During his journey in athletics, Conway High's Clint Ashcraft arrived at an ultimate destination quicker than expected.
Ashcraft, Conway's head football coach for nine years, was selected by the Conway school board Tuesday to succeed Steve Daniels as athletic director. Daniels will retire, effective June 30.
In a news release, Greg Murry, Conway superintendent, praised Ashcraft's success on and off the field in leading his players with integrity.
“He is an excellent coach who has made a tremendous impact on his staff and his players," Muury said. "He has a personal commitment to all of our 14 sports here in Conway. We are looking forward to great things.”
"When you start mapping out your career, this (athletic director) is where I wanted to end," Ashcraft said Wednesday. "Ideally, that would have happened a couple of years from now. But you can't control timing. This is an opportunity I couldn't afford to pass up.
"You have a good community, a good school district, a good administration and when you have good coaches who are having success, it just makes it more appealing."
The new position will require Ashcraft to move on from his football duties. A search for a new head coach is beginning.
"I will probably be involved in the search but I will not be the only one making the decision," he said. "There will be a team of people. It's a matter of finding the right fit and the best to lead the program, on and off the field."
Ashcraft, who led the Wampus Cats to an 11-4 record last year and the 7A semifinals and losing to eventual state champion North Little Rock, will now have 14 sports under his umbrella. He said he will shadow Daniels the rest of the school year to learn the intricacies of the job.
He knows he will have to shift his focus from just football to the big picture.
"It can't be just football anymore," he said. "But I have to prove it and it takes time. I'm in charge of coaches who have been my peers. Now, I will deal with issues involving all programs. It's not about one sport over another. It's about Conway's athletic program as a whole and how I can help strengthen all the programs.
"But we have good coaches and it's not like we have any program in bad shape."
Ashcraft began his career in Newport, where he coached football and softball. He has coached at Watson Chapel Junior High, Arkansas Tech University, Greenbrier, and Siloam Springs High School before coming to Conway as the head football coach in 2009.
"It's exciting to start a new chapter in your career and I look forward to working to make Conway High School athletics the premier athletic program in the state,” he said. "This is just a good place to be."