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Prep Football: Former VB assistant heads up Waldron’s program

Dale Mann was announced at Tuesday night’s Waldron school board meeting as the new head coach of the Bulldogs football program. He will also serve as the 4A school’s athletics director.

Mann, 53, has been a long-time assistant coach and was eager for his first opportunity as a head coach and AD. Most notably, Mann was defensive coordinator at Booneville from 1987-2003 and at Van Buren from 2003-2008. He has spent the last three years as an assistant at Texas High in Texarkana, Texas.

“I’ve known I wanted to be head coach and AD for a while now and was looking for the right opportunity,” Mann said. “I’ve got a lot of ideas on how things should be done and one of the big things about Waldron was they pretty much gave me what I asked for.”

The Waldron program has struggled to 0-20 the last two seasons and just averaged one win per year for five years before that. Mann said he was confident that could be turned around.

“Waldron has had successful years here in the past,” Mann said. “The people here are hungry and they are committed to the program. There are some good kids coming up through the junior high system and with a new football stadium, new high school the facilities are great.”

Mann said he was going to get to work on the foundations for the future right away.

“The first thing we’ve got to do is look around in the hallways and find some guys that having been playing football that can help us out,” Mann said. “And we are going to go to work in the junior highs down to the elementary P.E. programs and start to funnel those kids into our program.”

Waldron will have to play in the same conference the next two seasons with 4A powers Nashville, Arkadelphia, Ashdown and DeQueen but Mann said he expects that to be only for two more years.

“I have talked to (Arkansas Activities Association) and they assured me in the next cycle Waldron is going to be back up with the teams up here,” Mann said. “We know it is going to be tough going, but by then we should have our programs in place and will have a good cycle of athletes coming up and we are expecting to be as competitive as anybody.”

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