While he had enjoyed his time in East Texas, both at Overton as head coach and athletic director and as an assistant for a pair of state-title teams, in the end, the call to come home was strong for Richard Strickland.
Strickland, the head coach and athletic director at Overton High School the last two seasons, has informed school officials of his departure; he and his wife and children are moving to Nashville, Ark., where Strickland will become the defensive coordinator and assistant coach at Class 4A powerhouse Nashville High.
The Scrappers have won five Arkansas state football titles in their history, and have 750 all-time victories. “It’s one of, if not the very best, program in the state,” Strickland told the News Herald Thursday afternoon.
Strickland wished Overton well and said he knows OISD Superintendent Stephen DuBose, himself a former Mustang head football coach, will find a very good coach to replace him. “Oh, yeah, it’ll be a good deal,” Strickland said.
Strickland went 9-12 in two seasons at Overton, an 8-3 first season that ended in the playoffs, followed by a 1-9 season in 2017, a year that saw the Mustangs battle through move-aways and injuries. They were able to close out the season with a win over Wortham.
Overton has historically been a very good football program, but the eight-win season in 2016 is their winningest season since DuBose guided the Mustangs to a 9-2 record in 2005.
DuBose’s final year was 2007, and since then, the Mustangs have had four head coaches, including Strickland.
Strickland came to Overton highly decorated, with a state football championship as an assistant coach at Carthage in 2008, a state title in baseball at Carthage as an assistant in 2009, and another football state crown as an assistant in Henderson in 2010.