When spring football practice starts in May there will be a noticeable absence.
Scott Hyatt stepped down as the head coach as the Bearcats after 13 seasons last week but it’s more than that.
Including his time as an assistant, Hyatt has been with the program for three decades — with the exception of two years he spent as a head coach at McGehee.
With Hyatt as head coach Booneville posted a 123-36 record (.774) with two state titles and seven conference titles.
“I’m just tired and I need a change,” Hyatt said he told administrators Thursday.
Hyatt said he became emotional while breaking the news to the players.
“I probably stood there for 10 minutes and couldn’t say a word,” Hyatt said. “It’s been a great run. I love this program. And I love this community.”
Hyatt had only one losing season while at Booneville and leaves on the heels of three straight conference titles and a 23-game league winning streak.
Hyatt’s teams made the playoffs all 13 years of his tenure. They were a combined 19-11 in the postseason with the Class 4A and Class 3A state titles, one semifinal, two quarterfinals, six second round appearances, and just two first round losses.
The 2013 and 2018 teams, which won state titles, both completed 15-0 seasons, half of the perfect seasons in the program’s now century long storied history.
Hyatt was also on the staffs that accounted for the program’s 500th, 600th, and 700th wins as well as the 100th season in 2019, which also included the 250th win at Bearcat Stadium.
Administrators said they understood the coach’s decision, and that they would miss Hyatt.
“He hired almost everyone up there,” said Superintendent of Schools Trent Goff. “We love the guy and wish him nothing but the best.”
One of the coaches Hyatt hired who has since moved into a principal role is Josh Walker. But the relationship is even longer.
“He was my coach seventh through 11th grade. He helped get me my first job then hired me at Booneville my second year,” said Walker, who was the offensive line coach for the 2013 title team. “I coached with him several years before getting into administration. I am forever grateful for all he has done for me.”
In addition to his team success, Hyatt was the Class 3A Farm Bureau Coach of the Year after the 2018 season. He was also selected as an assistant coach for the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All Star football game twice.
The program’s second winningest head coach, Hyatt succeeded Arkansas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame Coach Kenneth Rippy as head coach in 2007.
Rippy retired after 17 seasons and 165 wins, the first of which in 1990 included Hyatt as an assistant. Hyatt had expected to join Doug Scheel for the 1990 season, but when Scheel left the program, he was ultimatey brought on board by Rippy anyway.
During his time with Rippy Hyatt was first a senior high assistant, then a junior high head coach — posting a 46-2 record — before returning to senior high where he was on the staff of the 2000 state championship team.
From there he left to be a head coach at McGehee for two seasons, only to return as a defensive coordinator.
While with Rippy, Hyatt was part of seven conference title staffs.
Booneville won 266 games druing Hyatt’s 28 years on the staff.
Including his two year stint as the head coach with McGehee, Hyatt has a career record of 131-48.