Jason Durham came to Manila excited and ready to join the coaching staff as junior high football coach, assistant senior high football coach, and assistant boys' junior and senior high basketball coach. Durham will also be teaching junior high math.
Manila is going into its second season of football. Last year Manila fielded junior high and seventh grade games. This will be the first year for the senior JV schedule. There will be a full schedule this year with 10 games each and some seventh grade games. The junior high will open with a scrimmage game with Rector on Aug. 20. The senior high will kick off the season against Harrisburg on Aug. 24.
Coach Durham is a Trumann native and a 1995 graduate of Trumann High School. During his high school years he played football, baseball and basketball.
"Whatever game was in season was my favorite," Durham said.
He attended Arkansas State University on an academic scholarship where he majored in physical education. He received a BSE in December 2000.
Durham encourages his players to not only to do their best in sports, but academics as well.
Durham had been with the Trumann School District for six years coaching junior high basketball and serving as assistant baseball coach. He did his internship at Nettleton where he coached football.
"I'm excited about getting into football again," Durham said. "I have been very impressed with the enthusiasm of the players I have met. We have opened up the weight room for 9 a.m. and they start showing up at 8 a.m. It is not mandatory to attend and we still have an average of 30 every day. I was surprised by the size of some of the kids and their level of enthusiasm."
Coach Durham has moved to Manila. He said he is looking forward to working with the coaching staff.
"I actually played one year of high school baseball with Coach Toby Doke (football coach)," Durham said. "He moved to Trumann from Oklahoma my senior year. Coach Jeral Hudspeth (senior boys' basketball coach) coached at Westside when I was playing high school and I got to know him. I met Coach John Deaton (junior high boys' basketball and golf coach) while I was coaching at Trumann. I had met Coach Steven Milligan (baseball, assistant football and assistant junior high girls' basketball coach) through baseball and he has been very helpful since I moved here. I met Coach Jeff Priest since coming to Manila (girls' basketball coach), and he seems to be off to a good start and will be easy to work with. I am excited about working with these guys. I have already learned a lot from Coach Bill Bealle (football coach/adviser). He has a brilliant football mind with years of experience.
"We are working toward a full conference schedule in the 2008-09 school year. I am looking forward to being part of the new program. Football gives more kids the opportunity to participate, encourages academics, as well as school attendance."
Durham said people have welcomed him to Manila and he is looking forward to the upcoming year.