Sanders ready for challenge with Jonesboro

Quad Sanders
Quad Sanders

Quad Sanders knew he wanted to be a coach in the ninth grade.

His first job in football was overseeing the seventh-grade team's defensive line. It's where he first discovered what kind of coach he wanted to be.

Sanders was announced as the new Jonesboro football head coach Tuesday night, replacing Randy Coleman who stepped down from the position in February.

"It was a right timing deal," Sanders said about why he wanted the job. "I've always had my eye on Jonesboro, even from college. They've always had talented guys on both sides of the ball. ... They always keep talented guys up front, and they always keep talented skill guys, so I always knew it was a place that I would really like to coach."

Sanders, the 2022 Broyles Award winner as Arkansas' top assistant high school coach, spent the past five seasons leading the Bryant defense as the Hornets won the Class 7A state championship in each season.

Prior to his time at Bryant, Sanders was an assistant coach at the University of Arkansas-Monticello, McPherson (Kan.) College and Western Colorado University. Sanders played football and basketball at the University of Central Arkansas and was later a graduate assistant with the football team.

When Sanders arrived at Bryant in July 2018, he felt like he could have stepped into a head coaching role already. But being around Hornets Coach Buck James and assistant coach Kirk Bock, who recently became the school's athletic director, showed Sanders he still had some learning to do.

"You get a different feel from a winner's [perspective]," Sanders said. "... Being around those guys, I got coached on all the little things. The things that I never could see and never would see."

Sanders joins James' growing coaching tree, which includes West Memphis Coach Robert Hooks and Hot Springs Coach Darrell Burnett.

"That's what you want," James said. "You want guys to better themselves because they work in your program and have a chance to excel and lead to better things. That's what we want for our kids and our coaches."

Sanders takes over a Golden Hurricane squad that went 3-8 in its first season as a 7A school. Sanders jokingly said he'll have to wait until summer workouts are over to see how excited he is to visit Bryant in conference play during the fall.

"I'm super excited, man," Sanders said. "It's just incorporating the offseason. The offseason is gonna be the biggest challenge for these guys. They have not had an offseason of what they're about to see. ... So if they can handle that grind, and we can get on the same page, I think we'll be fine."

Whether it's in Year 1, 2 or 3, James said he's confident in what Sanders will be able to do at Jonesboro.

"I think he brings enough energy, and I think he has enough knowledge that he will do great," James said. "It can happen as fast as the first year he's there. It might happen the second or third year there ,but it'll definitely happen."

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