The Benton Panthers athletic department has a new leader. After former Athletic Director Steve Quinn, Benton AD since 2006, took the principal position at Benton Middle School, Texas import Randy McFarlin will be the new Panther athletic director.
McFarlin brings an extensive coaching background to Benton as he has been in the business for 36 years, including 15 years as a football head coach and athletic director. After being head coach and athletic director at Whitehouse High School for the past nine seasons, McFarlin was the assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and head track coach at Bishop Gorman Regional Catholic School in Tyler, Texas, this past season.
Overall, McFarlin owns a 119-60 career coaching record and took the Whitehouse Wildcats to seven consecutive playoffs before going to Bishop Gorman. He was the Tyler Morning News Coach of the Year in 2006 and was inducted into Fannin County Sports hall of Fame in 2005. But McFarlin will be leaving the coaching to the â€śyoungerâ€ť generation.
â€śThis will the first year August starts and Iâ€™m not out there,â€ť McFarlin said of the football field. â€śIâ€™ve coached a lot of different sports, primarily football and track, but I have coached girls basketball, soccer, the travel teams in girls softball. I have two daughters that were athletes. After a number of years coaching it gets to the point where you give the actual coaching to the younger ones and let me take care of the administrative duties and be a part of the sports system.
â€śAfter coaching 36 years and getting kind of ready to move toward more the administrative area, get off the field and use those skills learned to oversee the athletic program, and thatâ€™s kind of what headed me in that direction.â€ť
Graduating from Bonham High School in Bonham, Texas, McFarlin became familiar with southeast Arkansas when he went to Ouachita Baptist University (Arkadelphia) and did his student teaching in Malvern receiving his Bachelor of Science in Education and Physical Education/Science. He received his Masterâ€™s of Science in Education and Physical Education from Henderson State before returning to Texas.
â€śI spent five years in Arkansas and loved it,â€ť McFarlin said. â€śGot married during that time, went back to Texas and have been coaching for 36 years in Texas. How I got from Bonham and wound up at Ouachita Baptist running track for Bob Gravette, who knows? Here we are kind of going back where it all started several years ago.â€ť
McFarlin said his connection with Benton School District Suprerintendent Jeff Collum brought him to Benton.
â€śI knew the Collums,â€ť he said. â€śI knew Jeff Collum when he was the assistant superintendent here in Tyler. I actually hired his wife as a young volleyball coach one year. She played volleyball at LSU and thatâ€™s how I got to know them. I saw the job open and I thought this should be pretty good.â€ť
McFarlinâ€™s administrative accomplishments at Whitehouse include new tennis courts, renovation of the football field and press box , new video scoreboard for stadium, resurfaced track, renovation of baseball field and a remodel of athletic dressing rooms. While head coach and AD at Daingerfield, McFarlin oversaw a new gymnasium, new athletic field house, new weight room and resurfaced track.
McFarlin and wife Carolyn are parents to two daughters and a son, all in Texas, and have two grandchildren.