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— El Dorado News Times

In the end, El Dorado didn’t have to go very far to find its new football coach.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, El Dorado Superintendent Jim Tucker announced Steven Jones was to be announced as the new football coach.

Jones was unanimously approved by the El Dorado School Board Tuesday night.

Jones, who led Junction City to the 2A state championship this past season, will replace Scott Reed, who resigned on Dec. 20 to take the head coaching job at Cabot High School.

“We have conducted a very thorough search for our next head coach. We are excited and pleased to have Steven Jones on board as a Wildcat,” Tucker said in the statement. “We have confidence that he will continue the strong tradition of success in our football program.”

The day Reed resigned, the search began for his replacement by a committee led by Tucker, athletic director Phillip Lansdell and El Dorado alumnus and state Rep. Matthew Shepherd.

This committee met with 10 coaches from Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. All the coaches had previously been in the state finals and/or won state championships. The committee narrowed the list of 10 down to three and conducted interviews. Wayne Gibson, Melissa Powell, Shepherd, Reggie Thomas, Lansdell and Tucker conducted the interviews.

After completion of the interviews, a unanimous decision was made to recommend Jones to the El Dorado School Board to be the new head football coach at El Dorado High School.

“We are excited to add Steven Jones to our staff as the head football coach,” said Lansdell. “Not only will he strive to continue the Wildcats winning tradition, he is a man of high character and strong moral convictions. Coach Jones will indeed be a positive influence on our student athletes both on and off the field as well as in the classroom.”

Jones is finishing up his 9th year as a high school football coach. In the past two years at Junction City, his alma mater, the Dragons went 25-3 and won the Class AA State Championship in 2018.

The Dragons were a perfect 15-0 at home during this two year stretch.

Junction City finished Jones’ first season as Class AAA Runner-Up and led their classification in total offense both seasons.

The 2017 team racked up over 6000 yards of total offense and 88 touchdowns. Jones was named 2018 Class AA Coach of the Year by both Hooten’s Arkansas Football and the Little Rock Touchdown Club.

Jones came to Junction City after a two year stint as the offensive coordinator at Class 6A Searcy High School.

Searcy’s offense led the team to its best win total at that time since 2011.

The Lions averaged nearly 400 yards of total offense per game and finished with the top three passer and rusher in Class 6A. Searcy made it to the state quarterfinals for the first time in 20 years before losing to eventual state champion Pine Bluff.

Before being hired at Searcy, Jones spent his first five years as a coach in the DeWitt School District, coaching football and baseball.

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