Tuesday is obviously April 1, but news of one of the nation’s most successful high school coaches showing interest in Branson’s vacant head football coach’s position is no early April Fool’s Day joke.
Sources close to the Pirates program report Bob Beatty, who has led Trinity (Ky.) to 10 state championships and one national championship, interviewed at Branson last week. He also met with some of the Pirates’ prospective players for next season.
By anyone’s standards, bringing Beatty aboard would have to be regarded as the most dramatic hire in Branson history in any sport.
Beatty has compiled a 171-27 record (.864 winning percentage) at Trinity, a Class 6A all-boys prep school in the Louisville suburb of St. Matthews. The Shamrocks were 6-6 last fall, but captured 10 state championships from 2001-2012 and were named mythical national champions by Rivals.com and Sports Illustrated in 2011.
Trinity annually plays a regional schedule of vast proportions. The Shamrocks’ schedule last season included teams from Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio and, of course, Kentucky. They actually played only three teams from Kentucky.
Beatty was the East’s head coach at the Army All-American Bowl in 2012 and has sent many former 'Rocks players to the NCAA D-I level. He coached Brian Brohm, who was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a junior quarterback at Trinity and later played at Louisville, as well as with the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills.
Another one of Beatty’s former quarterbacks, Nick Petrino, is the son of Louisville coach Bobby Petrino. Media reports in the Bluegrass State report Beatty and Petrino are close friends and Petrino tried to lure Beatty to join his staff while he was Arkansas.
Beatty has Missouri roots, having coached at Blue Springs South prior to his arrival at Trinity.
Beatty could become part of a pipeline of sorts that has formed between Blue Springs and Branson. Beatty coached at Blue Springs South from 1997-‘99 and compiled a 25-7 record. Pirates junior defensive lineman Andrew Linger transferred to Branson from Blue Springs South last summer. In addition, Pirates junior linebacker Nick Turner transferred from Blue Springs to Branson two years ago.
Branson reportedly has two in-house candidates, defensive coordinator Ed Phillips and quarterbacks coach Lance Duncan. Phillips was previously a head coach for six years at Knob Noster and was also a head coach at Lockwood.
There is at least one more candidate who also has been interviewed.
Principal Chip Arnette said school officials are not yet ready to recommend a hire to the school board.
“We are in the initial interview stages,” Arnette said. “It is is a slow and tedious process, but we want to make sure we are doing what is best for our kids, so I am making sure we put in the time and leave no stone unturned.”
The Pirates, who are coming off a 4-7 2013 season, lost 28-year head coach Steve Hancock to Springfield Catholic over the winter.
Branson is the midst of many changes in regard to its football program.
Branson hired former Cassville football coach David Large, who led the Wildcats to two state championships, as its new athletic director earlier this month. Also, Branson Stadium will undergo a facelift this summer, with a $1 million synthetic turf project to be completed.