The coaching carousel in Arkansas high school football just kicked into another gear.
JR Eldridge of Arkadelphia, reported by multiple sources as the heir apparent for the Conway High job, has now apparently withdrawn from consideration.
Tuesday, former North Little Rock offensive coordinator Blake Pizan, who had been announced as the new head coach at Little Rock Central, had a change of heart and could no longer commit to that position.
So, there are now three head football coaching openings in 7A, the highest classification in the state — Conway, Central and Van Buren.
Earlier in the year, Alma assistant Chris Gunter accepted the Vilonia job, then had a change of heart the next day and backed out, paving the way for Mayflower's Todd Langrell to take the position.
What is happening?
In general, part of it is the culture. While there is glitter as far as a new job with potential, coaches are now looking into things in more depth — whether they are really the right fit and can make the kind of commitment they can make. They are influenced by both head and heart.
Sometimes, on reflection, things just don't feel right. No one wants a coach whose heart is not in it.
There are practicalities and variables to finding the right fit.
Sometimes, it's simply that a coach on the hook gets a counter offer of more money and amenities from a community he has grown to love.
Sometimes, there are all kinds of family issues, not the least of which may be a spouse's potential job situation in a new community. Sometimes mama just doesn't want to go.
Sometimes, it comes down to whether a coach will be required to teach a full load of classes. Head coaches in northwest Arkansas generally don't teach a a full load, if any, classes.
Sometimes, it's the smaller details rather than the big picture.
Sometimes, it's the ongoing challenge of budgets and staff — and a fight for survival of public schools.
Sometimes, it's future challenges of a school district. In Conway, for example, there's the undercurrent of — if or when — there will be a concerted move for two high schools.
Conway and Little Rock Central should be considered prime jobs, but they aren't apples-to-apples even though they are tradition-rich, city schools. Both have very different dynamics at play.
As in so many transitions, everything is fluid until a contract is signed.
Sports editor David McCollum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow hiim on Twitter @dmaclcd.