When Maumelle football Coach David Farr left this past spring for an offensive coordinator’s position at Russellville, Maumelle athletic director William Rountree didn’t have to go far to find Farr’s replacement.
Defensive coordinator Kirk Horton, who has been at Maumelle his entire career, was hired as Farr’s replacement. Horton started in Maumelle as an assistant seventh-grade coach, became a head coach at the middle school and spent the last two years as a varsity assistant. This past season he was the defensive coordinator.
“Coach Horton had overwhelming community support, and most parents knew him because he coached their kids,” Rountree said. “My take as an AD is he has been in the system and worked his way up and was successful at each step. He has the energy and came in with a plan.”
Rountree and Horton both said 75 athletes came out for spring practice but the number has whittled to 68. Rountree also added that 15 of those came back after going to other schools. Since Horton has been in the Pulaski County Special School District his entire career, he also knows the ins and outs of the school district.
“He is young and has energy, enthusiasm and experience,” Rountree said. “He is also positive with the kids.”
Originally, Horton got into coaching for baseball and not football. But, he fell in love with football and thus his coaching career began.
“I felt like I could make more of a difference in football,” Horton said. “It’s more of a family environment.”
After Coach Mike Buchan retired after the 2014 season, Horton didn’t feel like he had the experience to apply for the head coaching job. After proving himself to Farr, who promoted him to defensive coordinator last year, Horton felt more confident.
“The second time I felt like I had more experience, and the boys needed the consistency,” Horton said. “I felt like I could give them that.”
Horton is more of a defensive coach, but hired an offensive coordinator who is on the same page as him. He hired Jarrod Barnhill, who he previously knew, from Marion. A new spread scheme offense will be incorporated.
“It is similar to last year’s, and the boys are picking it up,” Horton said. “It is simpler, and the verbiage is easier. We are catching the ball and running routes. Defensively, we are changing to fit our personnel.”
The Hornets ran spring practice with three staff members but now with a full staff will do some team camps and 7-on-7 events this summer. Horton is appreciating his young staff and is enjoying the camaraderie.