fact, Scott has won more games at Carlisle in the last two seasons — 23 — than the Wildcats have won in the past six — 20.
But knowing Scott as I do, he will do everything in his power to get the Wildcats ready to play and probably get them into the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
This is a good move for Scott and his family. They will be closer to family members, including Scott’s parents, in northeast Arkansas. But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss his mom and dad at Carlisle games. I always got a hug from his mom when I’d be shooting photos on the north end of Fred C. Hardke Field. I’m always surprised she never got removed from the track for yelling at the officials!
I do think, however, the Bison have a very worthy new coach in Brandon Barbaree. He came to Carlisle this season as defensive coordinator after coaching three years at England. He runs a similar system to Waymire and they are close friends. There should be no drop off as the Bison look to make another deep run in the playoffs this fall.
With that said, I’m sure I, along with other people in Carlisle, will be keeping a close watch on Trumann scores this fall.
To Scott and his wife Michelle, and all their children, I, along with a lot of people in this town, will miss you. You are a great friend and even better person. I sure hope the people of Trumann know how lucky they are to be getting you and your family in their community.
Mark Buffalo is the editor of the Carlisle Independent. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.