Bobcat Boss: Shott selected to guide Berryville football program
It’s no secret that the Berryville football team has been struggling for some time now. Doug Shott, who will officially be announced as Berryville’s new head football coach at Monday’s board meeting, plans on changing the culture of Bobcat football starting this season.
“I want to be successful at Berryville because I believe Berryville deserves to be successful,” Shott said. “It would kill me if my hometown went 10 years without winning very much. I know there are people in this community that feel that same way. It’s about to kill them. It’s time and given the opportunity, I look forward to turning things around.”
Shott, a native of Booneville, has been coaching for 21 years. Shott started in Booneville before moving to DeQueen and has spent the last six seasons as the offensive coordinator at Hot Springs High School. Shott says he is looking forward to moving back to a small town.
“I am looking forward to start coaching a kid in the seventh grade and see him in the eighth grade and ninth grade and as a junior and as he is getting ready for college,” Shott said. “We don’t have that at Hot Springs. We coach a kid for six months and don’t see him again for three years. I don’t want that.”
Superintendent Owen Powell said he believes Shott will be a great fit in Berryville.
“We had six really good interviews,” Powell said. “We felt like three of them felt set themselves apart from the others and then again from those three Coach Shott set himself apart from the other two. He mentioned that he came from Booneville, a town very similar to Berryville. He has been very successful everywhere he went and I think that he is a really good fit. With his experience, he will bring that to Berryville. We need stability at our program. We haven’t had that here and that’s not his plan. He wants to be here and have this be his last job and turn Berryville into a successful football program. I think he will be a really good fit for Berryville.”
Shott said he has had other opportunities to become a head coach, but said he wanted to wait for the right fit. Shott believes Berryville is that fit for him and his family.
“When you go there and it doesn’t feel right, you just don’t do it,” Shott said. “Coming here to Berryville, it feels right. Maybe it’s because of my childhood memories of what it was like in Booneville. The feel is the same and I want to get the kids on board.”
One thing that Shott knows will be difficult is recruiting kids to come out and play football, but Shott said he looks forward to the challenge.
“I would like to have an assembly with the … young men to talk about making Berryville great again,” Shott said. “I think having relationships with kids, not just kids you coach, gets them to see your sincerity in what you are doing. I don’t care if it’s a young man or a young lady that’s part of a chess club. I’m interested in them. I will be at soccer games. I will be at baseball games. That’s just who I am. Once the kids see that and they understand that they aren’t choosing one sport over the other, they start coming around.”
Coming into a conference that had three teams reach the semifinals of the Class 4A state playoffs, Shott acknowledges that turning the program around won’t be an easy task, nor will it be something that happens overnight.
“We have to all get on the same page,” Shott said. “Getting the kids and coaches to buy in to the fact that this isn’t something where we are going to do something different in two years. The kids are going to see my commitment. I will not do anything else within the school. If I can get the kids to understand that, I think they will buy in.”
As an offensive coordinator, Shott believes it’s most important to control the ball and have a good running game.
“We use lots of different things,” Shott said. “There are 16 formations I like to use and the point of it is to manipulate the defense. I have seen some pretty incredible defensive formations trying to account for what we do. It’s not something that will happen overnight. It’s a phase-by-phase situation. It’s grounded in a veer-oriented offense, but our plan is to install the basic first so we can get to the juicy stuff later.”
Shott graduated with a major in history and education from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. Shott and his wife, Eva, have one child.
The Berryville School Board, which met in a special called session Thursday afternoon where Shott was introduced, is expected to formally approve his hiring at its regular April meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, April 17, in the intermediate school cafetorium.