(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
The football coach will also assume the duties of dean of students.
The candidates included Toby Doke, Chris Ferrell and Bill Beall.
School board members, administration and a committee, made up of community citizens, have been working together for several months on implementing a football program, as well as other extracurricular sports at Manila.
All of the candidates were asked the same questions about their philosophy of football, how they would handle disciplinary problems, how they would work with the other sports programs, and their goals for the future.
Following the interviews and a lengthy executive session, the board made their decision near midnight to hire Coach Doke for the positions of football coach and dean of students.
Coach Doke taught at Manila several years ago where he coached baseball, was assistant coach to the girls' basketball program and took care of the ISS (In School Suspension). He has been assistant football and baseball coach at Greene County Tech since leaving Manila.
Coach Doke said as a player he had played for respected coaches and learned a lot. He was All Conference his junior and senior year and All State his senior year. Doke is a native of Trumann.
He said he was excited about the opportunity to help start a football program in Manila.
"When I was here before, I put my heart into the baseball program and I will do the same with football," Doke said.
Doke said starting the program is a challenge he is looking forward to.
"It takes a lot of people helping to have a football program," he said. "I certainly don't have all the answers. We will need the support of the administration and community."
Board member Johnny McCain asked Doke if he wanted to be head coach in four or five years.
"I would not want to put my heart and soul in a program and not be here in four or five years," Doke said. "I would not want to make this move if I wouldn't be here."
He said at some point he would like to go into administration.
"I will know it is time when I quit having this feeling of excitement about coaching football," he said.
Coach Beall is a former head coach at Baylor University. Beall said he has 84 years of experience. He is presently writing a history book, "Behind the Scenes of Football." He has coached at all age levels. He emphasized to the board when determining what to spend on gear and equipment to never compromise on safety. He commented, "This game is not for us, it is for them (students)."
He presented an overall review of what the school will need to start a football program.
Coach Ferrell is a former graduate of Manila High School and has been athletic director and dean of students in LaMar, Miss.
Ferrell praised the Manila School system saying Manila prepared him well.
"To be honest, I would probably be better at starting the football team than coaching it," Ferrell said. "I'm more excited about the dean of students position. I've never been a stand alone football coach."
He said his professional goal plans include earning a doctorate and going into administration.
The board also hired Kent Moore as maintenance supervisor.