Elmore leaving Stuttgart for West Memphis

STUTTGART — After three years as head coach for the Stuttgart Ricebirds, Billy Elmore will turn in his letter of resignation Thursday after being hired Tuesday night as the new head football coach for the West Memphis Blue Devils.

“Our family loves it in Stuttgart, loves the community, love the administration,” Elmore said. “Thought we were trying to do the right thing, but decisions made recently as far as support for facilities, threw us some red flags.

“An opportunity to go to West Memphis became available and I decided to jump on it.”

Elmore said the support in West Memphis has been outstanding.

“We just felt like it was a good opportunity,” Elmore said.

After winning a 4A state championship in 2012, Stuttgart finished last fall with a 4-7 overall record and a 3-4 record in the 2-4A conference. Elmore was 26-11 in his three years with the Ricebirds.

“We have really enjoyed our time at Stuttgart,” Elmore said.

Elmore — who was also the athletic director for Stuttgart — won a state championship with Glen Rose in 2007.

The Blue Devils’ position became open after Lanny Dauksch decided to step down as head coach after 13 years at West Memphis to take the school’s athletic director position.

“He is an outstanding coach and we have known each other for years,” Elmore said of Dauksch. “I feel like we are going to have all the support we need.

“(West Memphis) has a great administration and a school board that is supportive of athletics.”

Dauksch was 117-40-1 during his tenure as head coach at West Memphis, a 7A school.

A 9-3 record in 2002 was followed by three straight appearances in the state championship game, a feat never before or since equaled in school history.

Dauksch came to West Memphis after spending six years as the head coach at McGehee, where he led the Owls to state championships in 1998 and 1999.

Last fall, the Blue Devils finished 3-7 overall and 3-4 in the 7A/6A East.

“There is a difference, no doubt,” Elmore said of moving from 4A to 7A/6A. “But like I’ve always said, ‘Football is football.

“There’s differences at each level and certainly a step up in competition but the talent level kind of balances each other out.”

Elmore said it is something that will be a challenge.

“But schemes that work in 2A will work in 7A, it just depends on getting the kids to execute,” Elmore said.