Darrell Henry has resigned as head football coach at Fort Smith Northside High School, athletics director Jim Rowland said Monday.
Henry, who will remain on staff at the school, had been head coach of the Grizzlies since 2002. He finished his tenure with a 57-64-2 record.
"It's very bittersweet," Rowland said. "I coached Darrell in high school and I've been around him his whole career. He's put his heart and soul into the program and has done an outstanding job, and I hate to see him go."
Northside missed the Class 7A playoffs this season after finishing 3-7, including a 45-26 loss to crosstown rival Southside on Friday - its eight consecutive loss in the series. The Grizzlies had advanced to the second round of the playoffs last season and as far as the state semifinals in Henry's fourth year.
Prior to Northside, Henry spent six seasons as defensive coordinator at Southside, helping the Rebels to a state championship win in the state's largest classification in 1997. He had previously served as head coach at Fort Smith's Ramsey Junior High.
"He's a fine, fine football coach," said Bentonville head coach Barry Lunney Sr., who was head coach at Southside from 1989-2004. "He's an excellent coach and a better person. Darrell always had the kids' best interest at heart and there was probably nobody who worked any harder at it.
"I think he's one of the consummate professionals in our business and I'm very sad to see him step aside."
Rowland said the search for a new Northside coach would include internal candidates and ones from outside the school district. Northside has won eight state championships in Arkansas' largest classification, but none since 1999.
"Football is pretty well 365 days a year and once you end one football season, you've got to prepare for the next," Rowland said. "The sooner you can get someone on board, the better off you are and that will be our intention.
"We won't rush into it. We want to get what we feel like is the right person for the job."