PANGBURN — Chris Yielding, who started playing basketball in the second grade, is back on the court as the new coach of the Pangburn High School boys basketball teams.
“I’m a busy guy,” Yielding said.
He coaches seventh- through 12th-grade boys, along with teaching three civics classes at Pangburn.
He earned a degree in kinesiology at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and worked as a part-time supervisor for UPS in Fayetteville.
After graduation, Yielding took a job at J.B. Hunt, a logistics-management-services company, he said.
“When I was working there, I found out I did not want to work a desk job,” Yielding said.
While employed with J.B. Hunt, Yielding remembered one of the things he loved most — basketball. He participated in the sport from second grade through high school in Cabot.
“I went into the [Master of Arts in Teaching] program at [the University of Central Arkansas in Conway],” he said. When he entered the program, he said that with his kinesiology degree, he had already completed some of the coaching classes that he needed.
Upon graduation, Yielding took his first coaching job at Des Arc High School as head basketball, assistant football, baseball and cross-country coach.
“My main job there was football,” he said.
In addition to coaching four sports, he taught three subjects.
“It was overwhelming, but it was a good school,” Yielding said.
Yielding stayed at Des Arc for three years, then made his way to Heber Springs, where he was the assistant baseball coach, but in the summer and fall he helped with other sports.
He still had the idea of being a head basketball coach in the back of his mind.
“I wanted a head coaching job for a while,” he said.
The Pangburn basketball players have responded well to Yielding so far, and he said that can be hard to do.
“It’s early, but the kids have been very receptive,” Yielding said. “It’s always different when a new coach comes in.”
Almost two months into his job at Pangburn, he said there are many things about coaching that he enjoys.
“I love the competition and the growth you see in the kids,” he said. “I like seeing things click with them, and you see a difference [in how they play] when they start picking things up.”
Right now, Yielding’s players are practicing three days a week and are learning new strategies daily.
“I like seeing them succeed,” Yielding said. “The kids want to win, and they have a lot of energy.”
Defense has been a focus in his coaching strategies so far.
“I’m a big defense coach,” Yielding said. “The defense can always be there.”
Going into the season, he is looking for a win from his 51 players on the three teams he coaches.
“I think they’ll be pumped up,” Yielding said. “Before the games, I’m going to make sure it’s quiet and they’re focused. I don’t’ think it’ll take a lot to get them excited.”
Because he coaches the senior high, junior high and seventh-grade teams, Yielding said, as students develop as basketball players under his guidance, that will be an advantage for the future teams.
“When they move up to junior high, they’ll know what’s expected of them, and that will help us out,” he said.
His first game as head coach of the Pangburn Tigers will be Oct. 18 against Greers Ferry Westside.