The Sheridan school district announced the hiring of Larry McBroom as head football coach Thursday night, less than two weeks following the departure of Lance Parker.

McBroom, who has 199 career victories and has won 14 district championships and seven state championships in Oklahoma, had been a volunteer assistant for the Yellowjackets while Parker served as head coach.

Sheridan Director of Athletics Matt Scarbrough spoke with Friday about the decision to hire McBroom as the next head coach of the Sheridan Yellowjackets.

“We are beyond excited to get a guy with the resume and the experience of Larry McBroom,” said Scarbrough. “It’s not every day that a high school gets the opportunity to bring in somebody with that much knowledge about football. On top of that, just his compassion and his energy to coach young men. He is a man of good character and integrity. We are beside ourselves and overjoyed about getting him.”

Scarbrough said that having McBroom as a volunteer assistant the past few years certainly played a part in the decision to talk him out of retirement to lead the Yellowjacket football program.

“Every time you go to hire a position as high profile as the head football coach for your high school football team, things are as high profile as those jobs are for a school district, every time the situation always requires you to be looking for a specific thing,” Scarbrough said. “When you look at what the pandemic has brought to us where we haven’t been able to be around our kids, and with an idea situation where we could begin a search in January then have a coach on campus at the beginning of March where he would be able to conduct spring football and the kids could get to know him a little bit. Obviously with our situation this year, that wasn’t going to happen. So, the fact that he knows the kids, knows the coaching staff, and the kids love him here – he is highly respected by the players. That certainly played into the decision for sure.”

Scarbrough said that the transition of coming out of the COVID-19 shut down isn’t going to be easy for any school, but the transition of changing coaches will be a little easier for Sheridan due to hiring someone familiar with the program.

“I don’t know that the transition is going to be easy for us or any other school in the state with coming out of the COVID,” Scarbrough said. “I think that it definitely makes it smoother that the coaches know him, he knows them, and he knows the kids. We’ve never faced anything like this. Missing spring ball is huge, but everybody missed spring ball. It wasn’t like just Sheridan missed it. The level playing field hasn’t changed, but when you are going to bring a new coach in and you don’t have that kind of time it is a blessing for us to have somebody that is already well respected by the students and the coaching staff.”

Several Sheridan football players have been vocal about McBroom saying they believe he is the correct guy for the job. Scarbrough said it is nice to see that from the student-athletes.

“It is nice to see that kind of buy in from the athletes,” Scarbrough said.

The hiring of McBroom very well may have come at a good time with Governor Asa Hutchinson announcing Thursday that schools can begin opening facilities on June 1 for student-athletes to begin working out in the weight room and to do conditioning drills for football and other contact sports.

The Arkansas Activities Association has also announced that the current dead period will end on May 30 in time for the June 1 opening date.

Scarbrough said he is still awaiting a full list of directives from the Arkansas Department of Health, but Sheridan is looking at opening for their student-athletes at that time.

“I think planning is the word that I would like to use. We will be very excited to plan for that,” Scarbrough said. “That will start early next week in setting down some procedures and guidelines for how we are going to do this. Obviously, we are all chomping at the bit to get kids back in here and to get football rolling again. Football really can’t practice right now, but we will be able to get into the weight room and we will be able to condition and will be able to spend some time around our student-athletes. The one thing I will say is I don’t want to say that June 1 is the day it will happen because we have got to have some cleaning and some PPE materials. I don’t want to do it until I know it is safe for our student body and we have all our ducks in a row. I believe we can accomplish that by June 1, but it will have to be accomplished before we say ‘Yes, lets go.”

Scarbrough also said that they will begin the reopening process with the high school programs, then will begin allowing the junior high student-athletes to begin returning later.

“I would imagine that we are going to use our high school to figure out what the best pieces are and what improvements have got to be made, then we will start looking at seventh and eighth grade a little bit further down the line,” Scarbrough said. “Those younger classes, even up to ninth grade, it may be a few weeks before we pull them in to see what they have got to come back with.”

There has also been a big push by the Arkansas Activities Association to inform student-athletes and parents to make sure each athlete has a current athletic physical on file. Scarbrough said he believes the student-athletes at Sheridan will be fine, and he is planning on having a mass clinic for physicals on campus later in the summer.

“I think we are fine right now. You have to be in a 12-15-month window, and we do school physicals at Sheridan every May, so we will be alright up through the summer,” Scarbrough said. “The next piece of this is the Governor loosing up the guidelines, and I’m hunting for a guideline that allows me to do mass physicals up here for all of my students. You hate to say, ‘I’m sorry, go get it on your own.’ So, I’m really waiting on that phase two or maybe phase three where I can see a legitimate way to get 400 or 500 student-athletes a physical. We’ve got to bring in a lot of doctors and nurses then set up a place where we can rotate kids through to get physicals, so right now under the guidelines we are under I don’t see a picture in my head of making that work. As we loosen up later in the summer, we have got a little leeway inside of the 15-month window so I think we will be okay for a little while.”