Friday Mailbag – What Do You Think of Coach Kelby Bohannon?

By: Seth McKinzie

Note: LL has been asked about three dozen variations of the following question. This is just a cleaner rewording done by LL.

Question: LL…in your opinion, what can we expect out of Coach Bohannon now that he has been promoted to head coach?

LL: This is a great question, and certainly one that has been on the minds of Lion football fans since the news was made public on Monday. What can fans expect from the program now that the Lions are under their third head coach in as many years?

LL has known Bohannon approximately 15 years or so. LL and Bohannon have exchanged many texts and had many phone conversations about football, coaching, life, and much more in that span of time. Over the last few years, LL would always let Bohannon know when there was a coaching opportunity coming open in Northwest Arkansas.

With that in mind, how can the question be answered? Quite simply, if LL is being honest:

Coach Bohannon should be able to make an IMMEDIATE and POSITIVE impact on the program AND the district as a whole. Wins may not be immediate but fans will see a difference in 2019.

There. LL said it.

Bohannon is a great man. He is honest, virtuous, kind, has character, and cares. Now, LL understands you can take those qualities, throw them in a bag, shake them around and still not come up with a winning football formula. So, what could make Bohannon different?

For starters, he’s pretty young. He brings energy. Fire. Passion. A touch of youthfulness Lion football has not had in the head coaching position in quite some time. No offense to the prior head coaches but none were in their 30s when they took over and being not too far removed from the generation of players can be quite advantageous. Throw in the fact Bohannon, and his wife, are raising two boys of their own and fans should have even more cause for excitement.

Bohannon has paid his dues at some high quality programs. He was the secondary coach and special teams coordinator at 6A-II Bixby (OK) when the Spartans were the state champion and state runner-up. He coached for a short time at Tulsa Union. He also is someone who understands how small schools operate having graduated from a small Oklahoma school, coaching there, and being the defensive coordinator at Jay (OK). He has experience. He is young, yes, but not “fresh off the boat”. His dad was a coach too so Bohannon understands the game just from a lifetime of being around it. He also knows athletics work ethic as he played baseball at Northeastern State University.

He’s connected. He’s hungry. He’s committed. This should make fans look to the future with a lot of optimism. A guy like Bohannon could potentially be someone who stays at Gravette for 15 seasons, or more, and brings a ton of success with him along the way. Stability is something the football boys need now. Bohannon brings that. His wife, by the way, is a member of the GHS Class of 2002 (along with Coach Sheldon McKinzie) and was a Lady Lion.

LL spoke with Bohannon earlier this week and could sense the excitement in his voice. The sense of “OK…this is real and I’m ready to roll” attitude. He mentioned there had already been a few players return to the team this week with a few others expected to rejoin. Bohannon told LL he knows his number one priority is getting interest in playing football back up, recruit the hallways, and work with the other programs so that every possible athlete is shared. Once participation numbers come back, Bohannon knows the wins will come.

When the head coaching search process first started someone asked LL what sort of coach Gravette needed. The response was:

Someone young but not right out of college with no experience. Someone who is hungry and who is not afraid to step into a situation that was less than ideal the past season. A coach who will see the opportunity to build up a once proud program and get a town excited about football again.

This, in LL’s opinion, describes Bohannon perfectly. Go Lions.