Helder takes reins of Lady Bobcat basketball
BERRYVILLE -- He paid for a college education and a law degree with scholastic scholarships, but when it came right down to it, Berryville's new girls basketball coach went with a family tradition -- coaching and teaching.
Nolan Helder takes the reins this year, following a long tradition that started at West Fork with his grandfather, Doyle Baker.
Baker coached, moved into administration, and eventually hired John Self at West Fork. Self was superintendent during Helder's playing days, and became his father-in-law later when Nolan married his daughter, Kasey.
That would make former Farmington basketball coach and current West Fork assistant coach Rodney Self his brother-in-law, West Fork athletics director David Ferrell his uncle and Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder his dad.
Confused? Don't be. Just imagine what the conversations are like at family get-togethers.
"All the people I look up to in life, my family, they love what they do,"?Helder said. "That drew me into coaching. That's what I respected the most."
Helder graduated from West Fork in 1999 after playing football, basketball, baseball, track and golf.
He was All-Conference in football and basketball, selected to the KURM Dream Team, and still holds the 400m dash record for the junior high Tigers.
He attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, on a full scholarship and majored in pre-med, but when he graduated in 2002, he received a full scholarship to the University of Arkansas Law School in Fayetteville and went that direction.
During those school years he worked as a legal intern and law clerk, but kept feeling the pull of coaching.
"What would you do if money was not an issue?"?Helder recalled thinking. "My passion was sports when I was a kid. I'd rather do sports than anything, and here I am."
Helder got one year of coaching in before stepping into the Berryville job. He was head junior high football coach and middle school boys basketball coach at Little Rock Christian Academy last year.
He's also worked with Arkansas Athletes Outreach Sports Camps recently after being a player in the camps in 1998.
For Helder and his growing family, the Berryville job was a perfect opportunity. The couple has a son, three-year old Kane, and another child on the way.
"West Fork won't be in our conference. They're 3A," he said. "But Kasey and I wanted to get back in the area, to a small town. Little Rock Christian was a great time. I hated to leave."
As for the Berryville teams, Helder said, "I've seen them play, and some in volleyball. There's a lot of potential. It's a tough conference. Berryville girls the last three years has won more than 60 (basketball) games. The new girls will have to step up."