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story.lead_photo.caption J.R. Eldridge is shown in this file photo. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette/JIMMY JONES)

J.R. Eldridge, who won multiple state championships at Arkadelphia and led North Little Rock back to the Class 7A state title game in December, will be the new football coach at Farmington.

Eldridge replaces longtime Farmington coach Mike Adams, who stepped down following the 2020 season after leading the Cardinals to the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

“I am grateful to Mr. (Jon) Laffoon, Coach (Beau) Thompson, and the interview committee for choosing me as the candidate who will be presented to the Farmington School Board for the head coach position at Farmington High School," said Eldridge in a news release issued by the school Monday afternoon. "I am excited about the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of players, compete for state and conference championships, and build lasting relationships within the Farmington community.”

Eldridge was the head football coach at Arkadelphia from 2011 to 2019, winning state championships in 2017 and 2018. The 2018 team was the first in state history to start a season 0-5 and finish with a state championship, knocking off No. 1 seeds four straight weeks. The Badgers also advanced to the semifinals in 2015. Eldridge was selected the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Coach of the Year in 2018.

The 1996 Fayetteville High School graduate was hired at Class 7A North Little Rock last January and led the Charging Wildcats to the state title where they fell to two-time defending state champion Bryant. North Little Rock was 11-2 on the season with both losses to Bryant. The Charging Wildcats averaged 38 points per game on offense and allowed just 20 per game.

As a head coach, Eldridge is 93-36 with a playoff record of 22-8.

Eldridge also coached at the collegiate level at Ouachita Baptist, where he was the defensive coordinator from 2007-11 and was the linebackers coach from 2001-07. He was also the strength and conditioning coach for the Tigers from 2001-11.

“J.R. has won at every level and will be successful because he is a great leader," said Farmington superintendent Jon Lafoon in a news release Monday, "but more importantly, he is a developer of young people.”

After graduating from Fayetteville, Eldridge played at OBU, where he was the defensive captain of the team and earned All-Gulf South Academic honors. He earned his bachelor’s degree from OBU in 2001 and his master’s degree from Henderson State University. He has three sons, Jack 14, Max 12 and Tripp 6.

Lafoon said in the release that the opening drew more than 40 applicants. The Farmington School District Board of Directors will officially vote on the position at its Jan. 25 meeting.

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