Father and son team up to coach during All-Star Week

By Donna Stephens Originally Published June 16, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated June 14, 2013 at 2:20 p.m.
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Harding Academy’s Caleb Spears, left, leaps into the arms of assistant coach Gail Mote as head coach Roddy Mote, right, waits his turn on the sidelines after Spears ran in the winning touchdown during the Class 3A state championship game in December. Both Moteses will be on the sideline during the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star football game.

— When the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Week coaches convene today at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, several will be there to represent the Three Rivers Edition coverage area.

Roddy Mote of Harding Academy is head coach of the East football team, and Eric Chambers of Beebe is the head coach for the East softball squad.

Other area coaches on the rosters as assistants include Tim Harper of Searcy and Gail Mote of Harding Academy, East football; Kerry Castillo of Cabot, East girls soccer; Brad Francis of Harding Academy, East boys basketball; and Emily Carlton of Heber Springs, East cheer squad.

This is Mote’s second year on the all-star staff. He served as an assistant last year.

“I had a great experience last year, obviously, with the opportunity to work with some of the better athletes, you might say, in the state of Arkansas,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Mote served as defensive coordinator last year but will coordinate the offense this time.

“I really enjoyed being able to collaborate and work with other well respected coaches in the state,” he said. “I’m very honored and very humbled to be able to be the head coach.”

The process for selecting the coaches includes each conference choosing one nominee. Following the state championship in each sport, a preliminary vote for all the nominees is held to whittle the list to seven. A second vote yields the head coach (whoever receives the most votes) and the assistants (the next highest totals).

Mote’s father, Gail, will be one of his assistants. Head coaches get to bring an assistant from their staff; Gail Mote serves as Harding Academy’s defensive line coach, and he’ll do the same for the all-star game.

Gail Mote coached in Texas and West Virginia around stints at Watson Chapel, Bald Knob and Little Rock Central in the mid-1970s. He was an all-star coach in West Virginia but will make his Arkansas debut this year.

“Somebody asked me what it’s like coaching with my dad, and it’s almost like experiencing youth all over again,” Roddy Mote said. “When I was a kid, I used to go to work with my dad, and we would eat lunch together every day, go to the field house.

“Obviously, I look up to my dad, and I’ve been able to see the impact he had on young people, on the players he was coaching.”

All-Star Week was traditionally held at UCA before the Arkansas High School Coaches Association moved the activities to the University of Arkansas as the week’s activities expanded to six sports. The event returns to Conway for the first time in several years, so this will be Mote’s first experience at UCA.

“I think the central location is great,” Mote said. “Playing in Razorback Stadium is a thrill, but when you get down to it, a game’s a game. It’s a very neat experience to be able to play at one of the well-respected universities in the state.”

He praised the welcome Conway and UCA officials gave the all-stars during press conferences earlier in the spring.

“It was unbelievable how accommodating they were,” he said. “They want us there, and they’re giving us their best. It makes you feel important, and I think it’s a great reward for the players and the coaches.”

Coaches will report today, Father’s Day, with players following on Monday. Practices for all sports will begin Monday. Baseball and softball doubleheaders are set for Tuesday, soccer and volleyball are scheduled for Wednesday, basketball will go Thursday, and football will conclude the week’s festivities on Friday.

For basketball, that means five practices. For football, it’s more. For baseball and softball — the first games to be played — it’s just two.

Besides all those activities, the AHSCA Coaches Clinic will run in Conway on Tuesday through Friday.

When the Motes report to UCA on Father’s Day, they’ll be assigned to share a room in the dorm for the week.

“We’ll room together,” Roddy Mote said. “Nobody else could put up with him.”

None Donna Stephens can be reached at .

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