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The Siloam Springs School Board unanimously approved hiring Brandon Craig as its next head football coach during a special meeting on Friday night.

Craig has been a head coach for 13 of his 25 years of coaching. He spent the past nine years as head coach and athletic director at Oolagah (Okla.) High where he compiled a 77-34 record that included eight playoff trips and three state championship appearances. He also was head coach at Campus High in Wichita, Kan., and has experience as both an offensive and defensive coordinator.

The interview process was not Craig’s first experience with Arkansas. He did his teaching internship and worked as a volunteer assistant under Charlie Cooper at Rogers High in 1993 and then spent the following year as director of health/ physical education at The New School in Fayetteville. His daughter, who was born in Rogers, attended the University of Arkansas and lived in Fayetteville for four years.

“We loved it there,” Craig said. “We always said if we ever had the opportunity get into that area, we would love to do that.”

Craig replaces Bryan Ross, who resigned in November after nine years as the Panthers’ head coach. Craig was among six finalists for the position after a search committee evaluated 60 applications. Siloam Springs High principal Jason Jones said the committee was unanimous in its decision to recommend Craig to the board.

“He is a ‘we’ guy,” Jones said. “When he first started out, he was very hesitant to speak much about anything about himself as an ‘I.’ It just never came out of his mouth. You could tell he was uncomfortable about speaking about himself. Everything was a ‘we’ and he was all about giving credit to others.

“He’s a home run for us.”

The board also voted unanimously to add the additional full-time employee to the end of the school year, but Craig must first gain his teaching license from the Arkansas Department of Education. That application process should have him on campus by March or early April.

“We would like to bring him over as soon as we can get him Arkansas certified,” said superintendent Ken Ramey. “By us going ahead and doing this, it will give Oolagah time to do what they need to do, and it also captures our ability to move forward with what we’ve asked of him.

“I’m really excited for our athletes and for our community.”

Craig said he plans to install an offense that will be multiple while using many spread and zone concepts. It will feature a quick passing game that he will “adapt” to the players on the Panthers’ roster. Other than that, he’s anxious to get started and plans to meet with the coaching staff as soon as possible.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” Craig said. “I’m excited about the chance to come into a 6A program and rebuild the program because I met with the administration, saw the school and the facilities, and I just think there is a lot of opportunity there.”

Print Headline: Siloam Springs names new coach

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