By John R. Schirmer
Nashville’s come-from-behind, 6-5 victory over Arkadelphia Friday afternoon at Wilson Park marked Coach Kyle Slayton’s 400th win as a head coach.
Slayton, now in his 19th year of coaching, has been at Nashville 14 years. Before that, he spent 5 seasons at Fouke.
“I was at Fouke for Win 1,” Slayton said Monday. “It was 1998 when I started there.” Slayton went 106-51 with the Panthers and won state in 1999, his second year of coaching.
From there, he moved to Nashville, where his teams have compiled a record of 294-131 through last Friday.
The Scrappers won state in 2007 and posted a 29-6 record that season, the most wins in school history.
Two of Slayton’s players from the state championship team are now assistant coaches with the Scrappers, including D.J. Graham and A.J. Whitmore.
Along with coaching teams that have won 2 state titles, Slayton has been to the state semi-finals 3 times. His teams have advanced to the state tournament 15 of his 19 seasons.
For Slayton, “It was special to win against Arkadelphia” in the District 7-4A opener. “Our kids got after them after they took the lead. Things started to click for us.”
Slayton said the 2 state title contests “were big games. We beat Farmington 11-1” when the Scrappers took state in 2007.
Fouke defeated De Queen 4-2 in 1999 for the state title. “That was our fifth time to play them that year. They beat us in the district tournament. We beat them in the regional finals and state finals.”
Slayton said there have been “so many great wins. Winning the state tournaments would be the most memorable.”
With his 400th career victory under his belt, Slayton’s Scrappers have started on putting up 500 wins for their coach. They posted a 6-2 District 7-4A win over Fountain Lake Monday afternoon at Hot Springs Village.