Overton High School didn’t have to search far – although there were many candidates – to find its new athletic director and head football coach.
And on top of that, he’s a Mustang, himself.
OISD has chosen Overton alum and current defensive coordinator Justin Arnold to head up its athletic programs as athletic director, and to take the helm of the school’s football program. The school district made the announcement late Tuesday afternoon.
Arnold fills the slot vacated by Richard Strickland, who departed OISD after two seasons for Nashville High School (Ark.), where he became the defensive coordinator.
Arnold comes with a nice resume: not only does he have a football background, but he is has also coached basketball, track, and most recently softball. Arnold was the Lady Mustangs’ head coach who just led them to the third round of the UIL Class 2A playoffs, and a 19-win season.
Through the OISD statement, superintendant Stephen DuBose, also a former Mustang head football coach and AD, touted the choice of Arnold, noting the district considered 55 applicants.
“…Many of them were well known and talented coaches, but the opportunity to hire such a high quality young coach who loves Overton and wants to be here for the long run was simply too good to pass up,” DuBose said. “Coach Arnold is an outstanding leader and his teams have always exceeded expectations. We think we have made a decision that will help Overton gain stability in the athletic program while providing our students an outstanding role model.”
Arnold becomes the Mustang football program’s fifth head football coach/AD since DuBose moved into administration in 2007.
The Mustangs went 8-3 in 2016 under Strickland, but stepped back a ways in 2017, going 1-9 after an assortment of move-aways and injuries.
Arnold and his wife Lorin are longtime members of the Overton family: she, too, is an alum of the school.
Arnold left Overton after graduation and headed to Western Texas College on a track scholarship. He was an academic All-American there and track team captain. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2010.
That fall, Arnold came back to familiar territory, and began coaching at OHS in 2010 as a football assistant, basketball and track assistant. He became head track coach in 2012, and helped guide track athletes to the UIL state meet that year.
That fall, he was asked to take the reins of the basketball program and did so, jointly coaching as head basketball coach and head track coach, and again managed to coach a handful of athletes to the state track meet, then again in the spring of 2014.
He spent a year as head basketball coach in Beckville before returning in 2016, as an assistant for Strickland in football (the defensive coordinator) and also the softball coach.
Arnold takes the job a lot of men have enjoyed, and had success with: Bo Talkington in the 1980s, who regularly hit double-digit win totals, as well as Mike Clyde in the late ‘80s and 1990s. DuBose won his share, too, and was the last Overton coach that got the Mustangs to the nine-win mark, back in 2005.
The program has 434 wins, 409 losses and 20 ties, all-time. The Mustangs have made the playoffs five of the last six years, and have 21 all-time playoff wins.