Berryville's Doug Scheel receives tremendous honor
Berryville's Doug Scheel was inducted into the Arkansas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Friday, July 13, in Hot Springs.
Scheel compiled a 214-106-1 record as head football coach at nine Arkansas schools. He won a state championship with Booneville in 1986. His final three seasons as a head football coach were at Berryville from 2003-2005.
"Anytime you are recognized by your peers, it's always a neat deal, but it wasn't just me," Scheel said. "It was all those kids that played for me and worked so hard for me. It was all the other coaches that coached with me. The credit goes to them, too. I'm just fortunate enough to have my name on it, but had it not been for those guys I would have never been there."
Green Forest coach Bobby Bishop was one of Scheel's assistants at Berryville and said he is deserving of the honor.
"He meant a lot to me in my career, as he has to a lot of us who have coached with him over the years," Bishop said. "I'm just so glad that the coaches around the state of Arkansas have seen fit to induct Doug. He is very deserving and I'm just tickled."
Berryville coach Doug Shott played under Scheel while at Booneville. Shott said he learned a great deal from Scheel.
"Football is just like life," Shott said. "He taught us discipline and perseverance. That is something I try to instill in my kids today."
Scheel grew up playing football in California and was a highly ranked recruit in high school. Arkansas assistant coach Joe Gibbs — who later won three Super Bowls as head coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins — flew Scheel to Fayetteville.
"They flew me up to Fayetteville on one of those prop jets that barely flew over the top of the trees and I just fell in love with the state," Scheel said.
Scheel played linebacker at the Arkansas and played under the likes of Frank Broyles, Jimmy Johnson, Harold Horton and Gibbs.
"Frank Broyles was the head coach, but Harold Horton coached me as a linebacker," Scheel said. "He has always kept up with me during my coaching career. He was the reason I ended up at Lonoke. He told me about the job and recommended me. It got me a great assistant job and from there on I used him as a reference. One thing that Coach Broyles was so good at was hiring assistant coaches."
Upon graduation, Scheel married his wife, Jan, and began coaching in the fall of 1974.
"I had done my student teaching at West Fork and they hired me," Scheel said. "Alvy Early was there at the time. He left there and went on to Monticello and became the girls basketball and softball coach at the college. He was a good guy to start out with."
From there, Scheel went to Lonoke for two years before becoming head football coach at Camden Harmony Grove.
"That was a unique experience," Scheel said. "It was my first head coaching job. We were fairly competitive. I think we finished second in the conference that year, but back then only the conference champions made it to the playoffs."
After one year, Scheel made the move to Beebe.
"I had a guy named Mike Griffith with me, who has passed of leukemia since then, but he did a very good job," Scheel said. "I had a chance to be with him and we had some good football teams while we were there. That last season, we lost two games during the season. We were 8-2. One of them was to McCrory by one point and the other was to Oak Grove. We lost to them by three points and those two teams played for a state championship."
After the three-year stop in Beebe, Scheel moved on to Booneville, where he went 95-16 and won a state championship in 1986. The Bearcats were also state runners-up in 1985, 1988 and 1989.
"Those were nine great years," Scheel said. "It was really a great run. We had some unbelievable teams and a great administration."
Doug's son, Clint, said those were some of the best times of his young life.
"I completed the fourth grade at Booneville," Scheel said. "Those Booneville years, I would catch the bus and hang out at practice. I would be on the sidelines and got to hang around all the other coaches and players. All those guys were heroes to me."
Scheel said it was a lot of fun coaching the 1986 state championship team.
"We started that year 2-2 and that just wasn't acceptable at Booneville," Scheel said. "Those kids had seen kids in front of them go undefeated in the regular season and then go deep in the playoffs and play for a state championship. We went into the Greenwood game 2-2 and really should have lost that game. Greenwood was a better football team than us at the time, but we found a way to hang around and win that game. I think we were down 14-0 at half, but we found a way to come back and win. That really turned the season around, it seemed like."
Booneville will name its stadium after Scheel this year.
"It's been a long time since I was there and a lot of those kids are now young men," Scheel said. "Some of them are on the school board. We had a pretty good run and they are very proud of that. My name going on the stadium is just a way of them showing how proud they are of what we accomplished while I was there."
In 1990, Scheel went to Magnolia, where he had another state runner-up team in 1994. Scheel then moved on to Newport for a season, which was Clint's senior year.
"At the time I was very much against moving the summer before my senior year," Scheel said. "I didn't want to do that, but in all honestly it probably worked out for the best for everybody. I have lifelong friends with everybody from all corners of the state."
Clint said playing for his father wasn't easy.
"You have two kinds of fathers that are coaches," Scheel said. "You have one that favors their child and he was the opposite. I wasn't playing unless I was much better than the other person. And I was a good football player. I was a good enough football player that sophomore year, my position coach had to go up to my dad in the middle of the game and said ‘Clint's got to play.’ He was always going to make me earn it."
Scheel coached at Morrilton before moving to Berryville in the fall of 2003.
"I knew what a great program this had been at one time," Scheel said. "When Coach (Ronnie) Clark had it running, we played against them in 1984 and 1986. They beat us in 1984 and we were fortunate enough to beat them in '86 and win a state championship. I knew there was some tradition here and looked forward to having an opportunity to coach here."
Scheel retired from coaching football after the 2005 season. Bishop took over for Scheel in the fall of 2006 and he said Scheel taught him a great deal about the coaching profession.
"Every coach has their own unique style as to how they handle the game of football and the style they handle people," Bishop said. "Doug was very patient with me. He was very patient with his athletes. He pushed them hard. He was very demanding at times. He was one of those all-around good coaches and good guys. I think I learned a lot about patience and a lot about desire."
After retiring from football, Scheel continued to coach cross country and girls soccer.
"I had a ball coaching girls soccer and in cross country, we were state-runner up in Class 4A three times," Scheel said. "It's been fun. Not just football, but other sports, too. I had a lot of fun coaching the girls soccer team. You just didn't have as much pressure as you did coaching football."
Scheel retired from Berryville in 2012, but knew he wanted to remain in this area.
"I ended up buying a farm and raising cattle," Scheel said. "As a kid, I grew up in southern California, but I always wanted to farm. It's something my dad did in his earlier years. I have been all over the state and they are all beautiful places, but Northwest Arkansas has always been special."
Scheel said the best thing about last Friday’s event was seeing a number of former players come back to honor him.
"When I went to this ceremony, there were two tables full who were kids, but are grown men now," Scheel said. "They were from Booneville and it was kids I coached 28 years ago, but here they are coming back talking to me, thanking me, and it's just a really neat experience. That meant the world to me. There are times when I look back and think I was too tough on them and I second-guess myself, but when I see them show up at an event like that, they go way out of their way to be there when I'm inducted, they tell stories about how being tough helped them in their life. I don't know if there is a better feeling."
Scheel's other honors include being a 12-time conference coach of the year, Southwest Times Record Coach of the Year, Texarkana Gazette Coach of the Year and taking 18 teams to the playoffs.
Doug and Jan also have a daughter, Erin, who is a school teacher in Wynne.