NEW MADRID - New Madrid County Central recently announced the hiring of Arlen Pixley for the head football coaching position for the 2004 season.
Pixley, 33, served as an assistant for five years at NMCC under longtime head coach Ronnie Jones and three-year coach Steve Rogers.
Rogers resigned following the a successful 2003 season citing personal reasons.
Pixley, a 1989 graduate of Dexter High School, went to college at the University of Texas at El Paso where he played football for four years.
Upon graduating UTEP, Pixley did his student teaching at Jasper, Ind., before taking an assistant position at Charleston for one year.
He's spent the rest of his days at NMCC.
"I knew I wanted to be a head coach," said Pixley. "Being at New Madrid the last five years and having the success we've had, it's a place a really wanted to work and be the head coach there and continue the things that we've been doing.
There's great tradition there and some big shoes to fill with the two guys that were in there before myself and I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Pixley says being an assistant under Jones and Rogers will help him in his first year as the head coach.
Jones basically built the program from ground up while Rogers led the team to its first ever appearance in the Show-Me Bowl in 2001.
"Those guys bring in a lot of experience," said Pixley. "I don't know what else there is to say about Ronnie Jones. He's made a great name for himself and he's helped me out a ton. I can take a lot of the things he did well and hope to expand off that. The same goes for Steve Rogers. He's played for a state championship and I was a part of that staff. I just hope to continue to do the good things that I learned from those guys."
Pixley will be taking over a team that went 8-3 last season with a district championship.
Most of the lineup from that team will graduate in May, including all-state running back Remond Willis.
But Pixley doesn't expect anything less from a program he helped build into a perennial Class 3 playoff team.
"The tradition there at New Madrid speaks for itself," said Pixley. "Those goals are not written down necessarily on paper, but you walk into the gymnasium there and see all the banners hanging up and see the tradition that surrounds our program, those are the expectations that are going to be there year in and year out. I just hope to contribute and continue to do the things we've done there in the past."
Through the years NMCC has seen some drastic changes in offensive and defensive philosophies. While Jones had more of a run-heavy, option approach, Rogers decided to open it up and throw more before reverting back to power football last season.
Pixley is keeping his options open.
"We're going to continue to stay multiple offensively," said Pixley. "I think we've run everything under the sun since I've been there, from option to spread to power. And we're the same way defensively. We ran 17 different defenses combined as far as philosophy goes. We're very multiple and we're going to have to stay that way depending on what type of kids we have come in year in and year out."
Another interesting tidbit is that Pixley will be coaching in the same conference and district as his older brother Aaron, who is the head coach of Dexter.
The younger Pixley welcomes the challenge of competing against his brother, something that isn't going to be new to him.
"He and I have competed against each other pretty much all of our lives," said Pixley. "I think he looks forward to it just as much as I do. It's not going to be anything personal between me and him. It's going to be my program against his. But I can guarantee that there'll be a little added incentive there for the both of us."