The Mena Star was first to report last Thursday, June 6, that Mena Bearcat Head Football Coach, Tim Harper, and his DB and Secondary Coach, Macklin Chermak, are leaving the Bearcats and are heading to Coweta, Oklahoma.
Harper took the Mena job for the 2013 season as the Bearcats went 5-5 in the regular season, before falling to Hamburg in the first round of the playoffs.
In 2014, Harper led the Bearcats to their first State Championship Game since 1976, as Mena finished the season at 4A State Runner-Ups with a 48-14 loss to Warren.
Following their State Championship Game appearance, the Bearcats missed the playoffs and went 3-7 in 2015, before going 6-5 in 2016 and falling to Central Arkansas Christian in the first round of the state playoffs.
Harper’s Bearcats went 3-7 in 2017 and lost seven straight games, before Mena recouped and went 8-4 in the 2018 season. After a 31-7 first round playoff win over Gentry, the Bearcats fell to Shiloh Christian in round two.
In Harper's six years as the Bearcats Head Coach, Mena went 37-32 overall while missing the playoffs in only two seasons.
According to TulsaWorld.com, Harper was selected out of 29 applicants to begin the search. While visiting the Coweta Fieldhouse last Thursday, Harper told the Tulsa based news company that he is, "Excited for the opportunity…" Harper added, "I want to come to Coweta with a completely open mind, work with my coaching staff and learn the kid's talents and abilities and then develop a program that can help them be successful."
Mena School's Superintendent, Benny Weston, commented on Harper's departure saying, "We appreciate everything Coach Harper has done for our student athletes and community during his time as the Bearcats Head Coach."
As far as who will be the next head football coach at Mena, Weston stated, "We are busy searching for the next leader of Bearcat Football. Although his [Harper's] departure appears late, I assure you that we will have a quality Head Coach and assistants in place to coach and mentor the Bearcats for the 2019-2020 season."