Sandefur: ‘I’m going to be a servant leader’

New North Little Rock head football coach Randy Sandefur (Jaison Sterling/

Randy Sandefur is North Little Rock through and through.

Now 60, he was hired by the North Little Rock School Board with a 5-0 vote on Thursday night to be the high school’s next head football coach. He’s been an assistant coach at the school since 1984 and of Sandefur’s 60 years, 56 have been in North Little Rock and is a graduate of North Little Rock Northeast.

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The four-year gap was for a football career at the University of Arkansas at Monticello where Sandefur said, “I was an evil Boll Weevil, man” as a defensive end for the football team there. He was also pretty good and was twice honorable mention All-Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference in 1982 and 1981.

Sandefur had applied all three times after the job came open this school year after J.R. Eldridge unexpectedly left last December and he acknowledged the process was long.

It's just one of those things where it takes time,” Sandefur said on a busy Friday afternoon. “The delay wasn’t hurting anybody. I just think it had to be done.”

That wasn’t the only delay though.

“I just couldn’t respond to any of those things,” Sandefur said after word of his promotion spread on social media and was broken by “Just out of respect to the School Board. So I have offered my thanks when I could but my phone, so many calls, so many messages, so many texts. I just haven’t been able to get to everyone yet.”

Moving the conversation back to football, Sandefur said current assistant Ray Sessions was going to be the team’s defensive coordinator and that, “we’re going to be defense first.”

“We’re going to be multiple,” Sandefur said of the team’s defensive alignment next season. “We’re going to play to our strengths and this isn’t something that’s real high tech. We’re going to play to our kids’ strengths. We’re gonna move, so that our opponents will have to prepare for multiple fronts. 

“I’m not a real gunslinger with blitzes,” he added. “I believe that when you blitz, you’re gonna get hit with a homerun sometimes and then you’re going to be behind and we just can’t do that.”

Offensively, Sandefur said, “we're gonna be strong in the run game, very strong in the run game. The offensive line coach is Clint Reed and he's one of the best. … We’re gonna be able to do some other things, other than just set up in two tight ends and run it down your throat. We’re going to stretch the field. We got kids who can run and we’re going to RPO people.”

RPO is an abbreviation for Run Pass Option, where the quarterback reads the defense and has options to hand it off to a running back, or throw it downfield, or even tuck the ball and run it himself.

Sandefur said he hasn’t decided on an offensive coordinator but, “there’s some people in this office who can do a great job with that. I just want to make sure that I give them time to figure out what they want to do and I respect that. Like I said, you can put head coach in front of my name but I’m not going to be a different person.

“I’m going to be a servant leader, just like I’m supposed to be.”