North Little Rock product Johnny Rice, who has been on the sideline for the Charging Wildcats basketball team the past 14 years, will move to the head coach’s seat on an interim basis for the 2012-13 season.

Rice, 44, was recently named to head the Charging Wildcats.

"I’m very excited about the opportunity,’’ said Rice, who also coached at Ridge Road and Rose City. "I think it is an opportunity for me to show what I can do.

"If they had hired someone else,I might not have gotten this opportunity. I am grateful that I get this chance and hopefully it will lead to getting the job on a permanent basis.’’

The position is interim because of a major reduction in work force by the school district in the spring. That tied the hands of athletic director Kevin Danaher.

"We were put in a bind with all of the RIFs so it is hard to go out and advertise for a basketball coach when you don’t know what kind of teaching position will be available."

Danaher said the position will be re-opened again in the spring.

"At that time Johnny can apply for the position if he is still interested,’’ Danaher said. "By then we should have a lot better idea about teaching positions. You can’t just go out and hire a coach. You have to have a teaching position.

"It was easy to let Johnny do it. He has been handling everything this summer anyway."

An NLRSD employee for 22 years, Rice, who teaches four special education classes, was the choice of retired coach Richard Alexander. He worked with Alexander for seven years.

With the NLRHS boys basketball position expected to be one of the better jobs in the state, Danaher said he received a lot of inquires about it, but job applications were never accepted.

Alexander had informed school officials before the season that 2011-12 would be his last year. He led the Wildcats to three straight second-place finishes in the conference.