By John R. Schirmer
For the first time in 19 years, there’s a new head coach for the Scrapperette basketball team.
Paul Dean made the move to Nashville from Sevier County, where he coached the De Queen Lady Leopards last season. He was named the Scrapperettes’ coach in May after Ron Alexander stepped down.
Alexander coached for 19 years. He will remain with the school district as maintenance director.
Dean graduated from Clarksville High School and received his degree in health and p.e. from Arkansas Tech.
He entered coaching because “I’ve always enjoyed sports, especially basketball and football.” Coaching is his career, and it’s also “kind of a hobby. I don’t do much else” outside of coaching.
Dean’s first job after college was at Paris, where he was head junior girls coach and assistant high school girls coach for two years.
From there, he was head coach for grades 7-12 at Western Yell County for one year.
Dean spent eight seasons as an assistant at Greenwood, which won three state titles while he was there. The Lady Bulldogs were number one overall two years in a row, Dean said.
After Greenwood, Dean coached at De Queen for 2018-19. “De Queen opened up,” he said.
“It’s a good place to work. I knew there was a chance to be pretty successful. It felt right, and we moved,” he said.
“Last year was a highlight,” he said of his 28-4 season with the Lady Leopards. The team won District 7-4A and was the regional runner-up.
De Queen advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament, where the Lady Leopards lost to Harrison by three points. “Injuries kind of derailed us. That’s not where we wanted to finish.”
When the Nashville position opened, Dean decided to apply. “Nashville is known statewide. There’s a commitment to success here. People are willing to sacrifice to be successful.”
Things have gone well so far, he said of the transition to the Scrapperettes. The team worked out in June before the Arkansas Activities Association dead weeks.
The girls are “trying to get ready for team camp. “We’ve done 85-90 percent of what I wanted to do. Coach A did a great job from the time he showed up until now. They had lots of success and went to the quarterfinals of state. He turned it around,” Dean said.
The Scrapperettes will attend team camp at Sheridan July 16. They will go to camp at Morrilton the next week and will return to Scrapper Arena for camp July 31 and Aug. 1.
The camps will give the team “a chance to see what to do to get better. I’d rather be surprised now than in February,” Dean said.
Dean and his wife Tessa have four children, including Olivia, an eighth grader; Caroline, a seventh grader; Bo, who’s in the third grade; and Lola, who turned three in the spring.
Tessa will teach at Nashville Primary this fall.