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A conversation with Arkansas High’s new head football coach

by Andrew Bell | June 10, 2022 at 4:59 p.m. | Updated June 14, 2022 at 10:56 a.m.
Trey Outlaw (Staff photo)

TEXARKANA, Ark. -- Arkansas High School's new head football coach has been in town for a few weeks now and is getting into the swing of things at his new home.

Last month, William 'Trey' Outlaw was named the new head football coach and athletic director at Arkansas High.

Outlaw helped lead Class 6A El Dorado High School to deep runs in postseason play the past three seasons, including a state championship in 2021 as an assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.

Prior to coaching at El Dorado, he served as the athletic director and head football coach at Bearden High School and defensive coordinator duties in Wynne, Arkansas, and Gosnell, Arkansas. He also served as the assistant varsity football coach in Brookland, Arkansas, and Barton, Arkansas.

Outlaw has been on campus and practicing with his new players for a couple of weeks now but found some time in his schedule to join the Texarkana Gazette podcast "On the Line" to talk about his experience as a coach, his new team and goals moving forward.

Here are some highlights of Outlaw's conversation with the Gazette's Andrew Bell and Karl Richter. Look for the complete podcast episode later this month.

Andrew Bell: How have you liked your time on campus and in the Texarkana community so far?

Trey Outlaw: Oh, it's been awesome. Arkansas and Texas have some of the best people I've ever met. Everybody's been very welcoming. The kids are excited about work and excited about just a new beginning. And I've not met one person that has said one bad thing about Arkansas football.

AB: If you could tell me a little bit just about your background, where you're from, how you got into football and then what led you here.

TO: Originally, I'm from Monticello. I went to and played football at Arkansas State. During my time there, I played for two head coaches -- Steve Roberts, who's now the head administrator for football in the state of Arkansas with the triple-A, and then Hugh Freeze, who went on to coach at Ole Miss and now is at Liberty.

After that, I had the opportunity to try out for a couple of NFL teams. And that didn't work out. And so I got my very first job coaching with the guy who coached me in high school. And if you've heard the name Frank McClellan, he's the guy that I believe has won 10 straight state championships in Barton, Arkansas, and is one of the winningest coaches in the state. That program there reminds me a lot of this place here.

I've been at really good football schools, really good communities and the one thing I know that ties all these together -- and I include Arkansas High into it -- is just the love for the school that the community has. So if you have that, you have a chance to be really special.

AB: Coming from such a successful program in El Dorado, what was it that made this Arkansas High program appealing to you?

TO: Well, I worked for a guy who I'm really good friends with and that's the head coach there. And as soon as this job came open, he called me and said, 'Look, I knew when we hired you we weren't gonna be able to keep you. I think this here's a job that you should look into.'

So, why Arkansas? Well, you have the tradition of excellence here, you have a tradition of producing really good football players and producing state champions. It's really awesome to be the only other head Razorback football coach in the state. So there's only one other person, being coach Sam Pittman, that has the same job title. So I feel like we're best friends because of that.

But this is just a really unique place that loves football, and it's a place that backs our kids and backs our coaches, so it was a no-brainer.

AB: Barring last season, this program has been pretty successful under Barry Norton. So, what is your plan to get the program back on the same track of those four years before last year?

TO: Well, anytime that you replace a guy that I would consider a coaching legend with Coach Norton -- had very good runs and good teams at Texas High, and then comes over here and makes deep runs -- what you do first off is you come in and see what he did successful. And then you start taking your personality and things that you've learned and you tweak it a little bit. You're not reinventing the wheel, you're just trying to improve upon it. I'm thankful for the shape of the program that coach Norton left it in. And you know, we're going to be there pretty soon. I really believe that.

AB: Tell me just a little bit about the talent that you have on your roster right now.

TO: Well, the neat thing about this is I'm coming in, and I'm learning 70 to 80 new kids and learning what they can do. So, we found some kids who maybe have been buried on the depth chart a little bit at receiver that can come in and start for us in the secondary.

I think the big thing right now is evaluating our kids, figuring out who's going to be able to help us out on Friday nights, and then taking those guys who maybe are not ready and implementing a full JV schedule, which is what we're going to do. So, we're going to make sure our kids get to play football, whether it's on Fridays or Mondays.

And we're going to play the best kids. If that means we play 22 Seniors, it's 22 Seniors. If it's 22 sophomores, it's 22 sophomores. And it's gonna be like that every single year. as far as a clean slate.

AB: When you first kind of met the team, what was your first message to all the players?

TO: Number one, we talked about our core values. And so we have three core values that we're going to put on uniforms, our helmets and our locker rooms. And so it all starts with 'LEO.' LEO is an acronym for love each other. I'm a firm believer that our teammates have got to love each other.

And that's something that it's hard for a 15, 16, 18-year-old kid to do. They tend to be taught how you got to get yours, you gotta make it about yourself. But if you make it about yourself, you're not going to be a very good football player, and you're not going to be a very good team. And so we are really talking to our guys intentionally every single day about caring for our teammates and what that looks like.

Karl Richter: Everybody wants to know about the future of the Arkansas High vs. Texas High game. Is that something that's even on your radar?

TO: I have a whole lot of respect for Texas High. I know it's a rival, but the coach there has done a tremendous job building that into a powerhouse. I like to consider myself a historian. And so when you think of rivalries, you think of Arkansas-Louisiana, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, Oklahoma-Texas, Alabama-Auburn. And to me, you think of Arkansas and Texas High. So, it's a game that I really hope that we get back to playing every year.

Unfortunately, the next two years we are locked in contracts with other non-conference teams. But at the end of those two years, I definitely hope to be able to make it work and find something that will be able to bring our city back together. It's definitely a priority for me.

Print Headline: WITH POLL | A conversation with Arkansas High’s new head football coach


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