By John R. Schirmer
Ron Alexander says he had “a five-year plan” when he came to Nashville to coach Scrapperette and junior Scrapperette basketball. “I was going to stay five years and move on.”
That was 19 years and 349 wins ago. Along the way, Alexander’s teams made regionals 14 times and advanced to state 10 times. The Scrapperette track team won six state championships during his tenure.
Alexander recently stepped down as basketball coach but is staying on with the school district as maintenance director. “I could have worked a couple more years, but this job [maintenance] came open,” he said.
As he gets out of coaching, “I’m not leaving the cupboard bare,” he said.
His successor, former De Queen Lady Leopard Coach Paul Dean, will take over a squad which was runner-up in District 7-4A this past season and advanced to the regional and state tournaments. The sophomores were part of a 21-0 junior high team which won last season’s district title.
Alexander is from north Howard County where he graduated from Umpire High School. He went on to Henderson State, along with such future coaching notables as David Bennett and James “Bunch” Nichols.
Alexander coached at Umpire for three years and Kirby for seven. He left coaching for seven years, “then got the job here. It’s been a great experience. I’m blessed to have had this job.”
The first year at Nashville, “We weren’t very good [early]. Then we played Bismarck in the district semifinals and upset them. Everybody got excited. That kind of turned the program around,” Alexander said.
From there, the Scrapperettes went on to win “six or seven district championships and seven or eight round robin championships,” Alexander said. They also won a regional title and were regional runners-up. They also made it to the state quarterfinals. He wrapped up his career with a 349-147 record at Nashville.
In addition, Alexander coached the West in the 2005 Arkansas All-Star game.
His junior Scrapperettes also saw success, highlighted by an undefeated season.
Along with the wins on the court and on the track, Alexander played a key role in planning Scrapper Arena. “That was a fun time. We’d meet at Mr. [Doug] Graham’s office at 5 a.m. and go across the state looking at different venues,” he said.
“That’s one of his highlights,” Graham said. He spent a lot of time at other facilities. We thank him for that.”
Alexander said his time at Nashville “has been fun. It’s been great working here. We’ve had some good talent. The parents and fans have been great. I couldn’t have asked for a better administration. They’ve been very supportive.”
The five-year plan turned in to 19 years, “And I’m still here.”