The end of an era has come for the Conway School District.
Buzz Bolding will be stepping down from his duties as athletic director at the end of the school year. The Conway School Board accepted Bolding’s letter of resignation at a school board meeting Tuesday.
"Conway is a great place to raise kids, and it’s a great community," said Bolding, who is in his 40th year of education and 26th as AD. "We’ve been very progressive here, and we’ve tried to expose our kids to the best opportunities. We haven’t been able to use school money because that goes to education. So the community and parents have been a big part in raising money so that our kids could have a new turf field, fieldhouse and a new arena, and other things."
It’s that kind of effort that made that decision a difficult one to consider.
"Regrettably so, the Conway School Board accepts (Bolding’s) resignation," said superintendent Greg Murry.
Bolding said after his term is up at the end of this school year, he and his wife Carol may start to do some traveling. Bolding has two sons serving as head football coaches at programs that are rich in tradition. His older son, Bobby, is at Pine Bluff, and his younger son, Brad, is at Conway’s 7A-Central foe North Little Rock.
"The night work started to wear on me," Bolding said. "After 40 years of education and coaching, I just feel like it’s time to move on and do something else. It’s time to get somebody new in here, a fresh face with new ideas. It’s been a blessing for me to be here. I’ve have had the opportunity to work with some great people. Conway is just a great place to live.
"I get to get out and see my sons on Friday nights now. I also get to spend more time with my grandchildren. I’ll be able to spend more time with the family."
While his time will most likely be devoted more to family now, Bolding still spent a great deal of time trying to make the most of his job.
"Coach Bolding is an incredible man. He has been the hardest working man I’ve ever been around," Murry said. "He’s always at every sporting event. Any kind of success Conway has had, coach Bolding has been a large part of that.
Conway assistant superintendent Carroll Bishop has been in the Conway School District for 31 years, so Bolding and him have developed a strong friendship.
"He’s a fantastic man," Bishop said. "He has influenced the lives of thousands and thousands of student-athletes. He has put big emphasis on doing right and getting the grades. He has been a great Christian influence on the kids. Buzz has also been a major part in raising the money for so many of the school’s projects. I just can’t say enough about him. He’s a great husband, father, grandfather and son."
Bishop said the school district is currently accepting applications. The plan is to bring in the new athletic director sometime this spring, so the selected candidate can have time to settle in before the fall.
"We would like to have a recommendation in by the next school board meeting on the second Tuesday in March," Bishop said. "We would really like for Buzz to be able to train the new person before he leaves."
Bolding praised many of his former and present coaches for building Conway athletics program to become one in the best in the state.
"Our coaches have been the backbone of this program," Bolding said. "There are those coaches like Joe Graham, Bill Clements, Kenny Smith, Janet Taylor and J.R. Ross who have made Conway athletics so good."