Former Cougar Standout Returns to Lead RHS Football
A familiar face is leading the charge to strengthen the football program at Rector High School. Head coach David Hendrix has returned to his alma mater, and will be leading the charge as the Cougars field their first varsity team in five years.
Hendrix, a 1988 graduate of Clay County Central, was an All-District member of the 1987 Cougars, the first football team to win its district title. Hendrix played under legendary Rector coach Paul Temerian, whom he cites as an inspiration for his career in coaching. After graduating from CCC, Hendrix continued his education at Henderson State University and Arkansas State University before returning to CCC as first an assistant in football and baseball before assuming head coach responsibilities in both sports. Hendrix spent seven years at CCC/RHS before moving to Corning High School where he served as defensive coordinator for the Bobcats for the next five years. Hendrix picked up the Clay County trifecta in 2006, taking over as head coach of the Piggott Mohawks, a position he held through to the start of the summer, parting ways with PHS to return to Rector.
"I've been around the county, and it's been quite a ride," Hendrix said. "It's one of those deals where it was time to come back. Piggott was very good to me. All the players and Coach (Michael) Harrell and Coach (Shawn) Hearn were great to work, and I appreciate everything they did for me."
While the homecoming is certainly not without its challenges, Hendrix is looking forward to the opportunity to do his part in shoring up the program in order to keep high school football alive and well in Rector.
"It's going to take a step at time," Hendrix said of rejuvenating a Rector program which in senior high won three games in a JV schedule last year following an aborted JV schedule in 2012 due to a lack of players. "I don't want anyone to misconstrue that as we're not going to come out and get after it; we certainly will. We're going to work our tails off and do everything we can."
Hendrix says he wants the students to "buy-in" to the program.
"I want to create that sense of pride when they walk down the hall in those blue jerseys. We want players who want to be here and are going to work their tails off to be a part of Rector football."
Hendrix credits peewee coaches Kirk Ford, Anthony Buck, Shawn Bucy, Gary Loveless, Todd Ford, Sam Isom, Nathan Sanders and Jason McCluskey with keeping an interest in football alive among younger players while the high school struggled to field a team.
"Without those guys, the program probably would have dried up years ago. I think of Coach Temerian (who coached the Cougars from 1985 to 1993) and how when he came here, it really brought football back. It's our job to build on what he started all those years ago. The support of the community means a lot to this program and the entire school. We want our kids to succeed not only on the field, but throughout their entire lives."
Hendrix and his wife, Cobi, have two children, 13-year-old Sawyer and 11-year-old John Ford.
Hendrix will also be the head softball coach at RHS.
High school players will report to practice beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 4. Junior high players will begin practicing at 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4.