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story.lead_photo.caption Bobby Bolding was hired Thursday night as the new head football coach at White Hall. Bolding replaces Mike Vaughn, who announced his retirement in January.

WHITE HALL -- Bobby Bolding said he needs a new challenge.

After 12 seasons at Pine Bluff, Bolding will get one as he heads to White Hall as the school's new head football coach and athletic director.

The White Hall school board approved the hiring of Bolding, a three-time state championship coach, at its monthly meeting Thursday night. Bolding was not at the meeting.

"I feel like I'm 31 and got my first job," Bolding said in a telephone interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "I'm not going to get any sleep tonight. I'm fired up and excited. I'm excited about the response from the community.

"I hope this is my last stop."

White Hall Superintendent Doug Dorris said there were 50 applicants for the position. The position was narrowed down to 15 interviews, then there were five finalists.

"We feel like we got us a dandy," Dorris said. "We're very fortunate to have Bobby Bolding as our coach."

Bolding, the son of former Conway athletic director Buzz Bolding and brother of Little Rock Parkview Coach Brad Bolding, went 105-42-3 in 12 seasons at Pine Bluff. He led the Zebras to two Class 6A state championships in 2014 and 2015, and guided them to four other state title game appearances (2009, 2012, 2013 and 2017) and nine consecutive semifinal appearances (2009-17).

"We made a lot of great decisions to win a lot of football games," Bolding said. "But we also helped a lot of young men better themselves. We did our part to keep the tradition intact."

Since 1998, Bolding, 52, is 193-66-3 at three schools (Marked Tree, Stuttgart and Pine Bluff). He has coached in the playoffs in 20 of his 21 seasons as a head coach.

Bolding coached at Marked Tree in 1998-2000, leading the Indians to three consecutive conference championships.

In 2001, Bolding took over for George Burke at Stuttgart. The Ricebirds won the Class AAAA state championship in 2002, their first since 1982.

Bolding replaces Mike Vaughn, who announced his retirement in January after 16 seasons. Vaughn was 100-75-3 and led the Bulldogs to three 5A-South Conference championships (2006, 2011 and 2016).

White Hall went 5-6 last season, losing at Harrison in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Bolding said he isn't worried about the past at White Hall.

"I don't intend to look at film," Bolding said. "I want to make my own judgments."

White Hall competes in the 5A-Central Conference, which features the past five state championship teams -- Pulaski Academy in 2014-2017, and Little Rock Christian last season. Bolding understands he'll need to get the Bulldogs ready to compete in one of the state's toughest conferences.

"We have to get them [the White Hall players] to buy into our process," Bolding said. "It's a process I have confidence in."

Current White Hall Athletic Director Tim Atkinson, who will be an assistant principal at White Hall Middle School in the fall, said Bolding is the right coach to turn the Bulldogs into a perennial state contender.

"There's no off night in that conference," Atkinson said. "It was very important for us to bring in the right coach. It's going to be exciting to see how we do."

Dorris said Bolding will meet with the football team and coaching staff today.

"One of the first things he asked for when we offered him the job was when could he get his keys," Dorris said. "So, he's ready to go to work."

Sports on 03/15/2019

Print Headline: Bolding leaves Pine Bluff to take over new challenge

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