In early April, Blytheville head basketball coach and current athletic director David Hixson stepped down from his basketball duties after 28 seasons.
Hixson hired Ashdown's Jeff Flanigan to replace him on the sidelines at Blytheville. Hixson's departure appeared to set off a chain reaction in the county as over the next three months, five other coaching vacancies over three schools were filled after resignations. The coaching changes topped the local sports stories in 2012.
-- Moody resigns after two seasons
Blytheville head football coach Maurice Moody abruptly resigned in early June after two seasons at Blytheville. Former Blytheville assistant football coach and head track coach Vince McCrosky was hired.
-- Bret Kirk steps down after two seasons
Blytheville baseball coach Bret Kirk stepped down after two seasons. Hixson called on longtime coach Randy Smith from Senath-Hornersville, Mo. to help revive the struggling program.
-- Brian Sims resigns from Gosnell
Just hours before Moody resigned from Blytheville, Brian Sims resigned as Gosnell's head football coach and headed to Greenwood as their offensive line coach. McCrory's Gary Moody replaced Sims and led the Pirates to another state playoff appearance. Greenwood won the 6A/7A state title.
-- Len Whitehead steps down as
Gosnell basketball coach
Gosnell's Len Whitehead stepped down as Gosnell's head basketball coach to concentrate on administrative duties in the district. Whitehead was replaced by Gosnell high school principal and former Blytheville assistant Kirk Glintborg.
-- Charlie Brown steps down at Armorel
After 25 years, Armorel head basketball coach Charlie Brown decided to step down to concentrate on baseball and was replaced by Justin Ward.
-- Armorel reaches the state finals
for second year in a row
A year after capturing their first baseball title since 2006, the Armorel Tigers came up one win short of repeating, losing to Midland in the 1A state championship game at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
-- Coach Bryan Davis dies during
The Sports Hall Thunder Bayou Blowout had a somber moment Saturday, June 2 as players and fans mourned the shocking death of Blytheville 10-year-old All-Star coach Bryan Davis just hours before his team took the field to play the NEA All-Stars. The team decided to play the game with heavy hearts, winning 7-4, in six innings. Both teams met at the pitcher's mound for a prayer after the game. The Bayou Blowout was the biggest tournament to date at the Blytheville Youth Sportsplex.
-- Osceola switches conferences
Osceola dropped down from Class 4A to Class 3A and moved into the 3-3A conference, rooming with longtime bitter rival Rivercrest. After playing in the 3-4A since 2002, the Seminoles gave the 3-3A three teams from Mississippi County: Osceola, Rivercrest and Manila. In football, Osceola made it to the Class 3A second round, before falling to Greenland, 28-14. The Seminoles finished 8-4 in their inaugural season in 3A, taking second in the league.
-- Rivercrest wins 3-3A title by beating rival Osceola
The Rivercrest Colts couldn't have asked for a better ending to the regular season. The Colts knocked off rival Osceola, 33-12, in Week 10 to captured their second Conference 3-3A championship in three seasons. The Colts finished the year 9-3 after losing to Fountain Lake in the second round of the playoffs. That loss snapped a nine-game winning streak.
-- Thunder Bayou survives, starts to take shape again
Thunder Bayou Golf Links was in danger of closing in 2011, when the city of Blytheville learned it owed the Internal Revenue Service more than $3 million for unpaid payroll taxes. The IRS recommended closing the golf course, but Thunder Bayou survived in large part to the passing of the temporary 1-cent tax in March. In June, the city hired a new greenskeeper, Dale Fender, who has been working to revive the links style course. The course saw some upgrades this year, including new sand in the sand traps. The golf course even hosted the 3A Girls State Golf Tournament in September.
-- Lady Colts finish second in state golf tournament
Hosting the state tournament at Thunder Bayou Golf Links, Rivercrest Lady Colts were the Class 3A runner up, carding a 298 to state champion Smackover's 283. Ainsley Reece led Rivercrest with a 90, followed by Micalah Beall's 95 and Lauren Nichols' 113.
-- Blytheville native
coaches state champion
Smackover coach and Blytheville native Mike Poff led his team to the Class 3A Girls State golf championship. Smackover's scores included: Haley Strickland (88), Hope Barker (90), Leslie Weaver (105) and Haley Corley (111). The 3A tournament did have some controversy. Medalist Emily Neissl of Charleston fired an 81, two strokes ahead of Camden Harmony Grove's Christina Barrett.
But three golfers claimed she teed off in front of the tee markers on No. 3, which would have been a two-stroke penalty and forced a playoff between Neissl and Barrett. After a lengthy deliberation, Rivercrest coach Judy Watson, who served as tournament director, said since an adult didn't see it, the score stands.
-- Parks and recreation director named
Blytheville now has a parks and recreation director. In July, Mayor James Sanders hired Elroy Brown to that position. One of Brown's first moves was to clean up the city parks and encourage citizens to take advantage of them. He has also been working on resolving issues with the geese at Walker Park and the annual fish kills at that park's pond, along with talking to different companies about a skateboard park in Walker Park.
-- BASA has record season
In its fifth year, the Blytheville Area Soccer Association continued to grow and had a record year of membership.
-- Gosnell basketball wins three straight tournaments
in three weeks
The Gosnell Pirate basketball team started the 2012-13 season on a good note winning three straight basketball tournaments over a three week stretch. The Pirates won titles in the South Pemiscot Bulldog Tournament, the Gerald Jennings Invitational and the Clarkton, Mo. Reindeer tournament.
-- Armorel's Clark takes
second in state golf
Armorel freshman, Leyton Clark, finished in second place in the 1A state golf tournament and advanced to the state all-around tournament.