• Coaches of fall sports around the state responded Friday to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's announcement that non-contact practices for football and volleyball can begin Monday::
"When I hear no contact, I usually think of contact as blocking and tackling. If we're not practicing in full pads, then we're not doing that anyway. I think this is a move that will help us to get acclimated, and this is a move from somebody who hopes to have football this season. That part of the message is really good.
"I see it as a way to practice football and minimizing contact and not having kids touching each other. I'm sure the AAA will come up with some other recommendations down the road."
Coach Jody Grant,
"I think the governor's announcement gives hope for athletes, for coaches and players. We're not out of the woods just yet, and we still need to take responsibility as far as social distancing in order to keep the kids as safe as possible. I think the girls are looking forward to games and playing the sport they love, and now since there is hope for that, it will keep them motivated."
Coach Jessica Phelan,
"This is one of those things where you just wanted to take the next step. Our governor and the AAA are allowing us the opportunity to do that. Now it's our responsibility to take it in a very safe way, and we're going to do that because for two months that's what we've been doing across the state. When you're in there every day working those kids out, they didn't have a ton of clarity on what the year was going to look like. And now when they roll in here Monday, they know what's ahead of them."
Coach Chris Wood,
Springdale Har-Ber football
"It was really neat to find out and relay this news to our players. Everybody probably had the worst-case scenario at the forefront of their minds. I know we were trying to prepare for anything and that was difficult. We are very excited they get the chance to continue."
Coach Natalie Thornberry,
FS Southside volleyball
"Any news is good news and we got some great news [Friday]. Our players have been working out and practicing safely since June. It's going to be like Christmas to them on Monday when they get to put that helmet on."
Coach Chris Young,
"We are very excited to put on the helmets and understand there are still guidelines we need to follow to make sure we keep our kids safe. It just gives everyone a good feeling to know that we're moving in the right direction."
Coach Brandon Craig,
Siloam Springs football
"This announcement gave our kids hope for something 'normal' out of 2020. They will get to make more memories with their teammates. We know there will be guidelines, and we are willing to follow them. Bottom line is they will be allowing us to have a season, and for that, we will be grateful. We hope to bring that into our play."
Coach Joellen Wright,
Siloam Springs volleyball
"I hope they'll have some input from coaches. We are adaptable and we'll go the extra mile to give our kids a chance to play. They don't get this year back."
Coach Lee Larkan,
"It's a refreshing speech just from the standpoint of we can get on the court next week and maybe do a little bit more than what we've done, so I'm excited about that. But we still probably have a long way to go, but we're good."
Coach Tina Moore,
Fountain Lake volleyball
"At least we're moving forward. I'm glad we have some type of direction. Other states have come out and made guidelines and kind of done stuff, and I wish we would have done that. I know the governor was being slow, but he should have gone ahead and made these guidelines and then adjusted on based on numbers."
Coach Tommy Gilleran,
Lake Hamilton football
"I think it's positive. It's a step in the right direction. I think it's still going to be ... each step is going to be a small step. I'm hoping the AAA comes out with little more guidance on what we can do. So we can wear helmets, I assume what that means ... because contact wasn't involved in the conversation today then we're just going to wear helmets and continue to do as usual as we have been, no contact drills. But stuff like how do they want to handle -- do we have to sanitize helmets? Are we allowed to let them back in the locker room to keep their helmets in their locker? Just whatever just to make sure we're doing our part, and of course, wearing masks anytime you're not really getting after it."
Coach Matt Kinsinger,
Cutter Morning Star football
"We're optimistic. It's still kind of a crapshoot, I think. There's a lot that's going to have to happen, I think before it actually comes into play. But we've been doing a lot of individual work with our kids and you know spacing them out, keeping on pretty much 12 feet apart and masked. We've been taking kind of extra precaution, trying to be as safe as we can for our kids, for us, for our families, for everybody involved. And we're excited to hopefully get to do a little something else and have a season."
Coach Deana Franklin,
Hot Springs volleyball