TOGETHER AGAIN: Former Hornets now leading Bauxite Miners

Longtime friends and former rivals David Jordan, left, Daryl Patton, center, and Paul Calley will all be on the sideline together come fall as they help lead the Bauxite Miners. The three coached together while at Bryant in the late 1990s. JOSH BRIGGS/The Saline Courier
Josh Briggs
Managing Editor

From longtime friends to fierce rivals and now to Bauxite Miners, three former Bryant head football coaches are looking to make some noise in a stout 7-4A.

Daryl Patton, David Jordan and now Paul Calley, have joined forces once again on the same sideline after nearly 20 years of coaching against one another.

The talented trio manned the Bryant sidelines together from 1994 to ‘97 under Jordan. Patton led the junior high Hornets from ‘94 to ‘97. Calley stepped up to the high school level in 95, leaving Patton’s side.

When Patton was named head coach of the senior high Hornets in 1998, the two joined forces again.

“Paul was my right-hand man,” Patton said. “He did everything.”
At the end of the of the 2002 season, Patton announced he would be leaving for Northwest Arkansas to take over the Fayetteville Purple Dogs program.

“Part of the reason I left to go to Fayetteville is because I thought Paul was going with me,” Patton said. “He backed out of it at the last second and decided to stay at Bryant.”
“He never called me and asked me to go to Fayetteville,” Jordan added with a laugh.

During Patton’s tenure at Fayetteville, the Purple Dogs won four 7A state championships and played in six title games.

“It is about being in the right place at the right time,” Patton said.

Jordan, too, is a state champion, winning a title with Dollarway.
Calley, though he has never won a title game, has never had a losing season or missed the playoffs as a head coach, including the past two years at the helm of the Harmony Grove Cardinals.
Looking ahead to the 2018 season, all three coaches are excited to get the ball rolling and to really see if they can bring the fire and glory of the “good old days of Bauxite football” back to Saline County.

“We love the attitude of our kids,” Patton said. “They are hungry, they work hard and they are dedicated. We have a lot of kids coming back that have experience playing on Friday nights.”
Patton took over the Bauxite program at the start of the 2016 season and finished his first year at 0-10. Coming back in 2017, with the addition of Jordan, the Miners racked up four wins, more than many had predicted they would’ve won.

“When we first came here the kids weren’t very strong and weren’t real fast,” Patton said. “Now, we have come a long way and worked on that and we are becoming a 7-4A-looking team. We want to continue that through the spring.”
Patton added that when spring practice begins, he and his coaching staff have to find depth, whether it be recruiting in the school’s hallways or move-ins from outside of the district.

“That is one thing that hurt us last year against some of the bigger schools,” he said. “Hopefully some of our younger kids that have moved in will help us find some depth. We feel like we have a chance to have a great season, make some noise and get to the playoffs.”
Patton said that despite having three of the winningest coaches in Arkansas’ history on the same sideline, Bauxite’s staff still has much work to do and goals to accomplish.

“I don’t think that you can say one staff is going to out-coach another staff because there are so many good ones, but some things that I know is that we are going to give Bauxite the best staff it has ever had and we are going to prepared,” Patton said. “I may be the head coach, but there is nothing that we will do without consulting each other. (Calley and Jordan’s) experience is invaluable.

“I love our staff, wouldn’t trade it for anybody, but I wouldn’t sit here and say that we are better than everyone in our conference.”
Calley, who recently led Harmony Grove to its best season to date, said that with all three coaches on the sideline, they will have answers to just about any question.
“Both of these guys are exceptional play-callers and I am the guy that is looking for spots and looking for certain things to help us here and there,” Calley said. “I am not going to go in with the game plan, but I am going to help them make adjustments during the game. I think that is going to be a strong suit for us. We will always have a plan and a backup plan and then a backup plan to the backup plan.”

With Calley not officially joining the staff until June 1, Patton said the magic he brings can already be felt among the current squad.

“It was like Christmas morning when I told them,” Patton said. “They were ecstatic.”
Patton and Calley traveled down memory lane when thinking of the upcoming season, looking back to the 1999 season at Bryant.
“People said I couldn’t win at Bryant (and play those caliber of teams),” Patton said. “In 1998, we struggled a little bit and in 1999 we had a lot of returning starters coming back and got bigger, faster and stronger. We put an offense and defense in that really suited our kids.

“We knew we were a much better football team, just like now (at Bauxite), but until you go do it and gain some confidence, you don’t know.”

In 1999, the Patton/Calley-led Hornets began to win games and caught a hot streak, finishing the regular season at 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state.

“I am not saying that this (Bauxite) team is going to be 11-0, No. 1 in the state, but this football team can do some great things,” Patton said. “It can be done here at Bauxite. We have to go out there and do it. We feel like we have a coaching staff in place and we have kids that are working harder than I have ever seen kids work.”
Patton implemented the Dead-T offense last year and plans to keep with it this year – unless a big-time quarterback moves in.

“We are not going to go crazy,” Patton said. “We are going to be run-heavy and control the game. That is what helped us last year. We are going to do what the talent dictates.”

Patton also spoke of the job his defensive coaches have done in the past 12 months, adding that without those guys, the program wouldn’t be successful.