An Arkansas high school football coaching legend is hanging up his whistle after 43 years.
Little Rock Central football coach Ellis "Scooter" Register announced his retirement Tuesday in a news conference at the Little Rock School District Administration Building.
Register, 66, was 172-143-1 in 28 seasons as a high school coach at Little Rock McClellan (1990-1994), El Dorado (1995-2002), Little Rock Catholic (2003-2009) and Central (2010-2017). His teams won or shared five conference championships.
The decision to retire from coaching came over the past couple of weeks, Register said.
"I feel good about the decision. It was the right time to do it," Register said. "You've just got to kind of know. You don't know if the timing is right or not. But you know, I felt like this was the time to do it.
"It's been a grind over the last couple of years."
Register will remain in the LRSD in a capacity to be determined.
LRSD Superintendent Michael Poore appreciated Register's passion throughout his career.
"Every place I met him, whether it was on the phone or on the field, that's what you exemplified, passion," Poore said. "40 years of marriage, that's passion. 40 years of commitment [to coaching], that's a form of passion.
"Today, we celebrate everything you've brought to our district."
During his news conference, Register thanked his former players and coaches as well as his family -- wife Sandra, daughters Randi and Toni and grandchildren Ellis and Mari Francis.
LRSD Athletic Director John Daniels looked at Register's impact off the field Tuesday.
"I don't know what his wins and losses are, but you've got to think about the young men's lives he's affected over 43 years," Daniels said. "Those kids are still out there living life and having success based on a lot of things he taught them, what he taught his staff to teach them. You think about that legacy that he's leaving behind and all the lives he's touched. Not just football players, but kids in the classroom, the teachers, the assistant coaches, etc."
In 1974, Register began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Forest Heights Junior High in Little Rock. He was an assistant at Little Rock Hall for two stints in 1977-1980 and 1985-1989, and took his first high school head coaching position at McClellan in 1990.
Register coached in two state championship games. He led McClellan to the 1994 Class AAAA state championship game, losing to Pine Bluff, and took El Dorado to the 2001 Class AAAAA state title game, where it fell to Bentonville.
At Catholic, Register helped lead the Rockets to the Class AAAAA semifinals in 2005, losing to Springdale, coached by current Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn.
When Register arrived at Central in 2010, he inherited two consecutive winless seasons and a school-record 21-game losing streak. But he guided the Tigers to five Class 7A playoff appearances in a row (2010-2014), including a first-round upset victory at Fayetteville in 2013.
Central went 8-22 over the past three seasons. The Tigers were 2-8 in 2017, including a 1-6 record in the 7A-Central Conference, which featured eventual state champion North Little Rock and semifinalists Bryant and Conway.
Catholic Coach John Fogleman, who played for Register at Hall, coached with him at El Dorado and coached against him while with the Rockets, said Register has made a big impact on his life.
"He was such a good role model for me as a young guy," Fogleman said. "He did that for me and so many guys. We always have good stories."
Daniels said a committee will be assembled to hire Central's next coach, but didn't have a timetable on when the new coach will be hired.
"It's a big-time job," Daniels said. "You'll have people all over the state who's going to want this job and all over the country. It's going to be a tough choice. You're going to have a lot of quality people wanting this job. It is a great job and they're going to find it in good hands."
Ellis “Scooter” Register receives a hug from Little Rock Central Principal Nancy Rousseau on Tuesday after he announced his retirement as the Tigers’ football coach.
Sports on 02/28/2018
Ellis “Scooter” Register
EDUCATION Clarendon (1969), Henderson State University (1974)
PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE Assistant coach, Little Rock Forest Heights Junior High, 1974-75 … Head coach, Little Rock Booker Junior High, 1976 … Assistant coach, Little Rock Hall, 1977-1980 … Head coach, Little Rock Henderson Junior High, 1982-1984 … Assistant coach, Little Rock Hall, 1985-1989 … Head coach, Little Rock McClellan, 1990-1994 … Head coach, El Dorado, 1995-2002 … Head coach, Little Rock Catholic, 2003-2009 … Head coach, Little Rock Central, 2010-2017
OVERALL HIGH SCHOOL RECORD 172-143-1
• Ellis “Scooter” Register year-by-year record
LITTLE ROCK MCCLELLAN (34-22-0)
1990;LR McClellan;AAAA-Central;3-2;4-7-0;First round
1992;LR McClellan;AAAA-Central;6-1*;8-3-0;First round
EL DORADO (64-31-1)
2000;El Dorado;AAAAA-South;6-1*;7-4-0;First round
2002;El Dorado;AAAAA-South;6-1;8-3-0;First round
LITTLE ROCK CATHOLIC (42-36-0)
2004;LR Catholic;AAAAA-Central;5-2;5-6-0;First round
2007;LR Catholic;AAAAA-Central;4-3;6-5-0;First round
2009;LR Catholic;AAAAA-Central;2-5;5-6-0;First round
LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL (32-54-0)
2010;LR Central;7A-Central;2-5;2-9;First round
2011;LR Central;7A-Central;3-4;5-6;First round
2012;LR Central;7A/6A-East;3-4;4-7;First round
2013;LR Central;7A/6A-East;4-3;7-5;Second round
2014;LR Central;7A/6A-East;5-2;6-5;First round
*Won or shared conference championship
Print Headline: Register, 66, calls it quits